Vannetta and I connected because we both write Amish Fiction for Harvest House Publishers. I was drawn into her writing when I had the privilege of drafting an endorsement for her cozy Amish Mystery, Murder, Simply Brewed. I was delighted to find another Amish author who strayed outside the boundaries of your normal light-hearted Amish romance and was willing to delve into the realms of suspense, mystery and even murder in her books. (By the way, we are giving away a signed copy of Anna’s Healing, so be sure and leave a comment and your email address in the comment box below.)
Welcome to “My Talented Friends”, Vannetta. I think the thing that intrigues me about your writing is that you don’t stay within the usual narrow confines of “Amish Fiction.” I discovered that when you asked me to endorse “Murder Simply Brewed. Here’s a review from that book that I think points out all your best qualities as a writer.
“This is one of the best mystery books that I have read. Once again author Vannetta Chapman holds us spellbound. What a great read! I have read every book by this author. Each one gets better and better.”
Being a suspense writer myself, I love that about your work. So let’s talk about it. First of all how did you choose Amish Fiction as your main genre? I suppose Amish fiction chose me.
Actually it was my agent’s idea, which I rejected. But she kept after me, and I decided in the end that I’d signed with her because I trusted her to lead me through the maze of publishing. Sixteen books later, I suppose you could say she was right.
Once you were established as “Amish” what made you choose to start exploring suspense, mystery and even murder as threads in your stories, given that most Amish Fiction is light-hearted romance.
Again, I didn’t actually make that choice. Harper Collins Christian Fiction (then Zondervan) contacted me. Their exact words were something like “We like your writing, but we don’t need another Amish romance writer. Would you consider writing Amish cozy mysteries?” My answer to that was a resounding “Sure!”
You used to be a teacher. What inspired you to move on to full-time writing?
Teaching is a very difficult profession, as anyone who has been a teacher knows. Although I adored the students and the learning environment, I was very frustrated by administrative demands (what teacher isn’t?). In the end I decided that writing full time would be a better path for both me and my family.
We’re featuring your new book, Anna’s Healing. Tell us a bit about it.
I love this story! Don’t all writers say that? But seriously … I wanted to pursue the cornerstones of our faith, and so we began with miracles. Does God still intervene in the lives of His people? That was the seed which became Anna’s Healing.
You’re a romance fiction author mainly, but I know you have other interests. If you could write novels in different genres, what would they be and why?
I have a Christian dystopian series coming out next year that I’m very excited about. Honestly, as a writer I fall in love with characters—so I’m happy to put those characters in whatever genre the publisher wants.
What do you think the most important thing a Christian writer needs to be aware of or get across as they write?
I was in a Jeff Gerke class at ACFW, and he said what I’ve thought for years, “Don’t bore your readers.” That’s our number one job, to engage the reader. If you were telling your story, and the person across from you began to yawn, you’d change the story or skip to the exciting part. Writing should never ever bore the reader.
We see pics of your hubby and your puppies on Facebook. Fill us in a bit on what’s going on with you and your family and your kids. Any exciting non-writing events coming up?
My lovely crazy family! Bob had 3 nearly grown kids and I had 1 ten-year-old when we married. That was 16 years ago. Since then we’ve added 2 shelter cats and 2 shelter dogs. The children have grown and flown the nest now, and we enjoy spending our free time outdoors—camping, hiking, even a little fishing. That’s about as crazy as it gets.
Anything you want to share with my readers / friends / family that you just need to get off your chest?
There are 2 things every reader can do to help support writers and quality fiction. 1) leave a review somewhere. It can be short. Just tell how the book made you feel. One or two lines is fine! 2) tell someone that you read a book and enjoyed it. Maybe even loan them your copy!
What are your hopes and aspirations for your writing?
My number one goal with every book is to have the reader come away with more hope than when they began reading it and to share the fact of God’s abundant grace.
Thanks so much for having me, Patrick!
Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. Her novel, Falling to Pieces, was a 2012 ACFW Carol Award finalist. A Promise for Miriam earned a spot on the June 2012 Christian Retailing Top Ten Fiction list. Chapman was a teacher for 15 years and currently writes full time. She lives in the Texas hill country with her husband. For more information, visit her at www.VannettaChapman.com
What made you first reject to join with Vannetta Chapman and what made you decide to join?
I love all of the books I have read by Vannetta Chapman. To win her newest book would be wonderful.
Enjoyed reading this interview. I am a fan of Vannetta’s work and would be thrilled to add this book to my collection. Thank you.
I enjoyed reading this interview and would love to add this book to my collection, Thank You & God Bless!
Enjoyed your interview – I have never read any of your books. There are so many Amish authors out there that it is hard to keep up with all of them. Doing a mystery sounds so good. Hopefully I can win this book and then have a feel of you as an author and then go buy more books written by you.
I love reading books by Vannetta Chapman! She is an amazing author! I was so happy to actually meet her in Shipshewana several years ago at a book signing with Amy Clipston and Shelley Shephard Gray. She was also in the Shipshewana Light Parade. I found Vannetta to be a very sweet person!! I would LOVE to win a copy of her book!
I love Vannetta’s books. She is an amazing author!