Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sweet Competition - Why I'm Writing Amish Romances

I never dreamed a year ago I'd be writing Amish romances. In my work with (The website I founded five years ago) I have seen many authors throw together manuscripts with Amish characters trying to make a quick buck. Never in a million years did I think I'd be one of them. But when I was invited to write an Amish novella for a collection with four other authors I accepted. I wanted to write again, and I wanted to make a job of it. I've struggled for many years about the decision to write for a living, and I finally realized that dedicating my time to it would be the only way to make me any better at it. And I believe God wants me to write. So I said yes. I wrote Sweet Competition surprisingly easily.

Previously I'd considered myself a Missouri fiction author, and I found that the Amish genre wasn't far from it. We have an Old Order Amish community just down the road, and as I began to think about how they must live, I realized it couldn't be that much different from how we grew up, or at least how our parents grew up.

I remember my grandfather having an outhouse, and also the one we used for years at church. My husband grew up here as well, and his family didn't have running water until he was twelve. They carried water from the nearby spring. So living simply is part of our Missouri heritage, something I'd like to pass on to my daughter.

I was disappointed when the set got cancelled. Two of the authors decided they couldn't write Amish, and another couldn't make the deadline, so I was left with one book to publish on my own. I decided right then it wouldn't be that hard to write three more and have a collection of my own. I started the ninth of January, and now it is almost August and I've written eight stories, with plans for several more.

I've since learned so much about the Swiss Amish. I was able to visit the Amish country store and speak with the woman who ran it. It was disappointing when she told me that many authors had visited and asked questions, and then "wrote up a bunch of lies they put on the internet". I told her I'd seen the books with the community's name on it and I agreed, even with my limited knowledge of them, that they were lies. The Swiss Amish are very different, and it seems little is known about them. I knew right then I would do my very best to write about the Amish in the most respectful way. I've made friends with some people who grew up Amish and they answer questions for me, and I've began reading the Bible with sort of an Amish lens. How do they see these verses? How is it different than the way we view them? The Christian Amish books we all like to read aren't exactly the way the Amish believe. Some Amish people have actually been shunned for proclaiming salvation through Jesus Christ. Amish groups vary, and so do the rules in each community, so it would be wrong to say all Amish believe a certain way. So my books are as realistic as they can be toward their religion, while still maintaining my own.

Sweet Competition is about how the Bible says we should treat our enemies. I consider this one my "hillbilly romance". The Amish people around here speak just like we do, except their English may be a little better, and some do it so well they don't have any accent at all. But I'm sure some are just as hillbilly as we are, so I created two families that are a little more "down home" than the others. I hope you enjoy it, and follow me on my writing journey.
God Bless.
Tattie Maggard

Check out The Amish of Swan Creek Series on Amazon.

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