Do you like cuckoo clocks?
I can remember visiting my grandparents and sleeping on the red couch in the living room beneath a black and white clock that cuckooed all night. Maybe it was only once an hour, but to me it felt like every two minutes during those long nights.
I’ve never owned a cuckoo clock, though when I hear one, the sound always makes me think of those childhood visits to my grandparents’ house.
I’ve been thinking about that lately, because I’ve been involved in writing the Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries series published by Guideposts. Every few weeks for the next two years a new book comes out about Cheryl Cooper, a young woman who moves to Sugarcreek, Ohio, in the heart of Amish country, and finds an unlikely new best friend in an Amish wife and mother. Somehow they always find themselves up against a mysterious conundrum.
What does that have to do with cuckoo clocks and memories of my grandparents?
Sugarcreek claims to have the world’s largest cuckoo clock—about twenty-four feet side and twenty-four feet high. Every hour on the hour, it not only cuckoos, but a five-piece mechanized oompa band comes out to play, and two dancers perform a polka. Imagine trying to sleep through that! The clock has a long history in another location and was moved to Main Street in Sugarcreek in 2010.
A group of eight authors are writing for Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries. The first six books are out, and I’m especially excited right now because my first contribution is next in line. Peace Like a River releases on December 16—just in time for Christmas! I also just turned in my second manuscript in the series, which is all about the enormous cuckoo clock and will come out next summer.
The cover to Peace Like a River is about as perfect as perfect could be in suggesting what the story is about. I love it. Here’s the back cover blurb.
Though Cheryl Cooper wrestles with her own mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day, she wants to make sure her good friends Naomi and Seth Miller have the truest love possible—which doesn’t include the obvious tension that is building between them. So when Cheryl stumbles across clues that indicate Seth is keeping an odd secret, and he gets testy and elusive whenever she asks him about it, her mystery-solving radar kicks in. Candy-heart messages left for her to find begin to make sense. Without knowing who her accomplice is, she follows cryptic leads to discover what happened in a split-second one summer day, decades ago, which splintered friendships and fostered love.
Here’s a video link to find out more about the whole series—you can jump in at any time, start from the beginning, or buy just the individual books that interest you.
If you have visited Sugarcreek, you might enjoy the way the series weaves in real places and people. And if you’ve never been, you will enjoy letting a real town with long Amish history come to life in your imagination.
Olivia Newport is the author of the Valley of Choice series of Amish stories and the ongoing collection of Amish Turns of Time, which includes Wonderful Lonesome, Meek and Mild, and Brightest and Best. Hope in the Land releases April 2016.