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Wednesday, December 07, 2016
Amanda Flower

Amanda Flower

Amanda Flower, an Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.
Amanda Flower: Ripped from the Headlines

Amanda Flower: Ripped from the Headlines

(March 2013)
Deidra Romero
Amish fiction isn’t usually wrapped up in suspense and mystery, but that’s the way Amanda Flower prefers it.

In the second book in her Appleseed Creek Mystery series, A Plain Scandal (B&H Fiction), a series of disgraceful and anonymous haircutting attacks terrorize the Appleseed Creek community. Chloe Humphries makes it her mission to defend the community and restore peace.

“She has an innate desire to protect those who can’t—or, in the case of the Amish, won’t—protect themselves,” Amanda says, “because she knows what is like to be defenseless.”

The plot is pulled from news headlines: “In late 2011 in Holmes County, Ohio, there were violent haircutting attacks against several Amish families by a rival Amish group. That event inspired me to write A Plain Scandal, but events like that are very rare.”

For outsiders of the Amish community, getting a haircut seems like no big deal, but Amanda points out the significance of this crime. “Knowing how important hair is to the Amish, I recognized what an insult it was to have an Amish man’s beard cut or an Amish woman’s hair cut. I’ve lived in Ohio my entire life and there had never been a real story like this before. I knew that it would make a good basis for a mystery.”

Chloe Humphries holds an unusual occupation for a character in an Amish novel: She is an Information Technology Specialist. “I wish I could say ‘because it is the antithesis of Amishness and juxtaposes to the plain world,’” Amanda says. “This is true, but it’s not why I gave Chloe this profession. The truth is, it’s very close to what I do every day. I’m a college librarian, but my main responsibility is keeping the library’s network, management system, server and computers up and running.”

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2013 issue of FamilyFiction digital magazine. Subscribe for free today!



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