With over a million copies sold, Kathleen Fuller is the USA Today bestselling author of several bestselling novels, including the Hearts of Middlefield Series, the Middlefield Family Series, the Amish of Birch Creek Series, and the Amish Letters Series as well as a middle-grade Amish series, the Mysteries of Middlefield Series.
In this interview, she talks with us about the third book in her Amish Mail-Order Bride Series, Love in Plain Sight.
FF: What inspired the story in your book?
I’ve always wanted to write a mail-order bride story, and I put my own twist on the concept—an anonymous practical joker puts an advertisement in the paper for brides in Birch Creek. Katharine answers the advertisement, not because she wants to get married, but because has to flee her community. I liked the challenge of writing a character who is trying to hide a secret (and hide from herself). It was something I hadn’t attempted before.
FF: What can you tell us about the main characters in Love in Plain Sight?
Katharine is overweight, has acne, is shy—and has a secret. Ezra is the newly hired handyman at the inn where Katharine is staying. He’s also being chased by one of the women who answered the bride advertisement. Neither wants romance, but God has other plans.
FF: Which character surprised you the most?
Katharine. She became more outgoing and confident than I expected. She also has an inner strength that not only surprises her, but everyone else.
FF: Why do you think storytelling is such a powerful way to share truth?
Stories, even the most outlandish ones, always have an element of relatability in them. There’s also a separation between the story and the audience. That allows the audience to think, “This isn’t about me really, but it really is about me.” Kind of like sugar with medicine—we need something that eases truth into our consciousness.
FF: What can you tell us about your next book?
My next book is the first in a new series set in the fictional town of Marigold, OH which is next door to Birch Creek. The Courtship Plan features Jesse Bontrager, Ezra’s brother, and Charity Raber, the woman who set her “kapp” for Ezra in Love in Plain Sight. Characters from my Birch Creek Series will crossover to Marigold, and there will be lots of brand-new families for readers to meet.
FF: How do you get into the right frame of mind to write for your genre/audience?
I’ve always loved the simple, community centered culture of the Amish, and so do Amish fiction fans. I like to show that while Amish and English cultures have many differences, they have lots of similarities. I enjoy getting lost in my stories as much as my readers do!
FF: What do you want readers to take away after reading your book?
All my books have a recurring theme of God bringing us through trials, and this story is no exception. I also want readers to be entertained and enjoy the happy ending!
FF: What are the biggest challenges for you as an author writing in your specific genre?
My biggest challenge is being accurate and respectful of the Amish. That was my goal from the beginning. My characters are fictional, but I want them to be as real as possible within the boundaries of fiction and the boundaries of Amish culture. There are lots of differences between Amish orders and districts—what one Amish community in Ohio restricts another community in Indiana allows. I try to create fictional communities that follow the generalities of the culture, and not get bogged down into the specifics. That, in itself, can be a challenge, too.
FF: What authors or books have inspired you as an author?
I love Francine Rivers, Jenny B. Jones, Brock and Bodie Thoene. Right now, I’m reading an excellent nonfiction book by Donald Kraybill, What the Amish Teach Us. I’m not only learning new things about Amish culture, but the short essays in the book are applicable to everyone.
FF: How has your faith or world view impacted the way you tell stories?
My faith is extremely important to me. Trusting God with all things is something I’ve had to learn to do over the years—each time I don’t, I end up with a lot of unnecessary stress! Writing faith-based books lets me explore themes I’m currently going through, have gone through, or possibly will deal with. It’s easy to get caught up in the bustle of the world, but writing brings me back to the center of my life—the Lord.
Love in Plain Sight
Amish Mail-Order Bride Series #3
Genres: Amish Romance
Release Date: May 3, 2022
In the town of Birch Creek where the only danger is getting swept off your feet, Katharine Miller hides the secrets of her past . . . until she meets Ezra Bontrager and is forced to face the greatest risk of all—opening her heart to true love
After fleeing her hometown, Katharine finds peace and anonymity while working at Stoll’s Inn and keeping to herself. As long as her guard is up, she can protect herself and others from her past, with the hope that one day her family will forgive her for leaving.
Ezra Bontrager has never shared a love of farming with his brothers and father, and when he takes a job at Stoll’s Inn, he quickly finds even more reason to come to work every day. Although he has no intention of marrying anytime soon, Ezra can’t help but want to learn more about the quiet and mysterious newcomer who doesn’t appear to have come to Birch Creek looking for a husband, as so many have done after the want ad that advertised Birch Creek’s many bachelors.
As Katharine and Ezra continue to cross paths, Katharine feels her defenses lower, and Ezra no longer scoffs at the idea of marriage. Just as they start to hope for the future, the past comes roaring back—not just for Katharine and Ezra but for the entire community of Birch Creek. Confronting that past won’t be easy, but it brings the opportunity for love and grace to abound.
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