Sunday, December 2, 2012
Hope Springs, a place for Amish romance.
A HOPE SPRINGS CHRISTMAS is my third Christmas novel and my seventh story set in the fictional Amish community of Hope Springs, Ohio. The book is in stores now. When I first created Hope Springs, I drew on the small town I knew well. The town of Hope, Kansas. A stone sign outside the town near the farm I grew up on says, "There will always be Hope in Kansas." That is exactly what I wanted for my fictional town. I wanted a place where hope springs eternal. Not only is it a friendly place with a cozy inn, a fine café, a modern medical office and numerous other businesses, it's full of people I'd like to get to know. It's a small town with a bigh heart where people come together to help one another.
You might be surprised at the amount of research that goes into creating a fictional town. I started out by doing an internet search for the name Hope Springs in states with large Amish populations. I found a Mount Hope, but no Hope Springs in Ohio. I knew then that I was off to a good start. The next thing I needed was a real town to model my fictional one after. The village of Sugarcreek in Ohio provided me with a great blueprint for my town. It was the right size and location. I even made a map so I'd know which street someone lives on and where the bus stop was located. Sugarcreek was also big enough to have a good mix of Amish and non-Amish members in the community.
Although my Brides of Amish country series has mainly Amish characters, I've been careful to introduce non-Amish or English characters as well. My second book in the series, The Doctor's Blessing, dealt with a nurse mid-wife and a new doctor in town. Showing the Amish through the eyes of a nurse who loved them vs. a doctor who didn't understand them at all made for great conflict. In A Home for Hannah, the hero was the local sheriff and the heroine was an ex-Amish woman who discovers a baby on her doorstep. Her inside knowledge of the Amish helped the sheriff solve the mystery and find Hannah's mother. Of course, like all romances, a happily ever after moment did happen for both unlikely pairs.
In A HOPE SPRINGS CHRISTMAS, the town is once again a major character in the story. When two neighbors try to match-make for each other, the consequences are funny, touching and downright romantic. If you've been to Hope Springs, I'd like to know what you thought of the town. Do you enjoy books in a series or do you prefer stand alone books? What makes a fictional town seem real to you?
By the way, Merry Christmas to all of you from Pat Davids and all the people in Hope Springs.