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How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?
Actually I've always loved READING, but I didn't know that God intended for me to write until I was deep into my graduate degree at the age of 34. That was a very difficult time in my life, but I clearly recognized that there was something I was supposed to do ... though it would be another 14 years before I sold my first book!
What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?
My first book, A Simple Amish Christmas is Amish fiction. It is an Amish romance, but more often it isn't shelved under "romance" as much as it is under "Amish fiction." I also write "Amish mysteries" which have less romance in them, but I manage to sneak in a tiny bit because I personally love a little romance.
How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?
A Simple Amish Christmas) - but I don't recommend that. I had a bad case of tennis elbow when I was done!
Tell us about your new book. What is the spiritual message in it? What can readers expect to get from reading it? How and where can readers buy your book?
A Simple Amish Christmas released October 1 and is now #17 on the CBD fiction bestseller list. It’s the story of a young Amish girl who becomes a nurse before she joins the church. Then she’s called home and she must find a way to integrate her skills into her community. In the process she falls in love with the man her community uses for their minor medical needs. Annie has to trust that God has a plan for her life, has a future for her that will include her passions, her skills, and the man she has grown to love. I came at this story with the idea that not all Amish women would be happy with an 8th grade education, but that didn’t mean that they would want to leave their church or community either. Annie is the woman who has a foot in each world, and her heart is split in two. Only God can help her find a way home.
The spiritual message is one of God's grace, a reminder of Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."
A Simple Amish Christmas is available in most bookstores and nearly all Christian bookstores. It's also available online at Amazon, CBD, and B&N.
Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through? Who’s inspired you the most?
I haven't ever been tempted to give up, but I have wondered if maybe I was mis-interpreting what God wanted me to do. Maybe he meant for me to be a famous bowler instead. Or perhaps I was supposed to write greeting cards! Okay, I'm kidding, but only a little. I never once doubted God -- he's able to accomplish anything. And I had no problem with his timetable, but there were times I had to spend praying, asking if I was still on the right path. The answer was always the same. "Trust me."
Would you roughly explain how you “chose” (or were chosen by) a publisher? Do you just go “inny, minny, miny, moe?” Grin. Now, that you’re published, can you sit back and relax from the success you’ve experienced?
Big grin. My son (who was 12 when I first started writing freelance), used to ask if he should go and check for rejection letters. He's a cute one, especially now that he's 22. I'll compare my stack of rejection letters to anyone! Actually I do have an agent, and I've had her for several years. (It is possible to acquire an agent--don't listen to anyone who says otherwise.) She was contacted by Abingdon Press. They were looking for a Christmas Amish book. My agent contacted me and asked how soon I could have mine done, or something like that. We submitted it, Abingdon bought and sent a contract in December of 09, and the book was published 10 months later - a very fast acquisition. At the same time Zondervan was looking at the book and decided they'd rather have an Amish mystery series.
No, I don't think you can sit back and relax. I've scheduled 25 book signings over 3 months because I want to publicize this book. I'm a new author! Writing a book is only part of the work. I'm also submitting another Amish romance series and trying to sell a contemporary inspirational series that I wrote two years ago. It's a bit hard to do all of this while I'm working full time, but I believe God has a plan.
Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could?
I love travelling, though my husband doesn't. (Grin from Vannetta at that understatement.) We do love hiking and camping together. A few years ago we moved from a large metropolitan area to a very small town, and we're happy as clams.
Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?
I have a 3 book series from Zondervan which will begin releasing next year. Shipshewana Amish Mystery Series is set in Indiana and involves two women (one Amish, one Englisch), a quilt and a dead body. I'm currently working on book two and love, love, love these ladies. Watch for the cover on my webpage
- webpage: http://vannettachapman.com/
- and blog: http://vannettachapman.wordpress.com/
- and Facebook and MySpace also.
Blessings to all!