In this first book of a three-book series, author Vannetta Chapman brings a fresh twist to the popular Amishfiction genre. She blends the familiar components consumers love in Amish books—faith, community, simplicity, family—with an innovative who-done-it plot that keeps readers guessing right up to the last stitch in the quilt
When two women—one Amish, one English—each with different motives, join forces to organize a successful on-line quilt auction, neither expects nor wants a friendship. As different as night and day, Deborah and Callie are uneasy partners who simply want to make the best of a temporary situation. But a murder, a surprising prime suspect, a stubborn detective, and the town’s reaction throw the two women together, and they form an unlikely alliance to solve a mystery and catch a killer.
Set in the well-known Amish community of Shipshewana, Falling to Pieces will attract both devoted fans of the rapidly-growing Amish fiction genre, as well as those who are captivated by the Amish way of life.
Twelve years ago, I graduated with my MA in English and started writing articles for Christian magazines. I was thirty-six years old, had been teaching for two years, and knew I loved language! After publishing over 100 pieces with Christian family magazines, I was bitten by the novel-bug. I completed 8 novels before selling A Simple Amish Christmas to Abingdon Press (2010).
So you have any Amish background?
Maybe! While researching my first Amish novel, I learned that my grandfather’s family was from Albion, PA–so there might be Amish ancestors in my background!
What made you decide to write an Amish mystery series?
Sue Brower, executive editor with Zondervan, had read my submission, A Simple Amish Christmas. She loved the writing, but didn’t need a romance writer. She called and asked if I’d be interested in writing something different. I said yes! I love suspense–in books and movies. I never doubted this was an answered prayer, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to write something new and different for Zondervan.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’d love to hear from readers. They can find me through my webpage (www.VannettaChapman.com) or on facebook (Vannetta Chapman, author). Also I post to my blog 3 times a week (vannettachapman.wordpress.com).
Lyn Cote has had over thirty-five novels published. In 2006 Lyn’s book, Chloe, was a finalist for the RITA, and her book Her Patchword Family was a finalist for the Carol Award, two of the highest awards in romance. (Her Healing Ways is also a Carol finalist this year.) Lyn also features stories of strong women both from real life and true to life fiction on her blog http://BooksbyLynCote.com Writing books at her lake cottage in northern Wisconsin, Lyn hopes her books show the power of divine and human love.
Please tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.
I started writing as a child, continued to learn more through high school and college, then began teaching and being a mom–both creative pursuits. Finally a story came to me that wouldn’t let me NOT write it down. 🙂
Tell us about Her Abundant Joy.
Tagline: Can a beautiful young widow find peace in the arms of a Texas Ranger?
In 1846, young widow Mariel Wolfe survived the grueling voyage from Germany to start a new life in the “promised” land of Texas. Forced by circumstances to become a servant, Mariel is now determined to quit a harsh master. But how can a single woman face the frontier on her own? Texas Ranger Carson Quinn is responsible for leading her party of German immigrants safely through dangerous Comanche-held territory. As he watches Mariel hold her head high in spite of everything, he will stop at nothing to protect her.
But war is brewing: Mexico will not accept the U.S. annexation of the young Texas Republic without a fight. Honor bound to fight for Texas, Carson’s deepest longing is to lay down his rifle. As Mariel and Carson fall deeply in love, could her painful past or this new war destroy all their hopes? Will the tide of history sweep them far from peace, far from a life together?
“Her Abundant Joy is a wonderfully satisfying finale to Lyn Cote’s fascinating saga of Texas history. Riveting, engaging, unpredictable, it brings to the forefront a frightened and vulnerable German immigrant and a Texas Ranger whose family survived the turbulent years by grace and grit, faith and fortune. Not to be missed!” – KATHY HERMAN, author Sophie Trace Trilogy.
Did you have any experiences that prompted your love of historical fiction?
My mother always took us to any little or big museum we came across. I’ve always loved history. Supposedly through my mother’s family, I’m related to Sir Walter Scott, the author of the first historical novels. I don’t know if that all family story is true, but it makes sense. If not by blood, by affinity.
How much time does it take to research your stories – what balance would you say there is between research and actual writing?
I love to do historical research so much that I have to limit myself to a few weeks at the start. I just get the major facts in place and start writing. As I write, I keep a list of questions to look up after the manuscript is finished. If I go back to research in the midst, I might not go back to story-telling. Getting lost in the stacks of a large library is close to heaven for me.
Kara, thanks for having me as your guest! I hope your readers will stop by and sample La Belle Christiane on my site.
On my homepage, I’ve posted my first never published manuscript, La Belle Christiane,. And I’ve archived the chapters on my site and will keep them there till the book is released in September. Its tagline is: Can the beautiful daughter of a French courtesan find a love that will last a lifetime?
Good morning, Roger and thank you for joining us today at Fiction with Faith. First, let’s start with sharing with the readers who you are and where you’re from.
