Friday, October 07, 2011
I am happy to introduce my readers to Mary Ellis who grew up near Amish communities and now writes stories set there. Below is the blurb for her latest book, A Marriage for Meghan, and an article Mary wrote about research she did for the book. Very interesting! Read on to find out why she is glad she eats at Subway! And I found out that Mary and I have several things in common, including marrying our college sweethearts, and retiring from teaching to pursue our writing dreams.
Blurb for A Marriage for Meghan:
Meghan Yost is eager to prove to her father, the bishop, that she’s mature enough to teach school by herself. But just as she gains confidence, a troubled student challenges her authority and an enthusiastic suitor challenges her patience. How can Meghan outgrow her nickname of “little goose” if she can’t stand on her own two feet? When a series of apparent hate crimes sweep through the district, the sheriff calls in the FBI, and Special Agent Thomas Mast arrives carrying a secret he’s hidden for years. Will he come to terms with the past and regain his relationship with God before his career hardened his heart? With more on her plate than one girl can handle, Meghan sets out to help with the investigation. Thomas works closely with the bishop, who hopes the criminals will be arrested before Meghan finds herself in love with the most inappropriate of suitors—an Englischer.
While researching my current book, A Marriage for Meghan, God placed the perfect person to help me in my path. Although my main plot focuses on a struggling teacher, I developed a concurrent sub-plot which involves escalating criminal acts against the Amish. I met Lieutenant Matthew Linnscott of the sheriff’s department where I live in a Subway Restaurant. He gave me firsthand information about crimes against the Amish in Wayne and Holmes Counties, Ohio. Thugs had been robbing them on deserted country roads as they returned from auction sales or the grain elevator. They would block the buggy’s path with their cars and then rob these pacifistic people of their cash. How does one catch criminals in sparsely populated rural areas? I’ll tell you how the sheriff’s department handled it. In a joint effort of several agencies, including the FBI, teams of detectives borrowed buggies, dressed in Plain garb, and meandered down country roads during the time period the thieves favored. What a surprise for those thugs when their “helpless victims” turned out to be well-armed, highly-trained officers of the law. Now there are a few less criminals on the streets. And I was able to “pump the brain” of one of my local department’s finest for accounts of other hate crimes aimed at the gentle-hearted Plain folk. Nothing like being in the right place at the right time!
Mary's bio and contact info:
Mary Ellis grew up near an Amish settlement and fell in love with their agrarian lifestyle. She has now written eight novels set in their peaceful communities. When she's not writing she enjoys gardening, bicycling, swimming and traveling with her college sweetheart, her husband of many years. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught middle school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate--a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits. Her debut Christian book, A Widow's Hope, was a finalist for the 2010 ACFW Carol Awards.