Today I'm delighted to introduce y'all to Patrick Craig. He is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next 26 years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor in churches, and at retreats, seminars and conferences all across the western United States. After ministering for a number of years in music and worship to a circuit of small churches, he now concentrates on writing and publishing fiction and non-fiction books. Patrick and his wife Judy make their home in rural Idaho and are the parents of two adult children and have five grandchildren.
I'm so intrigued by his songwriting and performance career! Today, though, we are focusing on his writing. He is one of a handful of men who write Amish fiction. He has a new one coming out in June and so we wanted to catch up with him and learn more about what he's doing.
Welcome to PASTimes, Patrick! Thanks for joining us and sharing a bit about your writing world.
What drew you to write this book?
The Amish Heiress was supposed to be the third book in my Apple Creek Dreams series for Harvest House. The first book, A Quilt For Jenna, was about Jerusha Springer, the second book, The Road Home, was about her daughter, Jenny Springer, and the third, The Amish Heiress, was slated to be about Rachel Hershberger, Jenny Springer Hershberger’s daughter. But when I finished book number two, I had fallen in love with the character of Jenny Springer Hershberger and asked my publisher if I could write another book about Jenny. They graciously allowed me to and so Jenny’s Choice was born. But I always intended to tell Rachel’s story and so The Amish heiress is about Rachel Hershberger.
How did you get the idea for this novel?
The first series was born out of a challenge from Nick Harrison, Senior Editor at Harvest House. He asked for a one sheet for some story ideas and mentioned that he liked Amish stories and quilting stories. I sent him an idea for an Amish quilting story, even though at that time I knew nothing about the Amish or quilting. He liked the story idea and asked for some sample chapters thinking it was going to be a short story. In the meantime I sent the chapters to Steve Laube, who is now my agent, and he encouraged me to make the idea into a novel and present ideas for two more novels with it. So I wrote A Quilt For Jenna and sent it to Harvest House along with the ideas for The Road Home and The Amish Heiress. They liked the whole series and gave me a contract. The Amish Heiress was born out of the whole Apple Creek Dreams series and is the first book in my new series, The Paradise Chronicles.
What was the greatest challenge in writing this book?
I’m probably one of about five men who writes Amish fiction. I read a lot of Zane Grey and other adventure authors when I was young and have always wanted to write adventure stories. Amish fiction is generally light-hearted romance dressed up in Amish clothing. My stories are not that at all—they are about desperate people in desperate situations that only the Lord can solve. This book has a lot more adventure that the first three so my challenge was to not write myself out of the genre.
What do you hope readers remember after your stories ends?
The Amish have a set of rules called the Ordnung that they live by. The Ordnung are oral tradition passed down through the years that are man’s interpretation of what the Word of God says. Many Amish believe that if they follow the Ordnung they will achieve right-standing with God. The danger in that of course is forgetting that only Jesus can save us. So I hope my readers remember two things—you are not saved by the law, and Jesus alone is the author and finisher of our faith.
Fascinating. I love hearing your heart as you write these books.
Be sure to come back tomorrow when Patrick will be sharing more about his writing. He's also giving away a copy of Jenny’s Choice or the Amish Heiress (which releases June 15). All you need to do is leave a comment and enter that in the rafflecopter below. Thanks!