About a year ago, my agent called to tell me that Harlequin was offering me a place in a new Amish trilogy. The books were to be trade paperback size and not part of the Love Inspired lineup, but rather a special promotion. The theme was to be harvest time in Lancaster, PA. I said yes because I needed the money. Also because I like to write Amish romances, but mostly because I needed the money. This is my day job.
After I accepted the offer, I learned the other authors were Emma Miller and Rebecca Kertz. Although I didn’t know either of them, it quickly became evident that we would “click”. We immediately set up an e-mail loop where we could brainstorm a new Amish community and find ways to connect our books through secondary characters. Because my book was to be the third book, I would have to tie up any loose ends and have guest appearances by the characters Emma and Rebecca created.
How, you may ask, could I write a scene with characters I didn’t create? Both Emma and Rebecca were worried about the issue, but as I had done several continuities for Love Inspired, I told them what I had learned in the past. We needed to think of each other’s characters like the friends we have in real life. I know my friend Theresa very well, but I don’t know her the way her daughter does or the way her sister does. We could all write something about Theresa but we would each have a different take on who she is. It’s the same thing with writing about imaginary people.
A serious issue for me was setting the books in Lancaster. All my research on the Amish had focused on the Ohio Amish. Dialects and traditions are different in Pennsylvania. Fortunately, Emma and Rebecca were both familiar with that region and were able to help me tremendously.
With those hurdles out of the way, the next thing I needed was a profession for my heroine and my hero. I love researching new professions, but my time was short and I needed info quickly, so I turned to my brothers for help. One raises pumpkins, the other has a girlfriend who raises goats. A day trip to her goat farm turned out to be a bundle of new experiences. Only a tiny fraction of what I learned ended up in the story but trust me when I say goats are amazing.
After I had the basics, I had to plot a romance. Once I decided Anne and Joseph would start out as adversaries it was pure fun making them need each other and slowly grow to care for each other. And of course, there had to be a baby in the book. After 40 years as a neonatal nurse, babies often find their way into my stories. What better way to make two people reexamine their lives than by adding a baby to the mix.
Ultimately, Harlequin decided the stories would work best as part of the Love Inspired line and the idea of a special large print promotion was dropped. It really didn’t matter to me as long as the book made it to the shelves. I happen to think the series is a gem. I hope you enjoy the Lancaster Courtship series, The Amish Bride by Emma Miller, The Amish Mother by Rebecca Kertz and my story, The Amish Midwife. Joseph Lapp has become one of my favorite heroes and Chester the goat has earned a firm place in my heart as a one-of-a-kind matchmaker.
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Pat Davids is a former NICU nurse who has always enjoyed creating stories of romance and adventure. Pat lives in central Kansas with her daughter, two grandchildren and three dogs. It’s a busy household.
Pat has served as president of the Wichita Area Romance Authors and has been a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. A frequent speaker to writer’s groups and book clubs, she enjoys sharing all she has learned about the Amish while researching her stories. Her latest release, An Amish Harvest, is available now!