Valerie Weaver-Zercher interview & book giveaway

Valerie Weaver-Zercher is the author of the newly-released Thrill of the Chaste: The Allure of Amish Romance Novels.  Valerie is a writer and editor whose work has been published in the Los Angeles TimesChicago TribuneChristian Science Monitor, Mennonite Weekly Review, and other publications.

In examining the topics raised in Thrill of the Chaste over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at Amish fiction readers, authenticity, and how readers choose Amish novels.

valerie-weaver-zercher-authorValerie has kindly answered a number of your questions (and a couple of mine), on those topics and quite a few others.  Thanks for all the great questions you submitted, by the way. We’ve broken up a few of them into multiple parts in the interview below.

Thrill of the Chaste Giveaway

Johns Hopkins is also giving away a copy of Thrill of the Chaste to an Amish America reader.  To enter the contest, simply leave a comment on this post (any comment is okay, though comments which respond to or reflect upon the interview, or Amish fiction topic, are appreciated 🙂 ).

All those who previously submitted a question for Valerie will have an extra entry. We’ll draw and announce the winner a week from today, on Tuesday, April 30.

Valerie Weaver-Zercher on Thrill of the Chaste and Amish fiction

Richard and Pauline Stevick: When did you start working on this book?  Do you have any inclination to write Amish-themed fiction of your own?

I began research on Thrill of the Chaste: The Allure of Amish Romance Novels in December 2010 and continued active research and writing over the course of the next year; then in 2012, I did some revisions and responded to copyedits and page proofs and made the index. I did feel like I had to research and write fairly quickly and in an intensive sort of way; at the point at which I began work on this project, I wasn’t sure whether this subgenre was going to last or whether it was going to die on the vine. I think it’s fairly clear now that Amish fiction has quite a bit of staying power; everyone in the industry I spoke with indicated that it’s not going away any time soon.

And no, I have no plans or inclination to write Amish-themed fiction. I am a nonfiction writer through and through, and have very little experience writing fiction. Frankly, I admire writers who can develop believable characters and dialogue and plot lines. When I get ideas in the middle of the night for things to write, they’re always nonfiction projects rather than novels.

Char: Are there certain identifiable characteristics that make the difference between the best-sellers and the lesser-known authors? What do the better-known authors include/exclude/emphasize that the others don’t? Or is it more a matter of writing to a certain market? [evangelical Christians, etc.] 

That’s a great question, and I’m sorry to say that I don’t have a great answer! Certainly the bestselling authors are writing for evangelical audiences, but what distinguishes them from others who are also writing for evangelical readers is a good question.

I do think that authors who confine their stories mostly to Amish communities—that is, who keep their characters largely Amish and locate them safely within Amish boundaries—tend to do better than authors who use mostly English protagonists who live near or with the Amish for a time or those who write about formerly Amish protagonists. One marketing manager told me that since many readers read Amish fiction to “escape” from the daily concerns of modern life, they don’t want to read about divorce or drug abuse or fast-paced lifestyles. Books with characters who dabble a little bit in the outside world—who are attracted to an English man, or who work with non-Amish people, or who consider leaving the Amish—seem to do well. But readers seem to prefer a higher ratio of Amish characters/settings to a lower one. For example, several “urban Amish” novels—that is, novels with protagonists who grew up Amish but moved to the city and became evangelical Christians—don’t seem to do as well as books whose characters remain in their rural, Amish-drenched settings.

Liz D: Is there a ‘type’ of reader for Amish fiction?

As far as a “type” of reader of Amish fiction: during my research, whenever I began to think I had figured out who the Typical Reader of Amish Fiction is, I’d meet someone who didn’t fit the bill! The majority of readers of Amish fiction do likely resemble the majority of readers of inspirational fiction, the genre to which Amish novels belong: female, evangelical Christian, North American. But I met Catholic readers and Amish readers and readers of no faith commitment. I talked to male readers and African-American readers, and I heard about readers in Bolivia and Australia and other places. So the appeal of Amish fiction appears to cross demographic boundaries. Readers do, however, seem to share certain concerns about contemporary American life. Many expressed to me their concern about the sexualized nature of popular culture, and about the increasingly technology-driven character of our lives, and about the decline of community well-being and increase in individualism that they perceive around them.

