On reading and writing Amish fiction

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I recently asked readers what they like most about reading Amish fiction. Here are a few of the answers:

  • Amish fiction transports me to the simpler life that I wish I were living in with my family. The beautiful, rural settings always leave me with a sense of peace.
  • I love their lifestyle, their faith, and their closeness with family and community.
  • I enjoy reading Amish stories [and] learning that our lives are really not that different…
  • I love that they don’t seem to be so focused on accumulating things.
  • …reading Amish books has truly help me stay grounded.

I know that no culture is “perfect.” We all struggle with living out our faith, living in community, and living in harmony within our own families. The Amish do too.

But as I thought about readers’ responses, it dawned on me that I enjoy writing Amish fiction for many of the same reasons they enjoy reading the stories. Researching and writing about the Amish makes me think about my own grandparents and great grandparents, all who lived on farms or in rural settings. All had a simple faith in God, accompanied by a simple lifestyle.

On the other hand, my family has lived the typical late twentieth century/early twenty-first century runaround lifestyle. Parenting four kids has meant twenty years of soccer, plus church and Young Life and multiple other activities. Let’s just say my life as a mom has been very different than the lives of my grandmothers—or the average Amish mother.

But visiting with Amish women also makes realize how much we have in common—homemaking, raising children, taking them to appointments, helping them with schoolwork, praying for our families, and investing in friendships of our own. In many ways, our lives aren’t that different.

Writing Amish fiction also helps me stay grounded. In every book I write, I include spiritual journeys that the main characters are going through. Chances are those journeys parallel something in my own life. Writing keeps me grounded and focused and working through what God is teaching me.

All of these things have made me a big fan or writing Amish fiction. If you’re a fan of reading Amish fiction, let me know why in a comment below!

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Leslie Gould (33 Posts)

Leslie Gould is the award-winning author of fifteen novels, including the #1 bestseller and Christy Award winner "The Amish Midwife", co-written with Mindy Starns Clark. Her latest release is "Adoring Addie", a retelling of the “Romeo and Juliet,” the second in The Courtships of Lancaster County series. Leslie, her husband, Peter, and their four children live in Portland, Oregon. Visit her at www.lesliegould.com. Leslie received her master of fine arts in creative writing from Portland State University in 2009 and has taught fiction as an adjunct professor at Multnomah University. She, her husband, Peter, and their four children live in Portland, Oregon. Visit her at www.lesliegould.com.


Comments

  1. Yes Leslie , I’m a fan of Amish fiction. The stories are very interesting to me but the main reason I read this genre is because of my curiosity about the Amish and the way they live their lives and why. I find many answers to my questions tucked in the pages of a good Amish novel. That’s why I love Amish fiction.

  2. Hi, Shirley! Thank you so much for your comment. I’m glad to hear that you’re finding your answers in Amish fiction. I love doing the research to tuck those nuggets in the stories.

  3. Linda Anderson says:

    I find them calming before I go to bed at night. After a hectic day, reading about Amish life and the way they handle difficulties and solve their own problems, gives me a lot of ideas on how to handle the troubles I all too often experience. We have some Amish neighbors and friends. I always feel inspired when we leave their homes – often with a good recipe tucked in my pocket! Thank you for your delightful message on “Not Quite Amish!”

  4. Jennifer says:

    My favourite thing about reading Amish fiction is just the insight into everyday life. Unfortunately, I don’t read it much because I’m not a fan of the typical romance plots, and I’m not interested in books where the characters are shunned or in love with “Englisch” men and in danger of being shunned. I would love a series that is just about family life, without romantic entanglement. If you can recommend any, I’d love to hear about it!

    • Hi, Jennifer–I love this comment. I used to not like romantic plots, but the older I get the more I like a happy ending. 🙂 My series with Mindy Starns Clark, The Women of Lancaster County, all have romantic threads to them but the romance isn’t the focus of the story. The first in the series is The Amish Midwife. It won a Christy Award.

      My latest novel, Amish Promises, also has a romantic thread but the main theme is “love your neighbor.” The story is about an Englisch family that moves next door to an Amish family. I think you’d like Dale Kramer’s novel, Levi’s Will, if you haven’t read it. And his other books too.

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