Q&A: Judith Miller
With her bestselling series Daughters of Amana, Judith Miller expanded the scope of the popular
“bonnet book” genre. Stepping away from the familiar Amish setting, Miller placed her newest
series in the communal world of Iowa’s Amana Colonies—and both critics and readers are
Miller now concludes the series with A Bond Never Broken, offering another fresh take on tales
of the plain, simple life. Set during the Great War in the village of South Amana, two young
women, living in a time of fear and mistrust, must determine how it will define their futures.
Since A Bond Never Broken is the third book in your Daughters of Amana series, how did you develop a fresh idea?
As I was thinking about this third book, I decided to set the book in a time period I’d never before used, while still not moving too far forward in history. Much happened in the Amana Colonies during the Great War, and I decided it would be interesting to research and show readers the attitudes that permeated the country during that time period. The residents of Amana were a people of primarily German heritage, were very patriotic, and loved this country. But in spite of their patriotism, they were forced to endure much ill-treatment.
Was there an underlying message you hoped to leave with the reader?
Fear can take hold of us in ways we never imagined. The attitude that pervaded the country at that time was one of hatred toward anyone of German nationality. Panic and alarm spread through the country, and I wanted to depict those behaviors and attitudes that the people of Amana were forced to endure. George Santanya once said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. We need to remember our past and learn from it.” As a nation, we need to learn from our mistakes. As Christians, we need to place our fears at the feet of Jesus and seek His guidance in how He would have us act.
What makes A Bond Never Broken different than others like it in the market?
It tells of a unique group of people who learned to live within the parameters of their religious beliefs while still interacting with the outside world. Their communal lifestyle remained in place longer than any other group in this country, and they dissolved by agreement, with all Colonists being treated on an equal basis. Their church society remains in tact, and the villages have been maintained and are a visitor destination for travelers.
Does the book tie into any real historical event?
It uses as a backdrop the Great War and life in the Amana Colonies during that time period. The settling of the Amana Colonies in Iowa is historically true. I have done my best to portray the Amana settlement and the Colonists’ way of life with historical accuracy. The story within the setting of the Amana Colonies is exactly that—fiction. While it was my desire to give readers a historically accurate view of the Amana lifestyle and their villages, none of the characters is based upon historical characters. It has also been my hope to have readers better understand the Amana settlement and understand how their beliefs and lifestyles differ from the Amish.
What are your goals as a Christian writer?
To use the gift of story to plant seeds of faith. My hope is that my books will touch hearts and lives that
might not otherwise be reached that my books can be used as a vehicle to both Christians and
non-Christians to discuss faith issues. Jesus told parables, and I believe people can learn a great deal
through fiction that is based in truth. We can point others to Christ where we couldn’t otherwise. I
could put a fiction book in somebody’s hand and they’ll sit down and read it and come away with God’s
truth, but they probably wouldn’t take a Bible from me. Directing people to Jesus—that’s my hope, that’s