Two summers ago, the director of Holmes County District Public Library invited me to check out their bookmobile services to the Amish living in the county. I jumped at that chance. As a librarian and author of Amish fiction is sounded like the perfect field trip.
From the main library in Millersburg, he drove me to a one-room Amish schoolhouse where we met up with the bookmobile. Dozens of Amish women and children went in and out of the bookmobile with piles of books.
The librarian on the bookmobile said many of the young women read Amish romances and he had even seen some check out my Amish mysteries. The Amish were also interested in how-to books, cookbooks, and anything about farming. The librarian told me some of the Amish who visited his bookmobile never read Amish fiction and others checked out piles of DVDs to watch on televisions they powered by generators. I was fascinated to hear about their reading and entertainment habits.
Standing in the middle of the bookmobile, an idea percolated in the back of my mind.
After the Amish left and I was alone with the library staff, I said, “I’m going to murder an Amish bishop on a bookmobile. Fictionally, of course.” The two English men on the bookmobile laughed. They might have thought I was joking. I wasn’t. I could not think better place for my next cozy mystery, and I knew it would be a perfect fit for the wacky characters in the Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries.
But like what often happens when I have a super great idea, other deadlines got in the way. I had to set the bookmobile murder aside for an entire year. When it came time to renew my contract for the Amish Quilt Shop Series, I had the idea at the ready to send my editor, she liked it. My Amish bookmobile murder, Murder, Plainly Read, will be a reality when the novel releases in October.
I haven’t yet told that librarian who showed me the bookmobile I wrote the book. I plan to mail him a copy of the finished product as a surprise. I wonder if any of the bookmobile Amish will check it out.
Amanda Flower, a three time Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland. She also writes The Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries as National Bestselling Author Isabella Alan. Murder, Plainly Read, the fourth book in the series will release in October 2015.
Purchase Amanda’s books here.
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