Alice Mary: I often wonder about how Amish males are portrayed in Amish fiction. How do real Amish men act/live as compared with those portrayed in Amish fiction? How does this compare with “English” men in other (non-Amish) romance novels? Is there more of a preference for “goody-goody” guys, or do “bad boys” (comparatively speaking) win out more often than not?

Another great question. I’m not sure I’m qualified to speak to the question of how real Amish men compare to fictional Amish ones. But the typical Amish-fiction hero is very similar in temperament to the male love interests in inspirational romance novels in general. Scholar Rebecca Barrett-Fox, who has written about Christian romance novels, suggests about male protagonists in those books are quite different from the typical “bad boy” of general-market romance novels. Christian-romance heroes, writes Barrett-Fox, have thoughts that are “not sexual but concerned.” The typical Christian-romance hero “talks with her [the heroine]—a lot. He listens, and he shares. If any physical contact occurs, it is never ‘punishing’ or ‘cruel’ but earnest.” I think Barrett-Fox’s description captures well what I’ve found to be true about Amish-novel heroes. They are more characterized by compassion and sensitivity, good listening skills, and fidelity to family and community than by competitiveness, machismo, or virility.

Having said that, I should add that non-Amish heroes, some of whom have accumulated wealth and status in their careers, sometimes do win out over Amish heroes. In one Amish novel I read recently, a very wealthy non-Amish architect wins the heart of an Amish widow who was being courted by an Amish suitor who, by all appearances, is also a kindly and compassionate man. But the famous, rich English love interest is disillusioned by the rat race and sensibilities of the outside world, and proves himself to be a skilled listener who is ready to get in touch with his more nurturing self. So in that sense he proves himself to be one of the “good guys” as well.

Marty: There seem to be a lot of young widows in Amish fiction. Accidents abound. Please address these plot lines and the reality of young widowhood in the Amish community.

I don’t know whether the incidence of widowhood is higher among the Amish than among the non-Amish, but you have definitely identified a common plot device in Amish fiction: the protagonist’s discovery of love after the grief of losing a spouse. Frankly, I’m not sure why this is the case, other than perhaps that it gives authors a greater range of protagonists’ ages and life stages to write about. Authors know that some of their readers are far beyond the courting days of adolescence and young adulthood, and the narrative of a widow finding new love likely appeals to older readers. Also, the idea that love helps to heal grief is a common theme in literature in general. And yes, buggy accidents and farm accidents are quite common in the books. One Amish woman with whom I spoke said she got tired of all of the times that the characters of the novels are “thrown violently from the buggy.”

John Lueders: In your studies, do most of these books have a “plot by numbers” story or do authors come up with some unique storyline or plot devices?

Some of the novels’ plots are quite deftly woven, with the outcome of the narrative not visible to the reader until late in the book. Others are quite predictable, with the resolution of the story quite clear from the very first chapter. But as I write in Thrill of the Chaste, this element of predictability does not appear to bother many readers of the genre—in fact, it intensifies their enjoyment of it. Several readers articulated to me their love of the dual feelings of comfort and suspense while reading Amish novels: comfort at knowing that the story will have a happy ending and perhaps even what that ending will be, and suspense at not knowing exactly how it will happen. Happy endings are basically a guarantee of inspirational romance novels in general, as are certain other narrative elements (the growth of the protagonist’s trust in God, for example, and at least one romantic storyline and possibly more).


Kate K: My question concerns the cover art of Amish fiction, which frequently features an “Amish” woman in plain dress. Usually the woman pictured has a good deal of makeup, English hair or tweaked eyebrows, and clothes that just don’t seem quite right, such as a kapp that’s the wrong size. In the face of reader pressure for an authentic story, why do the covers of Amish novels frequently look costume-y and fake? Is it carelessness or a marketing strategy?

