The Amish Princess is scheduled for a late fall release. It is the story of Opahtuhwe, The White Deer, the beautiful daughter of the most powerful Chief of the Delaware tribe. She is revered by her people as a true Indian Princess. Everything in her life changes when the murderous rengade known as Scar brings three Amish prisoners to the Delaware camp. Jonathan and Joshua Hershberger are twin brothers, the only survivors of the brutal massacre of most of the Hershberger family. Scar has made them captives and is determined to adopt them and teach them the Indian way. The third prisoner is Jonas Hershberger, who was made a slave when he would not defend his family because of his Amish faith and his stand against violence. When the brothers arrive, White Deer is drawn to Jonathan but his hatred of the Indians causes him to push her away. Joshua's gentle heart and steadfast refusal to abandon the Amish faith ultimately lead White Deer to a life-changing decision and rejection by her people. In the end, White Deer must choose between the ways of her people and her new-found faith. And complicating it all is her undying love for the man who can only hate her.
How did the story for the Amish Princess develop in your mind?
I've been writing about the Hershberger family since my first Amish book, A Quilt For Jenna. Early in that story Jerusha Hershberger learns about her great-great-great-grandfather, Joshua Hershberger from her grandmother, Hannah. It happens like this:
Hannah handed the second book to Jerusha. It was small with a plain leather cover.
"What's this, Grandmother?" she asked.
"This is the story of Jonathan and Joshua Hershberger," said Hannah. "It tells of the choices the twin brothers made after Indians massacred their family near Fort Henry on the Ohio, and what effect those decisions had on generations of Hershbergers. One brother, Jonathan, forsook the Amish church and he and all his descendants went out into the world. The other brother, Joshua, stayed in the church and remained faithful, even under the most difficult conditions. Joshua was your great-great-great grandfather. It was his grandson, my father, who came to Apple Creek in 1860 as a boy. It is because Joshua stayed true, that you are here today."
Once that seed was planted I had in mind to write the story of the twin Hershberger brothers somewhere down the line. So, in my second Amish book, The Road Home, Jerusha's adopted daughter, Jenny Springer, meets Jonathan Hershberger who she discovers is the great-great-great-great-grandson of Jonathan Hershberger, the twin who married the Indian princess White Deer and left the Amish faith. After The Road Home I wrote two more books about the Hershberger women, Jenny's Choice and The Amish Heiress. And in my mind, all those stories were pointing to The Amish Princess. Having laid the groundwork in the previous four books, I went back to Joshua and Jonathan to tell the story of the twin brothers and their relationship to White Deer, the Deleware maiden who became known as The Amish Princess, and tie it into the story of the women of the family that is the centerpiece of both the Apple Creek Dreams series and The Paradise Chronicles series.
What are your goals for these characters?
If you have read Jenny's Choice and The Amish Heiress, you know that in my epilogues for those books, I used a literary device where Jenny Hershberger, the protagonist of The Road Home and Jenny's Choice is revealed to be the actual writer of all the Apple Creek Dream books and The Amish Heiress. Since she is Amish she cannot publish them herself so she turns the manuscripts over to a "writer" from California who puts the books out under his own name. As the "author" of the books, the fictional character of Jenny has set about to tell the story of all the strong women of her family–her mother, her daughter, her husband's great-great-great-grandmother and even the founding matriarch of the family, the Princess Isabella of Hungary, who in the turbulent days of the Anabaptist rebellion of 1534, becomes involved with one of the first Hershberger men, marries him and is the mother of the Hershberger line all the way down to Rachel Hershberger. That story will be told in the last book of The Paradise Chronicles, The Mennonite Queen. So all along I have wanted to develop a set of women characters that have history, strength, and an enduring nobility that presents their relationship with Christ in a way that reaches the hearts of my readers through a great span of literary time.
How has writing these stories affected you?
As I have been writing the Apple Creek Dreams books and The Paradise Chronicles series, I have come to love the characters in these books. I feel like I know them. They are so real to me I think sometimes that I see them walking down the street, and my readers agree with me which is extremely gratifying. Actually when I finish the Paradise Chronicles series and wrap up the stories of the Hershberger women, it is my hope that my future books will birth characters that become known and loved by my readers, the same way I have come to know and love Jerusha and Reuben Springer, Bobby Halverson, Jenny and Jonathan Hershberger, Rachel and Daniel King, and now, Jonathan and Joshua Hershberger and White Deer, the Amish Princess.
What else do you have in the works?
I just released a new edition of the first book in my YA mystery series, The Mystery of Ghost Dancer Ranch and will be following that up with a new edition of The Lost Coast, book two in that same series. (Visualize Frank Peretti mixed with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and you will get an idea of what the books are like.) I have a new thriller in mind called Scars on Heaven and a Historical Romance set during the War of the Roses in England titled Amour Mi Tien, Love Keep Me. I also want to write some western books and more Amish romance.
Best-selling author Patrick E. Craig 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. In 2011 he signed a three-book deal with Harvest House Publishers to publish his Apple Creek Dreams series. His current series is The Paradise Chronicles and the first book in the series, The Amish Heiress, was published by P&J Publishing in August of 2015 and remained on the Amazon bestseller lists for seven months. The second book in the Series, The Amish Princess, will be released in the fall of 2016, followed by The Mennonite Queen. Patrick and his wife Judy make their home in Idaho and are the parents of two adult children and have five grandchildren. Patrick is represented by the Steve Laube Agency.
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Purchase Patrick's books:
The Amish Heiress and all the Apple Creek Dreams books are available in on Amazon, B&N and all your favorite online stores. You can also find The Amish Heiress on my website at http://www.patrickecraig.com/my-book-store/
You can also find The Mystery of Ghost Dancer Ranch on Amazon. Look for The Amish Princess in late September, 2016.