It is my pleasure and honor to have had Wanda answer a few questions for us. Thank you Wanda for taking the time out of your schedule to let us know what you have been doing and what inspires you to write.
Wanda Brunstetter Q&A
QUESTION 1: When is the earliest that you remember having a passion for writing?
Response: From the time I began reading I started writing short stories and poems. I had an imagination as a child. When I was in second grade I wrote a poem about a moth. My teacher thought it was good and said I might someday become an author. That little seed she planted encouraged me to keep writing.
QUESTION 2: From all of the different genres that you could have chosen, how did you decide upon Amish life as your primary focus?
Response: I chose the Amish life to write about because through my husband, who has a Mennonite background, I met and became friends with many Amish people, whom we have come to know and love. I have a deep respect for the Plain People, and I want my readers to understand and love the Amish the way that we do.
QUESTION 3: At what point did you think that being an author could become your profession and was there a particular moment that inspired your commitment to this as a career?
Response: When I first began writing, in the early 1980’s, I wrote poems, articles, short fiction stories, and devotionals. Since I was also a busy pastor’s wife, I wasn’t writing fulltime, but knew that was the direction I was heading, since I felt God’s leading. From the time I sold my first novel in 1997, I became committed to write fulltime.
QUESTION 4: You have mentioned that visits with friends and to Amish communities have had a powerful influence on you. How have these experiences helped shape the special narratives that we see in your books?
Response: Spending time with Amish friends and getting to know them well, watching firsthand what they say and do, has influenced me as a person, as well as given me insights on how to portray them in a way that can readers can not only learn about Amish life, but can relate to many of the situations the Amish go through. They may dress differently than we “English” do, and live a different lifestyle, but they face many of the same challenges we do, and I feel we can learn a lot from the way they handle situations.
QUESTION 5: With so many aspects of Amish life from which to choose, what inspirations help you narrow down such vast possibilities of topics to a specific storyline?
Response: Knowing the Amish as well as I do, I always try to portray them as accurately as possible. Spending time with them several times throughout the year gives me inspiration and helps in the direction of what topics and storylines I might want to use for upcoming novels.
QUESTION 6: In your most recent release, “The Seekers”, a book based upon cooking lessons in an Amish home, what was your inspiration for this story and how many books might we expect to see in this series?
Response: When I finished my Quilt Club series, many of my readers asked for more of the same. So, I came up with the idea of having Emma’s niece, Heidi Troyer, teach cooking classes in her home. There will be three books in this series, with the second book releasing in Aug. 2017 and Book 3 in Feb. 2018.
QUESTION 7: Does your relationship with God help guide your work and does it play a role in your success as an author?
Response: Absolutely. I believe that everything I write is inspired by God, and because of my relationship with Him, I am able to show my readers through the stories I write how God can help them deal with any situation and be able to help others along the way.
QUESTION 8: There was a musical made based upon your book, “Half Stitched Quilting Club”. Did you enjoy seeing this production made and can we look forward to seeing more adaptions of your work on stage?
Response: I enjoyed the musical very much, and am pleased to announce that Half-Stitched the musical will be playing again this year, at the Bird-in-Hand Restaurant Theater from June 7th to Sept. 1st. I, along with some of my family, are hoping to be there for one or more of those days.
QUESTION 9: “The Seekers” is a wonderful story and you always seem to enjoy meeting your fans. Will there be a book signing tour for this one and, if so, are there any particular areas you plan to visit?
Response: I will be signing The Seekers on March 10th at Der Dutchman Restaurant in Sarasota, FL. I also have two speaking engagements in Sarasota during the month of March. One is for the Sarasota Welcome Committee and the other is for a women’s group at the Bahia Vista Mennonite Church.
QUESTION 10: How do your art crafts of ventriloquism and being a puppeteer influence or balance your writing projects?
Response: I spend a lot more time writing these days than I do with my puppets and ventriloquist figures. However, whenever I’m asked to entertain Amish children, either in their homes or at their schools, I often bring out one of my full-bodied puppets dressed in Amish clothes to entertain the children. They really seem to enjoy it.
Would you like to win a copy of Wanda's lastetest release The Seekers. Then comment below telling me what attracts you to the way of life the Amish live. (US Residents only please)