I’m just an almost sixty-five-year-old man who retired early to write Christian fiction.
Tell us about your latest release, Lost in Dreams.
Lost in Dreams is basically a continuation of Found in Translation, the first book in my Altered Hearts series. Kim Hartlinger is returning from a life-changing mission trip to Mexico, only to face a major catastrophe that she thinks she’s responsible for. She ends up with a major fatigue problem, but comes out of it at the prospect of a mission trip to California. That trip has its own share of problems, though, and the ultimate question is what will free Kim from her guilt and allow her to live a normal life again.
Lost in Dreams is an interesting title. How did you come up with it?
Thanks, Kara, but I have to be honest. My editor came up with it. The Barbour team didn’t think my original title, Prancing with Pebbles, would resonate with teen girls. Even though I’d taken great pains to make Pebbles an irresistible title, I didn’t want to be a problem author—someone my publisher would find hard to get along with. And I liked Lost in Dreams fine, so I didn’t protest. It isarelevant title since Kim suffers periodic nightmares along with her fatigue.
Titles are not as easy to come up with as many may think. How long did it take you to write this novel?
Asking that made me curious. *G* I keep all of the old versions of my manuscripts and increase the version number by one every day. It looks like Lost in Dreams took about five months. That’s not taking into consideration the fact that I’d written the first chapter many months earlier.
What would you like the reader to take away from this novel?
I want teens to think about how important forgiveness is: God’s forgiveness, our forgiveness of one another, and—not at all least—forgiveness of oneself. But I also want them to appreciate the importance of establishing and maintaining a good relationship with their parents—and keeping the channels of communication open no matter what. Another important take away is the fact that jealousy not only hurts the individual, but can have a gigantic detrimental effect on a team.
This is your second novel. Was there anything you learned from writing, publishing and marketing your first novel that made it easier this time around?
I learned a little extra patience. At first, I didn’t fully appreciate the way an independent editor had edited Found in Translation. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was just helping me avoid potential reader objections. I also learned that it’s impossible to do enough marketing. I have to do what I can—and what’s appropriate for me—and leave the rest in God’s hands. That’s where it should have been all along, don’t you think?
Yes, the perfect place for all our concerns is in God’s hands, but oh, it’s so hard leaving them there! But thankfully, our God is a God of patience. Speaking of patience, writing for the young adult market has its challenges. There are so many other types of media vying for their attention. What would you say to urge them to read your novel?
That’s an interesting question, Kara. And my answer requires a bit of explanation.
I didn’t really have teens in mind when I wrote the first book. But because it had an eighteen-year-old protagonist, it couldn’t be marketed any other way. Adults seem to enjoy this series just as much as teens. I suppose I was a little more teen-conscious when I wrote Lost in Dreams, but I definitely didn’t and don’t write down to teens.
Neither do I worry about trying to capture or imitate teen culture. So perhaps I would say this to young adults: “You’re adults in the making. You’re almost there. I’m not pretending to be a teen anymore, and I know things have changed a lot in the fifty years since I was one. But we’re both human, and I want to share my humanity with you, especially as it relates to spiritual issues.”
I think the best answer to your question is not what I would say to urge them to read my books, but what other teens would say. Word of mouth is a powerful tool, and—if my books touch lives the way I pray they will—teens will tell their friends.
What an inspiring answer. One that I hope adults and teens alike will take to heart as they read your novel and share it with others. What are some other novels that you’ve written?
I’ve written six other manuscripts. I wrote one as a prequel to the Altered Hearts series but it’s not even really a Young Adult novel. I have one other manuscript I consider strictly YA, one that’s kind of on the border, one that probably qualifies as speculative fiction, and several that probably fall into the category of general contemporary fiction. One of those may even be women’s lit. All of it is strongly Christian, of course. I enjoy reading an occasional secular novel—I’m an avid Harry Potter fan (am I permitted to say that here?) —but nothing else is important enough for me to write about.
Sure, you’re allowed to say that here! Prayerfully, there are other Harry Potter fans reading this site. Are there other projects you’re currently working on?
Absolutely! Although I’ve plotted two more novels in the Altered Hearts series and written about 30% of the third book, Barbour hasn’t offered a contract on them yet. However, they seem interested in a novel for teen boys that’s may be ten percent finished. Because I’m a Preacher’s Kid and this book is about a pair of misfit PKs, it’s a lot of fun to work on. I tried out the first few pages of it on a man friend recently, and he died laughing at all of the high school memories it brought back.
That sounds like a good read, so I can’t wait for that one to be released. Some of the most recent books I’ve read have made me cry and I loved them, but I’d rather have a book in one hand while holding my stomach with the other. Laughter truly is the best medicine. How may our readers contact you?
I’d love to have your readers visit my website at RogerBruner.com or friend me at Facebook.com/roger.bruner. I also have a Facebook author page. One can never have too many good friends. Especially if they’re big readers. *big smile*
Thanks for stopping by Roger. Hope to see you here again soon!