Mary Ellis grew up close to the eastern Ohio Amish community of Geauga County, where her parents often took her to farmer’s markets and woodworking fairs. She loved their peaceful, agrarian lifestyle, their respect for the land, and their strong sense of Christian community.
She met her husband in college and they married six days after graduation. She, her husband, dog and cat now live in Medina County, close to the largest population of Amish in the country—a four-county area in central Ohio. They often take weekend trips to purchase produce, research for her best-selling books, and enjoy a simpler way of life.
Mary enjoys reading, traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming. Before retiring to write full-time, Mary taught Middle School in Sheffield Lake, Ohio and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate for twenty years a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits.
What’s been one of your favorite things about writing this series set during the Civil War?
Mary: My current book is set in Richmond, Virginia, with opening chapters set in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I absolutely love taking research trips, especially to beautiful places such as these. My February release takes place in Wilmington, North Carolina, one of my favorite cities in the country. So much to see and do–all in the name of an accurate story.
Savanna: Speaking of Gettysburg, what is one of your favorite things to see there and why?
Mary: Since I’m fascinated with Civil War history, I love to go the National Park Service Battlefield. They have licensed guides who will drive your car for you, in addition to guided walking and horseback tours. They narrate the 3-day progression of the battle, while you sit back and watch the scenery. I love to stay at the Farnsworth House Inn. It was used during the filming of the movie Gettysburg, and it was actually a hospital during the battle.
Mary: I enjoy staying at my favorite bed and breakfast, eating food prepared by Amish and Mennonite hands, and visiting old friends who were instrumental while researching a dozen Amish romances. One of my research contacts concocts the recipes that appear in the back of my books, including A Plain Man.
Savanna: Describe your favorite place to write. What’s your ideal setting for inspiration?
Mary: My favorite place to write is my screened gazebo on my deck. I’m usually joined by my cat and dog for company. However, my ideal setting for inspiration is at the beach. I was lucky enough to write an entire novella, Always in my Heart, while vacationing for a month at the beach.
What would you say is the easiest part about being a writer and what is the hardest part?
Mary: The easiest part is coming up with ideas for stories. They pop into my head on a regular basis! The hardest part is time management. So many writing related tasks compete with actually writing the story.
Savanna: I hear ya! 😉 There really is an art to balancing it all. Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Mary! Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
Mary: I am putting the finishing touches on a stand-alone romance, also set during the Civil War, called The Last Heiress. This is a book set in Wilmington, North Carolina about blockade-running and the English cotton mills. The Last Heiress will release in February, 2015.
Savanna: Sounds good! I’ll be waiting for it! 😉
Mary has graciously offered one copy of A PLAIN MAN to one lucky winner!
–Leave your name and email in the comments below. (You MUST include your email to be qualified)
GET EXTRA ENTRIES:
(Be sure to tell me in the comments below)
-Subscribe to The Engrafted Word
-Like The Engrafted Word on Facebook
-Share this Giveaway on Social Media
Thanks for entering! Contest is open only in the U.S. and ends August 26, 2014.
Winner will be notified by email.