Shannon here: Vannetta Chapman shares the romantic setting for her latest Amish Romance, Joshua’s Mission. Comment or answer the question at the end of this post to enter the drawing for a copy. Deadline: February 13th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Vannetta:
Joshua’s Mission – Setting: Port Aransas, Texas
Thank you for inviting me to visit your blog today. I’m very excited about the release of Joshua’s Mission (2-1-16), which is book 2 in my Plain & Simple Miracles series. The Amish characters in this book live in Cody’s Creek, Oklahoma. That’s a fictional town, but it’s based on Chouteau, Oklahoma, which is east of Tula.
The bulk of the action happens at Port Aransas, Texas. In my story, a category 4 hurricane hits the gulf and pretty much levels the town. Then volunteers start arriving, all sorts of people from near and far, and among those volunteers are my smallish group of Amish who are serving with Mennonite Disaster Services.
- Basics about Port Aransas. Port A is the only town on Mustang Island, and is located across the bay from Corpus Christi. There are approximately 3,500 residents in the town, though there are a lot more during summer tourist season. The University of Texas Marine Science Institute is also located here.
- Past hurricanes. Port A has sustained hurricane damage in the past. The 1916 hurricane destroyed nearly everything. There have been other hurricanes to hit the area, including Carla in 1961 and Celia in 1970.
- Visiting. I had a wonderful time visiting the Port A area. We went in October, so there wasn’t a lot of tourists, but there was still plenty to do. And yes, it was warm enough to swim. We walked up and down the beaches, visited local restaurants, spoke to the museum curator, stopped by city hall, and interviewed at length one of the local realtors. Everyone was very helpful, and everyone we spoke to said it’s not a matter of IF there will be another hurricane, but WHEN. They are doing their best to raise building codes and of course have very detailed evacuation plans. We also went out on a tour boat that took us around the bay. The crew caught a net full of fish which they let us see and touch before throwing them back in. (Yes, this a scene in the book).
- Truth vs fiction. Much of what you will read in Joshua’s Mission has already happened. The actual hurricane scenes are from my imagination, but I used firsthand accounts of past hurricanes to make them plausible. The Tarpon Inn and giant shark exist in the downtown area, and the tour boat is exactly as I describe it – right down to the man who handled the fish having only one arm (see picture). This guy was amazing.
- MDS. The heart of this story is about how people help one another and how they fall on their faith in difficult times. My husband has worked with Mennonite Disaster Services in central Texas, where they have shown up to help many times. The scenes I depict of MDS volunteers rebuilding are fictional, but I interviewed MDS administrators as well as read their book describing their organization.
- Additional reading. If these subjects interest you, I highly recommend the following books:
- Mennonite Disaster Service, by Brenda D. Phillips.
- Images of America: Port Aransas, by J. Guthrie Ford and Mark Creighton
- 1919 The Storm, by Murphy Givens and Jim Moloney
About Vannetta: Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. 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 winner for best mystery. Chapman was a teacher for 15 years and currently writes full time. She lives in the Texas hill country with her husband. Learn more and connect:
About the Book: Joshua Kline travels from his farm in Oklahoma to offer aid to an Englisch town on the gulf coast of Texas after a category 4 hurricane has ravaged the area. He brings his brother with him, who needs a change of environment. The last thing he wants for Alton is another brush with the law. He is pleasantly surprised when he hears that Becca Troyer, the bishop’s granddaughter, plans on joining their team.
What will Joshua find when he arrives in Texas? A lack of electricity, certainly, which poses little problem for the Amish volunteers as they help restore order from destruction. But a budding romance? A call from God? And a possible healing of his relationship with Alton?
Joshua’s Mission is a story of love, forgiveness, and the grace of God that carries us through even the worst situations.
Cant wait for the drawing? Purchase now: Joshua’s Mission
Question for Readers: Now I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever visited the Texas coast? If not, tell me your favorite beach or vacation spot.
Come back Feb 8th for Jodie Bailey!