I guess I should start out by admitting that I’m a fan of old musicals. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Gigi, Singing in the Rain, White Christmas? I’ve seen them all more times than I can count! I love the sweet story lines, the happy endings, the whole “everyone-needs-to-work-together-to-put-on-a-show” predictability of those old Gene Kelly musicals.
So when I started thinking about this year’s Christmas book, I decided to include a couple of elements from two of my favorite musicals, Mary Poppins and Sound of Music. (I guess you can tell I’m a Julie Andrews fan, too.)
The basic premise of Snowfall is that a widower who owns a Christmas tree farm needs someone to watch his kids over their Christmas break. First comes Lovina Keim, the matriarch of my Days of Redemption series. However, when the six kids prove too much for her, (they really are a handful) she pretty much bullies Ruth Stutzman into taking over the job.
What happens next has a lot more to do with the themes of faith and family and home than singing and dancing. After all, all the characters are Amish!
But what I will admit is that I loved writing such a happy, heartwarming story. The kids in the book weren’t terrible, but they weren’t all that good. And busy, opinionated Thomas is in honor of my husband, Tom…who his mother says would have fit right in with the mischievous kinner in the book. (oops, I never told him that!)
Many people often ask how hard it is to write about the Amish. For me, it’s not hard at all, because the Amish I know remind me repeatedly that we have a whole lot in common. We laugh together, we love to travel and see new things, we even have been known to discuss diets while eating slices of pie.
And though they have not seen the whole library of old Judy Garland musicals like I have, I have to say that they would probably like The Sound of Music very much, too!
However, their love for family and faith and knowing what is really important in life is what I love about the Amish I know. Doing my best to infuse my novels with those same themes is always my goal. I hope you will enjoy Snowfall.
Shelley Shepard Gray lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. A busy wife and mother of two, she spends her days writing and keeping track of her two teenagers. Her two dogs keep her company when she writes in her basement. When not spending time with her family or writing, she serves on several committees in her church. Shelley enjoys writing about the Amish and visits Amish communities several times a year.
Purchase Shelley’s books here.