Short Interview with Patricia Davids

  • What was your favorite part about writing Their Pretend Amish Courtship?

My favorite part of writing Their Pretend Amish Courtship was coming up with the dialogue between Fannie and Noah when they were sniping at each other. I’d write the scene and then come back to tweak it over and over again until I got just the right amount of tension or humor. I had a lot of fun with them.

  • How long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I normally spend about a month researching before I start writing but I continue to research through the entire writing process. I know a lot about the Amish culture but I’m always learning something new. 

  • What are the traits you admire most in Fannie and Noah?

I have to say it was their youth. Oh, to be that young again. They weren’t the most mature characters to start out with and that made them fun to write, but they both underwent an emotional growth process that allowed them to discover real love. 

  • How long does it typically take for you to write a book?

I will normally write a 55,000-word manuscript in three months after a month of research. 

  • What is your favorite thing about writing romance?

I love everything about writing romance except…writing. I love the birth of an idea that morphs into a story and then finding the perfect characters to tell that story. I love making things turn out right for a wonderful couple. I just hate spelling it out word by word as I struggle to take my ideas and turn them into something that makes sense to anyone who reads it. Writing for me is hard, tedious work.

  • How many books have you written? Is there one that you would consider your favorite?

I have 32 completed manuscripts including the one I’m about to finish this week. Do I have a favorite? Yes. Two of them. The Amish Midwife is the Amish book I like best because my family and friends helped so much with my research for it. My other favorite is a western historical romance I wrote years ago that has never found a home. I happen to think it’s my best work.

  • What are a few of your favorite books? Do you have any recommendations?

Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer is one of my all-time favorite books. Walking After Midnight by Karen Robards is another and if you haven’t read The Life of Pi you should.

  • What book are you currently reading right now?

I hesitate to say this but I’m not much of a reader. I know. Shocker! I used to be a voracious reader. I would read two or three books a week. Now, I read mainly for research. Once in a while I’ll read something a friend recommends. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin was one I recently finished and enjoyed.

  • Do you have any tips for people suffering from writer’s block?

Until two years ago I didn’t believe in writer’s block. I thought it was a cop-out used by writers without the determination it takes to slog through to the end. I’m a stubborn person who likes to finish what I start. But after losing my mother and becoming the caregiver for my ill father and then suffering my own health crisis, I ran out of things to write about. Somehow, the creative part of my brain that loves to make up stories just stopped working. I couldn’t come up with a plot to save my soul. I had to take a break. I didn’t write for six months. I was fortunate that my publisher understood and supported me until I found my voice again. My advice is to let go of the guilt of not writing and take care of yourself. When you are in a good place, the voices come back. 

  • Do you have any advice for new writers?

I love new writers because they are filled with enthusiasm. They have the desire but they don’t always have the skill. My main advice is to learn the craft. Dissect books you love to see how the author evokes emotions in the characters and in the reader. Study the pacing of the story. Where and how does it rush you along and where and how does it make you dwell in the moment. A new writer must embrace constructive criticism. It’ a hard lesson but it’s a valuable one. Every story can be improved. Finally, never ever give up believing that you will achieve your dream.

***** 

  1. Bon Appétit and a Book:

In Their Pretend Amish Courtship, my heroine Fannie offers the hero Noah some cinnamon raisin biscuits she’d made when they returned home from their first date. When she asks him how they are, his response is, “They won’t choke me.” These won’t choke you, either.

Glazed Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups Original Bisquick™ mix
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Vanilla Glaze

  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

  • Heat oven to 450°F.
  • In medium bowl, stir all biscuit ingredients just until soft dough forms.
  • Place dough on surface generously dusted with Bisquick mix; gently roll in Bisquick mix to coat. Shape into ball; knead 10 times. Roll 1/2 inch thick. Cut with 2 1/2-inch cutter dipped in Bisquick mix. On ungreased cookie sheet, place biscuits 2 inches apart.
  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • While biscuits are baking, in small bowl, beat all glaze ingredients with spoon until smooth. Spread glaze over warm biscuits.

Recipe and photo from www.BettyCrocker.com

  1. Song Playlist:

(Erika, I rarely listen to music so I have no idea what songs would embody my characters and their love story. The Amish sing without musical accompaniment. Here is a selection of you-tube videos of Amish singing.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mb3tdNlL0IE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_yDfCy1RLY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nv0ZlpaX3wY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eg52NhzHavY

  1. How-to Tips for Aspiring Writers:

This is a hard business and it’s getting harder. Don’t be fooled by the lure of easy or fast. Putting out a bad book is worse than not putting one out at all. My main advice is to learn the craft. Dissect books you love to see how the author evokes emotions in the characters and in the reader. Study the pacing of the story. Where and how does it rush you along and where and how does it make you dwell in the moment. A new writer must embrace constructive criticism, too.. It’ a hard lesson but it’s a valuable one. Every story can be improved. Finally, never ever give up believing that you will achieve your dream.