Decisions about the covers of Amish romance novels, like the covers of all books, are the purview of publishers. So yes, the authenticity or accuracy of the covers is much less important to most publishers than their visual appeal to readers. This helps to explain the makeup, the hairstyles, and the “tweezered” eyebrows. One marketing manager told me that their publishing house’s authors of Amish fiction are sometimes unhappy with the front covers of their books for this reason: that is, authors of the books who have done their research often know quite a bit more about the Amish than the design firms hired by the publishers do, and sometimes identify things about the cover that aren’t quite right. And while many or most publishers would solicit feedback from authors, the design of covers and titles of books are ultimately publishers’ decisions. Selling books is, understandably, of greater concern to publishers, especially in an increasingly competitive market, than fidelity to regional differences in Amish dress or nuances of prayer covering size or shape.

Richard and Pauline Stevick: What area(s) of Amish life have been missed or distorted in the novels you have seen?

As far as things that the genre misses or distorts: as I write about in Thrill of the Chaste, I think the novels do often underestimate the centrality of pacifism and nonresistance among the Amish, and I think they sometimes miss the nuances of Amish spirituality, which is often expressed in quite different language than evangelical American Christianity expresses itself.

I also think that the genre as a whole might distort readers’ notions of the role of Christmas celebrations in Amish life. There are massive amounts of Christmas-themed novels and novellas in Amish fiction that come out each fall, often with sleighs on the front cover. (I may be wrong about this, but I don’t think many Amish folks ever travel by sleigh—I think sleighs have more to do with some imagined “Over the River and Through the Woods” kind of idyll than with actual Amish life.) And while the sheer number of Amish Christmas titles may make readers think that Christmas is a pivotal, magnificent part of Amish life, actual Amish celebrations of Christmas are quite muted and quiet compared to what many of us think of as “normal” Christmas celebrations. There are special family meals and small gifts, but none of the decorating hoopla, big parties, and holiday-themed shopping sprees and concerts and open houses that are the norm for many Americans.

Having said that, many of the authors have done an impressive amount of research on Amish life and faith, and have developed close friendships with Amish people. Some of them deserve a lot of credit for their attentiveness to issues of accuracy and representation.

John Lueders: Do these stories take place in more progressive communities or do some take place, in say, a very conservative, closed community?

I haven’t read any Amish romance novels that are set in the most conservative Amish groups such as the Swartzentruber or Andy Weaver. I know of at least one forthcoming series that tells the story of a formerly Amish protagonist who had belonged to an ultraconservative group. But as far as I can tell, more of the novels are set among the more progressive communities, perhaps because they are easier for authors to access during their research and perhaps because their lifestyles and worldviews approximate those of the outside world at least a little more closely than those of the more conservative or closed groups. When a novel narrates the movement of a protagonist from one Amish group to another, it is almost always from a more traditional/conservative group to a less traditional and more evangelical group. Protagonists sometimes end up Beachy Amish, for example, or even conservative Mennonite.

Erik Wesner: You discuss the topic of “Amish reading Amish” in chapter 8 of Thrill of the Chaste.  In your view is “Amish reading Amish” a symptom or a cause? 

In other words, are the Amish reading these books those that are already inclined to a (let’s call it) less traditional worldview?  Or are they nudging Amish readers in that direction?

It’s possible that the Amish people who are reading Amish fiction are those who are more inclined to think outside of some “Amish box” and to consider the wider world and its offerings. But I’m more convinced by the idea that the “Amish reading Amish” phenomenon has less to do with the reader’s personality (say, as a boundary-pusher) than with the reader’s demographic and access to inspirational fiction. During my research, I kept hearing from Amish people that the people they know who are reading the novels are the young teenaged girls in their communities, and I heard of several Swartzentruber Amish women who love Beverly Lewis’s novels. I have no reason to believe that these Swartzentruber women have less traditional worldviews than most other Amish people; on the contrary, the Swartzentrubers are among the most “traditional” of Amish groups. So while someone would have to do more research among Amish readers to find out for sure, I am guessing that an Amish person’s choice to read an Amish-themed novel has little to do with that person’s propensity to think in less traditional ways and more to do with the perception that Amish novels are “safe” fiction for them to read. Another issue would be whether a particular Amish reader has access to a bookstore or library or catalogue or friend through which they can obtain novels in the first place.

