Mary Ellis has written twelve bestselling novels set in the Amish community. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught middle school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. She has enjoyed a lifelong passion for American history and is an active member of the local historical society. She is currently working on several romances set during the Civil War. The Lady and the Officer is her current release.
Welcome to PASTimes, Mary. Tell us a little about what you write.
I recently changed genres to my first passion, historical romance. I’ve been a history buff since high school, so now I can finally put my trips to battlefields, museums, and restored villages to good use.
Is it hard to become an historical writer after writing Amish for so long?
Not at all, it would have been hard not to change. As much as I love the Amish culture and respect their commitment to faith and community, their Plain lives do not allow for an unlimited number of plot twists.
Are you a full-time writer or do you hold a day job? What is the biggest challenge/obstacle you face in protecting your writing time?
I am now a full time writer, but I wrote for around 10 years before quitting my “day job.” I still have trouble protecting my writing time. No matter how good our intentions, friends, family and real life intrude on a regular basis.
What historical time periods interest you the most and how have you immersed yourself in a particular time period?
I have been fascinated with the Civil War for at least 20 years. Therefore I’ve been reading biographies and non-fictional accounts long before I decided to set a romance during this turbulent time period.
Introduce us briefly to the main characters in your most recent book.
My heroine’s life is destroyed when the war arrives on her doorstep in Cashtown, PA. With little choice Madeline moves to her aunt’s home in the South. When military intelligence practically falls into her lap, how can she not spy to help the man she loves, a general in the Union army?
What are you working on now?
I am putting the finishing touches on The Last Heiress. My heroine travels to Wilmington, NC, on behalf of her father’s textile business in England. Since the blockade of ports curtails the cotton supply, Amanda must restore trade with the South to keep the mills open. Of course, she falls in love while she’s here…..
A reader once asked me this question, and I thought it was a good one. Is there ever a time when you feel like your work is truly finished and complete?
No, but I usually close my laptop and shut down social media by 6:00 pm. Tomorrow is another day as Scarlett O’Hara used to say.
Describe your workspace and include a photo.
Come back tomorrow to see Mary's workspace and to read the rest of the interview. To be entered into the drawing to win a copy of The Lady and the Officer, leave your answer to the following question along with your email (name at domain name dot com) by this Friday at 8:30AM EDT.
Have you ever had to make a choice between family loyalty and political convictions?