What book should you read next? What words should you write next? Whether you're a reader, a writer, or both, you need look no further for ideas and pointers to help you make up your mind. You might even get your next book for free--and signed by the author!

Sometimes I even give away my own novels. My Inspirational romances and devotionals are pictured below and are detailed on my Books page. You can always count on a trace of humor in my novels and nonfiction. Whether you're a teen or a woman mature in years, I think these stories will ring true.

Read on, and discover some of today's most appealing Christian novelists, their latest books, and their words of wisdom and imagination. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mary Ellis and Free Books!

PhotobucketWhile Julie plans a summer reunion to return all her children to the nest, her niece embarks on an unlikely vocation for someone Amish…and a brand new romance.

Before we talk with today's author, I want to announce that the winner of the signed copy of Shattered Identity, by Sandra Robbins, is:

countrybear52@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address, and we'll get your book to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right (above my list of books) in order to participate in future book give-aways!

Now let's revisit novelist Mary Ellis, author of An Amish Family Reunion (Harvest House Publishers, February 2012).

PhotobucketMary Ellis grew up close to the eastern Ohio Amish where her parents took her to farmer’s markets and woodworking fairs. She loved their peaceful, agrarian lifestyle and strong sense of Christian community.

She met her husband in college and they married six days after graduation. They now live close to the largest population of Amish in the country—a four-county area in central Ohio. They often take weekend trips to purchase produce, research for her books and enjoy a simpler way of life.

Mary enjoys reading, traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught Middle School and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate—a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits.

All three of her Miller Family series, A Widow’s Hope, Never Far from Home, and The Way to a Man’s Heart have made the CBA and CBD bestseller lists. A Widow’s Hope was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards for 2010 in the long contemporary category, and a runner-up in the 2010 Holt Medallion Awards. The fourth in the Miller Family series, An Amish Family Reunion, released this month.

Please tell us five random things we might not know about you.

I have worked at just about every vocation you can imagine—probably fifteen or so. But I’ll mention the five most interesting.

--I worked as a legal secretary and dispensed more legal advice than I probably should have.

--I taught math and algebra in middle school for years even though math had been my worst subject in high school.

--I had a (delicious!) Hershey Chocolate sales route where I sampled candy all day long.

--I sold Avon makeup and purchased more than I sold.

--I was a (volunteer) snake handler at the Cleveland Zoo to school field trips one summer. By far, writing is the best job!

Okay, I was with you until the snake thing. You're a little nuts, lady.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of An Amish Family Reunion.

PhotobucketJulia Miller misses her children. They are grown and have families of their own now, but her mother’s heart yearns for a houseful of laughter and joy once again. She plans to gather her chicks together in a summer celebration to remember.

At the farm next door, Julia’s niece, Phoebe, meets Eli Riehl, a young man who charms her—and everyone else—with his exceptional storytelling ability on a rumschpringe trip to Niagara Falls.

When Phoebe sketches scenes to illustrate one of his tales, Eli encourages her incredible talent, and together they embark on a lofty and unlikely business venture for two young Amish people—writing and illustrating a children’s book.

Eli’s kindness and appeal extend beyond his knack for words to reach inside Phoebe’s shy heart. But he is an only son with five sisters, and when tragedy strikes at home, Eli gives up his writing to assume responsibility on the farm. Though willing to abandon his dream of becoming an author, he won’t give up his beloved Phoebe. Can their love for a good story develop into something that lasts forever, or will memories of the past stand in their way?

What is it about your lead character that will make your readers care about her?

My heroine lost her mother at a tender age, but develops a beautiful relationship with her step-mother, Hannah. As an adopted person myself, I learned the bonds of motherhood stretch far beyond blood ties.

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

PhotobucketI suppose Ellen Page would make a lovely Phoebe since she’s so earnest, forthright and tiny.

PhotobucketAnd my hero? I love Toby McGuire for the same reasons, except the tiny part. Amish characters must be straight-forward.

Recently a friend gave me a book that provides links to online music meant to accompany the story at specific points in the plot. I thought that was an interesting idea. If you were to choose a song to be played somewhere within your story, what song would it be?

I suppose Evergreen or Unchained Melody. I hear those songs playing in my head during every romantic scene I write.

Yes, they're both such romantic songs! What is the last book you read that you would recommend?

I just finished Miracles Every Day by Maura Poston Zagrans. It was an incredible true story about faith and healing right here in my hometown, Cleveland, Ohio.

What are you working on now?

I’m starting book two of my New Beginnings series, tentatively titled, Living in Paradise.

Where else can readers find you online?

At my brand new website: www.maryellis.net

The book can be found in fine bookstores and can be purchased online via these buttons:

944878: An Amish Family Reunion

Finally, what question would you like to ask my readers?

How do your tastes in books change throughout the year—do seasons make a difference?

Thank you, Mary, for visiting with us and telling us about your novel. Readers, Mary has offered to give a signed copy of her book to the winner of our drawing on Thursday, February 23. To enter, leave a comment below in answer to Mary's question, above. "Please enter me" won't get you entered. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Be sure to check out my interview with Robin Lee Hatcher, below. Leave an appropriate comment at the bottom of her post to enter the drawing for a signed copy of her book.

