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A Place at Our Table!
The Story Behind the Story—A Place at Our Table
A Place at Our Table is the first in new my Amish Homestead series, and it is a book that required a lot of research since the hero is an Amish volunteer firefighter.
In the story, James “Jamie” Riehl might very well be burning both ends of the candle. Running the family farm keeps him busy enough, but add in his volunteering for the local fire department, and Jamie barely has time to eat at the family table, never mind find someone to date. But when he meets Kayla Dienner while responding to a fire, he is smitten. Kayla tries so hard to deny her attraction to Jamie. After all, she’s spent the last year trying to talk her younger brother, Nathan, out of joining the fire department. The death of their older brother in a fire a year ago has reinforced the dangers of just such a profession, and she can’t bear the idea of putting her heart on the line every time the sirens blare.
When tragedy strikes, Jamie runs from the guilt he feels and buries himself in his work, extinguishing any flickers of a relationship between him and Kayla. In order to save the love she was so determined to deny, Kayla must set aside her own fears, trusting that the reward of love is far greater than the risk of pain. In the midst of family heartaches, can these two young Amish people move past their grief and trust that God’s will includes finding happiness again?
While I was excited to write about an Amish volunteer firefighter, I was also nervous about keeping my story as authentic as possible. In order to do that, I interviewed five local firefighters; my brother-in-law, Jason; and an Amish volunteer EMT. I visited both local volunteer and the city fire stations, and I spent a few hours at each, asking the firefighters many questions and touring their facilities. My Amish friend who helps with my research arranged for me to send questions to her nephew, who is a volunteer EMT. I mailed a long list of questions, and he sent back the letter with his written responses.
After all of my interviews, I plotted out my book and then began writing it. When I came to the scenes that involved emergency calls, I texted my brother-in-law, Jason, who is a firefighter in Eastern North Carolina and asked for his help. He patiently answered my questions and even took the time to read my scenes. One of the local firefighters also tolerated my constant texts
with questions. They helped me both with the draft of the book and the edits, since the scenes changed with each round of edits.
In the end, their help made the story both better and more authentic. I’m so very thankful for their assistance. While it was a challenge to take on something as complicated firefighting, it was fun and it forced me to grow as a writer.
I recently delivered books to my friends at the City of Monroe, NC, Station 4, and the firefighters were excited to see the final product. I hope they enjoy the story and they are pleased with my accuracy.
A Place at Our Table is very special to me because it’s the first in my new series. I’m thrilled for my readers to meet the Riehl family members and experience their joys and heartaches with them. This book is dedicated to all the brave men and women who are serving or have served as firefighters and emergency medical technicians.
Amy Clipston is the best-selling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple best-seller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. She and her family live in North Carolina.