Tuesday, September 24, 2013

If there’s one thing this writer loves, it’s research. What fun to jump into my car with my laptop, GPS, camera, spiral notebook, handful of pens, of our course, my cell phone. But when you’re researching the Amish in remote rural areas it can get rather tricky. Those who cherish privacy and seclusion often live on rutted, unpaved roads often not on maps and far from gas stations and other conveniences.

For A Little Bit of Charm, I headed to Kentucky to interview the Old Order Mennonites and Amish of Casey and Barren Counties. Generally, these people moved here from over-populated areas of Ohio or Pennsylvania. They came looking for cheaper, more plentiful farmland and found it. What does that mean for a wannabe researcher? I spent my third summer vacation in an area without cell phone service, or a single fast food restaurant for
miles. If you go in search of horses-and-buggies and a slower pace of life, always remember to bring local maps. My GPS kept getting confused and shutting off. Luckily, I was able to stay at my friend’s house and commute back and forth, since there were no hotels or motels close by. Her grand-daughters came along to keep me company—very handy considering how often I was lost. The girls received a priceless education in the Plain culture that surpassed any textbook. And having them with me opened plenty of doors for this nosy writer. Who could resist answering the
questions of three adorable little girls? A Little Bit of Charm completes my New Beginnings series about three sisters who go off in different directions seeking fresh starts. Whether Amish of English, young people desire a place they can comfortably establish their identities. And for some, it’s often far from the conveniences we’ve all come to depend on.

Mary Ellis grew up near the Amish and fell in love with them. She has now written nine bestselling novels set in their communities. When not writing, she enjoys gardening, bicycling, and swimming. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Living in Harmony, book one of this series won the 2012 Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction. Book two, Love Comes to Paradise has been nominated for a 2013 Lime Award. She can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net or at: www.maryeellis.wordpress.com or


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