Welcome Laura, so glad to have you joining us today!
Complexity in Simplicity
By Laura Bradford
Looking back through my childhood, I guess it’s not really a surprise that I’ve gravitated towards the Amish with my mystery writing. After all, I was always fascinated with the simpler lifestyle of Laura Ingalls Wilder as depicted in her books and by the TV show based on her life.
I suppose, in many ways, it’s that same pull toward simplicity that still has me carrying around a flip phone and using an old fashioned paper planner to keep track of my appointments and such. Simple is, for lack of a better description, less complicated.
Or, at least that’s what I thought.
Now, with three books under my belt in my Amish Mysteries, I’ve come to realize that “simple living” doesn’t always equate to “less problems.” In fact, in some ways, it causes more.
When I was creating the town of Heavenly, Pennsylvania as the backdrop for this series, I knew I wanted some characters who were Amish, and some who were English. By doing so, the reader could learn about the Amish along with the English characters.
What I didn’t expect, though, was the hold one particular character—the one who straddles both worlds, equally—would start to have on me as I progressed through the books.
Detective Jakob Fisher loves his job. He loves knowing that he can rid the streets of bad guys by keeping his eyes and ears open for trouble. The problem is, he’s working in Heavenly now. And in order to do his job in Heavenly, he has to interact with people who are bound and determined to treat him as if he doesn’t exist.
Because, to them, he doesn’t.
That’s what happens, though, when you’re raised Amish and choose to leave after baptism.
Had Jakob decided to pursue police work before baptism, he could have maintained a
relationship with his parents and siblings until his death. But since he waited to make that choice until after, he’s lost everything.
His beloved sister, Martha, and the nieces and nephews her marriage has provided…
His adopted brother, Isaac…
And, essentially, anyone and everyone who knew the person he was for the first half of his life.
Claire, my main character, has questioned his reasons for coming back to a place where people shun him. Even Diane, Claire’s aunt, has wondered the same thing, on occasion. But for Jakob, the reason for his return to Heavenly is simple: just because logic and experience tell him things will never change, doesn’t mean hope concurs.
Maybe, if he walks past Heavenly Treasures—Claire’s gift shop—at the same time his niece Esther is getting off work, he might be on the receiving end of a faint nod of acknowledgement or even a shy smile.
Maybe, if he apprehends a criminal wreaking havoc on his former Amish friends, they’ll realize his leaving wasn’t such a bad idea.
And, maybe, just maybe, when something goes wrong and he steps in to help, they’ll whisper a thank you in his direction—two simple words to you or me, but two more than anyone from his childhood has uttered in his direction in seventeen years.
It’s tragic, really. And ripe with all sorts of possibilities that make me giddy as a writer!
So come on, explore with me...
SHUNNED AND DANGEROUS—the third book in my Amish Mysteries—is now available. In this story, Jakob’s decision to return to Heavenly is sorely tested when a murder in town brings him face to face with a suspect who hasn’t spoken to him in seventeen years. The fact that it’s his father only makes
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Laura Bradford is the national best-selling author of the Amish Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime). To learn more about Laura and the Amish Mysteries (as well as the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries she writes under the pen name, Elizabeth Lynn Casey), visit her website: www.laurabradford.com, “like” her page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laura-Bradford/316744455035472?ref=hl, or follow her on Twitter @Bradfordauthor.