Q. Before we get to your talent for writing, let’s learn more about you as a person. What are your favorite hobbies when you’re not writing?
I am a very happy homeschooling mom! I enjoy researching the best types of items for my daughters for their style of learning. I’m an avid “DIY-er,” whether it’s painting furniture or designing warm and comfortable spaces with vintage touches. I’m also a new gardener!
Q. Think back to the first time you heard about the Amish. The very first time. What do you remember?
I was born into an Amish family. The thing I most remember is looking at books or playing in our dimly lit house. I also remember wearing plain clothing and riding in a buggy.
Q. Let’s go back to your first Amish novel. What do you think about it now?
Promise to Return was my first novel. I simply love this story and the characters. It was born out of the memories my Daudy shared with the family about his time with the Civilian Public Service (CPS) after he was drafted in WW2. Promise to Return, however, dealt only briefly with the CPS.
My second book Promise to Cherish is releasing on October 7, 2014. It dives straight into the mental hospitals—where my Daudy worked during a portion of his time with the CPS. The information I needed was difficult to find at times and hard to read. The condition of these hospitals was so grim. When the CPS (mostly Mennonites and Amish people) were made aware of these conditions they did their best to improve the circumstances. Add romance in the mix of this and you have the foundations of Promise to Cherish. I hope many readers love it and realize by the time they are finishing the last pages that God values ALL souls, regardless of how society views them.
Q. What do you think about the “downside” of being Amish? Do you see any concerns or red flags?
I am concerned over some districts’ interpretation of the Bible when it comes to salvation. Sometimes they can focus too much on the rules rather than a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ. For my parents, they had never heard the Gospel presented during all of their Amish years.
Do the Amish believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior? Yes. Absolutely! But many are never taught the free gift of salvation. Without salvation and grace, “religion” becomes very works based.
I sincerely pray every Amish person will fully understand and embrace the beautiful and saving grace of Christ.
Q. What are your thoughts about the growth of Amish fiction? Why do you think it is such a popular sub-genre?
I think the Amish genre takes the reader away to a completely different way of life. Amish communities are iconic while remaining somewhat mysterious. I think as the genre grows, readers will continue to enjoy reading about the simple life, while also looking for complex, authentic characters that show how an Amish woman is not so different from an English woman…and from themselves.
Q. How would you describe your perfect day?
I’m a pretty simple gal…my perfect day would be spending time doing just about anything with my amazing husband and two girls. We spend a lot of time reading together and it has become such an intimate time for us. Currently we are reading Little House on the Prairie and the Pictorial Pilgrims Progress.
Elizabeth Byler Younts is a bestselling author and a 2014 Double RITA Finalist for her debut novel Promise to Return. Her latest title, Promise to Cherish releases October 7th and can be pre-ordered here. She is an Air Force Officer’s Wife and a homeschooling mom with two young daughters, living in Pennsylvania. Elizabeth was Amish as a child, and after her parents left the church, she still grew up among her Amish family and continues to speak Pennsylvania Dutch.
Purchase Elizabeth’s books here.
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