Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Meet Author Patrick E. Craig, Author of The Apple Creek Dreams series and review of "A Quilt For Jenna"

  I am a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984.  I spent the next 26 years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor in churches, at retreats, seminars and conferences all across the western United States.  After ministering for a number of years in music and to a circuit of small churches, I am now concentrating on writing and publishing both fiction and non-fiction books. My wife, Judy, and I now make our home in Idaho and are the parents of two adult children and have five grandchildren.
I am the author of  “A Quilt For Jenna,” “The Road Home,” and “Jenny’s Choice.

I sent some questions to Patrick that my readers wanted answers to and he has sent us his answers.

1 What intrigued you to write about the Amish?
I actually wrote about the Amish because my editor, Nick Harrison from Harvest House, challenged me to send him a one-sheet (story description on one page).  He said he liked Amish stories and quilting stories so I sent him the idea for A Quilt For Jenna and he liked it.  One year later, after writing the book, I got a deal with Harvest House.

Have you ever visited an Amish family's home?
No but I have several friends that I have made on social networks that are former Amish people that have left the Amish because of grace issues in the church.

Where can we buy your print books?   
Since they have been out for over a year, the best place is the online stores, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christian Book Store, etc.  

4 What is your favorite thing about the Amish culture.  
What attracts me and what I think really draws most people to the Amish way of life is the slow pace of life.  I think most people in their hearts are tired of the demands of the technological age.

What are your research habits when starting a new book.  
First of all, since most of my books are set in the past, I do a timeline of the expected action and important dates in the lives of characters.  I also do a chapter outline and then I try to find out what was happening in the world during that time.  In A Quilt for Jenna, I discovered the great snowstorm of 1950 in Ohio as I was researching quilting and quilting fairs in the area.  It fit right in with my story idea so I built the book around it.

6 Do you have any Amish friends that live in Apple Creek Ohio?  
No, but I do have friends that are from there.  Once I met a man at a writer’s conference.  I noticed his nametag listed him as being from Ohio.  I mentioned that I had written some books centered around a town there and he asked me what town.  Well, when I said Apple Creek, he laughed and told me he was from there.  Coincidence?  I’m not so sure.

7 What is your favorite character that you have ever created in one of your books?
Jenny Hershberger, Jerusha and Reuben’s adopted daughter.  I came to love her courage and spirit, and because she is also a writer, I felt that we had a lot in common.

8 What is your favorite book that you written?
I love the whole Apple Creek Dream series, but I think my favorite is Jenny’s Choice – mostly because the character of Jonathan goes through a lot of the same things I experienced in my own life.

9 What is your favorite book that you have read?
Oh my!  I’ve read so many, but I must say that the most memorable starting from my childhood were Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame, Betty Zane by Zane Grey, and The Lord of The Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkein.

10 Who is your favorite Author?
Zane Grey

11 What is your favorite Bible verse?
Philippians 4:6&7 - Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

12 Where is your favorite place to write?
When I lived in California, I loved sitting in front of our fireplace.  Now I write in my office in Idaho.

13 How do you choose a theme to write about?
I get ideas while I’m working or reading and I write them down on a scrap of paper or a notepad.  I have dozens of story ideas in a folder on my computer that I’ve transferred there from my little pile of notes..

14 What is your favorite Amish tradition?
The Wedding ceremony I described in A Quilt For Jenna

15 What is your favorite Amish food?
That has to be Whoopie Pie.

The books in" The Apple Creek Dreams Series" 

I have read " A Quilt For Jenna" and I will say it is a "Wunderbar gut" . The other two books in this series are on  My To Be Read List.

Book Description

 February 1, 2013
Amish + Quilts = readers delight! And in this first book in Patrick Craig’s Apple Creek Dreams series, readers will follow Jerusha Springer’s journey out of tragic circumstances to a new life of hope. Jerusha has spent months making the most beautiful quilt anyone in Apple Creek, Ohio, has ever seen, and she knows it’s going to take first prize at the Quilt Fair in Dalton. The prize will be her ticket out of the Amish way of life—away from the memories of her dead daughter and her tormented husband. But on the way to the Fair, she gets caught in the Storm of The Century and Jerusha’s driver crashes their car. While the driver goes for help, Jerusha is led by someone, or something, to the side of a lost little girl. By the time the storm clears, Jerusha finds there is a greater prize to be won than money and blue ribbons. A beautiful story of loss….and redemption.