Liz D: I’m interested to hear your thoughts on the market for historical Amish fiction and Contemporary. It’s my perception that more historically set novels (the definition for historic fiction I realise is a whole new can of worms, but for this maybe working to ‘outside of the majority of living memory’) seem more popular within Amish fiction. From your analysis are there any reasons for this?

I’ve read more contemporary Amish novels than historical ones, and while I’m not sure which subgenre is more popular, my hunch is that this is not a significant divide in the genre itself. One marketing manager told me that his publishing house considers all Amish romance novels to be, in essence, historical fiction rather than contemporary fiction. This is due to the fact that, to most readers, all Amish novels feel historical. In other words, since the Amish remind many readers of an earlier time (some readers told me that reading Amish novels kind of “takes them back” to the era in which they grew up), they actually operate as historical fiction even when they are set in contemporary America. Of course, many authors of Amish-fiction these days mention cell phones and Wal-Mart and other emblems of contemporary life. But again, my sense is that it doesn’t matter greatly whether an author chooses a historical era in which to set her Amish novel or whether she chooses the present: the novel will likely feel historical to readers.

Erik Wesner: Why should an Amish fiction reader read your book?

I think loyal readers might enjoy Thrill of the Chaste because it illuminates aspects of Amish fiction that go beyond their personal love of the genre: the publishing context that birthed Amish fiction, for example, and the larger social and religious trends that have helped to make the fiction so appealing to so many readers. While readers of Amish fiction know what they like and what they dislike in terms of the novels they choose to read, my book will help them learn why, for example, there are so many more Amish novels available now as opposed to ten years ago, and why Amish novels belong to inspirational fiction rather than to some other genre.

Having said that: I don’t imagine that reading Thrill of the Chaste will suddenly make readers of Amish-themed fiction suddenly prefer Amish-themed nonfiction like my book! But I do think many of them will enjoy stepping back from the novels they love to hear from other readers on why they love it and to consider some of the broader trends that have helped to create the novels’ popularity. They might also enjoy reading about how Amish people themselves are responding to Amish fiction.

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    1. Very interesting thoughts about Amish fiction. I would love to read your book and see more of what you have to say.
      I am an avid fan of Amish fiction — not even sure I can really explain my love the for the genre. I have lots of “favorite” authors but am still selective in those that I really enjoy. I don’t find every book a “winner” just because it’s Amish fiction.

      I’ve had the privilege of getting to visit with a couple of Amish families in Pennsylvania and in Ohio. During our first visit with a Lancaster County lady about 3 years ago, I was explaining that my interest in making that trip was spawned by my love of Amish fiction. Miriam — in her very sweet and gentle manner — said, “Don’t believe everything you read in those books.” Her comment goes through my mind nearly every time I read an Amish novel. I enjoy the stories, knowing that many of the authors have been very authentic in what they include, but this is still fiction I’m reading. And that’s OK with me!

    2. Marty

      Thanks for addressing my question. Enjoyed reading the others! Looking forward to reading your book. Fascinating topic. I began reading Amidh fiction after numetous visits to Lancaster and Holmes counties. Also chose these “sweet” books after a run of thrillers and murder mysteries; cleansing the palate, so to speak!

    3. thank you for interesting posts

      thank you for the interesting interview. I am a reader of Amish/Mennonite fiction and review them on my blog. I first visited PA Amish country as a preteen with my family and have been fascinated by them ever since. Would love to win this book. Rhonda

      1. George Moore

        To Rhonda Gayle Nash Hall

        How can I find out more about your blog and read it or subscribe to it. Thank you very much!

    4. Bob

      Very interesting topic. Having read many of these novels, I am most interested in Ms Zercher-Weaver’s analysis. And I was glad to learn that my alma mater (JHU) supported the project as its publisher.

