How One Author Inspired Me

by Kate Lloyd

I have been inspired by many authors, both as mentors at writing conferences and in my critique group, and from reading a good book—be it penned 100 years ago or last week. Reading fine literature inspires me to improve my craft and to take new risks.

Book signing in a replica of a one-room schoolhouse in Lancaster County.

I’d better start by saying I have written five Amish novels (two are CBA bestsellers) but still feel inadequate when writing about the Amish. Each church district of about 200 people follows the teachings of the Bible but has slightly different rules called the Ordnung, so what is true of one church district may not be true of another. And Amish are admonished to not become entangled with what they call the English world. I was so nervous about my first Amish novel, that I asked an Amish couple and a Mennonite woman to read it before I sent it in to the publishing house and tell me if I was getting my facts about the people and culture straight. Meeting them was an answer to prayer.

I don’t know about you, but for me as a reader, fiction requires correct facts and information or the whole story loses its validity. Simply plunking characters into an Amish setting or anywhere else does not fly. Writing historical fiction might be easier than writing Amish fiction, as Amish people today read these books. I have asked several and they affirm I understand their culture. Very gratifying. Plus, they enjoyed my stories and characters. My goal is to write about relationships and forgiveness. Stories that will appeal to all lovers of fiction.

To accommodate the large congregation, attending church in a barn is not unusual.

One special author comes to mind when I recall writing my most recent novel, Starting from Scratch. For years, I had wanted to meet Amish author, Linda Byler, a proficient writer who speaks of salvation through Jesus. Knowing that Linda Byler is Old Order Amish and only went to the eighth grade, as is the Amish custom and accepted by the Supreme Court, I was fascinated by her superior writing style and vocabulary. Of all the authors, general market or Christian, I wanted to meet her the most, but knew I never would. She’s private, not on the Internet, and had no phone in her home. The odds were against me! How I came into contact with this Amish woman was more than a coincidence.

An Amish woman in the Midwest gave me Linda’s phone shanty number. I took the plunge, called, and left a message. I was pleasantly surprised when she returned my call. She told me I could contact her anytime and she would do anything to help me. How’s that for generous? Now and then I called her to verify facts. Since I had to leave messages on her phone shanty sometimes I waited a week, but sometimes she would be walking right by the shanty and answer. What a lovely woman, who ended up being a huge inspiration and encouragement to me.

Linda writes her books by hand as she is not allowed to use a computer. (I actually get some of my best ideas when writing longhand.)  I told her I was having a difficult time finishing a manuscript, which I’d promised the publishing house would be 100,000 words. Not out of the realm of possibilities for me, but my manuscript had seemed to end at 85,000 words and I didn’t know what to do. An author can simply go back and add a thousand or so more words to each chapter, thus inflating the word count. But I wanted to keep the pace of this book rolling.

Linda gave me great encouragement and inspired me to press on to my goal. I had no idea what was going to happen, but the story unfolded itself to completion in a way that surprised even me.

Late last fall my husband and I visited Lancaster County, PA, as we often do. Linda Byler invited us to come to dinner at her home a couple hour’s drive from Lancaster County. What did we talk about? Writing and good books we’d read. And family. The time we spent in her home was delightful.

One lesson learned is to pursue a relationship with a writer who inspires you. I did not have the option of sending her emails or becoming Facebook friends, as Amish are not allowed to use the Internet, except for some in business purposes, granted with special permission. But speaking to her on the phone and traveling that great distance was well worth the effort. I’ve found that most authors are generous.

Have you or would you take the chance to reach out and meet an author who inspires you?

