Friday, 20 February 2015

Author Interview & Giveaway: Mary Ellis

By Ellie Whyte

Mary Ellis is the author of more than ten best-selling Amish novels, and is twice a winner in the Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction.

Mary Ellis grew up close to the Amish where she loved their peaceful agrarian lifestyle and strong sense of Christian community. She and her husband now live by the largest population of Old Order in the country where they take weekend trips to research her books. 

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. 

The following is a recent interview with Mary.


Post a comment about this interview at the end of the blog post and enter the Rafflecopter draw for a print copy of THE LAST HEIRESS. 
ONE print copy to be won.  
A valid comment on the blog is an entry requirement into the Rafflecopter draw. 
Contest open to entrants WORLDWIDE, and ends on Sunday, 22 February.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Mary Ellis has written twelve bestselling novels set in the Amish community and recently completed several historical romances set during the Civil War. 

The Last Heiress is her latest book. She is currently working on a new mystery series, Secrets of the South, for Harvest House Publishers. Midnight on the Mississippi will release August 1st. 

Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Her debut book was nominated for a 2010 Carol Award. Living in Harmony, won the 2012 Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction while Love Comes to Paradise won the 2013 Lime Award.  

How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write?

I got the urge to write in my twenties, but I waited many years before blocking out enough time to pursue it. I suppose I became a novelist after I finished writing my first book, but I had written four complete novels before I found a publisher. Getting published was a long, winding road, fraught with much disappointment. But there’s nothing I would rather be than an author.

What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

I believe readers crave good, clean stories about characters that grow and change and overcome their personal inadequacies and short-comings through faith.

How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write? 

Of course every writer hopes that readers will enjoy their books and find them entertaining. But I also hope readers discover they too can overcome whatever challenges are placed in their path, just like my characters.

What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why?

I try not to read reviews of my books too often because either they hurt my feelings or give me a “swelled” head. Neither is very conducive to productive writing. I’m most affected by emails and letters which detail how one of my stories personally impacted a reader’s life.

How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

It has changed everything! Finally I have found a way to serve God by writing stories that inspire and showcase lives that glorify Him. Although my characters aren’t perfect and often fall short, they nevertheless understand their actions have consequences in God’s plan.

Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life?

I would like to travel more with my husband. I’ve only left the continent once to visit England and Scotland. I would love to visit Europe, Australia, and of course, New Zealand.

As a writer, what influences have inspired you the most to write, and continue writing? 

I believe the support I’ve received from my local writing chapter and also at the ACFW national level have helped when I’ve felt discouraged. When I read the similar struggles facing other writers, I know I’m in good company!

Every writer struggles with various aspects of their writing journey. What has been the most difficult aspect of writing for you, and what come the most naturally?

I struggle with time management—how much time to devout to social media, marketing, and publicity. It never seems to be enough. The easy aspect seems to be story plot twists. Ideas for conflicts for my characters keep popping into my head.

What is one piece of advice you would like to give to aspiring writers - either something you adhere to, or something you wish you had known when you started writing?

Do not sweat the small details. You will make mistakes along the way, yet you can always pick yourself up and brush yourself off. Keep your chin up, no matter how grim the situation. God has a plan for you.

As a reader, which stories excite you the most to read, and do you have any favourite novelists?

I love to read both historical romances and romantic suspense. I love books with complex characters whose lives are very unlike my own. I have far too many favorite authors to name just a few.

What are some of your most favourite places on the internet to visit, that help challenge you as a writer, and encourage you as a reader?

I love to read blogs from published authors. It’s good to know their lives aren’t always easy either, and they’re still learning and growing…just like me!

What can you tell us about your most recent and upcoming novels?

The Last Heiress is a stand-alone historical romance, set during the American Civil War. My heroine, Amanda Dunn is heir to the largest textile mill in Manchester, England. When the blockade of southern ports curtails the supply of cotton, her father sends her to Wilmington to restore trade. Her estranged twin sister, Abigail, eloped at 17 with an American cotton factor, and also lives in Wilmington. When Amanda falls for a local shopkeeper, class distinction, political loyalties, and family obligations guarantee a turbulent romance. 

Do you have any parting words?
Only that I love to hear from readers. They can find me at: and on Facebook  

Post a comment about this interview at the end of the blog post and enter the Rafflecopter draw for a print copy of THE LAST HEIRESS. ONE print copy to be won.  A valid comment on the blog is an entry requirement into the Rafflecopter draw. Contest open to entrants WORLDWIDE, and ends on Sunday, 22 February.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit Mary's Author Portfolio Page at Soul Inspirationz // Christian Fiction Site to find links to her website and other online hangouts, as well as her list of books and a Featured Author Interview.

ELLIE WHYTE is a long-time supporter of Christian fiction and is the founder and owner/operator of Soul Inspirationz // The Christian Fiction Site which relaunched after a 5-year hiatus in January 2013. Ellie also has aspirations for her own writing career, and has begun working on a project set in New Zealand in the 1850s. 
Pinterest: SoulInspiredNZ


  1. I enjoyed learning about Mary! Mary, do you have a life verse? I am looking forward to reading THE LAST HEIRESS. :)


    1. Hi Caryl, I suppose it would be Heb. 13:5 ~ Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

  2. Would love to read this book I'm wondering now if a turbulent romance will become a marriage?
    dkstevensneAToutlookD OtCoM

    1. Well, Deanna, I'll give you a tiny hint: I do love happy endings!! Blessing on you and yours.

  3. This looks like a great book and I think the description sounds really interesting! sonja dot nishimoto at gmail dot com

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Sonja, and taking the time to post a comment. Good luck in the drawing.

  4. Sounds like a great book. I can't wait to read it. 😃


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