"Why I Write Amish Fiction"
Diane's inspiration for writing an Amish series came from her sweet late mother, Laoma Oberly Wilson. She lived a long Christian life and enjoyed being a wife, mother and grandmother. Her grandfather was a Mennonite minister, and she shared many stories about him. Even though she wasn’t Amish and later wasn’t Mennonite, she kept many of their Christian beliefs while attending a Protestant church.
When Diane worked on reissuing A GIFT FOREVER, which happens to be based loosely on her father, Horace Wilson, it hit her how he had some things in common with the Amish. She realized how the way he did his farming was a bit like the Amish. While farming his eighty some acres, he used his two work horses, Lois and Dick, to haul manure for the fields. He also hitched them to the hay wagon during the summer while Diane stayed on the wagon to steer them to the next spot in the field. Then he pitched the hay onto the wagon. Diane wishes she had pictures of her dad and her working together. However, he used his tractor for planting, plowing, and cultivating. She can understand the Amish’s love of horses because her dad loved his horses. He used the simple way of using horses for farming when he wanted, and used the more convenient tractor for other types of farm work. Combining both methods were important to him as a farmer.
Some Amish Facts
While both groups were part of the Anabaptist movement in Europe, the Amish broke away from the Mennonites in 1693.
They only attend school through the eighth grade. They believe receiving a higher education is "worldly" and is discouraged. The Amish believe that vocational training is sufficient for success in their society. Schools play an important role in passing on and preserving Amish culture.
Amish won't own and drive vehicles. Amish will hire non-Amish drivers at times to drive them places when it's just not feasible for them to drive their buggies to longer distances. They don't think cars are evil but don't believe in their faith that they should own cars. Avoiding worldliness and keeping the family close to home is essential to their plain way of life. The temptation to just hop in the car and go to town or farther places would expose them to a fast and glitzy world.
Amish do not have to worry about power outages when it storms because they do not believe in using electricity. The Amish lifestyle is a deliberate effort to separate from the world and maintain self sufficiency. They believe that linking with electrical wire would constitute a connection with the world and would violate the Bible's instruction not to be conformed with the world. However, the Amish will use gas. Many appliances that we run on electricity can be converted to run on natural gas. Also, some have windmills on their property which generate power. This is acceptable to the Amish because it is self-reliance on a natural, Godly source of power as opposed to being connected to our power lines with their man-made electricity.
Dating often starts at Sunday singings or other social events. When the couple starts dating , they are seriously looking at each other as potential life-long mates. They don't do a lot of random dating as do English youth.
A visit to Amish country
When Diane and her husband went to Berlin, Ohio, to visit Amish country, they were surprised at how the Amish houses were not the usual plain white houses that we associate with them. Because most of the Amish have profitable businesses, they can spend more money on their houses. Also a few families go together to keep electric freezers in a small building on an English neighbor's property. They pay a rental fee to their English neighbor.