Our visit to Shipshewana, Indiana, transported us back in time to a world where God and family was the focus, and life slowed down to allow for the enjoyment of God’s blessings. My daughters and I entered this world for book research and came away with an overflowing heart, shopping bags full of Christmas presents, and copious notes for my novel, thanks to incredible people willing to speak about their culture and beliefs.
The gorgeous Songbird Ridge Bed and Breakfast served as our home base. Our hosts patiently answered all of my pesky author questions, took us to church, and mesmerized my city children with miniature goats, chickens, and horses. We feasted on mouth-watering Amish peanut butter, cinnamon rolls, and sausage and egg casseroles, and contemplated never returning home.
Three places earned a special mention in my Mennonite suspense novel, Nowhere to Run. Meno-Hof Visitor’s Center provided more than a historical tour or movies about a unique culture. We boarded a ship, sailing with the first Mennonites to America, and experienced a tornado and the myriad ways the Amish and Mennonite communities helped bring disaster relief. I’ll never forget the dismay in my daughters’ eyes as they learned about religious persecution or their amazement at how the Amish and Mennonites responded to this treatment with forgiveness and faith.
Meanwhile, I was immersed in Amish and Mennonite history thanks to an engaging three-hour interview with a local Amish businessman. I loved learning from him and the other people I interviewed about how God worked throughout history to weave a story that changed every life it touched.
At Lambright Woodworking, Cletus Lambright gave me an extraordinary look into the world of woodcarving and how to use gifts and talents to point people to Christ. Cletus spent the better part of an afternoon with us and created a wooden cross for my children as he spoke about God and creating beauty out of wood. That cross has kept me company on my desk ever since. Every time I see it, I’m reminded of my favorite research trip and how God has written the most awe-inspiring story ever told. He has graced us with a place in the pages—a place where we can all use our gifts and talents to point people to Him.
Amy writes Dark Chocolate Suspense—high-action suspense that delves deep into heart issues. Her novels include the Place of Refuge series: Hiding in Plain Sight and Nowhere to Run, the Defenders of Hope series: Ransomed Dreams, Healing Promises, and Enduring Justice. Amy is also a contributing author of A Novel Idea: Best Advice on Writing Inspirational Fiction, God Answers Moms’ Prayers, and Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series: Diabetes.
Purchase Amy’s books here.