Interview with Beverly Lewis

Today we're continuing our series of interviews with the faculty members who will attend the upcoming OCCWF writer's conference.

Those of you who attend the conference on April 12 will have the opportunity to meet Beverly Lewis, a New York Times best-selling author and winner of the Christy and numerous other awards. Her books have sold more than 10 million copies.

I'm sure Beverly's many faithful readers will be delighted that we have an interview with her today.

MERRIE: Thank you for joining us here at Alien Dream, Beverly. Can you tell us all a little bit about your new novel, The Forbidden?

BEVERLY: It’s the continuation of “The Courtship of Nellie Fisher” triology, set during the spiritual upheaval of fall/winter 1966 in Pennsylvania Amish Country, when courting couples and close-knit families were torn apart in the rift between the Older Order Amish church and two schisms—one being the New Order Amish, which embraced the assurance of salvation, tractors, and telephones; and the Beachy Amish which allowed electricity, cars, and other modern conveniences. Some of the most fascinating research I’ve ever done for a series.

MERRIE: It sounds like a great book! I've noticed that many of your books deal with the Amish lifestyle, a life quite different from the one most of us live today. Your website says that you receive thousands of heartwarming letters from readers each year. Do you think that there is something missing in our modern lives that these books provide, and if so, what do you think it is?

BEVERLY: Not only are important aspects missing from our modern living—one instance: how society views the Gold Rule, or lack thereof—but the more technologically savvy we become, the more we crave simplicity, tranquility, and even a sense of order. My readers also write to say they connect intimately with my writing style and enjoy the layers of meaning found in my novels. Like reading a nonfiction novel evidently. And since I adore research and used to write on assignment for nonfiction periodicals, this type of novel asnwers part of my own passion, as well.

MERRIE: I like the fact that you are providing readers with something "missing." I think that's a great way for writers to approach their subject matter. I noticed the term “Plain heritage” on your site. Could you describe what that means?

BEVERLY: “Team Mennonite” is my Plain ancestry, which simply means there are Old Order Mennonites in my family who still drive around with horse and buggy, grow untrimmed beards, and all sorts of other interesting and exotic stuff.

MERRIE: That is really interesting. How do you get the ideas for your books?

BEVERLY: I have a vivid memory, as well as a keen imagination. Having grown up right across from Amish farmland, I have more storylines and ideas than I’ll ever live to write. My father, a minister, had many preacher friends among the Amish, so there are lots of stories simmering in my head from having sat at the long, trestle tables in Amish kitchens as a girl. (One Amish preacher’s wife told my young mother—“The more children I have, the less work I have to do…especially if they’re girls!” She said this with a twinkle in her eyes, while six of her daughters “stirred up dinner” and got it out on the table in nothing flat. I, along with my mom, was quite amazed. It was like an assembly line happening before our eyes, with no one telling anyone what to do. They all just knew.)

MERRIE: Beverly, thank you so much for visiting us here at Alien Dream, and for answering our questions today!


And don’t forget, there are still openings available to attend the OCCWF conference. Visit their site at http://www.occwf.org/ for more information.

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