Thursday, May 24, 2012
Author Interview with Jerry Eicher
Interview with Author, Jerry Eicher
I am delighted to be able to share an interview with author of Amish fiction, Jerry Eicher, today. Please see my questions in red and Jerry's reponses in black. Enjoy!
1. I see that you were raised in the Amish culture and faith. Can you share some of your experiences with the readers?
You grow up somewhat sheltered, which is not that unusual for any dedicated Christian community, I suppose. Our youth group was an absolute delight. Loving, supportive, and an inclusive bunch of people. Both Tina and I have pleasant memories of volleyball games, Wednesday night sewing, ice skating, etc. And riding in buggies.
2. You left the Amish faith. Do you ever attend Amish church services and do you still have contact with your Amish relatives?
We have contact at funerals primarily, and the occasional visit. My parents received a wedding invitation this summer from dad’s side of the family. They asked us to drive, since dad’s not that well. So I guess we’ll get to attend an Amish wedding for the first time since we left.
3. I love how your characters seem more "human" than many Amish fiction authors portrayals. Do you think this is due to the fact that you were raised in the Amish faith? or what would you attribute this to?
I think you’re right on that point. They are human to me, because I grew around those kind of people.
4. I see that you taught in Amish and Mennonite schools. I am a retired teacher and would love to hear about some of your teaching experiences. I'm sure the readers would also!
My next book, coming out in June of this year, My Dearest Naomi, chronicles the life of an Amish school teacher. Actually, it’s closely based on my own year of teaching in a Mennonite parochial school in Illinois. Seventeen pupils in one room, all eight grades except for the second, which had no pupils. Loved every minute of it. All for $700.00 a month with room and board. The book is well worth the read. Just saying....
5. Do you have any pets?
The wife and daughters do. Not me....I already have too many things going.
6. How did you get started in writing?
For the sheer whim of it. I tried my hand at fiction in the eighth grade, and received an honorable mention in front of the one room school house.
7. What age were you when you started writing?
I began my serious writing in my forties. A little late, I know. But that’s the way things turned out.
8. As a former teacher, can you pick a teacher in your own past who had the most influence on your writing and explain why you chose this teacher?
That’s an interesting question. I discovered in writing my childhood memoirs, that the teacher I loved the most, I had nothing to write about. And I mean, like nothing. But the teacher I didn’t like took up several pages. I ended up showering him with profuse praise. Strange, but true. The book is due out in Jan. 2013, as “My Amish Childhood.”
9. Do you still follow some of the practices of your Amish faith? if so, which ones and why?
I’m sure we do in more ways then we are aware of. Anything from speaking the Pennsylvania Dutch language at home to retiring at a decent time in the evening. I still can’t believe how one of our children had to have something going almost every night in his teenage years. Quite un-Amish indeed.
10. Thank you so much for sharing about yourself and your writing with us today, Jerry. I personally love your books and am always on the lookout for new ones. Which is your favorite of your own books and why? and is there a new book on the horizon? Inquiring readers (and bloggers) want to know!!
You’re very welcome. And of my published books I’d pick “The Fields of Home” series. I loved the community and the people we meet. I became deeply invested in Susan and Teresa’s story. But I do have a sweet love story coming up this Christmas which tops them all, Susanna’s Christmas Wish. It was a story where I served more as a scribe than a writer.
For a full list of my writings, I keep things up-to-date at www.eicherjerry.com. There’s a full series planned for both 2013 and 2014. “Emma Raber’s Daughter” and “The Byler Sisters of Lancaster County”.
Thank you so much for sharing with my readers and I today on Rhonda's Doings!, Jerry. I am currently reading Missing Your Smile and then, Following Your Heart and look forward to posting a review of them here and on amazon.com, goodreads.com, and cbd.com. have a great day!