Today is the release day for my second Amish Hearts book, An Amish Match.
This is an exciting day when my “baby” is shown off, and I hope everyone loves it. However, there is a day which is even more exciting.
It’s the day the book is born.
That’s when the idea appears in my mind, the tiny spark that will grow into a book populated with characters who are real to me...and I hope my readers. My first published book, Nothing Wagered, burst into my mind when I was reading a review of a movie where the reviewer snarkily asked, “Why do covered wagons always go west? Why don’t they go east sometimes?” The idea of a young woman who’d come west for the gold rush and wanted to go home was born.
That was an idea born fully formed, an idea authors speak of with awe, because we know most don’t come that way. They need to be nurtured and given time to grow.
The idea for An Amish Match was a “needs nurturing” idea. Because the book is part of a series about the seven brothers and two sisters of the Stoltzfus family, one had to be the hero or the heroine. My seed idea was having a heroine take care of the widowed hero’s children. That narrowed down the hero to Joshua, the buggy maker. He was the only one who’d lost a spouse. So far so good, but I needed more. Like a heroine and how they’d fall in love and what would keep them from falling in love on page one.
Now the work begins. The labor pains, if you will. Devising ideas and tossing them away because they don’t work for this hero and his story. I didn’t want the usual cute nanny/widowed father story. The breakthrough came when a heroine, a widow, stepped into my imagination and asked, “What about me?” I know I had the right character when she wouldn’t stop pestering me, demanding this story belongs to her.
Okay. Hero? Check. Heroine? Check. Now came the hard labor, the pushing of the idea into some sort of story. The characters have to prove that they’ve got real issues as well as the possibility of a happy ever after ending. Ideas come and go, get explored, get refined, get tossed as I start over from square one. Finally, after what can be a long and painful labor, everything is in place to begin writing.
And the book is born. Of course, there are all the stages to come – the excitement of a new baby/book, the learning together of how to tell the story and the troublesome middle – the teenage years. But eventually the story is told, the book is complete and it’s available to the public. As I watch it go out on its own into the big, wide world, I hope as any parent does that my baby is loved...and maybe makes a difference in someone’s life.