Saturday, November 13, 2010

An Interview with Mary Ellis and Giveaway

leave a comment on the interview - or ask Mary a question - to be entered into a drawing to a copy of Mary's new book, Sarah's Christmas Miracle

Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write sweet inspirational romances set in the Amish community because a) I love to read them myself, and b) I love to study these wonderful people who put God first every day of their lives. They are the least self-absorbed, least self-serving people in America.

I love reading Amish books too. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Although I was only 6 weeks old, I suppose the 2nd best day of my life is when my parents picked me out of the 5 or 6 girl babies at the “children’s home” (county orphanage) many years ago. Although they have both passed on, my parents were wonderful loving people, who introduced me to the Lord as early as I can remember. Thanks, mom and dad!

How has being published changed your life?
Well, I can no longer write “when I feel like it.” (smile) Now I must sit down in front of that computer 5 days week. (and they are very long days, I might add.) I have adjusted my schedule to not write on Saturdays unless I’m under a tight deadline, and never on Sundays.And I got to give up my dayjob recently. Ask me in a year if I’m starving yet.

What are you reading right now?
I am reading “The Believer” by Ann H. Gabhart, a historical set in the Shaker Community.

What is your current work in progress?
Right now I’m working on a romance set in Holmes County, Ohio about a young woman who bites off more than she can handle as the local schoolteacher.

Sounds intriquing. What would be your dream vacation?
I have always longed to go to Italy—Tuscany region, in particular. Ever since I saw that movie, “Under a Tuscan Sun”, I’ve been enchanted with that area of the world. But no, I do not plan to buy a falling down house and try to restore it, without being able to speak a word of Italian.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
So far I have chosen Holmes County and Wayne County, Ohio for the settings for my Amish romances. I am familiar with these areas from my days as a sales rep, and they’re close (a little over an hour away) enough to plan plenty of getaway research trips.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
It would be Bono of the rock group, U2. Besides being an awesome singer, he’s a devout Christian. I would love to know how hard that has been in the rock-n-roll world to be a Christian.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I love swimming and snorkeling, anything with water involved. I love floating around in a pool on an air mattress reading a book. (unfortunately, I don’t have a pool, so these magic moments are few and far between.)

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Time management—to not let blogs and email steal too much of my writing time.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Write the story in your heart first, then start “fixing it up”. Get the story down before you start fitting it to other (well-intentioned) people’s opinion of what a successful book looks like. If you let people read and critique your work chapter-by-chapter, when you get done, the book will “sound like” them, not like you.

What do you want readers to take away from the book?
That we must first have faith, must believe in ourselves if we want the world to take us seriously. Only when we truly believe our dreams can come true, can we make them happen.


Marilynn said...

It was neat to find out about her adoption into a Christian home.

Michelle said...

I didn't know that about Bono. That's very cool!!
I also love reading Amish stories, so I look forward to reading this one!
Question for Mary - Since adoption is so close to your heart, do you plan to write any stories where adoption is one of the themes?

cjajsmommy said...

Question for the author: I've seen authors of Amish books present the Amish view of salvation in two different ways.

One perspective presents the Amish as legalistic without a personal relationship with the Lord and those who do claim to have that relationship are, at the least, considered prideful. They read the Bible in secret. They are forced to leave the Amish community and they then join up with Old Order Mennonites or Old Order German Baptists, the closest groups to the Amish. This first viewpoint presents the Amish as people who do not read the Bible for themselves but only the father in the family and leaders in the community read it.

The other perspective is that the Amish do have a true genuine faith in the Lord and a personal relationship with him daily is essential. Daily Bible reading is done by everyone, no one has to read in secret.

From which perspective do you write?

Suz said...

Sounds like a great author - new to me. I like hearing her thanksgiving for being adopted by her parents - chosen.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the two questions and dropping by Laura's blog! First of all, right now I don't have any plans to include an adoption theme in one of my books but I wouldn't rule it out for the future. I feel too much attention is given to "finding birth parents". Although I don't judge those who choose that route, personally my "real" parents are those who adopted me. The second question is a bit harder to answer. I guess my writing perspective falls somewhere between the two. From my interviewing Old Order Amish people, I have discovered they vary in their personal walks of faith just like the other Christian sects. Just like within my evangelical Christian church, not everyone reads the Bible daily or has a very personal relationship with the Lord, the same can be said about the Amish. Some read the Bible on their own, and some don't. But I've never run into any who must do so in secret. But it's the father's "job" to lead the family's nightly devotions and most take this resposibility very seriously. I believe the biggest theological difference comes in the concept of salvation. Whereas my evangelical church believes in the "assurance" of salvation through believe in Jesus Christ, Son of God, the Amish believe you must walk the walk your entire life and "hope" for salvation upon your death. Frankly, it's a small difference in my opinion. All of us should be walking the walk anyway. I am no theologian, but I hope I've answered your question. Thanks again for posting. Mary Ellis

Jo said...

I enjoy reading Amish books.


by Pegg Thomas said...

I enjoy Amish fiction, so thank you for entering me in the drawing. I live in the midst of an Amish community in Northern Michigan. While we don't have the numbers of Ohio, Michigan has many Amish settlements. They are wonderful friends and neighbors.

twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

Anne Payne said...

I think the Amish are fascinating people and enjoy reading stories about them from several different authors. I haven't had the privilege of reading any of Mary's books, so I would very much like to read this one. thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.