And I'd love it if you'd connect with me on Facebook. Just click on my name at the right of today's post.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer HERE.


Lane Hill House said...

I like Historical Fiction so is my preference all seasons! I don't look forward to seeing snakes here at our home! Liked the interview!

Marianne said...

Not sure if my tastes do differ..atleast not by weather. i guess when i think about it, it appears that when one suspense is published a few more will come out at the same time, and if they are by authors i adore, i will read them in quick succession. Other genres may do the same, and all of a sudden i find myself reading mostly Amish, or mostly contemporary, and so on. Great post, by the way. i love it, Trish. and thanks for the interview with Mary and the opportunity to win. i've been eyeing this for a while now.



wfnren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kalea_kane said...

Seasons generally do not make a difference in my reading. Well...when it is winter, I am drawn to books with Christmas themes and snow, snow, snow. This could be because I miss that huge change in season now that I live in Arizona rather than New England. As far as genres go, I really like all. I am currently very crazy about cozy mysteries right now. I think there is just something about the quirkiness that is striking to me. Every other book I read now is a cozy. :)


wfnren said...

I soooo want this book, thank you for the interview and the giveaway.

Iusually read the same 2 or 3 genres throughout the year.


Kristie said...

My tastes in reading change around Christmas. I LOVE Christmas novels. Although I have been known to read Christmas books in July because I can't wait for the holidays. *LOL* Usually I just read fiction books unless I'm doing Book Discussion in my library and have to read nonfiction. Cookbooks don't count, really, I don't think. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

squiresj said...

Seasons do not affect how I connect to books I read all year. I will read Christmas ones all year round. What I find on computer and get I read regardless and post reviews on them. Then I share them. It seems God puts the book he wants me to read into my hands at just the right time.
jrs362 at hotmail dot com

by Pegg Thomas said...

No changes with the seasons. I read whatever looks good to me at the moment. You new book looks good! :)
twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

Merry said...

Winter is the time I enjoy Christmas stories, snowy stories or places like Alaska. When I am sick of snow I long for a story set in a tropical location. I recently read a story set in the Bahamas so I think I am moving toward spring. :)
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I hadn't thought of my habits changing and why. The weather doesn't have any effect on my reading. The news does though. When things are really bad with problems caused by enemies of our country, I find that I look for novels where we come out o.k.

If things in my life are not going well, I will look for Christian novels to take me away. And for
christian novels that make me smile-Trish Perry every time.


Abigail Richmond said...

I really don't know.
I have entered so many contests for this book. Sounds interesting!

Elyssa said...

I've never given much thought as to whether or not my tastes in books changing! But I would have to say that it really doesn't. Whenever I see a book that looks good, I tend to read it whenever I get the chance.
Thanks for the great giveaway!


Anonymous said...

Thanks Trish for this good interview with Mary. As to her question, I used to choose mostly Pioneer type books, and Indian stories. About 12 yrs, ago while visiting a sister in MO. I was introduced to Beverly Lewis 1st book, The Shunning and have been hooked on the Amish novels ever since. I can read way into early morn. hrs. when I start one. I feel like I am right there. I like the Christmas books at Christmas, but can read them anytime. Whatever the season, give me a good Amish book and I'm happy. Maxie Anderson ( mac262@me.com )

Nancee said...

I would love to have a copy of this book. Thank you for offering the opportunity to win it.

Judy said...

My tastes in books do not change throughout the year except at Christmas. I love all Christmas stories in all genres.

Reading is my passion. I love Amish fiction and I love Mary's books. I have read them all.

I would love to win a copy of, An Amish Family Reunion.


Jennifer said...

I'll sometimes save my Christmas themed books for Nov., Dec., and Jan. But for the most part I read what I find that sounds the most interesting or strikes me as interesting.

misskallie2000 said...

I read a lot of Christmas themed books from Nov through Jan but other than this holiday I read romance Contemporary and Historical, mystery, suspense and love Cozy Mysteries and Amish stories. If I am in a sad or down mood I find myself reading more romance and read the mysteries. I love humor in my stories and read Cozies then. I enjoyed the interview with Mary.
Would love to win Mary's book.
Thanks for the opportunity to enter.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

I love Amish books any and all seasons!
Maxie Anderson ( mac262@me.com )

Bethany said...

Hmm, I have never noticed if my reading tastes change with weather. I've only been tracking what I read for about 6 months, so I'll have to continue that and then let you know. As of now, I'd say they are the same year-round. :)

cbus.blogger at gmail dot com

Glenda said...

I like to read Christmas books around Christmas, books about Alaska or snowy areas in the winter, books about beaches in the summer, preferably AT the beach! I also really enjoy reading books set at locations where I am traveling or spending time all around the country and the world, both before and after the trip. Winning this book would be great and you would soon see me in Ohio! I do my serious reading in the winter and believe that some books are really meant to be summer reads! But I read a lot of books just any old time if they pique my interest.


Glenda said...

Oops...I forgot to include my email address in the above comment.
Gglenda at aol dot com


Randi said...

I pretty much always read whatever catches my interest at that point in time. With that said, I do sometimes enjoy "summer" books in winter or "winter" books in summer. I think it has to do with escaping the temps of that time. I also love Christmas books around that time of year, but I'll happily read them anytime!




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