Thank you for joining me for this exciting — and emotional — Author Spotlight!
First, a bit about Mary.
Mary Ellis grew up close to the eastern Ohio Amish, where her parents took her to farmers markets and woodworking fairs. She loved their peaceful lifestyle, respect for the land, and strong sense of Christian community. She met her husband in college and they married six days after graduation. They now live close to the largest population of Amish in the country — a four-county area in central Ohio. They often take weekend trips to purchase produce, research her best-selling books, and enjoy a simpler way of life. She was re-baptized by immersion four years ago and committed her life to Christ.
Mary enjoys reading, traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught Middle School and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate for twenty years — a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits.
All three of her Miller Family series, A Widow’s Hope, Never Far from Home, and The Way to a Man’s Heart made the Christian bestseller lists. A Widow’s Hope was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards for 2010 in the long contemporary category, and a runner-up in the 2010 Holt Medallion Awards. An Amish Family Reunion released in Feb. 2012 and made the CBA & EPCA bestseller lists. She is currently working on something new… Secrets of the South Mysteries series. The first, Midnight on the Mississippi, will be available in August.
Here is my interview with Mary:
1) Have you always wanted to write?
I have always been a voracious reader and storyteller. I believe my desire to write fiction grew from my storytelling. I’ve never been able to explain anything in less than a thousand words.
2) Do you use an outline for your stories?
Yes, I do. Once I work a story out in my head, I construct a loose skeletal framework. Although it’s subject to change during the writing process, I use the outline to keep the story on track and help with pacing.
3) Do you attend writer retreats, conferences and the like?
Yes, I usually attend one national conference a year, sometimes two. I’m in a local ACFW chapter that has regular meetings, field trips, coffee hours, and yearly retreats at a cabin in the woods. So I’m never too far away from like-minded authors.
4) You first published Amish romances… then Civil War romances. Is there a story behind the different genres? Which do you prefer to write? Is there another genre you’d like to see published some day?
Both of those genres grew from lifelong passions of mine. I’ve been around the Amish and respectful of their culture since childhood. My interest in American history, the Civil War in particular, began when a teacher told our second grade class about Clara Barton. I’ve studied both ever since.
My favorite books to read are romantic suspense. I’m writing a series of mysteries set in the South now. The first will released this August, Midnight on the Mississippi.
5) What do you do to relax? Do you have any favorite hobbies?
I love to read, walk my dog, work in the yard, and ride my bike. But my favorite hobby is swimming. I would stay in the water sixteen hours a day if I could. I wish I lived closer to the ocean!
6) I love your Civil War series… and I rejoiced when Lewis won Nora’s heart in Love Comes to Paradise… but I have to admit that of all the couples in all the novels, Hannah and Seth are most decidedly my favorite!
… Feisty Hannah, trying so hard to help her sister, yet getting on her brother-in-law’s bad side at every turn; then his own angst over his brother Seth wanting to court Hannah! Oh my, what a marvelous story – and I find myself smiling just thinking about them. Do you have a favorite character… or novel?
Thanks for your kind words about my characters. But if I had to pick and choose (and you know it’s hard for a mother to pick one over the others!) it would be Meghan, from A Marriage for Meghan. I am a former schoolteacher who remembers what that first year of teaching was like. It’s tough to be not much older than the students, with little experience under your belt to provide confidence.
7) You’ve recently written a couple of novellas… Do you enjoy writing novellas? Are they more or less work? Do you think they help to bring you new readers?
I love writing novellas! Yes, I suppose they’re less work since they’re much shorter stories. But I still set up my outline, plan my scenes, and establish strong characters before I write a single sentence. Yes, I believe they do bring new readers, since someone might have read one of my cohort’s books, but none of mine yet. It’s also fun to collaborate with other Amish fiction authors on theme and continuing story threads.
Here is my book list:
A Widow’s Hope (book one of Miller Family series)
Never Far From Home (book two of Miller Family series)
The Way to a Man’s Heart (book three of Miller Family series)
An Amish Family Reunion (stand alone, but some consider it book 4 of Miller Family series)
Abigail’s New Hope (book one of Wayne County series)
A Marriage for Megan (book two of Wayne County series)
Sarah’s Christmas Miracle (novella)
A Plain Man (stand alone)
Living in Harmony (book one of New Beginnings series)
Love Comes to Paradise (book two of New Beginnings series)
A Little Bit of Charm (book three of New Beginnings series)
Always In My Heart -found in: An Amish Miracle (anthology of 3 novellas)
The Quaker and the Rebel (book one of Civil War Heroine series)
The Lady and the Officer (book two of Civil War Heroine series)
The Last Heiress (book 3 of Civil War Heroine series) available now
Midnight on the Mississippi (book one of Secrets of the South mysteries) coming Summer/Fall of 2015
What Happened on Beale Street (book two of Secrets of the South mysteries) coming Winter of 2016
Thank You Mary… and God bless you!
Today’s the last day to enter Mary’s GIVEAWAY contest!
God bless you!
Copyright © 2013-2015 DJ Mynatt
Tagged: Author Bio, Author Interview, Author Spotlight, Bestselling Author, Civil War Heroines (series), Copyright © 2013-2015 DJ Mynatt, Mary Ellis, Miller Family (series), New Beginnings (series), Secrets of the South (mystery series), Sneak Peek, Wayne County (series)