Mary Ellis – Romance Writing – Part 2 of 2

Shannon here: Amish romance author, Mary Ellis shares how she researches and writes her books. Comment on any post date August 6th – 10th for a chance to win a copy of her latest release Living in Harmony. Deadline: August 18th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Mary:

Getting Away from it All…to Write by Mary Ellis 

When most people think getaway weekends, or week-long vacations somewhere warm and sunny or even day-trips into the countryside, they want to disconnect from work. But after writing a dozen books, I’ve discovered out-of-office experiences can greatly enrich my stories. As writers, we spend too much time staring at computer monitors, the wall in front of our desks, or out the window. When you feel the muse has abandoned you, pack up your laptop or tablet and go someplace different. Even the local coffee shop can spark fresh ideas besides recharging our batteries with caffeine. I’ve been known to write full scenes at the mall food court while frenetic shoppers bustle by. When the weather is nice (which is rare in Ohio five months out of the year) I camp out for the day at the local park. I take my lunch and sit by the lake or in the woods to write without interruptions, except for an occasional curious insect. Our books are meant to transport readers into the worlds we create, whether another galaxy, a downtown high-rise loft or in my case, the pastoral world of the Amish. How can we accomplish this unless we first “transport” ourselves?

When I began writing my current release, Living in Harmony, I had to travel to upstate Maine—a place far from my home in central Ohio. Although I had toured this area before, I needed to see everything anew from my character’s eyes. I sketched out the scenes that would take place in their rocky, rugged countryside, which is home to many organic produce growers that supply Boston and New York City. I jotted info for pivotal romantic scenes while in my quaint B&B or walking the serene wooded trails around the small liberal arts college. Inspiration doesn’t get any better than that.

Not always, of course, is it possible to leave town. Time constraints and real life often get in the way. But it’s almost always possible to take our laptops onto the patio, down the road to the library, or across town to somewhere with an awe-inspiring view. We write books that honor God and His magnificent creation.  The more we view His handiwork, the richer our stories will be. And the happier we will be as storytellers.

About Mary: Mary Ellis is the bestselling author of many books, including A Widow’s Hope, Sarah’s Christmas Miracle, and An Amish Family Reunion. She and her husband live in central Ohio, where they try to live a simpler style of life.

About the book: A Tragedy…a Refusal…a Shunning. Will Their Young Love Survive?

 Amy King—young, engaged, and Amish—faces life-altering challenges when she suddenly loses both of her parents in a house fire. Her fiancé, John Detweiler, persuades her to leave Lancaster County and make a new beginning with him in Harmony, Maine, where he has relatives who can help them. 

John’s brother Thomas and sister-in-law, Sally, readily open their home to the newcomers. Wise beyond his years, Thomas, a minister in the district, refuses to marry Amy and John upon their arrival, suggesting instead a period of adjustment. While trying to assimilate in the ultraconservative district, Amy discovers an aunt who was shunned. Amy wants to reconnect with her, but John worries that the woman’s tarnished reputation will reflect badly on his beloved bride-to-be.

Can John and Amy find a way to overcome problems in their relationship and live happily in Harmony before making a lifetime commitment to each other?

Come back August 10th for a surprise guest!

4 Responses to “Mary Ellis – Romance Writing – Part 2 of 2”



  • Mary Ellis says:

    thanks so much for the invitation to your lovely blog. what fun guests you always have.

  • Kim F says:

    I love to read that the authors I admire most take the time to “research” the areas they write about and try to absorb the environment. I think it really makes a difference in a story! Thanks for putting so much into your writing, Mary.

  • The cover of Living In Harmony is beautiful! It makes one want to read the book, the short blog about it really reinforces the desire to read it. Mary Ellis and Shannon Vannatter, you are an inspiration to all who read your books. Please know how much I enjoy reading your books and are uplifted by them.

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