Writing an Amish series! by Diane Craver

Thank you so much for having me here today, Cindy.

ADecisionofFaithFinal600x900I’m happy to share with you today  why I decided to write an Amish series, and reasons I enjoy writing in this particular genre. If you are unaware of the popularity of Amish fiction, you are not alone. When I published my first bonnet romance (term given sometimes to Amish romances), my daughter didn’t expect me to do well in sales. Then one day she happened to see  Amish paperbooks in the book section in a grocery store. She was amazed at the large number of them, and realized I had made a smart decision in my writing career.

Everyone knows how the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy continues to dominate the sales charts, but books on the other end of the spectrum are still selling well. Amish romances draw readers hungry for wholesome stories and simple values. I’ve had several Christian readers tell me that they always feel safe buying an Amish book because they know it will be sweet. Before I  attempted to write an Amish story, I did a lot of research in 2011 to learn as much as I could about their beliefs and their lifestyles. We happen to live about forty minutes away from an Amish district so that’s been helpful. By the way, my great-grandfather was a Mennonite minister plus I had already written Christian fiction so I realized my personal faith would also help me to write my first Amish romance.

I submitted my first Amish book to a well-known agent representing several best-selling Amish authors. She asked me to send her by snail mail the full manuscript which I did in 2011. After I waited for a few months, I emailed her and asked her the status of my submission. She said it was never received. I knew it had been delivered because I had the tracking slip showing it had arrived. She asked me to send it again. When the second one became lost, I lost confidence in her and her office staff, but agreed to email the manuscript. She liked it but wanted me to make a change in the story line. I didn’t want to take the major conflict out of the story, so I decided to self-publish A Joyful Break, book one in my Amish series in 2012.

Writing my first Amish series has been a lot of work but also enjoyable. I can’t say goodbye to the characters in this series because they have become real to me, so they will be included in my next series…like a spin-off. The title of the new series is The Bishop’s Daughters.

I recently released the final book A Decision of Faith in my Dreams of Plain Daughters Series. Here is the blurb for it:

Two worlds…

Violet Robinson grew up straddling the world of her father, a U.S. Senator, and her mother, who was raised Amish. Then Violet gets the chance to live in an Amish house without modern amenities. Violet’s father hopes this will make her realize how hard an Amish life is, but the opposite happens. Especially when Violet finds herself falling for Luke.

A world apart…

Although buggy shop owner Luke King was raised Amish, he hasn’t yet been baptized into the church. He’s always felt something waited out there for him. When he meets Violet, he knows why God set him on this path. Had he already been baptized, he’d be shunned for courting the  non-Amish Violet.

United by love…

While Violet’s learning the realities of living in the Amish world, Luke indulges in the opportunity to live in the English world, risking his family’s wrath. Violet fears Luke won’t be able to leave his faith. But can she live in the stricter and simpler Amish world? As the feelings between Violet and Luke grow deeper, can they overcome their dissimilar lifestyles or will their  differences pull them apart? But when violence from Violet’s past threatens, they discover that faith succeeds where all else fails, and two worlds may be joined by two loving hearts.

Short excerpt from A DECISION OF FAITH:

Violet had seen sadness flash in her mother’s eyes at different times whenever she talked about Fields Corner. Now her mother seemed happier and laughed a lot while they were living close to their Amish relatives.  If she left her Kentucky home and didn’t return to college, would she have regrets like her mother must have at times? Would leaving her life completely to become Amish cause her heartache later in life? Violet wondered.

“There’s something I need to tell you. My dat wants me to start instructions to join the church.”

“But how can you? Your father already started the baptism classes.” Violet knew that Luke had planned on being in the class this spring with her cousin Judith. All that changed when they met each other after a church service. She had attended church with the Hershberger family. Visiting her uncle and cousins that particular weekend had caused the major change in her life and Luke’s. Falling in love with someone from a completely different lifestyle is definitely a challenge.

Luke exhaled a deep breath. “Daed said it’s not too late and I can get caught up with the rest of the class. I’m not going to do it. It’s been a sore spot between us for the last few years. As the eldest in the family, my dat reminded me that I should’ve been the first to join our church. He told me that my rumspringa has lasted too long. I wished he understood that it wasn’t because I wanted to run around longer and do non-Amish things, but because it seemed like I needed to wait.”

“I’m glad you waited.” What if Luke had been baptized when she first had met him? They both were drawn to each other immediately. Would he been able to risk shunning to date her?

Luke continued,  “I never felt it was the right time. A strong feeling made me think there was an important reason I needed to give it more time before joining our faith. You already know the reason God wanted me to wait. If I had listened to Daed instead of following my gut, I’d be kicked out of the house and shunned now.  Obviously, I’m glad I didn’t join because it’d be hard to be shunned by my family while dating you.”

Feeling Luke’s arm around her shoulder gave her a lot of pleasure, but hearing him again say  that she must be the reason for waiting to become Amish meant even more to her. But another thought occurred to her. “Did your dad mention you should stop seeing me?”

Luke’s blue eyes widened as he cleared his throat. “Ya, but you know he’s mentioned that right from the beginning. I’m sorry. I reminded him again that we aren’t going to stop dating.”

“Oh, Luke, what are we going to do?” Violet wanted Luke in her future, but could she give up her whole way of life to be with him? Or could Luke decide to become English? She’d never asked Luke if he’d consider going to her Protestant church because ever since she’d moved to Fields Corner, she’d attended the Amish services every other Sunday.

Thank you for reading my excerpt. I’m giving away a print copy of my new release, A DECISION OF FAITH, to one random commenter. Or if the winner prefers the ebook format, that will be substituted.

Diane's_pictureAuthor Bio and Links

Diane enjoys her life with her husband, six children, daughter-in-law, son-in-law and three grandchildren in southwestern Ohio. Her husband of thirty-nine years is very supportive, as well as her awesome children. Diane writes Amish fiction, contemporary romance, historical fiction,  inspirational mainstream and chick-lit mystery.


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9 thoughts on “Writing an Amish series! by Diane Craver

  1. I’ll draw a winner for my giveaway (a print book of A DECISION OF FAITH or if preferred an ebook edition) this Saturday evening at 8:00 Eastern Time! I’ll post it here and on my blog. And, of course, I’ll email the winner!

    Thank you, Cindy, for having me here!

  2. Diane, how long did it take before you felt comfortable enough about the Amish to write an Amish romance? Did you worry about ‘getting it wrong’? Are all (or most) of your main characters outsiders to the Amish culture?


    • Hi Margaret,
      Thanks for visiting and commenting. I did a lot of research for a few months before I even attempted to write my first Amish romance. Also my great-grandfather was a Mennonite minister and they have many of the same beliefs as the Amish. They drive cars and have electricity but otherwise the basic beliefs are similar. Also it helps that there are many Amish districts and they even differ in what they might decide is okay to use in the modern world.

      Have a nice evening!

  3. I’m sorry I’m late. One of our daughters came to visit this evening and the time got away from me! Congrats, to bn100, you win a copy of A DECISION OF FAITH, Book 4 in my Dreams of Plain Daughters Series. Please email me at DianeCraverATcinci.rr.com with your snail mail address. Thanks for the comments and thanks again, Cindy, for hosting me here on your wonderful blog! 🙂

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