Friday, February 26, 2010

My Friend Mary - Interview and Giveaway

Today we're welcoming Mary Ellis to come and chat about her latest release, Never Far from Home. For those of you who can't get enough of Amish romances, you're in for a treat!

Mary is offering a book to one lucky reader, so as usual, leave your comments below along with a way I can reach you!


About Mary

Mary Ellis grew up close to the eastern Ohio Amish community of Geauga County where her parents often took her to farmers’ markets and woodworking fairs. She and her husband now live close to Ohio’s largest population of Amish families where they enjoy the simpler way of life.


About Never Far from Home

Emma Miller is on the cusp of leaving childhood behind and entering the adult world. She has finished school, started her own wool business, and longs for someone to court. When the object of her affection is a handsome English sheep farmer with a fast truck and modern methods, her deacon father, Simon, knows he has more than the farm alliance to worry about. Emma isn’t the only one with longings in Holmes County. Her mother yearns for relief from a debilitating disease, Aunt Hannah wishes for a baby, and Uncle Seth hopes he’ll reap financial rewards when he undertakes a risk with his harvest. But are these the plans God has for this close-knit Amish family? An engaging story about waiting on God for His perfect timing and discovering that dreams planted close to home can grow a lasting harvest of hope and love.


What's your latest book?

Never Far from Home from Harvest House Publishers, January 2010.

What's your favorite part of the story?

My favorite part of the story is a scene where my “second” heroine has a tiff with her husband. It’s very hard for an assertive, opinionated woman to keep her mouth shut even when she knows she should. We don’t always get our way in marriage, even when we know we’re right. Since I’m very much like this character in real life, this scene was great fun to write.

I can imagine! I was like that when I was younger then seemed to revert to my father's roots and clam up instead. =) What was the hardest part to write?

Without giving away too much of the story, there is an accident scene in the story that was very difficult to write. I wanted so badly to change the outcome, but I knew then it would no longer reflect real life. However, for other “overly-sensitives” such as myself, I softened the scene. I cry over greeting card commercials, some soft drink ads, and always at weddings, even when I don’t know the bride very well.

LOL--opposite me in that respect, but I can certainly appreciate a softer version of an accident scene. Those are always so tough anyway! So what's your favorite genre to write? To read?

Of course, I love to write Amish romances and I love to read them as well. I also enjoy reading historical romances, cozy mysteries, and romantic suspense.

What would your dream office look like—and what does your REAL writing environment look like?

My dream office would have a view of water—lake, ocean or river—since I find water to be soothing and grounding. In real life, I write in our guest room in front of a window overlooking the backyard. Very nice, but it’s not the beach!

Mmmm, beach. I so dream of retiring to a beach someday. Our family tends toward the Outer Banks of NC. But since I'm not on vacation, back to business. ;-) Is there any one thing or reference you keep handy when writing? Anything you kept around for this particular book?

Since I write Christian fiction, I keep a copy of the Bible on my desk. I use the New Living Translation of The Holy Bible. I also used Storey’s Guide to Raising Sheep by Paula Simmons & Carol Ekarius for the writing of Never Far from Home.

What lessons have you learned through the publication process that you wouldn't have guessed as a pre-published writer?

I learned how truly long it takes to write a book! When I’m in the middle of a project I must limit my emailing, web-surfing, and blog-posting type of activities. I’m not even on Twitter or Facebook yet, except for my fan page. Before publishing, I used to start each “writing session” with a few games of Free-cell or Solitaire on the computer. I haven’t planned any games in over a year. I do miss it!

Yes, I'm addicted to email and other online stuff, so I can definitely see your point. What are you writing right now?

I just turned in the third and final installment, The Way to a Man’s Heart, of the Miller Family series. And I’ve started a Christmas novella that will be released in early fall of 2010. What joy it is to write a Christmas story during the season!

I bet! (Readers, I sent her these questions right before Christmas, LOL.) Any upcoming releases we should keep our eye out for?

The Way to a Man’s Heart will be released in July of 2010.

Is there another author who has greatly influenced your writing?

I would have to say Louisa May Alcott. She wrote Little Women in an environment of poverty with a backdrop of the American Civil War. Even though she was surrounded by sorrow and hardship, she still infused joy and hope into her magnificent story. She wrote when women weren’t allowed to become writers, and submitted her original stories using a male pseudonym. I love all her books, but I treasure my 1906 edition of Little Women.

Oo, I'd treasure that too!


Thanks for visiting, Mary! Readers, check out Mary's website at

You can purchase Never Far from Home from ChristianBook or CrossPurposes.

Contest ends 3/4/10. Void where prohibited. Winner will have two weeks to claim their book before another winner is selected.


  1. Great interview and review. I like to read Amish books and know I would enjoy this. Thanks.

  2. I can sure relate to the woman who is not passive keeping her mouth shut when she should!!! I love Amish books, so please enter me. Thank you.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  3. I love Little Women too. One of my favorite book!
    Great interview. I too am learning right now just how long it takes to write a book. But it's always great to hear the story of someone who's on the other side!!:)
    kristengjohnson {at} gmail [dot] com

  4. Hey! Please include me in this giveaway. :)


  5. Hi! Carman sent me. :)

    Please enter me, this book looks good!


  6. Please enter me. I enjoy reading books about the Amish.


  7. I love any body of water too, but my favorite is the beach!! I'd love to win this book!

    I'd like to thank Carmen for sending me here!


  8. a wonderful posting/interview...thanks for the opportunity to read this fabulous book


  9. I would love to read this! :)

  10. I loved getting to know about Mary and her writing in this interview. Thank you for the chance to win her book.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

  11. Please include me! And Carman sent me!

    Blessings -


    FYI - I have a blog in which I review and give away books; there are two current contests.

    Hope to see you come by! : )

  12. thanks to everyone who stopped by to post a comment. it always does an author's heart good! blessings, Mary Ellis

  13. Carman sent me!
    I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks.

  14. Carman sent me! Please enter my name in the contest.


  15. I'd love to read this book, as I've always been curious about the Amish. Carman sent me; and, I'm thankful for that!