Posted at Sep 27, 2012 11:13 am
Please enjoy this guest post from Suzanne Woods Fisher and enter to win a copy of Life with Lily! I have three to give away.
“Put the swing where the children want it. The grass will grow back.” Amish proverb
I’ve often heard that there is no better childhood than an Amish one. Mary Ann Kinsinger had such a childhood. She was raised in a happy Old Order Amish home in western Pennsylvania. A born storyteller, Mary Ann started a blog, A Joyful Chaos, as a way to capture the joy of her childhood.
A Joyful Chaos quickly gained a following among those who want to know more about the Amish. Here was a blog of a woman who had recently left the Amish church, but without bitterness or rancor. Just the opposite. Mary Ann’s blog captures what readers are looking for in Amish fiction books: charming family memories, a caring community, a collection of fun, quirky characters, all cast in a rural setting. And yet it’s real! All true.
One day, I e-mailed to ask if she was thinking of writing a book. “No,” she wrote back, “but I might be interested in collaborating.”
Fast forward a year or two. My friendship with Mary Ann continued to grow. So did her blog’s presence: A Joyful Chaos was receiving over 30,000 hits a month. It caught a mention in The New York Times. Mary Ann started a Facebook page. Remember, this was a woman who had stopped her formal schooling at eighth grade! But her education never stopped.
The time seemed right. We submitted a fiction series proposal for children, ages 8-12, to my publisher, Revell Books, inspired by Mary Ann’s childhood. Revell said “Yes!”
The Lily books are more than just another good children’s series—they’re a little slice of America, a peek into the world of a happy Amish family, fun and foibles. I have a hunch that children of all ages, 5-95, will quickly grow attached to Lily. But do you know what has surprised me the most about writing these books? Lily’s parents, Rachel and Daniel Lapp. Based on Mary Ann’s own parents, this young couple is the quintessence of wisdom and maturity. In Book 1, you’ll read a nail biting story when a difficult neighbor insists the property lines are incorrect and aims a shotgun at Lily’s father. Papa responds by…oh…I won’t spoil it. I’ll let you find out for yourself.
Life with Lily, book 1 in ‘The Adventures of Lily Lapp’ series, releases on October 1st and will be available wherever books are sold. Lily has a website, www.adventuresoflilylapp.com, that will be interactive for children: coloring pages can be downloaded, ask Lily a question, get recipes from her family, information about Lily’s parents and brothers and friends.
Mary Ann Kinsinger can be found at her blog: www.AJoyfulChaos.blogspot.com. She lives in the country in western Pennsylvania, not far from where she grew up. And she loves to hear from readers!
Suzanne Woods Fisher is a writer of bestselling fiction and non-fiction. She is the host of Amish Wisdom, a weekly radio program on toginet.com, and writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post, called “Plain Talk about the Amish.” Suzanne enjoys connecting with readers and can be found on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.
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