My grandmother Nettie Patrick Craig and her daughter, my Aunt Alice Craig Niemi, were true Shanachies, Irish storytellers from the Irish side of my family. They kept the history of our family in their heads and passed it down to us. My dad told me about my grandmother telling him a bedtime story for years that she made up as she went along—a new chapter every night and no repetitions. I remember sitting with my aunt and hearing the stories about our family—the time that the Nez Perce Indians riding their horses into the flooded Clearwater river to rescue my great-great-great grandfather from his mill, or my grandmother running off poachers with her 30-06. I heard these stories many times and it awoke a desire in me to be a storyteller.
How fascinating and what a rich heritage. What is the genre you write in?
I am one of about five or six men who write Amish fiction. But it’s interesting that my latest book, The Amish Heiress, has been sitting in the top ten bestsellers on Amazon in Mystery/Suspense, Historical and Romance. So I may be writing my way out of the genre, which is good since I love to write thrillers. I would hate to be known as the Truman Capote of Amish fiction.
Congratulations! How fun to be in such a select group. :) What is one thing you hope readers will take away from your story?
The Amish live their lives under the shadow of the Ordnung, a set of verbal laws and rules passed down from generation to generation. Many Amish believe that if they follow the law they will have right standing with God. My books try to make it clear that we are saved by grace and not by works—only Jesus Christ can save us.
Amen. How blessed we are to be saved by grace. Can you tell us when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
I published my first article in the school paper when I was seven years old. I still have a copy of that paper. I got such good feedback from my friends and family that I decided then and there that writing was something I could do well—and I’ve been writing ever since.
I can relate. I started writing at a young age too and have always had a desire to be a writer. How does your faith and spirituality work in with your writing?
When people ask me why I write I tell them I have two imperatives: To present the Gospel of Jesus Christ as clearly and understandably as I can, and to preserve our incredible language. I used to think I wanted to be a famous writer, but now I realize that if one person comes to know Jesus Christ through my books, then I have done my job.
Well said. Where did you get the inspiration for your latest book?
When I was writing the Apple Creek Dreams series, I was going to tell the stories of Jerusha Springer, her adopted daughter, Jenny, and then Jenny's daughter, Rachel. But I fell in love with the character of Jenny, and then there were two books about Jenny where I had only planned on one. Now I finally get to tell Rachel's story. It's a different kind of story, but then I'm not exactly known in Amish circles as someone who writes a typical Amish novel. In fact my stories have been called Amish PLUS. I think that's because I read too many Zane Grey books when I was a kid.
LOL. I guess all those books we've read as a kid have a way of influencing our writing. What do you plan to work on next?
The next book in The Paradise Chronicles is the Amish Princess. It’s the story or an Indian princess in the late 1700s on the Ohio border who comes to know Christ through two captive Amish twin brothers.
Ooh. That sounds interesting. When do you fit writing into your day?
Mornings are the best for me. By the time I get to the end of the day, you can put a fork in Patrick, he’s done. So writing at night? Forget it.
Chuckle. I can relate. I'm plain tuckered out by evening. Where do you get ideas?
From reading. I read voraciously and have since I was five years old.
There never is enough time to read, is there? :) If you have a day off, what's your favorite thing to do?
:) What is your favorite Bible verse and why?
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.Galatians 2:20.I love this verse because it reminds me that I truly did receive a free gift of eternal life and that I am right with God because I paid the penalty for my sins in Christ on the cross.
Amen. Finally, how can readers stay in contact with you?
Readers can find me online at www.patrickecraig.com, my Website or https://www.facebook.com/PatrickECraig, my Facebook page or at https://twitter.com/PatrickECraig, my Twitter account. Readers can purchase my books at http://tinyurl.com/n6sfagg, my Amazon page, or Barnes and Noble under Patrick E Craig. The Amish Heiress is available in on Amazon, B&N and all your favorite online stores. You can also find it on my website at http://www.patrickecraig.com/my-book-store.
Thank you for stopping by today, Patrick. I pray the Lord blesses you and your writing. Next week Rachel L. Miller will be visiting to tell us about her writing world. Don't forget that all comments left this month will be entered into the drawing for Erica Vetsch's new book, The Cactus Creek Challenge.