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Interview with Mary Ellis

What do historical romance, Amish fiction and suspense have in common? Mary Ellis! This prolific writer has books in all three genres, including her latest release, a suspense called Sweet Taste of Revenge. Read on to find out how she came to be an author of different genres and what takes up her time when she isn’t writing.

Welcome, Mary. Your author “resume” contains a variety of genres ... which came first: historical romance, Amish fiction or suspense? And how did you get started in each one?
Ahh, the chicken or the egg conundrum…I started writing historical romance (but the book wasn’t re-edited and published until years later.) Then I wrote two mysteries (under my married name) and then switched to Amish fiction under the name Mary Ellis.

Your latest release is a suspense. Do you still write in the other genres or are you focusing on suspense exclusively?
Currently I write long suspense/mystery books and Amish novellas. The back-and-forth is creatively good for me!

What are some of the challenges of writing each genre?
Suspense requires much more research since the lives of the Amish are very familiar after fourteen Amish stories. But it’s difficult to come up with Amish plot twists that haven’t been done hundreds of times before.

Many of your books are part of a series. What do you enjoy about writing series? And do you ever wish you could keep writing a particular series that has come to an end?
I love writing books in a series because the characters you lovingly created will keep coming back in subsequent books, including the evil villains! Yes, I always wanted to write one more book in the Wayne County series (Abigail’s New Hope and A Marriage for Meghan) I had the third book in the series (the youngest sister’s story) all plotted out when my publisher pulled the plug and asked for a new series. Just last week I heard from a reader who asked when book 3 would be out. Book 2 came out back in 2011!

How difficult is it to write a setting that isn't geographically close to where you live? And what tips can you give for research, whether in person or online?
I love to travel and so does my husband. We do that a lot now that he has retired. Another good source is non-fiction books about the area, such as good travel guides. (Not the touristy kind that point you to certain restaurants.)

A lot of writers and creative types claim to not like or be good at math, but you were a math teacher. How did you discover your passion for words?
Don’t give me too much credit. Yes, I taught math but it was in a middle school. Algebra was the upper level of what I taught. In other words, no advanced math or calculus. But my students sure knew how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide (without a calculator) and how to balance a checkbook! My passion for words has always been around. (Just ask my husband at the dinner table.)

What takes up your time when you aren't writing?
I love working out in my yard and garden! I have an awesome shade garden when the deer don’t get to it first.


Lisa Bartelt is a child of the flatlands fulfilling her dream of living near mountains in Pennsylvania. She loves reading, writing and listening to stories—true ones, made-up ones and the ones in between—preferably with a cup of coffee in hand. Wife, mom of two, writer, ordinary girl, Lisa blogs about books, faith, family and the unexpected turns of life at

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