One of my friends on Facebook asked me which was my first book that was published. That’s an easy one to answer: Fields of Corn. As many of my readers may know, when I was in my 20s, I lived on an Amish farm. I rented a small apartment over a mule shed. For many years, I would commute back and forth…first from college to the farm and later from work to the farm. Eventually, life got in the way and I took a small break…and lost my apartment. While I’m happy to be sharing a house with Katie S., an elderly Amish woman, I sure do miss that apartment.
Much of the book, Fields of Corn, is based upon that experience. The people, the conversations, the settings, and the situations. Of course, there comes a point in the book where reality separated from fiction (otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing to my readers on a computer, using the Internet!). However, from that book, many other characters began to develop.
As I’ve mentioned in previous postings, almost all of my characters are based upon real Amish people. Whitey from Hills of Wheat is a real Amish gentleman, complete with a long white beard and twinkling eyes. He told me a “dirty” Amish joke: Why is it a bad idea for Amish to kiss in a buggy? (answer: Because horses carry tails/tales). Of all the jokes I’ve ever been told, that’s the only one I seem to remember…and that was over 25 years ago!
What I like about my characters is that they are, indeed, reflective of the people that I have met over the past 25 years. Not all Amish people are the same. They are not “cookie cutter” people. I’ve met not very nice people and I’ve met the most wonderful people in the world. I’ve met cranky people, funny people, lively people, and shy people. In other words, they are people. But there is such an element of romance about this culture that I’m still drawn to it…as we all are, I believe.
And, on that note…I shall go pack for my journey today. 🙂