Jennifer Spredemann (formerly writing as J.E.B. Spredemann) has authored thirty Amish fiction titles, some of which have won awards. She resides in Indiana Amish Country with her family on a former Amish farm. In this interview, FamilyFiction talks to Jennifer about An Unforgivable Secret (Blessed Publishing), the first in her Amish Secrets series. Hannah has carried a heavy burden for years—a secret no one must know. When tragedy strikes, jeopardizing everything she’s ever loved, can Hannah face her greatest fear and find God’s purpose for her life? In this exclusive interview, Jennifer reveals what she can’t tell us about the book, shares what she hopes readers will take away, and explains how she is able to write accurately about the Amish.
What inspired the story in An Unforgivable Secret?
Wow—this is tough to answer without giving away the story! I hadn’t seen the issue I’ve written about in this book addressed in Amish fiction, so I began researching. The results were very eye-opening for me. I believe the subject of this book is something that God laid on my heart.
How do you approach writing about the plain people in a way that’s accurate to their way of life?
While the Amish communities in my books are fictional, I do attempt to keep my books accurate. What I’ve found is that what a lot of people think is true about the Amish, may not necessarily be. Each district has its own Ordnung (set of rules they live by) and those rules constantly evolve.
In my writing, I like to educate readers about common misconceptions people have. For example, most people believe that Amish men begin growing their beards after marriage. This isn’t true in all communities. Some districts (like some Swiss Amish) require their young men to begin growing facial hair as soon as they’re able.
So, you see, there is no ‘one size fits all’ when comparing the Amish. I have a fun blog post about this on my website titled “That’s not Amish!”
What were your goals writing An Unforgivable Secret?
With every novel I write, I strive to not only tell an intriguing story, but also speak to the reader’s heart. This novel deals with many important topics, but mainly learning to forgive yourself when you feel like you’ve failed.
What do you want readers to take away after reading it?
The most important truth I’d like readers to take away is that there is no sin too big for God to forgive. He loves you—no matter what!
What’s an example of how your storytelling is impacted by your Christian faith?
This book is a classic example of that. I want my stories to be real and relatable. Because my book might be the only encounter the reader has with Jesus Christ, I strive to include the wonderful message of His saving grace within the pages of each book that I pen. For that reason, this book is offered for free in eBook format at participating online retailers.
Visit Jennifer Spredemann’s author page:
An Unforgivable Secret
Amish Secrets #1
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