Before we get to your talent for writing, let’s learn more about you as a person. What part of the country do you live in?
I live in the Mid-Atlantic, in rural Delaware.
Tell us about your writing habits: how many hours a day do you devote to writing? What time of day? Where do you write? Any interesting work patterns…like a certain type of music? Or continual infusions of coffee?
I work between five and eight hours a day, more when I near the end of a book. I like to begin in early morning and work through the day. I sometimes work late at night, but I rarely write on Sunday. My office is on the second floor of our 18th century farmhouse. There are trees all around my house, a horse farm to the south and fields and woods to the north. Amish buggies and wagons pass my house several times a day. Every other Sunday, on Amish church days, there’s a lot of Amish traffic. I find the familiar sounds of buggy wheels and the clip-clop of horses’ hooves to be lovely music. And in good weather, when I open the windows to let in the breeze, there is continual birdsong.
Let’s talk about the Amish. Getting past the obvious—the bonnets and buggies and beards—how have your insights into Amish life deepened as you’ve learned more about them?
I’ve known the Amish since I was a small child. I grew up on a dairy farm, and we had Amish neighbors on three sides. My parents and grandparents were often invited to Amish weddings, funerals, and visiting Sundays. The Amish I knew as a child and know today are not quaint storyboard people. They have strong beliefs and a deep sense of family and community. Most are very happy with their lives. The things that the English think are difficult to live without (such as electricity), they never give a thought to. As with any other group, they are made up of individuals. Some are highly intelligent, others ordinary, some friendly to outsiders, others shy or standoffish. Most Amish work hard and enjoy their daily tasks. They love children and respect the elderly. They care for the sick and those born with challenges. I’ve always liked the Amish people, but as the years pass I find a great admiration in my heart for their stability and acceptance of their neighbors. They are a people apart, but they are very much a part of the fabric of the communities where they live. It says something good and powerful about the United States that the Amish have found a home and are welcome here in spite of their differences.
If you had been born into an Amish family, would you have chosen to be baptized? Would you have remained Amish?
Yes, I believe that if I had been born Amish I would have accepted baptism and followed the traditions of faith and family. Faith and family are everything to the Amish, as they are to me. The sacrifices that the Amish make to live apart from the world are a small price to pay for the peace and acceptance that they feel.
I believe that I have been positively influenced by Amish culture. The Amish cherish every child born to them and believe that he or she is a gift of God. They value each human being, regardless of ability or intelligence. These powerful beliefs gave me hope when a child with many challenges came into our family. Reflecting on the Amish, I was able to accept and champion each small step that this precious little boy took to independence. From the Amish I learned not to put limits on what this child can accomplish and to take joy in every accomplishment. I think that the Amish influence combined with my own faith gave me peace.
What are your thoughts about the growth of Amish fiction? Why do you think it is such a popular genre?
I am delighted that so many readers are drawn to Amish fiction. I believe it is a uniquely American genre, one that warms the heart and gives us hope. In the trying times we live in, I find it wonderful to curl up with a beloved author in a private world where simple voices and plain living shut out the worries and cares of day-to-day life. Amish fiction is clean and wholesome and can be enjoyed by pre-teens and great-grandmothers alike. Hopefully, the stories that I and other Amish authors spin will continue to delight readers for years to come.
Tell us about your current work-in-progress.
I’m in the midst of creating another Matchmaker story set near Seven Poplars. Strong-willed Katie Byler has been unable to find a prospective groom in Kent County so she is seriously considering an arranged marriage with a childhood acquaintance who lives halfway across the country. Meanwhile, matchmaker Sara Yoder has arranged for Katie to help in a nearby household where a handsome but difficult Amish miller is laid up with a broken leg. Sparks fly when two stubborn people go head to head, each determined to have their own way. Can true love overcome fiery personalities? This time, even I’m not certain that Sara is right.
Where can readers find you?
Readers can find me at www.emmamillernovels.com and on Facebook.
I’m passionate about …
Adoption and the rights of children. I believe that every child deserves someone who loves him or her and will care for them. A child doesn’t care about the age or sex or skin color of a parent. A child only wants to belong. I believe adoption laws in the United States should be changed to make it easier for neglected and unwanted children to be adopted into stable, loving homes.
People don’t know I’m good at …
Milking cows and making butter. My father taught me to milk a cow before I was old enough to go to school, and my mother taught me to churn butter with an old-fashioned crank churn when I was eight years old. The process is simple, but making butter come out sweet and delicious is an art not everyone can manage.
If I could write a book on any topic, it would be …
A historical Amish romance that begins in what is now Switzerland and sweeps across the stormy Atlantic to the Pennsylvania frontier.
Find out how you can enter to win a copy of The Amish Bride below!
Emma Miller lives quietly in her old farmhouse in rural Delaware amid fertile fields and lush woodlands. Fortunate enough to be born into a family of strong faith, she grew up on a dairy farm, surrounded by loving parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Emma was educated in local schools, and once taught in an Amish schoolhouse.
When she’s not caring for her large family, reading and writing are her favorite pastimes. She’s the author of the Hannah’s Daughter’s series and The Amish Matchmaker series. Her latest release is The Amish Bride.
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