    5. Judy

      I often describe myself as interested in “ALL things Amish”, and to that end I have read both Amish fiction and non-fiction. I must admit that I have backed away from Amish romance novels, and realize my losing interest in the genre is connected to some of the very observations of Ms. Weaver-Zercher. I learned so much from the above Q&A, AND, ironically,I am now “inspired” (no pun intended)to read the several books of that genre which have been languishing on my bookshelf for quite a while.
      (PS — I thought the quality of questions in this interview was exceptional — I wish I’d thought of them!!!! Judy from MN

    6. New York State of Mind

      Thank you for answering our quewstions, Valerie. I really enjoyed your replies and look forward to reading your book. Most of the novels that I read are Amish.


    7. Megan Parsons

      I love this interview! I have been reading Amish books since I was a teen and have a huge collection of them! I have not heard of these books and would LOVE the chance to win them. Thanks so much!
      makeighleekyleigh at yahoo dot com

    8. Osiah Horst

      Thrill of the Chaste

      I don’t think I have ever read any Amish fiction other than Rosanna of the Amish. I have read several books by/about Conservative Mennonites and find there is usually an element of condension towards plain people who are more traditional. When I was young I read all the Grace Livingston Hill books I could get my hands on and think perhaps that may have had an effect on my reading preferences. I would rather read Valerie’s book, than the books she is writing about. A friend wrote a very popular fictional account for one of the Pathway papers and commented afterwards that he wishes he could write non-fiction. I just marvel at those who can write fiction, creating real life stories that just hold the reader. I can assemble a set of facts into a readable format but fiction is out of reach for me. I enjoy the studies by Kraybill, Nolt, Ruth, etc. and would look forward to reading Valerie’s book.

    9. Char

      Thank for this interview. I can’t wait to read your book!

    10. Rich S

      Nice interview, Valerie, BUT . . .

      . . . I’m still rooting for you to write your own Bonnet romance, perhaps about a beautiful but radicalized feminist Amish maid who detests Amish romances but is strongly attracted to a handsome but straight-laced Amish swain who hopes to write a computer program that will disable all smartphones owned by people named Stoltzfus, Hershberger, or Miller. Besides selling a million copies, you could make millions more selling the film rights to the Japanese. Think about it.


      1. Slightly-handled-Order-man

        Oh LOL!

        Rich S ;
        Well played sir, well played.
        Except Miller is a common Englisher name also, so that scenario
        is farther reaching than Plain Amish. But a goodly silly concept.

    11. Ruth

      Amish fiction

      I am an avid reader of Amish fiction and have been since Beverly Lewis’s first book The Shunning hit the shelves. I have lived near Amish communities in Ohio and Pa so I knew not only about them but was friends with some of the ladies while I lived in PA. My first personal contact with any Amish was when I was just a child and my family toured Lancaster and the surrounding area in PA. They have their own beliefs and their own way of living but face it they are God’s children just like the rest of us.
      I would love to win this book but whether I do or not I will read it.

    12. What a fun interview, and some really good questions. This isn’t a question so much as just a wondering thought, but I wonder how people like Beverly Lewis and Wanda Brunstetter, who were probably a couple of the big names at first in Amish fiction feel about the big boom now? I know only they would be able to answer that, but it may be a good thing for them in that their books are still very popular and now probably reach an even bigger audience. Who knows? Thanks so much for such an interesting topic ~

    13. Katie Troyer

      I love reading these questions and answers. It makes me want to read Valerie’s book.

    14. Leon Hadden

      Fantastic interview. So many times, you don’t really know the complete background of how a novel came into being written. Yes, I read the novel for the content, but as I read, my mind is stimulated to ask other questions and to research the real world for the answers to my questions.

    15. Eugenia

      Great Questions!

      Very well thought out questions. I love all things Amish and enjoy the safety of the clean Amish stories, albeit some more well written than others. Would love to read Valerie’s book to see how other Amish fans are thinking.

    16. KimH

      How very interesting this read has been. Thanks so much for giving us an enlightening experience.

    17. Erin

      Thanks for the interview with Valerie. I agree with the others, that after reading your responses, I want to read your book!

    18. Gail D

      Excellent insight

      Thanks for the research you’ve done on Amish fiction, its authors, and its readers–your answers have been very helpful. Looking forward to reading your book.

