If you love Amish mysteries, check out Laura Bradford’s novels.
As a child, Laura Bradford fell in love with writing over a stack of blank paper, a box of crayons, and a freshly sharpened number two pencil. From that moment forward, she never wanted to do or be anything else. Today, Laura is the national bestselling author of several mystery series, including the Amish Mysteries, the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, the Jenkins & Burns Mysteries, and the Tobi Tobias Mystery Series. Her first women’s fiction novel, Portrait of a Sister, is now available.
Laura is a former Agatha Award nominee, and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award. A graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, and being an advocate for those living with Multiple Sclerosis.
Now for those promised questions:
1)Why did you choose the Amish for a cozy mystery series?
I grew up reading (and re-reading) the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. On the Banks of Plum Creek was my favorite. I think I’ve read that book nearly two dozen times. I found Laura’s lifestyle so appealing.
To me, the Amish live very much as people did in the mid to late 1800’s. Only with the Amish, they’re living like that inside a modern world. I find that fascinating on so many levels.
As for why a cozy series? That’s easy. The Amish, sadly, are perfect victims of crime in everything from their reluctance to elicit help from law enforcement to their refusal to take pictures of their loved ones. Toss in the fact many still keep large sums of money in their home and, well, they’re also ripe for burglaries and home invasions. And their distaste for modern forms of communication outside their work environment (cell phones, internet) offers a more realistic reason for help not to be a “phone call away.”
- Just Plain Murder is the 6th book in this popular series. How did this particular story come to be?
Every time I’m getting ready to write a new book in this series, I head to Lancaster County (the setting for this series) for a few days. While I’m there, I immerse myself in all things Amish. I drive the countryside, I take tours that enable me time inside Amish businesses and homes, and I keep my eyes and ears open for that one tidbit that’ll play into the new book if in no other reason than realistic background.
The Amish, by their very nature, are almost ritualistic in the fact that they have a way of doing things that works for them and continues on, generation after generation. In Lancaster County, weddings take place after the harvest and most always on Tuesdays and Thursdays. While some might see such days as unusual for a wedding, they make perfect sense for the Amish who see the choice as a logistical necessity (allowing the “off” days to be for transporting of the benches via the bench wagon). I enjoy working such things into the fabric of each book for realism as well as education.
Just Plain Murder weaves in a different staple of the Amish community: the selection of ministers by lot. Literally. When a church district is in need of a new minister, members recommend names to the bishop. Those who have been recommended are brought together and each given a hymn book to open. One of those hymn books has a slip of paper with scripture written on it. The person who drew that hymn book (and, therefore, that slip of paper) is a new minister…for life. Interesting, isn’t it?
Those are the kinds of gems that jump start my writer brain—either in terms of setting, side stories, or the main plot. Add in my existing characters (like Detective Jakob Fisher—the main focus of this particular book) and the relationships they have and well, I’d be hard pressed not to come up with a fun story for my readers.
- What’s next for this series?
I’m thrilled to share that there will be 7thbook (Christmas-themed) in my Amish Mysteries, as well! Look for that to come out in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Laura Bradford is the national bestselling author of the Amish Mysteries, as well as the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, and the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries (the latter written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey). Earlier this year, Laura debuted her first women’s fiction novel, Portrait of a Sister. The book landed several impressive book club picks including Delilah (of radio Delilah) and Southern Lady Magazine. Her next women’s fiction novel, A Daughter’s Truth, will release in 2019. To learn more about Laura and her books, visit her website: laurabradford.com. On Facebook? So is Laura: https://www.facebook.com/laurabradfordauthor/.