Anne: Our interview this time is with that prolific and talented writer, Mary Ellis. She has about a dozen titles to her name so far, and she shows no sign of stopping. The one I reviewed yesterday, A Little Bit of Charm, gives us a good clue as to why she is a best selling novelist. To read the review, click HERE.
So Mary, inquiring minds want to know what inspired A Little Bit of Charm?
Mary: My best friend lives near the Amish settlement in Kentucky. I visit her often, so setting one of my Amish romances there was a natural fit. And horses? I adore them. Although I've never owned one (mean parents, followed by a mean husband...LOL..) I've ridden most of my life on friends' horses or at rental stables.
Anne: That's awesome. And now we want to know why you write.
Mary: I couldn't stop myself if I wanted to. Stories keep popping into my head and come to me during dreams. Some of them simply demand to be written down and expanded upon. I now write fulltime and this is the best job I've ever had. (and I have had plenty!)
Anne: There are a couple of different ways of writing, either by the seat of your pants or by plotting out the entire book. Are you a panster or plotter? Why?
Mary: Definitely a plotter, because I don't like "fixing things" that go off track. I wrote my first two books by the seat of my pants. They took so long to rewrite that I told myself "never again." I now work from a rough skeletal outline that changes as I go along.
Anne: Do you have a favorite character in this book?
Mary: It must be Rachel. I love my heroines. I give them qualities and abilities that I don't have, but wish I did.
Anne: You seem to know a lot about both the Plain religions and about horses. How do you do your research?
Mary: I have both Amish and Mennonite contacts here in the huge 4-county Amish area within an hour from my house. Making Plain contacts in Kentucky was a little harder, but possible if a woman is patient and very friendly. Regarding horses, I read books and asked my horse-owner friends.
Anne: What about you might our readers find surprising?
Mary: Goodness, I don't think anything about me is surprising. I'm happily married to my college sweetheart (despite the fact he won't buy me a horse!) I have a dog, a cat, live in the country, go to church on Sundays, and love green beans and meatloaf. I'm about as unexciting a person as you can meet. But my heroines, on the other hand.....
Anne: Would you like to tell us about your next release?
Mary: My next Amish romance, A Plain Man, releases on April 1st from Harvest House. Here's the blurb: The prodigal comes home...though Caleb Beachy tried the Englisch world for some years, he is a Plain man at heart. But when he decides to return to the Amish lifestyle, he discovers there’s more to embracing his faith and reconnecting with the community than merely driving a horse and buggy and giving up his Levis. Josie Yoder was just a girl when he left. All grown up now, she gives Caleb hope for the future and reminds him that while his faith may have wavered, God never left his side. But will past mistakes end up destroying their fledgling romance before it really has a chance to begin?
Delight in the story of a wounded heart finding joy, health, and healing in God’s infinite grace.
Anne: It sounds great, Mary. Write on!