Growing up around Amish farmland, I enjoyed the opportunity to witness firsthand their love of family, of the domestic arts - sewing, quilting, cooking, baking - as well as seeing them live out their tradition of faith in such a unique way.
My mother's people are Old Order Mennonite - horse and buggy Mennonite, very close cousins to the Amish. I grew up in Lancaster County and lived near Amish farm land.
I'm a writer; it's not just what I do, but who I am.
I grew up Protestant. My dad was a Charismatic pastor of the Families of God denomination. Often, we noticed that - during a lot of his evangelistic-type services - that some of the Amish and Old Order Mennonite couples would come and stand across the street from the church and look in the door.
I've met men who've stood in long lines on my book tours, and they've said things like, 'I've read your books and they've changed the direction in my life, and I want to thank you.' I think they're standing in line for their wife or their mother or their sweetheart or somebody, but no.
If you're a good Amish girl, you're courting, you have three or four different beaus, and you go out and stay out all night. That's just their tradition. They date under the covering of night. No one knows who they're dating or seeing until two weeks before they're going to be married. It's how they've done it for 300 years.