Is Amish fiction about fleeing from reality? What should we expect if we meet an Amish person? What do the Amish think about us? Discover answers to these questions and more in this roundtable interview with three preeminent authors of Amish fiction: Amy Clipston (Naomi's Gift), Shelley Shepard Gray (Christmas in Sugarcreek), and Vannetta Chapman (Falling to Pieces). Pull up a chair — wooden or otherwise — and read on.
ZBLOG: Has your research on the Amish way of life changed how you view our broader American lifestyle?
VANNETTA: Yes, very much so. It's re-affirmed a lot of things that my husband and I practice (trading in a suburban lifestyle for a rural one), etc. It's also confirmed for me that Americans in general are looking for elements found in the Amish community, elements that existed in our grandparents' community — more intimate friendships, closer knit neighborhoods, slower pace lifestyles, etc. Those things are still available to everyone to some extent.
AMY: I'm more aware of how caught up in the day to day some Americans are, and I try to take a step back and appreciate the small moments with my family. Instead of just focusing on the daily grind of commuting to work, paying bills, and rushing off here and there, I do my best to spend quiet time talking to my children and listening to them every day, even if I can only squeeze a few minutes before they go to bed at night.
SHELLEY: I've definitely learned to appreciate each moment and day more fully. There's a time for everything, and from my research and friendships with the Amish, I've tried to stop being in such a rush and fretting about the future.
ZBLOG: What’s one thing about the Amish that would surprise most people?