I have been told you don’t need to be an Amish lover to enjoy reading my books. 🙂

Click to Tweet: From @KateLloydAuthor – One writer gave me great encouragement and inspired me to press on to my goal – via @InspiredPrompt #fictionwriter #amwriting


Author Kate Lloyd is a passionate observer of human relationships. A native of Baltimore, Kate spends time with family and friends in Lancaster County, PA, the inspiration for her bestselling novels Leaving Lancaster and its sequel, Pennsylvania Patchwork, and Forever Amish, the third book in the Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy. Her novel A Letter from Lancaster County released July, 2017. Kate’s most recent novel Starting from Scratch released April, 2018.
Kate and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest, the setting for Kate’s first novel, A Portrait of Marguerite. Kate has worked a variety of jobs, including car salesman and restaurateur. For relaxation and fun, Kate enjoys walking with her camera in hand, beach-combing, and playing with her two young grandchildren.


Find out more about Kate Lloyd at KateLloyd.com where you can sign up for her Newsletter.

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Kate loves hearing from readers!

54 thoughts on “How One Author Inspired Me

  1. I love this! How wonderful that you were able to connect with her and even visit her! I have been able to meet Tamera Alexander on a trip to Nashville, and I drove to Iowa to meet Jocelyn Green. I even just went to the Fiction Readers Summit in Michigan and got to meet 15 inspiring authors! So much fun!

  2. What a beautiful friendship you must have now. It’s hard to believe that she writes her books by hand, I love reading Amish books. Thanks for allowing me to enter this giveaway.

    • Thanks for writing, Marilyn! She told me that since she’s never been on the Internet, writing by hand seems normal. However, someone at the publishing house must transcribe her work.
      Kate

  3. I have met several authors at book signings.
    But, I am going say, that last October when you came to the little library in Intercourse, Lancaster County for a book signing was an afternoon I will not soon forget.
    I came to your book signing that afternoon, along with 3 friends. To spend the afternoon with you, I was in awe. How interesting to learn more about you and your writing. One of my friends is also an author. I enjoyed hearing the two of you talk.
    The, to top off a great afternoon, the owner of Zook’s Fabrics stopped by. He spoke of the Amish and also changes that are coming to the Intercourse area.
    Kate Lloyd, there are not many authors that a person can sit down and spend the afternoon with. My author friend, Rachel J. Good, and you are at the top of my list!!
    I consider you a friend.
    Thank you for your wonderful hospitality that beautiful Fall day!
    I look forward to seeing you next time you are in the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, area!!

    • I thoroughly enjoyed our get-together, Elaine. Thank you so much for spending the time with me and for bringing your lovely friends. Having the owner of Zooks, who has become a good friend over the years, stop by and fill us on the local Amish and changes to the area was an added treat!
      Kate

  4. Yes I would reach out to meet an author if they inspired me or just liking them I would take the opportunity to meet them! I am shy though so hopefully the opportunity would be on a good day! LOL

    • Linda and my friendship grew as we chatted over the phone, Sabrina. When we in the area, my dear husband kindly drove me 3 hours to her home, near Lancaster County. And what a feast she provided!
      Kate

  5. I had no idea that Linda Byler was old order Amish! What a blessing for you to get to meet her and break bread together. What an awesome connection that the two of you have.

    • Yes, she is strictly Old Order Amish in every sense, Perrianne. We speak on a regular basis … usually when I have a question, but it works both ways. I’m glad her Bishop and her husband allow it! BTW: her kitchen is beautiful w/o electricity, much nicer than mine.
      Kate

  6. Sometimes the Lord steps in and helps make things happen. How neat that you got to meet Linda Byler, that is a treasure! They are genuine friends once you get to that stage.

    • There is no doubt in my left mind that the Lord stepped in, Loretta. I prayed for our year before attempting to write an Amish novel. He has been with me every step of this journey. Thanks for leaving your comment!
      Kate

  7. I haven’t had the opportunity to meet any of my favorite authors yet, but I do hope to one day, unfortunately none of my favorite Amish authors come to Louisiana🙁. I would love to meet authors that inspire me to let them know how much their works mean to me. Love reading your books! Thanks for this giveaway opportunity!

