I have found that most authors write a little note in the front of their books or in their Bio at the back talking about what inspired them to write this particular story. And when it comes to authors of Amish fiction, it seems that almost all of them are inspired to write about the Amish because they live close to a community and have many friends there already or they have Amish ancestry or they themselves were once Amish.
None of those things apply to me.
I don’t have Amish ancestry – not that I know of anyway. There is English, Irish, Scottish and Cherokee that I know of on my father’s side of the family. On my mother’s side of the family, there is also Cherokee, Scottish and Irish. I’m not sure whether the Mynatt is English or German – but I haven’t found the name in of the any Amish communities I’ve researched, so it really doesn’t matter.
And, as I haven’t done an extensive mapping of the family, I can’t be a hundred percent sure but I don’t know of any so it wouldn’t fit into the category of inspiration anyway.
My own inspiration is so much simpler and so much more complex at the same time – it comes from my own journey of faith. I intend to blog as I’m able about my journey over on my blog: Confessions of a Good Girl Gone Bad and Then Good Again if you’re interested in reading about just how far down I went before I finally stopped fighting God and let him pull me back up again.
A big part of that journey has been to begin discarding things which I’ve discovered are trying to derail the journey and damage my witness. I say begin because I’m certain there will be more in the future – it seems to be a constant battle. One of the more difficult parts of this catharsis has been reading material.
For well over a year now, we have made almost weekly trips to our local used bookstore with bags of books to trade in. And we usually find a stack of books that are appropriate and decent to replace the ones we’re letting go of – most of them Amish fiction. It’s so exciting to find new authors and new books or series by the authors we love so much as we peruse the shelves. It’s also a tremendous blessing to be able to purchase the new books with trade credit. Fortunately, the store has a reasonably good selection of Christian/inspirational books to chose from.
And here is where my inspiration has come from. I feel very strongly that most of the decisions I made in my past were not due to rebellion or anger at God but instead due to a lack of knowledge and understanding. God’s word is full of so many wonderful life lessons but it’s difficult to apply those lessons to your life when you either don’t know about them or your knowledge of them is limited.
Since joining ATI (The Advanced Training Institute – a homeschool organization we belong to), we have uncovered so many truths that were hidden among the “fairy tale” Bible stories that we’ve heard all these past years. I say fairy tale because the stories we heard as kids in Sunday school barely skim the surface of the real stories in the Bible. So, even though I grew up going to church pretty regularly, I missed the point of so many things God has called us to do in his word.
The speakers and teachers we see at the yearly home-school conference we attend – have opened our eyes to the layer of truth that’s been swept under the rug, so to speak, for many years.
As we have explored these truths, we have begun to see the Bible for what it really is… and what it is not. It’s not just a book of stories but a book of important cautions – showing us how wrong things can go when we do not follow God’s plan for our life. It shows us what God wants from us as well as what he does not and it shows what can happen both ways – when we do what we’re supposed to and what happens when we don’t.
What does this have to do with my reasoning and my inspiration you ask? Well it occurs to me that, while many adults are reading Amish fiction, we are in desperate need of more books that appeal to the teen age group. So that is my focus. That is my target audience.
And these are the hopes for my work.
I want to reach young girls before they make bad decisions that will affect the rest of their life. I want to reach young girls when they are learning about life and what it’s really all about. There are so many young girls today who are being influenced by all the wrong things. My hope is that I can present a right influence and do it in a way that is entertaining and heart-warming. But I also want to yank the rug away and show them the truth – in the hopes that they will not follow the same path I did.
While I am grateful God is still working on me and I hope he NEVER stops, I lost so much momentum in my life because of the decisions I made and things I did, mostly because I didn’t see why they were bad or wrong! I hope that my stories are able to reach out to the young girls of our lost world and show them not just how but also why! If they can see how wonderful God’s love is and that His plans for their lives really are the best, they might be inspired to make better choices and stay in God’s plan!
Here is a bit more about the series I am currently writing –
The Daughters of Windy Gap follows three young women as they struggle to find their place in life and in this small community of Cattaraugus county, New York.
BOOK 1 :
A Mother for Leah introduces us to Leah Fisher and her family. The Fishers lost their mother five years ago and no one has really gotten over it yet – most especially Leah, who is quite heart-broken but also more than a little frustrated because there are so many things she needs to learn about being a young woman and a wife. Her older sisters picked up where their mother left off teaching her to cook and clean but Leah knows there is more to it than that. And who can teach a daughter the secrets of womanhood like a mother? No one.
There’s only one problem. The woman God has chosen turns out to be nothing like the mother Leah has in mind.
Will Leah be able to let go of her own ideas and realize that God truly does know best for her or… will she drive a wedge between her father and the woman he never expected to fall in love with?
BOOK 2 :
A Sister for Rebekah introduces us to Windy Gap’s newest resident. In case moving from Ohio wasn’t enough of a shock to young Rebekah, finding her way and her place in the new community proves to be a tremendous challenge. In Ohio, Rebekah was doted on by grandparents who are now more than three hours away by train.
Will she find her place in this new community or will the distance and new challenges be too much for the fragile relationship she has with her mother?
A Family for Ashley introduces a young Englisher teen to the Amish community of Windy Gap. Ashley is the typical orphan – dropped off on a church doorstep as an infant, she has grown up in an orphanage, knowing nothing about her roots. Leah and Rebekah show her the tremendous possibilities of living a simple life surrounded by family.
Will the promise of love, family and community be enough to let go of everything she has ever known or will she cling to the safety of what is familiar?
© Rachel L. Miller 2014