When Carl left their small Amish community for the outside world, Emma thought that it was the end of her world. After four years, she’s only beginning to heal. When her parents unexpectedly died she was once again faced with the end of her world. She is plunged further into despair when Carl returns. Maybe it’s the grief, but she finds that her feelings are… not what they were. In fact, she’s having a hard time sorting out how she feels about a lot of things – including her friend Thomas, the quiet widower. How can she trust either of them when she can’t even trust her own feelings?
Q: WHAT INSPIRED TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH?
Trying to understand how Amish people can be so forgiving. Even though I know I’m called to forgive, it’s not one of my best qualities (I’m trying to do better). I wanted to understand how someone could experience a tragedy and simply forgive the person responsible.
Q: ALTHOUGH YOUR BOOK IS FICTION – WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF SOME ELEMENTS IN THE BOOK THAT CAME FROM REAL LIFE?
The starting point of To Love and to Cherish came from a real life issue. I was reading an article about a rash of car/buggy accidents involving Amish folks and how law enforcement officials are struggling in some areas of the country with large Amish settlements to find ways to avoid these accidents. Two ways of life collide on the highway.
Q: FACT VS. FICTION – WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOME EXAMPLES IN YOUR NOVEL WHERE YOU TOOK SOME LIBERTIES WITH THE FACTS?
The most significant would be that there is no town in Kansas called Bliss Creek. Also, there are Mennonites in that area, but no Amish settlements at this time. I didn’t have to worry about accurately portraying an actual small town in Kansas. I wanted to set the story in Kansas because I’m familiar with the geography, plant life, and the weather.
Q: WHAT DO YOU WANT READERS TO TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR BOOK?
The healing qualities of forgiveness. We all know we’re called to forgive, but we so often fail to do it. Shedding that burden means shedding bitterness and grief and sometimes even hate. How much lighter we feel when that happens and it has the added bonus of knowing that it makes God smile too.
Q: HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHICH STORY TO WRITE?
I think many writers will agree when I say the stories often choose me. I see a newspaper article or someone shares a tidbit from his life with me and off I go down a path I couldn’t even see before. Characters sometimes appear fully formed and talking before I can get my laptop open.