(Got a great response to my Facebook shout out! – Authors, if you haven’t already, there’s still time to leave your link – ends 30th April, 2020).
Welcome! Today we are really pleased to share another great interview with bestselling author, Marta Perry!
Amish Protector by Marta Perry has both the hero and heroine as each other’s defenders. The story skillfully explores how children feel they are to blame for the sins of their parents, and what happens when secrets are revealed that have the birth parents possibly coming back into a child’s life. All this comes into play, intertwined within the Amish culture.
The main character, Joanna Kohler, the Bishop’s daughter, discovers a mysterious unconscious woman lying on the stairs to her apartment. This opens the door to the story’s mystery: who is she, how was she hurt, and what long kept secrets will be revealed about Joanna’s life. Her neighbor, Noah Troyer comes to help out, and points out the resemblance between Joanna and the woman.
He also has his own problems, trying to overcome the shame his father brought on the family, as a drunken abuser of his wife and children. Noah had struggled with feelings of inadequacy for most of his life. He felt that the community judged him for his father’s sins and interpreted everything based on that viewpoint. He is afraid to have any relationship, fearing that he inherited his father’s violent nature. As he and Joanna unearth answers about her past, Noah will have to confront his own, as he tries to protect her from mounting dangers.
As with all her stories, Perry is able to combine Amish culture, within a small-town setting. These Amish amateur sleuths allow for a riveting mystery with likeable characters.
Elise Cooper: You always include Amish culture in these mysteries?
Marta Perry: This will be a three-book series. Each of the characters created will have contrasting personalities. I enjoy writing and informing readers about the Amish culture. I put in this quote, “To be Amish means knowing who you were and what your place was in the world. It meant a life bounded by the church, home, and family.” Faith is first, then family, and finally community. The strong extended family stay in close proximity.
EC: How would you describe Joanna?
MP: More independent and assertive than most Amish women. She has a strong sense of responsibility and handles problems head on. Her maturity allows her to balance her culture with the contemporary American culture. Her bravery and protectiveness come through strongly.
EC: You explore adoption?
MP: It is not uncommon for the Amish to take foster children. For the most part, it would be families adopting a niece, nephew, or distant cousin. In this case, the parents were hiding that they did not do a formal adoption, which haunts them. Mainly they fear losing Joanna to her birth mother. I thought of the reactions of people who lost a child and how they would react if they came upon an abandoned baby. Joanna’s mother feels that God provided them this child, because of her strong religious beliefs.
EC: Compare and contrast Joanna to the injured woman?
MP: Joanna feels some connection with her. On the service, the injured woman appears more sophisticated. She is younger than Joanna so not as mature and excepts people at face value. Unlike, Joanna she has no family support so she is much more vulnerable.
EC: How would you describe Noah?
MP: He is afraid he is like his father. Because father abused his mother and family, Noah lives with his father’s bad reputation. Overall, Noah is protective, responsible, self-contained, an introvert, reserved, determined, and caring.
EC: How would you describe the relationship between Noah and Joanna?
MP: It started out as acquaintances, moves to a strong friendship, and then gradually turns into love. He fears the closeness of marriage because of who his father was. Yet, there is a strong attraction.
EC: Please explain this book quote, “Nobody pays attention these days. They’re too used to television and computers…”
MP: The Amish have not lost the closeness and connection to families and communities. The big appeal of Amish fiction is to go back in time without the complexities of modern life and to be close-knit. Although currently with the virus, technology is used by most Englishers who want to stay in touch.
EC: Do you know how the Amish are reacting to the virus?
MP: For the most part the congregations in Pennsylvania are obeying the idea of staying home and the stores have closed. They are law abiding primarily because they were persecuted for their religious beliefs without protection from the law. If sick, they will use modern medicine except for child births. Doctors and medical professionals have workshops that explain how to handle Amish patients.
EC: Can you give a shout out about your next books?
MP: The next one in this series, out next year, will be Amish Secrets. The minor character in the two previous books, Rachel, will be the main character in the next one. Rachel is very much the opposite of Joanna. She has always been a stay at home type person, but will now have to fend for herself.
A springtime For Harvest will be out in August. It is more family detailed, still Amish, with much more of a romance.
If you liked this interview
In River Haven, a mysterious visitor brings two lonely hearts together…
Joanna Kohler treasures the independence her Amish quilt shop provides. She rarely leans on others, yet finding an injured woman on her property makes her grateful for the store owner next door, Noah Troyer. Calm and unflappable, Noah offers support. He also points out the strong resemblance between Joanna and the unconscious stranger…
Noah may admire Joanna, but the bishop’s daughter is out of reach. Though he’s made a good life, Noah still feels shadowed by the shame his father brought on the community. But it’s his duty to aid his lovely neighbor, especially when danger draws close. As he and Joanna unearth answers about her past, Noah will have to confront his own if he’s to have a chance at building a future with the woman he’ll love forever.
Amish Outsider (River Haven Book 1)
Amish Protector (River Haven Book 2) by Marta Perry, HQN Pub.
Book Beginnings / First Chapter First Paragraph / Tuesday Teaser!