FrFrom the Author ( I copied this from his Amazon Web Page!

Apple Creek is a real place.  It is a village set in the heart of Wayne County, Ohio, eleven miles from Dalton and ten miles from Wooster.   There are real streets, and real people in Apple Creek.  There are Hershbergers and Springers and some Halversons living there.  Apple Creek and the surrounding area is home to a large Amish community and has been since the mid 1800s.  Not far to the east lies Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where the first Amish that came to America settled in 1720.  I chose Apple Creek as the setting for "A Quilt for Jenna" while doing research on the Amish in Ohio and in particular on Amish quilt-makers.  Apple Creek, Dalton and Wooster, Ohio are known throughout the country for the marvelous Amish quilts that are produced there.  Dalton has one of the biggest quilting fairs in Ohio.
    A town named Apple Creek was just too good to pass up as a location, so I started my story there.  I used the actual streets and highways, the localities and even local family names.  As I mentally planted myself in the heart of Apple Creek, the characters in the book began to spring out of the earth, fully grown, with lives and stories, joys and sorrows.  The story was easy to write because it seemed as though I was reading someone's journal as I wrote it.
    The more I explored Apple Creek, the more I realized how connected I was to the village.  My great-great grandfather, Anthony Rockhill, was born 49 miles from Apple Creek in Alliance, Ohio in 1828.  Apple Creek is 85 miles from the site of Fort Henry, West Virginia on the Ohio River.  Fort Henry was the site of Betty Zane's run for life during the British and Indian siege during the revolutionary war in 1782.  The book 'Betty Zane,' by Zane Grey, was a childhood favorite and still has a place on my bookshelf.  As a child I poured over stories about Lewis Wetzel and Jonathan Zane and followed them through the trackless Ohio wilderness only a few miles from what would become the village of Apple Creek.  I've never been there, but I feel I know the area like the back of my hand.  And so it was no coincidence that I came to choose Apple Creek.  Though the characters in this book are fictional, they have become very real to me, as I hope they will become to you.  It is my hope that their stories will touch a place in your heart as you read, and that you might find something of your own life here in Apple Creek, Ohio, that may be changed for the better by the end of the book.  So, as I think about it, maybe it was coincidence that I chose Apple Creek.  After all, coincidence is just God choosing to remain anonymous ...
My Review: This story takes place during a blizzard at Thanksgiving in Ohio.  This story is about a quilt and how Jerusha intends to use it to help her leave the Amish life! Instead this quilt helps her learn that life isn't always as bad as it seems!

This story does an excellent job weaving Jerusha's past into the present ( in her memories, the past is described).

This is a great story of how bitterness and the inability to forgive can trap us into becoming something that we don't want to be!

I love how the little girl became a gift at just the right time. Oh, the best part is the name of the little girl, I am going to quote the author and say this about her name, "maybe it was coincidence, after all, coincidence is just God choosing to remain anonymous ..."

This book is a real story of forgiveness and healing that comes from sacrifice and reaching out to others in need.

This book was a book chosen for an online book chat and Patrick E. Craig joined in on the discussion and as always when an author joins us the book comes alive and seems more real. 

I read this book in September and the characters have been screaming in my head, "read the other two books in this series so you can see what happened to us, you know it is bound to be just as exciting and life changing as the quilt story!

I am pretty sure by now you know this book is getting five stars! I can't wait to get started reading the other 2 books in this series! I encourage you to invest your time in the stories of Apple Creek Dreams and you will be saying, what "Wunderbar gut stories as well !


Pat said...

You said to meet this author, Patrick E. Craig, and that is exactly what I did. He sounds like he has some background with his settings for his stories. I am fascinated with the Amish of the Apple Creek area. I am anxious to read his books. Thank you for this interview.

Debbie Curto said...

I really think you will like them!