    • Thanks for your lovely compliment and for entering the book giveaway, Tiffany. I live in Seattle … a long way from Lancaster County, PA. But worth every mile I’ve traveled.
      Kate

  8. I would love top meet more authors of Amish fiction. IO would also love to share a meal in an Amish home. Maybe someday! I shared your tweet on twitter.

  9. Hey, thanks so much for sharing my tweet, Joyfulco! I wish Linda could get on the Internet and read the reviews of her books, but that would be against the Ordnung—their set of mandatory rules and thus strictly forbidden. One thing I can offer her in retuen is encouragement. A 2 way street!
    Kate

  10. If i had the opportunity and means to meet an author i would love to! Thanks for the chance to win one of ypur books.

  11. Kate I would love to meet you some day. I love your work. Linda Byler, I had no idea she was Amish. How wonderful you two connected. It was meant to be. Two awesome authors. I have never met any Amish authors YET, but hopefully some day. Thank you for the opportunity to enter in your give away. God’s Blessings always.
    Linda Byler is your inspiration ❣️

    • Typical of most Old Order Amish, Linda would say she did nothing, Mary Ellen. But in truth she was a great encouragement and fact verifier. Thanks for entering the giveaway!
      Kate

  12. I loved your Legacy of Lancaster series Kate and I am really looking forward to reading this series too. Thank you for the chance to win one of the books.

    wfnren at aol dot com

  13. I loved your Legacy of Lancaster series and am really looking forward to reading this new series. Thank you for the chance to win one of the books.

    wfnren at aol dot com

    • I have met and interacted with very few authors I didn’t enjoy, Shelia. Linda Byler happened to be my godsend for my last release, Starting from Scratch. And it sealed our friendship.
      Kate

  14. I actually did reach out to the Amish author who inspired me to keep reading the Amish books. I even received several books as gifts from the author with a special message sent alonv with it.I tried to het to her nook divning nkt fat from where I live but had no luck. Last September my husband surprised me with a second vacation to Holmes County shere I did in deed get to not only meet her nut she was so gracious and carried on a lovely conversation with me. When I finally revealed I was a member of her Clippity Clop Club she asked me to take pictures with her and I received many hugs. This lovely, vracious lady is Wanda Brunstetter. When I told her my name her response was “Oh yojr Pam!” She then bevan to thank me for all the wondetful comments and revkews I had written about her.She made traveling 51/2 hours so worth it and it is an experience I share with people all the time. But as far ss Lind Byler hoes I started followinv her from her first boom and I have them all. I agree she writes and tells her stories with Nesus in her heart. What a great experience ylu have had. I know you will cherish it like I do mine.

  15. Your experience sounds marvelous, Pamela. What fun to spend time with a gracious woman like Wanda. Thanks for sharing your story with me, and for entering the giveaway!
    Kate

  16. What a pleasant story! I love reading Amish fiction. Both Kate and Linda have some really great books especially this ones that I have read. I really wish I could met an Amish author or two or three, but none don’t come anywhere near my area.

    • Very few Amish authors are actually Amish, Karen. I certainly am not … that’s one reason I’m so busy verifying my facts, not an easy feat when the Amish are not encouraged to mingle with what they call English. Thanks for writing!
      Kate

  17. I love reading your books. Amish books are my favorite and always have been. Keep bringing us your wonderful stories.

  18. I started reading i7 yrs ago when I got bored. I was in Walmart looking for a book, a memoir, that
    I heard about which was sold out. I saw some by Wanda Brunstetter. I got interested in the Amish 40yrs ago when my daughters Brownie troop went on a bus tour in Indiana where we visited an Amish home and the husbands leather business in their barn. I bought one of Wanda’s books and was hooked. I have quite a few of her books on my bookshelf! That led to my children buying me a Kindle the following Christmas. A few years ago I bought an iPad. About 2 years ago I was talked into signing up on Facebook. I discovered many more Amish romance authors….all because of that first book I bought by Wanda!

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