One of the best things about writing is the research I get to do. The internet makes this super easy in most cases, but it can still be a challenge. Still it’s fun to learn new things as I craft my stories. So when I run into a situation when I need more info, I pull up all my favorite Amish websites, grab my Amish reference books, and leave messages for my Amish friends.
The weird thing about writing is I’ve started on a new book by the time the one before comes out. In the case of the Wells Landing Series, I’m starting the third book in the series while I’m waiting on the release of the first. So I’m writing something 2 years down the road in the story and having to think back to the events in Book 1 as release day approaches.
The Wells Landing Series is about three friends and the secrets that weigh on their hearts. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t start writing Amish suspense stories. These are truly romances like my others and center around the relationships that develop. These secrets threaten to ruin their futures and the love they have found.
Caroline’s Secret is the first in the Wells Landing series. I think it’s safe to say that Caroline has the biggest secret. But all the girls—Emily and Lorie included—have things they need to hide for a time.
Caroline is new to Wells Landing, Emily is the bishop’s daughter, and Lorie’s family runs the busiest restaurant in the town. Caroline and Emily have already been baptized and joined the church whereas Lorie has not.
But this isn’t a promo post. If you’d like to find out more about this series check out my website.
Right now I’m working on Lorie’s story (called Lorie’s Heart). Lorie’s twenty-three and long past time to begin her baptism classes. Her father has just died and her stepmother is pushing her to join the church. So she begins the “classes” that we hear about the Amish going through before they join the church.
Baptism classes are on Sundays during the church service. They begin two weeks after the spring communion in April and continue for nine church Sundays–every other Sunday when church is held. Another interesting fact: the districts hold baptism instruction every other year.
The Amish call these lessons “instruction.” The ministers gather with the interested young people either upstairs or somewhere else away from the rest of the congregation. These classes last for only fifteen to twenty minutes. During this time they cover two “articles” which are like lessons. The youth read the lessons before coming to church. Only the ministers talk during the instruction. The youth can talk, but they don’t. While they are away for the fifteen to twenty minutes the rest of the congregation sings the entire time.
At the end of the summer, the church votes on whether or not they think the child is ready to be baptized. If the youth were seen doing something questionable during the summer, they may not be baptized. This summer of instruction is crucial for those wanting to join the church. If the vote is “no,” there are consequences for the child, usually doled out by their parents. Then the child will have to do more classes and be given another chance to join at a later date.
So Lorie begins her baptism instruction in the summer of her secrets. Not sure how this will work out for her. We’ll both have to wait and see. Until then, Caroline’s Secret releases August 5, 2014, from Zebra Books.