New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author
Shelley Shepard Gray

Are You an ‘Accidental’ Amish Fiction Fan?

Posted Nov 19 2013, 10:25 am in ,

I love receiving notes from my readers. I love to hear what book they just read, love to hear about their favorite characters and scenes. I even don’t mind reading about what parts of the books they didn’t like so much.

But my all-time favorite notes are from brand new readers. I love reading about how they ‘discovered’ my books.

When readers tell me that they’ve loved Amish fiction since reading The Shunning by Beverly Lewis, and discovered ‘Shelley Shepard Gray’ when they were looking for more authors in the genre, I can completely relate. I’ve certainly found new authors that way.

Sometimes, though, I hear from Amish fiction fans who started reading my books on accident.

When I started writing Inspirational novels, an editor who I had submitted to asked if I wanted to give writing Amish novels a try. Since I live so close to an Amish community, I did.  I decided to write a story set in a bed and breakfast much like the ones my writer girlfriends and I visit when we go on writers’ retreats. That story was the beginning of Hidden, and the whole Sisters of the Heart Series.

While I was writing and doing research, I discovered that I loved spending my days dreaming about my Amish characters. I really enjoyed writing the book, but never expected it to be published.  No one was more surprised than me when Avon Inspire published that first novel!

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite stories that I’ve heard from readers who started reading my Amish novels almost by accident. Perhaps some of you have had a similar situation?

One lady in the Midwest shared how she was keeping her sick mother company by her bedside.  When her mom fell asleep, she didn’t want to leave her side, but also didn’t want to simply sit and do nothing. That’s why she noticed her mother had been reading Spring’s Renewal-it was tucked away in a drawer in her bedside table. Well, she was bored enough to pull it out and see what it was about. To her surprise, she liked it enough to start searching the house for Autumn’s Promise…and after that? She was a fan of the genre.

Another lady was in the library and saw the cover of Hidden. Since the heroine on that book’s  cover isn’t wearing a bonnet, she didn’t think it was either Amish fiction or Christian fiction. She simply thought the cover was pretty. She told me that when she realized that most of the book took place at an Amish B&B, she almost put it down. But, well, she was kind of interested in Anna and decided to go ahead and finish it. Next thing she knew, she was asking the library for Wanted, the next book in the series.

Finally, just last Saturday, I met a lady who told me that a few years ago she used to not be a reader at all. She had also been going through some tough times and had lost her faith. She was walking to the checkout counter at Walmart and saw a copy of GRACE.  When she saw it was a Christmas book, she went ahead and bought it-thinking if she didn’t like it she could stick it in a friend’s stocking. <g> Now she has a bookshelf full of Amish books by a variety of authors.

  Over and over people have told me that they’re fans of the genre because of the slower pace, because of the faith of the Amish. They enjoy reading about life without electricity, televisions, computers, and cell phones. I like writing about the Amish for many of those same reasons.

Perhaps there’s someone in your life who you think might be an accidental Amish fan, too. If so, I encourage you to give them a book or send them to the library with a couple of authors’ names. It sure doesn’t have to be one of my books~just pick one of your favorites. It would be so fun to get another letter months from now from one more accidental Amish fan.

Have you ever recommended an Amish book to a friend or family member?

Thank you so much for stopping by, and of course, for giving my books a try. I’m very thankful for you!





15 responses to “Are You an ‘Accidental’ Amish Fiction Fan?”

  1. Katrina says:

    I will be honest with you, I had read a few Amish books years ago, but the genre just didn’t stick with me. Then earlier in the fall I saw seveal authors recommending your book Peace which was to be released. I was in Walmart, saw it and bought it. Brought it home and read it. Loved it. I guess you could call me an accidental Amish reader, but maybe even a late I will be heading to Lifeway and picking up more of your books.

  2. Jeanette Styer says:

    I don’t consider myself an accidental Amish reader but I am an accidental Shelley Shepard Gray fan. Not too long after Hidden was released I was at the grocery store looking at books and found Hidden. After that I look forward to your books. I have every one of your Amish books except the Christmas novella which didn’t appear in “paper” book form. I do have other author’s Amish books but not nearly all of them.

  3. Dear Shelley, I don’t know that I necessarily consider myself an accidental Amish reader; & have never read any of your books but I thought they might be good & am willing to give them a try. I have read several novels by Beverly Lewis & have really enjoyed them. Hopefully, our library here in Richardson, Texas will be willing to put more of your books & the different series that you have created & written about on their shelves. Take care & God Bless you.

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