Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Romance of Writing Romances by Sarah Price

Excerpt from Hills of Wheat 

(by yours truly, Sarah Price)

“So,” he began, “now that we are headed home, what are we supposed to talk about?” He looked at her. “In an Amish courtship, that is.”  
Courtship? “Jake,” she said, her tone a simple reprimand.   
“That is what this is the beginning of, Sylvia, isn’t it?”   
“I can’t work for you anymore,” she blurted out. The words surprised her more than they did Jake. “I just can’t, Jake.”   
Silence. But only for a moment. “Okay, I can see that. It wouldn’t be proper for a courting couple to be alone in the house, right?”   
She couldn’t believe what she heard. Courting couple? Was he serious? She actually started to laugh. “I’m not courting you, Jake Edwards!”  
He looked at her, his eyebrows raised as he said, “I do believe you are. You are walking home with me from a singing, aren’t you? That’s how it all begins. You said so yourself. And here we are.”   
She shook her head in disbelief. He was the most peculiar man and persistent. “What on earth would you want with an Amish girl?”   
“Woman,” he corrected.   
“You are very forward,” she scolded, but good-naturedly.   
“Ah, yes.” He walked closer to her, his arm brushing against hers. “Now we are starting to get to know each other. That’s part of the ritual, isn’t it?”   
She was starting to relax, despite herself. “You didn’t answer my question, Jake.”   
“I thought we weren’t going to ask questions …” He nudged her with his shoulder.


Sigh. Romance. 
One of my favorite things about writing for Love Inspired is creating the romantic element of the story Most of my novels are written in the Amish setting which, for me, adds a greater challenge to the process of crafting high tension among the characters. Many people find the entire concept of Amish lifestyle as being poetically romantic, yet the idea of Amish “romance” is a foreign concept itself.  
Courting couples do not enjoy candlelit dinners, passionate dates, or exciting weekends away from family and friends. At least not typically. So how does a writer create a sexually tense situation that does not cross the respectful boundaries of a culture that emphasizes religious obedience and personal morality?

On March 27th, my novel, Hills of Wheat, re-releases as a Love Inspired Walmart exclusive. I wrote this novel almost ten years ago and I dared to experiment with the storyline. So often readers of the Amish genre fantasize about what lie would be like if a person joined the Amish culture. However, I took a different angle. What if a young woman fell in love with an Englischer and left the Amish community while still living among it? 
Jake Edwards is a well-to-do Englischer who leaves his life in Connecticut to move into a small, abandoned farm next to the Lapp family. When he encounters the shy Sylvia, sparks fly. The only problem is that she fights the attraction. Jake, however, is quite the romantic lead. 
At the time of the original release of the novel, my readers swooned over Jake Edwards. Frankly, I was a little nervous about Jake Edwards because he was such an Englische man. In fact, in my original novel, there was a "scene" that I had to edit for the re-release.  It wasn't graphic, but it was suggestive. I thought it was beautiful. Other readers agreed. A few didn't mirror the sentiment of the majority.  (sigh) 
Despite that one little blip, Jake is a very romantic lead character. 
For starters, the way that Jake protects Sylvia from the outside world while refusing to shield her from his own attentions creates a high-level of tension that eventually sways Sylvia to choose love over everything else she has ever known. And just as she gives herself over to her heart, she learns that things are not always what they seem. Through her exposure to the world of the Englische, the reader quickly grows to love both characters even more. 
And, of course, Jake was originally so worldly--having worked on Wall Street--that his shift into the world of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania created a world of romance in itself. His determination to leave it all behind and his attraction to young Sylvia added volumes to the tension within himself as well as with her. 
To me, the creation of anticipation and excitement in a setting where physical passion is frowned upon (both by the Amish characters as well as the readers of the genre) is my favorite part of writing. There is a build-up that is based upon emotional need as opposed to sexual desire. The focus is on the characters and how their relationship evolves. In today’s world with heightened emphasis on sexuality, it is a welcome change to concentrate on poignant storylines that build up the passionate sentiments and not just what happens behind closed doors. 
Sylvia Lapp and Jake Edwards are, without doubt, my favorite couple that I have written about (with the exception of my Plain Fame stars, Amanda Beiler and Alejandro Diaz). Their pure, tender love emboldens the imagination and satisfies every romantic among us.
P.S. If you cannot wait until March 27th for the Walmart copy, here is the eBook version on Amazon.

6 comments:

  1. Great exerpt, really engages. What does Walmart exclusive mean? You gave us lots to think about.

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  2. Love the excerpt. The characters come to life in a very short time.

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  3. Very well written, and congratulations on the Walmart exclusive!

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  4. I'm curious about Walmart Exclusive, too. Very interesting story.

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  5. I don't usually read Amish, but this got me hooked.

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  6. Congratulations. I'm not usually an Amish reader but your story is fascinating.

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