    19. Jeff FRame

      Great article

      very interesting read

    20. Brenda Higgins

      A very informative and intersting interview.

    21. Naomi Wilson

      an "Amish" voice

      I am impressed by anyone who can communicate well with the written word, be it through fiction or non-fiction. Whenever I go back and read something that I have written, I feel I have not quite managed to communicate my desired message, and it just plain doesn’t sound like me.

      Speaking of the author’s “voice,” after all the recent discussion about Amish fiction on AA, I have realized what for me makes the Amish fiction genre less appealing than fiction written by Amish (stories published by Pathway) or former Amish (Rosanna of the Amish, or the Ellie’s People series, for example). In my experience, Amish and former Amish authors tend to have a very simple and spare writing style. To me this is such a breath of fresh air, and I find it much more pleasant to read aloud to my children. Non Amish authors, by comparison, sound verbose like everyone else I know who lives surrounded by talking heads and other media inundations. Well researched details or no, I am generally turned off within the first few pages of a non Amish author writing an Amish story. I just don’t enjoy reading, and in the case of reading aloud, wrapping my tongue around all those flowery, unnecessary words.

      Is the non Amish “voice” discussed in TOTC?

    22. Debbie

      Thanks for the question and response. I like Kim was not to interested in reading the book until I read the answers to these questions. Now I can’t wait to read it. If I do not win the book I hope my library gets it in soon.

    23. Liz D

      Thank you so much for the Q&A Session

      This was a really interesting Q&A; I now cant wait to read the book! Roll on payday!

    24. LEANNA

      I would love to read this book. I enjoy reading, but will say that I choose not to read Amish fiction. I find they are not consitant with the Amish life in general. People I have talked to who do not have amish background tend think they know so much about the amish – when in reality they seem to be mislead.

    25. John Lueders

      VW-Z Interview

      A lot of great questions. Many that offer a different perspective I would not have thought of. Ms. Weaver-Zercher was very concise and honest with her answers. Especially about her writing preference, non-fiction over fiction, which is what prefer to read. So please keep on writing them.

    26. Nancy Consolo

      I am interested in reading this book. Earlier I tried some Amish fiction since I admire the Amish ways and found many in my own Family Tree. The few books I read were boring and unrealistic so I did no more hunting for a good one.

    27. Wendy Bailey

      Amish Conference

      I had never heard of the upcoming Amish Conference that Erik posted about last week. I believe I saw where you were one of the speakers. Does this conference draw a large crowd and is it open to anyone? I haven’t read your book yet but plan to. Enjoyed the interview posting here.

    28. Kathy Rowe

      Very interesting as are all your articles, Erik. Please enter me in the book giveaway. Would love to read this for sure.
      Thanks, Erik, for taking the time to do this for us folks that are interested in the plain lifestyles. We appreciate it a lot!

    29. ANN*H

      I love Amish everything, books and food and so on. We live close to Lancaster Co . and been there lots of time. I love seeing the little boys and girls . I have a lot of Amish books and cook books also. I just enjoy reading about them . Their lives are interesting to me.
      I would love to enter for the book to – thanks

    30. Valerie Weaver-Zercher

      Very interesting reading! I’d love to have my name submitted in your contest. Thanks for sharing all that you share with those of us who love learning about the Amish.

    31. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      seriously though

      I don’t want to win the book, so just pass my name by, I don’t mind.
      I have enjoyed the article and what everyone has said so far.

    32. Barb

      A very interesting interview — thank you. The most interesting thing I found was that people (you, publishers) consider Amish fiction to be historical fiction. I’ve always classified it as contemporary fiction and can’t remember ever seeing one set “historically”. Most interesting interpretation fo what is historical vs contemporary.

    33. Betty Hamilton

      Gat iinterview! I am looking forward to eading the book.

    34. sharon c

      so many authors now

      Years ago you could only find one or two authors writing Amish fiction, now everywhere you look a new name pops up, are that many more readers asking for more of this type of literature? I read a lot of books for pleasure, I also have several Amish friends, some of what I read I know is fiction, but most have done their homework well. thanks for adding another book to my long wish list!