  1. Writer’s Space:

These days my temporary writing space is in the corner of my bedroom at Dad’s house. I have a makeshift desk and a lap top and that’s it. My actual office is at my home in Wichita, KS. The picture on the wall of running wolves is my favorite print. I have a desktop computer, a combo printer, copier and fax machine and my various books about Amish culture 

  1. Love Lessons Learned:

The best lesson I have learned from reading romance novels is that honest dialogue with a spouse or lover is the best way to feed our need to know we are loved. I can’t tell you where I read it, but it’s something I’ve never forgotten. It’s the hug rule. Anyone who needs a hug gets one and all he or she has to do is say, “I need a hug today.” That’s all. Within seconds I will find myself wrapped in the arms of someone who loves me.

  1. Movie Star Cast: The author picks movie stars to play the characters in a movie.

What writer doesn’t dream of seeing their favorite actor and actress playing the hero and heroine of their novel in a movie? I like movies but I love books because a well-written book takes you inside the mind and emotions of the character. You feel what they feel. Great actors can portray those emotions but for me an important part of the story is missing when a book is turned into a movie. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have one of my books on the big screen. Yes, please! So, who do I want to see playing Fannie Erb and Noah Bowman?

I’d want Karen Gillan to play Fannie. Karen has the red hair, the spunk, and the infectious smile that comes to mind when I think of Fannie. She is a very talented actress and I think she could bring an honest depth to the role. I have no idea if she rides horses or can drive a buggy. That would be a must-have skill to play Fannie’s role.

Who should play Noah? That requires a little more thought. After careful consideration, and the joy of browsing through dozens of photos and bios of the top hot young male actors, I would pick Steven R McQueen from The Vampire Diaries and Chicago Fire. (I do love research.) Steven looks super-hot in his fireman’s gear so I think he could pull off an Amish baseball player plus he has that cute half grin that steals a girl’s heart before she knows it. And he is the grandson of my own youthful movie star crush, the unforgettable Steve McQueen.

  1. Summer Hobbies:

In the summer of 2015 my mother passed away and it quickly became clear that my elderly father couldn’t cope on his own. I made the decision to return home to the family farm located south and east of Abilene, Kansas and become a live-in caregiver. In doing so, I have had the joy of rediscovering the farm life I’d left behind more than forty years ago.

The farm is a working farm and cattle operation run by my youngest brother Gary and his son Kyle. They raise wheat, soybeans, milo and cane. Cane is grown primarily for our own use as cattle feed. Each year my brother and my dad purchase close to 500 head of young steers that are pastured over the summer in the Flint Hills and sold to feed lots in the early fall.

My father’s frail health keeps him off the tractors and out of the fields, but my brother regularly consults Dad on farming and cattle issues. When it became too much for Dad to attend cattle auctions in person, Gary showed us how to pull up the live auctions on the computer. I love him for his compassion. He makes Dad feel he is still an important part of the business he spent his life building. I know Gary could do it all and do it as well without Dad’s input but he is wise enough to listen to Dad’s advice before making his own decisions.

One thing I did not count on when I moved back home was the fact that everyone on the farm has to do their share of the work. I became a cook for harvest crews and delivered the meals to them in the fields. Eating lunch under the shade of a tree at the edge of a field of golden wheat is as much fun now as it was 45 years ago. I have hauled farm equipment, helped check the herds of cattle for sickness or injury, helped with range burning and even done my part at branding time although I don’t get to use the branding iron. I just prod the reluctant steers into the branding chute. A job that is sometimes much harder than it sounds.

Tasks that I did on horseback as a kid are now done from a four-wheeler, but I do get to spend a lot of time outdoors. I can’t believe how thankful I am for this opportunity to get to know my brother better and to take care of Dad. When the work is done, we all enjoy the same summer pastime. Fishing down at the creek.

You should see the size of the large-mouth bass and channel cats we’ve got in there.

*****

Fannie Erb isn’t looking for a husband – especially if it means she has to leave behind her beloved horses to go find one. What she needs is a way to assure her parents that she’s not hopeless when it comes to love. And her family friend, Noah Bowman, might just be her solution.

A fake relationship would free them both from unwanted matchmaking plans, but how could Fannie predict that pretending to date the handsome boy next door would awaken genuine emotions? By summer’s end, they’ll be free to go their separate ways, but Fannie’s growing feelings are transforming her neighbor into the only man who might ever reign in her adventurous heart.

PATRICIA DAVIDS is a USA Today Bestselling author who grew up in Kansas. She began her career as a nurse, and put her dreams to write a book on hold as she raised a family and worked in the NICU. After forty years, she began writing seriously in 1996. Today, she enjoys crafting emotionally satisfying romances where love and faith being two people together forever. 

THEIR PRETEND AMISH COURTSHIP
By Patricia Davids
May 23, 2017
$5.99 US; 224 pages
ISBN: 978-0-373-62278-8