Jennifer Beckstrand is the two-time RITA-nominated, bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series, The Honeybee Sisters series, and The Petersheim Brothers series for Kensington Books. Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people.
Her latest fiction is a story in the collection Amish Christmas Miracles (Blessed Publishing). In her story, “A Peanut Butter Christmas,” the Petersheim twins are determined to get Mary and Jerry together for Christmas, but they just might have to set something on fire to do it.
In this interview, Jennifer shares the inspiration behind her story, and how she approaches writing about the Plain people.
What inspired your story in Amish Christmas Miracles?
I love Christmas stories, and what could be better than an Amish Christmas miracle? I have teamed up with 13 other Amish fiction authors to give our readers a gift of heartwarming Christmas stories perfect to read while curled up by the fire.
In my story in the collection, “A Peanut Butter Christmas,” twins Alfie and Benji Petersheim try to make a Christmas miracle for Mary Yutzy and Jerry Zimmerman. My story was inspired by the hope of Christmas, the good news that the birth of a baby in Bethlehem means that we all get a second chance.
What were your goals writing this story?
The past seven months have been difficult for all of us. The goal of all the writers in this collection is to give our readers something to smile about, someone to laugh with, and a reason to fall in love. We hope our stories will kindle readers’ faith in a brighter future and remind them of the happiness that is still so plentiful all around us.
What do you want readers to take away after reading your story?
“A Peanut Butter Christmas” is a story of second chances, forgiveness, and discovering the plans God has for us. Jerry is torn between his love for Mary and his calling from God. I hope my readers will see themselves in the struggles surrounding faith, family, and love. We all have flaws and weaknesses, but as we turn to God, He will show us a way through.
What’s an example of how your storytelling is impacted by your Christian faith?
My faith is everything to me, and I hope that faith shines through all my books. If we let Him, God will shape our lives and guide our paths for His purposes and glory. The characters in my books learn this lesson in many different ways. I love exploring forgiveness, second chances, kindness, and belief.
How do you approach writing about the plain people in a way that’s accurate to their way of life?
One thing that struck me the first time I visited an Amish home was that the Amish are just “regular” people with many of the same hopes and dreams and aspirations that Englischers have. They want what is best for their families, they worry over their children, they strive to be better disciples of the Savior. I try to make my Amish characters real, because that is how I see the Amish. I’ve done extensive research to make my books authentic, but I also believe that the most authentic thing I can do is to write the Amish as real people—good, kind, and honest, but also flawed and struggling like the rest of us.
Visit Jennifer Beckstrand’s Author Page:
Amish Christmas Miracles
14 Stories To Touch Your Heart And Warm Your Soul This Christmas
Buy the book here (affiliate link)
Spend Christmas in Amish country.
As snow falls softly outside the window, curl up by the fire with this collection of 14 stories by your favorite Amish fiction authors. Let them transport you to Amish communities all across the country. Travel to small towns where horses clip-clop down the road, farms dot the snow-covered landscape, and families gather to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. Sigh over sweet stories that touch your heart. Laugh, cry, rejoice, and smile as couples renew their faith and find their perfect soul mates.
These heartwarming tales of faith, hope, love, and Christmas miracles are a special gift to you from Kathleen Fuller, Lenora Worth, Adina Senft, Laura Bradford, Jennifer Beckstrand, Jennifer (J.E.B.) Spredemann, Rachel J. Good, Serena B. Miller, Mary Alford, Loree Lough, Dana R. Lynn, Susan Simpson, Tracy Fredrychowski, and Ashley Emma.