Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I started a new project last year…one that I have been fairly quiet about as I learned the ins-and-outs of the subject I was about to tackle. You see, for the first time in my career, I was undertaking an Amish cozy mystery (see below for a preview of my new book cover!). And it was a work-for-hire project for Guideposts. Two things I had never before done! God has certainly been stretching my boundaries and making me see beyond what I thought was possible. I’ll tell you more about the work-for-hire process on Thursday. For now, let’s concentrate on what it means to write Amish! 

I’ve written cozy mysteries before. In fact, I began my career with a series of cozies for Barbour Publishing. I knew I would enjoy that part of the experience. The part that concerned was learning how much I didn’t know about the Amish or the setting for the stories—which happens to be Sugarcreek, Ohio, a place I have determined to visit based on the research I’ve conducted so far. 

As it turns out, I learned a lot about the Amish right along with Cheryl Cooper, the main character in the Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries series. One of the things that interested me most was the practice of rumspringa or the “running around” time of Amish youth. I quickly learned that there are many commonly held misconceptions about rumspringa, including the idea that it is a “time out” from being Amish. In actuality, rumspringa is intended to be a period during which boys and girls are given greater personal freedom so that they may make the decision to either become Amish or leave the community. While it is true that some Amish youth may choose to engage in what would otherwise be considered sinful behavior, their parents do not encourage such. 

Just as with all young adults, the late teen years are a confusing time in an Amish person’s life. Rumspringa is intended to help these young people “find themselves,” and thereby enable them to make a fully informed choice to accept the lifelong requirements of the Amish church. 

Where Hope Dwells/Guideposts, 2015
Isn’t that interesting? What a blessing it has been to dwell with these characters in Sugarcreek! Though I was a little reluctant to step outside of my comfort zone, God has proven that moving along the path He has laid out before me can be rewarding despite the challenges. I am looking forward to seeing all that He has in store for this series and for my writing. 

Elizabeth Ludwig is the bestselling author of Christmas Comes to Bethlehem, Maine and the highly successful EDGE OF FREEDOM series from Bethany House Publishers. She is an accomplished speaker and teacher, often attending conferences and seminars where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Along with her husband and children, she makes her home in the great state of Texas. To learn more, visit ElizabethLudwig.com. Contact Elizabeth: HERE


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