by Amy Lillard
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to a copy of This Little Piggy by Amy Lillard, and links to purchase it from Amazon.
Amish mystery. Does the term have you scratching your head? At first it did me the same way. But so many books later and I can’t imagine my world without them.
Truthfully, I sort of fell backward into writing mystery novels. (Full-disclosure: I fell face-first into writing about the Amish, but that is another story for another day.) Mysteries. Yes. That’s what we were talking about. So I have always adored romance novels. Always. And, of course, that was where I started my writing career. Hence the web address: www.amywritesromance.com. Well, that and the fact that another Amy Lillard took Amy Lillard dot com. (Yes, there are more than one of us! But again, another story.) So how did mysteries get added in?
Not long into my career as a published romance author, I was contacted by a mystery subscription publisher about writing a book in one of their series. They wanted to have a suspect who was Amish, and they wanted an author who already knew something about the Amish to write it. I explained that I knew the Amish but not mystery. They told me that part I could learn. They would teach me. And another tentacle of my career began to grow. Since that time I have written nine other mysteries involving Amish characters and Amish communities and have several more contracted. That’s not even counting the non-Amish mysteries I’ve penned along the way. I’m still reeling at the expansion. Remember: Amy Writes Romance dot com?
But mysteries are fun to write. Starting off with the crime and working backward to find the killer is an entertaining way for me to plot out a mystery. But what about the Amish parts?
Having Amish characters and a crime that happens in an Amish community adds a different flavor to the mix. Yes, bad things occur even in the peaceful countryside where most Amish reside. It’s the handling of the crime and the different way of thinking that adds something new to the story. The key is not writing everything you wanted to know about the Amish but were afraid to ask. The secret is the balance between culture and mystery.
Kishacoquillas Valley in Pennsylvania is the perfect place to showcase this balance. Kish Valley is the setting for my Kappy King Mystery Series. Kappy’s latest adventure, This Little Piggy, released at the end of February. The valley is miles from the more touristy backdrop of Lancaster County. The area is home to twelve different sects of Amish and Mennonites, and the valley is the only place where you can see three different colors of buggies on the roadways: black, yellow, and white. Yes, yellow. Each one signifies a different set of beliefs with different rules and regulations for that community. This unique aspect and the varied population of Plain people located in such a small area are what makes this place truly special. I’ve been to the valley three times and want to go back again so bad I can taste it! It’s beautiful there, inspiring and all around lovely.
Most of all, it’s rich in farming, cottage businesses, and a wonderful sense of community. I wish everyone could go to Big Valley, as it is called, but I know that’s not possible. Just another reason to set a series there. If you pick up one of my Kappy King books, some of the places that you’ll visit as you read are places that I’ve been to myself—the bait shop where Jimmy works that also sells honey, the Mennonite lady who makes birdhouses, the green phone shanty at the end of the lane, and the Amish and Mennonite cemetery that sits deep in the valley.
That’s what makes it so special there, the culture and the people. And every time I sit down to write a “Kappy book” I get to return to the valley, if only in my imagination. But I hope my books take you to the valley as well; it’s a wonderful place to spend some time.
To enter to win a copy of This Little Piggy, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “piggy,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 23, 2022. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. BE SURE TO STATE WHICH ONE YOU PREFER. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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