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There is something magical about telling novels that immerse the readers in the characters and the stories. All of my novels, both the Amish romance and the women’s fiction, have pieces of me in them–some more than others. However, I write my novels with one major purpose in mind: to take the reader on a journey. A personal journey.
Unlike many other authors of the Amish fiction genre, I dig deeper into the Amish culture. I try to develop the individualism of each character. People have a tendency to stereotype the Amish, to make them as if God cut them from the same fabric. But they are people, just like everyone else in the world: individuals with feelings, dreams, hopes, and disappointments.
My experience living among the Amish (and growing up with a Mennonite family) adds authenticity and accuracy to the setting, but my deep-rooted awareness about the psychology of people adds a layer of depth to the characters that are not seen in many other novels.
As for the women’s fiction such as The Faded Photo, Heavenly Blues, and Shattered Mirror, I dive into the emotional awareness and growth of the main characters as they deal with breast cancer, drug addiction, and other real life situations. Fortunately–or unfortunately, some might think– I’ve lived many different lifetimes—some good, many not so good. I pull from those experiences when I’m developing characters, regardless of their situation: breast cancer, depression, isolation, drug addiction, sexual abuse, divorce, domestic violence, etc. Many of my readers know someone who have experienced these situations or have experienced it themselves. I often hear from them that they’ve truly connected with the characters in my women’s fiction.
Today, I live on a 50-acre horse ranch in northern Florida where I run a wild mustang rescue and sanctuary. We have 50+ horses, mules, burros, and ponies in our care. If you are ever in Alachua County, Florida, perhaps you might visit us for a tour at CZ Mustangs Rescue & Sanctuary.
When I can, I travel around the country with my nineteen-year-old daughter, Cat Zimmerman, a nationally renown wild mustang trainer. People send horses and mustangs from across the nation to her for training. She also travels around the country competing, giving clinics, and performing with her herd of mustangs. The good news is that I can write anywhere. So, I bring my laptop and I’m all set to work! 🙂
Fun Fact: I’ve tried to compete with my wild burros (see photo of me with PoohBear the wild burro). After a wild mustang broke my arm, I realized that I’m better suited for writing than I am for training wild animals. Promptly, I decided to leave that job to my daughter who is clearly better skilled in that particular area.