Last month, I headed up to Sugarcreek to do a signing at The Gospel Shop. This is a darling bookstore located in the heart of Sugarcreek and has been around for years. The owners are genuinely nice people and make shoppers—and authors—feel like they’re old friends. It’s one of my favorite places to visit.
I also love visiting this store because it’s in the heart of Amish country and the owners definitely know what books about the Amish are selling, which authors their customers like…and which books don’t do well. It’s a great reality check for me. I really do enjoy getting honest feedback about my books.
Sometimes though, I do get a little worried! More often than not, my Amish characters are doing things that aren’t very calm or peaceful. In Her Secret, my heroine is on the run from a stalker. In my newest release, His Guilt, women are getting assaulted and more than one Amish person in the community is a suspect. Even last year’s series set in Charm pushed the envelope a bit—one of my heroes had spent time in prison. All that was why I was a little bit apprehensive (okay, maybe a lot) when several Amish women came in to chat with me about my books.
It turns out that I shouldn’t have been all that worried. Those ladies chatted with me about Pinecraft and Charm, Kentucky Cave Country and my Sugarcreek series. And then we started talking heroes. Everyone had a favorite one, and we all laughed about some of the comments. I guess I’m not the only girl who likes reading about a handsome, take-charge hero!
Of course, after all that book discussion, we started visiting about restaurants. I had just gone to Rebecca’s Bistro over in Walnut Creek, and no one could believe I hadn’t yet made it to Mt. Hope for pie.
By the time I left the bookstore, my heart was so full. My visit with both the booksellers and all the readers reminded me of how much I love visiting Holmes County and enjoy writing stories featuring Amish characters. I’m certainly not perfect—and neither are my characters—but that is okay. We all love God and try to live each day the best we can. That’s something to remember, I think.
More about His Guilt
A suspenseful tale of an Amish man who will risk all to protect the woman he loves
Mark Fisher has returned home to Hart County, determined to put the past behind him. Two years ago, after being wrongly accused of assault, he left the Amish community, though never forgot his home. When the one person who had helped him through his rough times asks for help, Mark returns. But it is pretty Waneta Cain who makes him want to stay…
Neeta is one of the few people in Hart County who doesn’t believe Mark is guilty of hurting anyone. However, his worldliness and tough exterior do make her uneasy. As she begins to see the real man behind all the gossip and prejudice, she wonders if he is the man for her.
Just when Mark starts to believe a new life is possible, a close friend of Neeta’s is attacked. Once again, everyone in the community seems to believe he is guilty. But what hurts most is Neeta’s sudden wariness around him. When another woman is hurt, a woman who is close to both Neeta and himself, Mark fears he knows the real culprit. And time is running out. Will Mark be able to find him before Neeta becomes his next victim?
Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.