    35. Eli

      From my usual checkout lane in Walmart I always see several young Amish ladies peeking out from the book section (on the covers). It makes me laugh.

      My favorite was a Christmas Quaker fiction novel. I thought to myself “now there’s a genre that hasn’t been tapped yet!” 🙂

    36. Alice Mary

      Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of this book…and if I don’t, what a nice Mothers Day gift it could be (hint, hint!):) I appreciate your answering my questions,too.

      I found it interesting that some publishers consider Amish fiction as being historical fiction (THAT sure wouldn’t fly in a library, though maybe book stores might try to market it that way.)

      I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction (Amish or otherwise). I look forward to expanding my knowledge of what makes Amish fiction so appealing to the masses…or not!

      Alice Mary

    37. mary ellen ashenfelder

      Informative and interesting interview. Love reading about the Amish. Please accept my entry in this giveaway. Always exciting to meet a new author. Thank you!

    38. Amish books

      I love Amish books, thank you for the chance to win this one.


    39. Elena

      I´m an avid reader of Amish fiction, and have often thought about who else might be reading this kind of books. The topics that Valerie´s book addresses sound quite interesting!

    40. Andrea

      I would really love to win this book, if I don’t, it will be on my wish list and hopefully, someday I will be able to purchase it.

    41. Tom

      Great interview and the questions that were submitted were also very good. I cant wait to read this book. Being a male who started out reading Amish non-fiction to learn the history and beliefs of the Amish I suprised myself when I picked up an Amish fiction/romance book. I find the fiction books entertaining buyt can also see many flaws in them after reading many non-fiction books. For me it is good entertainment but as I said being male alot of people who know I read the Amish fiction books can not understand why I do.

    42. Katie Johnson

      I really enjoyed reading the interview and love Amish Fiction. Thanks for the giveaway.

    43. Loretta


      The interview and questions are informative and interesting. Thanks Erik for doing this kind of posts for us.

    44. Shari Larsen

      Very interesting interview. I sometimes read Amish fiction and I appreciated Valerie’s insights into it. While I enjoy the Amish stories, I do take them with a grain of salt, and I enjoy them for what they are- fiction.

      About the book covers, that always bothered me too, with the makeup, and loose, flyaway hair. In the books, proper Amish women always have their hair very neat under their Kapps. I remember one book I read, on the cover the young Amish woman was leaning on a fence post with her hair completely down, no Kapp on.

      I would love to read Valerie’s book.

    45. Juanita Cook

      I love reading everything about the Amish. The Amish fiction are wonderful good clean books to read. Would love to read this bok.

    46. Interesting Interview

      I throughly enjoyed this interview…many points were quite thought-provoking go me. Widowhood in Amish country. Perhaps the fact that an Amish widow is encouraged to re-marry quickly (by English standards) is the reason. The young English widows I have known are often passed over because they have children or the women have become quite independant…there isn’t the need seen so much in the English world.

      My daughter was engaged to make an apron for a young lady to wear as she had her portrait paited for the cover of an Amish Fiction book. The apron was NOTHING like any Amish or Mennonite woman would ever wear. The model did not wear any make-up for the sitting (however her brows were tweezed) but the painter put in much eye makeup and dark, long lashes.

    47. Steven Stauffer

      Amish and sleighs

      As to your comment about whether any Amish use sleighs, here’s an anecdote:

      I was born and raised in Maryland in an Old Order (horse and buggy) Mennonite community, which closely resembles the Old Order Amish. Generally our communities and the Amish exist in close proximity across the country, and we overlap and interact a lot with Amish, especially the Older Order (horse and buggy) Amish.

      I never saw a sleigh used by anyone outside a book until I visited one of our sister communities in Missouri around 1975, and then I saw two families at our church use them, one of whom was my uncle, when the snow was very deep. My guess would be that the same is true of the Amish use of sleighs — it’s probably not extremely common, but not completely unheard of either, especially in climates with large accumulations of snow.

      Certainly much more common than the use of “thee” and “thou” in speech, another Hollywood trope.