Friday, April 15, 2011
My Friend Mary - Interivew & Giveaway
And as such a sweetheart, Mary has generously offered a copy of her novel for a giveaway. So as per usual, to enter just leave a comment below with an email address.
About Abigail's New Hope
Love Blooms in Unexpected Places
As an Amish midwife, Abigail Graber loves bringing babies into the world. But when a difficult delivery takes a devastating turn, she is faced with some hard choices. Despite her best efforts, the young mother dies—but the baby is saved.
When a heartless judge confines Abigail to the county jail for her mistakes, her sister Catherine comes to the Graber farm to care for Abigail’s young children while her husband, Daniel, works his fields. For the first time Catherine meets Daniel’s reclusive cousin, Isaiah, who is deaf and thought to be simpleminded by his community. She endeavors to teach him to communicate and discovers he possesses unexpected gifts and talents.
While Abigail searches for forgiveness, Catherine changes lives and, in return, finds love, something long elusive in her life. And Isaiah discovers God, who cares nothing about our handicaps or limitations in His sustaining grace.
An inspirational tale of overcoming grief, maintaining faith, and finding hope in an ever-changing world.
Mary Ellis grew up close to the eastern Ohio Amish community, Geauga County, where her parents often took her to farmer’s markets and woodworking fairs. She loved their peaceful, agrarian lifestyle, their respect for the land, and their strong sense of Christian community. She met her husband in college and they married six days after graduation.
She, her husband, dog and cat now live in Medina County, 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 for her best-selling books, and enjoy a simpler way of life.
Mary enjoys reading, traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught Middle School in Sheffield Lake, Ohio 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 have made the CBA and CBD 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.
What's your latest book?
My latest book is Abigail’s New Hope, which was released late March from Harvest House Publishers. It will be first in the Wayne County Series.
Oh, a new series! Very exciting. =) What's your favorite part of the story?
My favorite part is when the young father finally starts to bond with his newborn son. Some men aren’t hardwired the same way women are to be able to deal with an infant.
Definitely precious when they do! What was the hardest part to write?
The hardest part to write was the first chapter. My heroine, a midwife, goes above-and-beyond to save a young mother’s life. It was emotionally draining to describe childbirth when things don’t go as planned, even though as a Christian, I know all things are by His hand.
And to open with that! What a bang! What do you hope your readers will get out of the story?
That no matter how grim things look, if we turn to the Lord He will guide us through even the most difficult days. Our faith will sustain us and give us the strength to carry on.
Amen to that. Is there a theme to this book?
There are several actually. My main plot describes growth within a marriage and the meaning of “for better or for worse.” In my sub-plots, I explore reaching out to someone who’s difficult to communicate with and finally, I delve into finding lost faith through grief therapy.
Wow, you cover a lot! Now let's chat about you for a bit. What would your dream office look like—and what does your REAL writing environment look like?
My writing environment is the guest room/office. It’s a bit cramped, but I have all the necessary accouterments handy. I can write anywhere really, and usually do. I take a yellow legal tablet to the park with my dog to write scenes longhand. I often take my laptop out to my deck or a coffee shop for a change of pace. The only thing that would be different in my “dream” office would be to look out on water—ideally the ocean. I’d love to be able to walk the beach for inspiration. Alas, I live in rural Ohio, but I do look at beautiful trees and my blue barn.
Mmm, ocean . . . yeah, I'd like that too, but content myself with the mountains of Maryland. =) Is there any one thing or reference you keep handy when writing? Anything you kept around for this particular book?
Other than the King James’s and NLT versions of the Bible, I love the reference book, Know Your Bible. It’s a handy reference guide to find passages quickly.
What lessons have you learned through the publication process that you wouldn't have guessed as a pre-published writer?
I thought as an unpubb’d that it would be smooth sailing once you finally landed a contract.
Now I know that’s when the real work begins. Actual “writing” gets pushed into an ever-smaller block of time, while all these other obligations demand your attention. And we don’t even want to mention things like Twitter or Facebook! Unpub’s, enjoy your writing time, when the most pressing thing you do is to sit down and create your story.
Hear, hear! Are there any people (family, writing group, editors) who you rely on when writing?
I suppose I rely on my husband for bouncing ideas, and the wonderful Amish and Mennonite friends I’ve made in Holmes County. They help me with research and have answered my questions too many times to count. I am in their debt.
If someone were to give you $5,000 to spend on anything you wanted, what would you buy? (No saving or gifts to charities allowed!)
I would rent a small apartment in Tuscany, Italy and live frugally until the money ran out. I would take my dear hubby, one suitcase of clothes, my laptop, and my old dog. I love writing while away from home. (Anywhere, even in the coffee shop attached to my grocery store.)
And when a knock sounds on that Tuscan door and you look out to see a blond with a laptop case, just say, "Oh there you are, Roseanna! I was wondering when you'd get here." ;-) Any funny family stories about living with a writer?
I once told my husband I would sit down in front of my computer first thing in the morning, and not shower, apply makeup and go about my day until the daily word quota had been reached. When he came home from work three days in a row and found me still in pajamas, with bed-hair, and in desperate need of a shower, he talked me into abandoning that plan.
LOL. What are you writing right now?
Right now, I’m finishing the second in the Wayne County Series, called A Marriage for Meghan. It will be released in September from Harvest House. It’s the story of a former classroom troublemaker who finds herself the teacher in charge of all eight grades. It’s trial-by-fire for our Amish heroine who desperately wants to succeed.
The next one sounds great! And thanks for visiting, Mary. Readers, be sure to check out her website at www.maryeellis.wordpress.com. And you can buy Abigail's New Hope from Amazon, ChristianBook, and CrossPurposes.
Void where prohibited. Entry into the contest is considered verification of eligibility based on your local laws. Chance of winning depends on number of entries. Contest ends 4/22/11. Winner will have two weeks to claim prize.