"" Writer's Wanderings: What I Did on My Summer Vacation - Mary Ellis

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What I Did on My Summer Vacation - Mary Ellis

Just for fun I asked some of my writer friends to do an old fashioned grade school essay about their summer vacation. Remember those assignments when school started? I thought it would be a great way to learn about some places they had been. Mary's is more of a working vacation but it looks like she had a great time.

What I Did on My Summer Vacation by Mary Ellis

I just returned from researching the Amish and Old Order Mennonite communities of Kentucky to prepare me to write book three of the series, A Little Bit of Charm. I traipsed all over Barren and Casey Counties in search of horses and buggies and those who prefer a slower pace of life. I stayed at the home of my best friend in Somerset and took along her three grand-daughters to keep me company. They received a priceless education that surpassed anything found in textbooks. And having them with me opened more doors and lowered many people’s defenses. Who could resist three charming little girls?

Although I live within an hour of the largest population of Amish in the country, a writer truly needs to visit the area, since there are so many regional differences. For instance, in Waldo County, Maine, the setting of book one, Living in Harmony, the Old Order Amish allow no rumschpringe, no courting buggies, no youth socials (everyone is present for all get-togethers) and no working in the English world. However, their church services are in English, not Deutsch, to encourage “drop-ins” from the local community. These Old Order Amish have an ecumenical outlook on Christianity, similar to New Order Amish (which makes up only ten percent of the population. And they built a meetinghouse to use for church, Sunday School (yes, they have it on “off” Sundays) weddings and fund-raising events, instead of meeting in each other’s homes.
I find interesting stories in every community I visit. Last fall I researched the Amish of Audrain, Randolph and Boone County, Missouri, in preparation to write book two of the series, Love Comes to Paradise. I found the Missouri Plain believers to be the most private and reserved of all I’ve met thus far. But one lovely wife and mother who ran an in-home bakery provided me with plenty of information and a few amusing tales. Just when you thought you had these fascinating people figured out…

I hope you will look for book one of the New Beginnings series, called Living in Harmony, just released. These photos were taken in Unity, Maine.

Mary Ellis grew up near the Amish and fell in love with them. She has now written nine bestselling novels set in their communities. When not writing, she enjoys gardening, bicycling, and swimming. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Her debut Christian book, A Widow's Hope, was a finalist for the 2010 ACFW Carols. She has since written eight best-selling novelsLearn more about Mary Ellis at her website and/or connect with her on Facebook.

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