It’s my honor to have Patrick Craig join us today to tell us a little bit about his fascinating book that will hit shelves later in the fall. It’s the second book in his Paradise Chronicles series, and is set in the Pennsylvania wilderness between 1737 and 1780.
Here’s a little more about it:
Opahtuhwe, The White Deer, is the beautiful daughter of the most powerful Chief of the Delaware tribe. She is revered by her people as a true Indian Princess. Everything changes when the murderous warrior Ehèntawisèk brings three Amish prisoners to the Delaware camp. The only survivors of the brutal massacre of most of the Hershberger family perpetrated by the renegade known as Scar, Jonathan and Joshua Hershberger are twin brothers that Ehèntawisèk is determined to adopt and teach the Indian way. The third prisoner is Jonas Hershberger, their father, who has been made a slave because he would not defend his family against the Indians who murdered his wife, two daughters and younger son. White Deer is drawn to Jonathan but his hatred of the Indians causes him to push her away. Joshua’s gentle heart and steadfast refusal to abandon the Amish faith lead White Deer to a life-changing decision and rejection by her people. In the end, White Deer must choose between the ways of her people and her new-found faith. And complicating it all is her undying love for the man who can only hate her.
1. What a unique time setting. Why did you choose it?
In my first Amish book, A Quilt For Jenna, Jerusha Hershberger hears the story of her great-great-great-grandfather, Joshua Hershberger from her grandmother, Hannah.
Hannah handed the second book to Jerusha. It was small with a plain leather cover.
“What’s this, Grandmother?” she asked.
“This is the story of Jonathan and Joshua Hershberger,” said Hannah. “It tells of the choices the twin brothers made after Indians massacred their family near Fort Henry on the Ohio, and what effect those decisions had on generations of Hershbergers. One brother, Jonathan, forsook the Amish church and he and all his descendants went out into the world. The other brother, Joshua, stayed in the church and remained faithful, even under the most difficult conditions. Joshua was your great-great-great grandfather. It was his grandson, my father, who came to Apple Creek in 1860 as a boy. It is because Joshua stayed true, that you are here today.”
In my second book, The Road Home, Jerusha’s adopted daughter, Jenny Springer, meets Jonathan Hershberger who she discovers is the great-great-great-great-grandson of Jonathan Hershberger, the twin who married an Indian princess and left the Amish faith. So I thought this book would be a great opportunity to tell the story of both brothers and the Indian Princess and tie it into the family that is the centerpiece of both the Apple Creek Dreams series and The Paradise Chronicles series.
2. What were Amish settlements like at that time?
The Amish were Anabaptists who did not believe in infant baptism. Because of this they were terribly persecuted in Europe by both the Catholic and Protestant church as well as the secular authorities. William Penn came to the Netherlands in the early 1700s to encourage people to colonize Pennsylvania. When he offered the promise of religious freedom, the Anabaptists jumped at the chance. The first Amish came on board The Charming Nancy in 1720 and settled around Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Northkill Amish Settlement, the setting for the beginning of my new story, was established in 1740 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. As the first identifiable Amish community in the new world, it was the foundation of Amish settlement in the Americas. It was a typical Amish settlement that based its life around the Ordnung, the verbal law passed down form Menno Simons and Jackob Amman, the founders of the the Mennonite and the Amish churches. The Amish settlements were agrarian and remain that way to this day. Their philosophy of life was one of non-violence towards all men.
3. How did you go about researching the book?
Ah, the wonders of Google! Yes, the Internet is an incredible source of information. I have Google bookmark folders for all my books and there are dozens of bookmarks in each one. For the Amish Princess I have articles that include facts about everything concerning my book–articles like the passenger list of The Charming Nancy, the life of William Penn, A Delaware Indian dictionary, the Massacre at Gnaddenhutton, the American forts in the Ohio territory, the treatment of conscientious objectors in wartime and dozens of others.
4. What draws a man to write about the Amish?
Actually, I was reading a blog by Nick Harrison when he was still at harvest House back in 2010 in which he asked for one-sheets for story ideas about the Amish and about quilting. With no previous knowledge of either subject, I sent him the story idea for A Quilt For Jenna. Harvest House loved the idea and asked for sample chapters. I sent them the book. Then they asked if I could do a three book series. And that is how The Apple Creek Dreams series came to be. That gave me a platform to write more books on the Amish and so after my contract with Harvest House was up, I Indie published The Amish Heiress, the first book in The Paradise Chronicles series, which stayed on the Amazon top 100 best seller lists in three categories for over 8 months. Now I am writing the second book in that series, The Amish Princess.
5. What else do you have in the works?
I just released a new edition of the first book in my kid’s mystery series, The Mystery of Ghost Dancer Ranch. Visualize Frank Peretti mixed with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and you will get an idea of what the book is like. Also, I have the third book in the Paradise Chronicles series, The Mennonite Queen, in the works and that will be out next year. It has been a bit difficult being typed as strictly an Amish writer, but I am trying to convince my agent that I can write Historical Romance, Thrillers, and other genres and am slowly writing my way out of the Amish-only brand.
Best-selling author Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next 26 years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor in churches, and at retreats, seminars and conferences all across the western United States. In 2011 he signed a three-book deal with Harvest House Publishers to publish his Apple Creek Dreams series. His current series is The Paradise Chronicles and the first book in the series, The Amish Heiress, was published by P&J Publishing in August of 2015 and remained on the Amazon bestseller lists for seven months. The second book in the Series, The Amish Princess, will be released in the fall of 2016. Patrick and his wife Judy make their home in Idaho and are the parents of two adult children and have five grandchildren. Patrick is represented by the Steve Laube Agency.
Where can readers find him online?
Where can readers purchase his books?
The Amish Heiress is available in on Amazon, B&N and all your favorite online stores. You can also find it on his website at http://www.patrickecraig.com/my-book-store/
Look for The Amish Princess in late September, 2016.
Wow, what a career you’ve been blessed to have. Patrick is giving away a copy of The Amish Heiress, just to get you ready for The Amish Princess this fall 🙂 Follow the directions below to enter.
Thanks so much for joining us, Patrick! We’ll be looking for The Amish Princess in September!