Today we welcome Bestselling Author:
She has come to share with us – a little of her own writing journey
and some of that much-needed encouragement.
Thank You Mary!
God Bless You!
– Many authors say their first novel will never see the light of day but I remember reading that you recently pulled out the first novel you wrote and gave it a “face-lift”. Would you mind sharing a bit about why you put it away to begin with and what prompted you to bring it back out?
That’s an easy one. I put it away because neither I nor my agent were able to sell this novel. I was told, “no one’s buying historical fiction, especially not the Civil War.” So I waited a dozen years for it’s “day” to come. Historical fiction has enjoyed a resurgence and the 150th anniversary has triggered some interest in the Civil War. However, I soon discovered my “baby” needed a full rewrite since I’d learned much since my early days as a novelist.
– Aside from regular posting on Facebook, are there any special marketing techniques you suggest or recommend – especially to unpublished authors?
Goodness, you’re asking the wrong person. Facebook is the only social media I do–not Twitter or Pinterest or Instagram or Linked-in or anything else. Not because I see no value in those, but because I don’t have enough hours in the day. I try to have a “real” life too, in addition to spending 9 hours a day at my computer. I personally know many fine authors who can juggle more “balls in the air” than me and still have normal lives. But we all have to make choices. In my humble opinion, a new writer should spend the majority of his/her time learning the basics of fiction writing and polishing their work.
– Would you mind sharing with us how many rounds of querying you went through before getting that first “YES!”? And how much (if any) of your second book did you have completed before you signed a contract for the first one?
I queried every agent and publisher in the book who published or represented my genre for several years, before landing my current agent. She sold not the first full manuscript I completed, or even the second. I believe it was the fifth book that finally garnered some publisher interest. When I finally burned my early rejection letters, I did so outdoors, not in the fireplace!
– How difficult has it been for you to go from one genre to another? Do you write simultaneously in both or do you have to close one out and take a break before diving into the other?
For me, it would have been difficult to remain in my chosen genre (Amish). After a dozen published books, I had run out of steam…and plot twists! I need to change directions or I would be trotting out the same tired themes. I was writing two genres at the same time for a while, but I had no trouble keeping stories separate. Time management….it all comes down to finding enough time for everything you want to do.
– Do you have any special tips or hints you would like to share with struggling or novice authors out there?
The world of publishing is changing at lightning speed. Keep up with what’s going on in the marketplace. And don’t be too quick to self-publish your book before its been sufficiently edited. Whether your seeking a traditional publisher or not, a manuscript needs to be letter-perfect or your career will suffer.
Good luck to you all! Mary Ellis
Please join me in Thanking Mary for taking time
out of a very busy schedule to answer these questions for us.
I truly hope all of you have found this as inspiring as I have!
And now for some other info about Mary and her wonderful books
From Mary’s website:
Mary Ellis grew up close to the eastern Ohio Amish, where her parents took her to farmer’s markets and woodworking fairs. She loved their peaceful lifestyle, respect for the land, and strong sense of Christian community. She met her husband in college and they married six days after graduation. They now live close to the largest population of Amish in the country—a four-county area in central Ohio. They often take weekend trips to purchase produce, research her best-selling books, and enjoy a simpler way of life. She was re-baptized by emersion four years ago and committed her life to Christ.
Mary enjoys reading, traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught Middle School and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate for twenty years—a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits.
All three of her Miller Family series, A Widow’s Hope, Never Far from Home, and The Way to a Man’s Heart made the Christian bestseller lists. A Widow’s Hope was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards for 2010 in the long contemporary category, and a runner-up in the 2010 Holt Medallion Awards. An Amish Family Reunion released in Feb. 2012 and made the CBA & EPCA bestseller lists. She is currently working on the New Beginning series. The first, Living in Harmony, will be available in August.
And now for a look at her books:
Have you read the first book (the one I referenced above) in Mary Civil War Heroines series:
“The Quaker and The Rebel”?
Emily Harrison’s life has turned upside down. At the beginning of the Civil War, she bravely attempts to continue her parents’ work in the Underground Railroad until their Ohio farm is sold in foreclosure. Now alone and without a home, she accepts a position as a governess with a doctor’s family in slave-holding Virginia. Though it’s dangerous, she decides to continue her rescue efforts from there.
Alexander Hunt, the doctor’s handsome nephew, does not deny a growing attraction to his uncle’s newest employee. But he cannot take time to pursue Emily, for Alexander isn’t what he seems—rich, spoiled, and indolent. He has a secret identity. He is the elusive Gray Wraith, a fearless man who fights the war from the shadows, stealing Union supplies and diverting them to the Southern cause.
The path before Alexander and Emily is complicated. The war brings betrayal, entrapment, and danger. Amid their growing feelings for each other, can they trust God with the challenges they face to provide them with a bright future?
And her most recent Amish fiction: “A Plain Man”
Though Caleb Beachy lived in theEnglisch world for some years, he is a Plain man at heart. When he decides to return to the Amish lifestyle, he moves back home and goes to work for his father. Soon these two strong-willed men find themselves at odds. Caleb discovers there’s more to embracing his faith and reconnecting with the community than merely driving a horse and buggy and giving up Levis.
Josie Yoder was just a girl when he left. All grown up now, she gives Caleb hope for the future. She soothes his frayed temper and is determined to remind him that while his faith may have wavered, God never left his side. Caleb is tempted to return Josie’s feelings, but the choices he made while away are a heavy burden on his conscience. Will past mistakes end up destroying their fledgling romance? Or will she be able to break through the wall around his heart?
A Plain Man is more than just a sweet romance centered in Amish beliefs. It’s the ever-fresh story of a wounded heart finding joy, health, and healing in God’s infinite grace.
Mary Ellis is a tremendous inspiration to me.
Not only has she written eleven successful Amish fiction novels and at least one novella but she has pulled me into a new genre that I never thought I would enjoy reading about.
This is just one more reason we have created this community of friends. As much as we need to support each other and reach out to each other and remind each other that God has a plan for every one of us! We also need to have the constant reminder that each one of us has a very different journey ahead of us.
God Bless You and Have a GREAT week!