“You Passed the Amish Test!”

Mar 5, 2012 | Uncategorized | 10 comments

Along with the pleasure of seeing my first Naomi King book, ABBY FINDS HER CALLING, on the shelves in bookstores this week, I received a fine, fun email from Jim, the fellow in Jamesport, Missouri, who assists me with the details of these Amish romances. He wrote, “Joe Burkholder’s wife read your two books, and they want to carry them in their store. You passed the Amish test!”

Now, while it’s nothing new to Beverly Lewis, Cindy Woodsmall, or other well-established authors of Amish novels to have their books stocked in Amish shops, this is a first for me. It’s important not just because Jamesport is the model for the Amish towns in my two series, or because it’s nice to have my books in the Burkholders’ store alongside those big-name authors I mentioned, but because I now have another layer of credibility. The Amish folks I’ve recently started writing about consider me authentic.

And considering how the Amish don’t much care to be exploited in print—considering how Jim, my private tour guide and resource guy, told me not to mention that I was a writer while he was taking me around Jamesport—this is a major accomplishment! It means that Joe Burkholder and his wife will now be chatting up all their Plain friends and the tourists in their store about these two novels that mention Jamesport. My books will become a unique memento for them to sell and a way for me to attract new readers. [Jim, by the way, runs Step Back In Time Tours in Jamesport, and if you would like to visit there, or bring your tour buses there, check him out at StepBackInTimeTours.net]

A fun twist: during my initial tour of Jamesport, Jim told me about how the Burkholders’ home had burned to the ground when their chimney caught fire a few years ago. In the freezing cold December weather, the local men worked long shifts, eating meals their wives took turns bringing to the site, dealing with the ice around the foundation from the firemens’ hoses. They used big lights provided by their Mennonite friends so they could work after dark. They rebuilt that home by the New Year!

I got goose bumps hearing that story—my editor got goose bumps from that story—so ABBY FINDS HER CALLING features a subplot where the Ropp family’s home catches fire and is rebuilt that same way. Because Rudy Ropp had stopped trusting the bank, all their life savings had been stashed in that house . . . one of their sons had caused a major scandal in Cedar Creek, getting a girl pregnant, and he and his brother had jumped the fence (left the faith rather than joining the Amish church), but by the book’s end those family ties are restored. Healing and forgiveness come about because the fire brings the Ropp boys home again and forces their dad, Rudy, to reevaluate some of his beliefs and behavior.

It’s particularly rewarding that the real-life family who inspired a major part of my book is now going to sell that book in their store. Isn’t that the neatest piece of synchronicity?

It’s also a plus that I can pass this news on to my editor, who has been scribbling all over the margins of the manuscript for my upcoming book, “is this Amish?” or “do Amish really do this?” She’s been using her eagle-eye, asking me to validate my details and research (and she’s more accustomed to the ways of the Amish in the eastern U.S. Plain folks in Missouri do some things differently) so I hope she, too, will feel good about this on-site Amish response to ABBY FINDS HER CALLING.

After writing this book on a tabletop office, while we were selling, buying, and remodeling homes as we moved from Missouri to Minnesota, it’s gratifying indeed to hear that my work has “passed the Amish test.”

10 Comments

  1. susan leech

    I love the sounds of both your books and have entered your contest too. You have selected a great genre as the Amish books are becoming very popular. I am in charge of a small church library and all my Amish books are going in there once I read them. They are going out as fast as I can put them on the shelves which is a great sign. Keep up the good work and best wishes on the books you have out now. susan Leech garysue@dejazzd.com

    Reply
    • Naomi King

      Thanks so much for stopping by, and for your best wishes, Sue! Church libraries are among my favorite places, and yes, those Amish books continue to race off the shelves. I was so pleased that both ABBY and SUMMER OF SECRETS have been published in hard cover and large print, for that reason.

      Reply
    • Carolyn Hilgart

      Dear Susan,

      You are so fortunate to be able to carry Amish stories in your church library. I have been unsuccessful in donating a great many Amish stories to my church. It is so disappointing. Howver, your church members are blessed.

      Carolyn

      Reply
  2. susan leech

    Thanks for replying to my email. I wish you the best. susan L

    Reply
  3. Morinne

    Hi Naomi,
    I just finished “Abby Finds Her Calling” and thought it was one of the best Amish fiction books I have read (which, believe me, are just about all of them in print!). I look forward to reading your next book about Matthew and am hoping that you will be writing another book in this series about Abby and James as I am sure they are meant to be together! I was surprised to see that you are also the author of “Summer of Secrets” which I already have on my Kindle and is the next book on my list!
    I noticed that other comments mention a contest you are holding. Please give me info.
    Thank you for sharing your Amish “love & sunshine” novel.

    Reply
    • Naomi King

      Morinne, how kind of you to rank me so highly among those many Amish books you’ve read! Thanks so much for taking the time to tell me, too. It means a lot to hear this.

      The contest you’re probably seeing is a giveaway of a signed copy as part of one of the blogs I’ve appeared on as part of my virtual tour. You’ll need to click the link to whichever post I mentioned that giveaway in, to see if it’s still going on, as most of those have an end date (and are controlled by the blog host, not me).

      Were it up to me, Abby and James would already be together, but my editor seems to like to make them suffer in book #2, ROSEMARY OPENS HER HEART! Our plan is to keep Abby and James in all of the Cedar Creek books but to streeeeetch out their romance to keep readers wondering when/how this fine, fun pair finally gets together.

      Thanks again for stopping by, Morinne.

      Reply
  4. Mo

    I had never tried Amish fiction beofre but picked up Abby finds her calling on a whim while waiting for my daughter in Barnes & Noble. Now I’m hooked and have both books on my Nook. Can’t wait for more!

    Reply
  5. susan leech

    I am reading Abby Finds her Calling and will go to publishers and write a review for you.once I read the book it will be on the shelf at our church library for others to get to know you. sue Leech garysue@dejazzd.com

    Reply
  6. Carolyn Hilgart

    Dear Naomi,

    I have just read your response to another reader regarding Abby and James. I also thorougly loved your writing and the characters were so real. I’m glad to hear that “your editor” has no plans to not make a future between Abby and James. But I have a bad feeling about what is going to happen to Emma who is in love with Matthew. While I read the preview of the next in the series, it seems that Matthew and Rosemary will be the next couple to marry. I had hoped that Emma would finally find joy, peace and marriage. Emma has already given up so much of personal life to take care of James and their parents. I do hope that Emma’s ending won’t be sad. I don’t think I could read your book about her if that is how it will end. Abby Finds Her Calling was definitely one of the freshest theme for a book that I have read in a long time. I have been a reader of Amish stories for several years.

    Thank you for your contribution. You are sure to join others on my personal book shelves.

    Carolyn Hilgart

    Reply
  7. Joyce Morren

    Enjoyed both books. Very well written. Was getting a little burned out of Amish books because they can be so “same o”. I liked this new area and new approach.

    Reply

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