Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Meet Amish Writer and my friend,
Mary Ellis

Mary is giving away a copy of her book: Sarah's Christmas Miracle! Please leave a comment AND your email address. Thanks!

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?

I tried writing short stories in my twenties, but never submitted anything. Then about 14 years ago, I sat down to write a long historical romance. It placed in contests and received some positive feedback, but one editor said my time period was deader-than-a-doornail. I, of course, didn’t believe her, and wrote another CW romance before changing genres. I’d finished my 8th romance before landing an agent and publishing two ABA romantic suspense.

What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?

I write Amish fiction, romances set within communities with strong family ties.

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?

Well, I’m new at full-time writing. I just “retired” from my day job. I thought I would have tons more time, but down the rabbit-hole all that extra time seems to go! I get up, must drink 3 cups of coffee to function, check email, and start editing the material that I wrote the day before. I stop when I’m famished. (Sometimes that’s within an hour!) Whenever I’m finished editing, I start new pages. Very haphazard, it would seem. I write about a chapter a week, approx. 5,000 words, but I edit along the way. So when I get finished, it’ll certainly still need a “going-over,” but it’s not a rough draft…somewhere in between. I take 5 months to write a trade paperback and then another month to polish. During the polishing, I’m researching for the next book. I (almost) never write on Sundays, and try not to write on Saturday to spend time with my husband.

Tell us about your new book. What is the spiritual message in it?

In The Way to a Man’s Heart, we learn that no one can truly “have it all.” Life involves making choices, and at times, those choices can be difficult. We must put God first, other people next, followed by our own interests. When we are too self-involved, we miss the big picture—the life that God means us to live. Only by serving Him and the people we encounter daily can we find the happiness we strive for.

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?

This question would be best answered over a large latte someday. Every writer feels like giving up, every writer thinks they’re wasting time chasing a helium balloon soaring ever beyond her/his reach. For each positive feedback for get on your ms., some contest judge has something unflattering to say. One doesn’t sit back and put their feet up once published. This is a job—makes no mistake about it—but it’s a job I truly love and can’t imagine ever not doing.

Would you 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?

My agent submitted my proposal on my behalf. Two publishers were interested, but one wished to see the finished book before offering a contract. I was on pins-and-needles, trying to finish quickly while still maintaining the quality of the first 50 pgs.

Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could?

Oh, my…I love this question. Likes? Popcorn, chocolate, swimming, dense forests, wide-open spaces, all animals, warm weather and my sweet cottage of a house.

Dislikes? Cold whether, slippery streets, housework, long bridges, tunnels, cold French fries and decaf coffee.

Hobbies? Gardening, reading, bicycling, long walks with my Springer Spaniel (where I pray and listen to God speaking to me) and cleaning up the unending deadfall in my beloved woods.

Travel? This one’s easy—any place near water. I love lakes, rivers, even the creek by my house that dries up at the height of summer….but most of all, the ocean.

You recently had a book published. Would you take this time to describe it to us? How and where can readers buy your books?

The third of the Miller Family series has just been released, The Way to a Man’ Heart. Our heroine takes a job in a restored train car diner and develops quite a fan base with her extraordinary pies. Success and devotion from all the young men in town go to her head, causing her to ignore signs that her business partner isn’t as ethical as she appears to be. It’s available at  or  or any Christian bookstore.

Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?

My website/blogsite is And I love it when readers drop me a line.

(Book Two)

Thank you, Mary, for visiting today!

Blessings, dear readers.


Jo said...

It looks like I am the first to read the interview. Interesting interview and book sounds interesting. Would love to get entered.


Wendy said...

Sounds like a good Amish book.

Kym McNabney said...

THE WAY TO A MAN'S HEART sounds like a wonderful book. Can't wait to read it.


Wendy said...

I am excited to read this book.

Sandee61 said...

I've read several of Mary's books and enjoyed them so much. I'd love to be entered in your giveaway.
Thank you for the entry. Enjoying your blog also.



Patti Lacy said...

Thanks for telling us about what sounds like a marvelous book!

Cara Lynn James said...

I love Amish books and read as many as I can!

caralynnjames at yahoo dot com

Arlene said...

I would like to read this book. It should be good about Amish.

Cara Lynn James said...

I love Amish books and read as many as I can!

caralynnjames at yahoo dot com

Ann Lee Miller said...

Sign me up!

Anne Payne said...

Love to read Amish stories! Look forward to this one.


Anne Payne said...

I would love to read this book!


Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Kathryn Page Camp said...

I know exactly what you mean about retiring from your day job and finding you don't have as much time to write as you thought you would. I did that, too . . .

Mozi Esme said...

This looks like a sweet book!

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

We posted about this giveaway at Winning Readings:

Inspired Kathy said...

Can't wait to read this book!
bkhabel AT gmail DOT com

Bluerose said...

I would love to be entered. :)

bluerosesheart at yahoo dot com

pixie13 said...

Lovely interview. I love Amish fiction, please count me in. Thanks!
Carmen sent me.


scrapbookangel said...

Please enter me in the drawing.
Carmen sent me.

avidreader at middleswarth dot net

Bakersdozen said...

This book sounds like a good read. Thanks so much for the interview. vidomich(at)yahoo(dot)com

Mary Ellis said...

Thanks everyone for entering the giveaway and for posting such nice comments. And thanks to you, Carole, for inviting me to Sunnybank Meanderings. You have a super-duper group of readers! Blessings on you all. Mary Ellis

grannyvon said...

I love Ameish books. I would love to win this one. ybutler(at)oppcatv(dot)com

Julia M. Reffner said...

Very encouraging interview with great advice for new authors. I would love to read this Christmas book.

BTW, your post comment is very difficult to see because of the light type (maybe just on my computer, I don't know).


apple blossom said...

Oh, I love reading Amish books and Christmas theme books. Please include me in this drawing. thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Cindy W. said...

I just love reading books set during the Christmas season and Amish books as well. Please enter me and thanks for a chance.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Cindy W. said...

I just love reading books set during the Christmas season and Amish books as well. Please enter me and thanks for a chance.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Charleydog said...

Please enter my name in the giveaway for the book. Thanks!

pboylecharley AT hotmail DOT com

Emma said...

Great interview. Sarah's Christmas Miracle sounds wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.Thank you.

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this wonderful novel :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Katie said...

I love reading about the Amish... this looks wonderful!

Renee G said...

I can hardly wait to read this one. It sounds wonderful.

Wendy said...

This sounds great, please enter me.

ebeandebe at gmail dot com

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