Mary Ellis ~ An Amish Family Reunion

It’s no surprise that Mary Ellis writes Amish fiction. She grew up in Eastern Ohio, close to the second largest Amish community in the U.S. She and her husband now live near the largest population of Amish in the country—a four-county area in Central Ohio.

A former middle school teacher and saleswoman for Hershey’s Chocolate, Mary has written for both ABA and CBA. All three books in her Miller Family Series made the CBA and CBD bestseller lists. Abigale’s New Hope made the ECPA bestseller list, and her novel A Widow’s Hope was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards and a runner-up in the Holt Medallion Awards in 2010.

What was the catalyst that turned your love and appreciation for the Amish lifestyle into writing about it?

When I switched from reading/writing ABA fiction to Christian fiction, I began reading Beverly Lewis, Wanda Brunstetter, and Cindy Woodsmall. I fell in love and was hooked.

How does your faith play into your writing?

It would be impossible to separate one from the other. My writing, spreading the message of Christ’s love for us, is my mission. I love to glorify His name through my stories.

Let’s talk about your new book An Amish Family Reunion (Harvest House, February 1, 2012). Please tell us about it.

Julia Miller misses her children. They are grown and have families of their own now, but her mother’s heart yearns for a houseful of laughter and joy once again. She plans to gather her chicks together in a summer celebration to remember.

At the farm next door, Julia’s niece, Phoebe, meets Eli Riehl, a young man who charms her—and everyone else—with his exceptional storytelling ability on a rumschpringe trip to Niagara Falls. When Phoebe sketches scenes to illustrate one of his tales, Eli encourages her incredible talent, and together they embark on a lofty and unlikely business venture for two young Amish people—writing and illustrating a children’s book.

Eli’s kindness and appeal extend beyond his knack for words to reach inside Phoebe’s shy heart. But he is an only son with five sisters, and when tragedy strikes at home, Eli gives up his writing to assume responsibility on the farm. Though willing to abandon his dream of becoming an author, he won’t give up his beloved Phoebe. Can their love for a good story develop into something that lasts forever, or will memories of the past stand in their way?

Besides entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from it?

I hope my readers will learn that the Amish aren’t much different from other Christian denominations. We all struggle to balance our daily lives with our walks of faith. Life isn’t easy; it’s not supposed to be. There is only One who can lighten our load.

Detours in life can be frustrating—kind of like plot twists in the stories we write—but the outcome is often more intriguing than our original plan. Can you tell us about a recent “detour” in your life—or in one of your character’s lives—that taught you something?

I had been recently rewriting/editing a book that had a January 1st deadline. I thought I would have an easy time of it, but then my dog got very sick and lingered for days before she finally died. Preparing for Christmas, my favorite holiday, also crept up unannounced. But I realized that my family, friends, and time spent with the Lord were more important than work-work-working. The book was turned in only one week late. And I had a lovely (albeit jam-packed) Christmas to remember.

What’s next for you? Any New Year’s writing resolutions?

I am putting the finishing touches on the first of my New Beginnings series, Living in Harmony, and then starting book two, Living in Paradise, right afterward. With three books due within the year, I won’t need a resolution to keep me in the chair in front of my computer.

A few fun questions…

When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?

Popcorn. I eat it every day. I can’t get enough. Good luck to any friend or loved one who shares a bucket with me in front of a movie. They had better have quick hands…

This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary talent?

Goodness, no. I wish! My mother wasted her money on my piano lessons, and I sing like a screech owl. But I do sing, however, loudly in church. Pity my fellow parishioners.

If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?

A hand-clapping, foot-stomping Gospel song. If we’re going to raise our voices in praise, let’s not be meek about it!

Are you a major or a minor chord?

I suppose minor, due to my aforementioned lack of musical talent.

In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?

Are we talking fiction or non?? Because if it’s fiction, I’m the mysterious woman behind dark glasses. If it’s non-fiction, I’m the (boring) girl next door with mousy hair.

I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.

Oh goodness, bad timing to ask this. My favorite dog of my life (and I’ve taken in strays for many, many years and have been fond of them all) just died. She was a springer spaniel named Miss Daisy who loved to flip on her back to get her belly rubbed. If someone broke into the house, Daisy would demand the robbers rub her belly before they carried out the TV.

Thanks, Mary. Sincere condolences on the loss of Miss Daisy. It’s nice to have you a guest as DivineDetour.

Thanks so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure.

~ ~ ~

For more information about Mary, visit her new website at or her blog at, or her Facebook page,!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236.

To purchase An Amish Family Reunion logon to:

2017-10-03T18:59:21+00:00 January 24th, 2012|Literary|20 Comments


  1. Mary Ellis January 24, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    thanks for inviting me, Kathy. What a lovely blog you have! many blessings on you and yours readers.

  2. […] the link to Kathy’s blog: Advertisement GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  3. Donna Taylor January 24, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Can’t wait to read An Amish Family Reunion. Love Marys’ books. And I love reading about the Amish.

  4. Nancee January 25, 2012 at 12:49 am

    I loved Mary’s comment regarding not being able to separate her faith life from her writing. Her books show the love she has for Christ, and sharing that with others is a mission. I love her books!

  5. Laurie January 25, 2012 at 3:19 am

    I love reading Mary’s books. Right now I’m in the middle of “The Way To A Man’s Heart”. Very good. I love reading about the Amish ways. I have family that lives in Cleveland and we went to Sugar Creek while visiting them a few years back. I can picture that kind of community life all over again as I read Mary’s books.

  6. sue whitmarsh January 25, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Love your books

  7. Karen Gervais January 25, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    A great interview!! Love Mary Ellis’ books. Can’t wait to read this one.

  8. admin January 25, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Thanks for taking the time, Mary! You have a busy year with three books due!

    Donna, Nancee, Laurie, and Sue, thanks for dropping by!


  9. Abigail Richmond January 25, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Thanks for the chance to win this book. It looks and sounds very interesting.
    I have some Amish friends.

  10. admin January 25, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Hi, Abigail! Thanks for dropping by today!


  11. Cynthia Yejerla January 25, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    I remember being at family reunions Amish or not when teenager. Would love to jog some memories from this book. Mary your talent is great. Thank you for sharing from the heart. 🙂

  12. Jennie January 26, 2012 at 6:00 am

    Would love to win:) thats for the give away and the info about it:)

  13. admin January 26, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Good morning, Cynthia and Jennie! Thanks for stopping by!


  14. Linda January 27, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    I love Amish fiction and am looking forward to reading your book. My heart goes out to you in the loss of Miss Daisy. I lost my beloved Mr. Buster von Baer two years ago and I still miss his presence in my life. God’s blessings to you always.

  15. Tonya Free January 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your new book. I really can relate to life interrupting what I thought was the right way to go and found out later God had a better way for me and my family. Trying to let go and let God is my new way of trying to accomplish things. Thanks you are such a great writer. God really uses what you pen!!!

  16. Rachel Kulp January 29, 2012 at 2:59 am

    I’d love to win a copy of your new Amish book. I used to live near the Amish in Pennsylvania. Blessings to you.

  17. Anne January 29, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    This book would be a treasure and so interesting. Many thanks for this chance.

  18. Cindy Murphy January 29, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Great interview, I can’t wait to read An Amish Family Reunion!

  19. admin January 31, 2012 at 12:46 am

    Congratulations to Karen Gervais! She is the winner of Mary’s book!

  20. […] Read a 2012 interview with Mary here. […]

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