The Story Behind the Story

© 2012 Patrick E. Craig

In late 2010, I read a blog by Nick Harrison, a senior editor at Harvest House Publishers, whom I had met at the Mt. Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference. Nick said for the first month of 2011 he would accept story ideas, and he liked Amish and quilting stories.

At first I thought, I’m a man and I know nothing about the Amish or quilting, but I felt compelled to go for it anyway. I didn’t realize it at the time, but God had put a wide-open door in front of me.

I sent Nick a one-sheet for a story. He asked for sample chapters, so I did research and wrote three chapters. I chose a real village —Apple Creek, Ohio—as the setting because it was the center of Amish quilting in Ohio. I called the story “A Quilt For Jenna.”

Meanwhile, the 2011 Mt. Hermon Conference was coming up. I sent the chapters to Steve Laube, a literary agent, for a critique. At the conference, I met with Steve. He asked if the story, originally planned as part of a short story series, could be a novel and if I could make a three-book series out of it. I took a deep breath and said that I could. I spoke with Nick, and he also encouraged me to make it into a novel.

I left Mt. Hermon with a mission—to write two chapters a week and finish by August. I sent the complete manuscript to Nick and Steve on September 15th. Steve contacted me about representing me, and Nick pitched it to the editorial committee at Harvest House. Then three weeks later, I got an e-mail from Nick that said, “It’s a yes!” I signed with Steve, he negotiated the contract, and we were on the way. In a few short months I had gone from knowing nothing about the Amish or quilting to having a three-book deal with Harvest House and a top literary agent to represent me. I’m now working on the second book, “The Road Home.”

I learned two things: first—if the Lord opens a door, step through it, and second—you must let the Lord put you in the way of people who can help you. Writer’s conferences are great for that, and Mt. Hermon is one of the best.
Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career to follow Christ in 1984. He spent twenty-six years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor. He signed a three-book deal with Harvest House Publishers for his Apple Creek Dreams series. The first book, A Quilt for Jenna, will be released January 1, 2013. You can contact Patrickby email or on Twitter @patrickecraig.


The Story Behind the Story — 4 Comments

  1. I really have enjoyed reading your Apple Creek Dreams series. I first saw “A Quilt For Jenna.” while looking on Amazon for books about Amish in my county . I saw Apple Creek & that was it , had to read it ASAP . I love reading about Amish & love seeing them in places I’ve been or live near .
    My Grand parents were Amish before they got married but I never knew about it . Just knew I had Amish ancestors . An older cousin told me recently as her mom ( dad’s sister ) told her .
    I’ve read all 3 books in the series . They felt so real to me as if I was there seeing it as it happened . Having it happen in our County & knowing the roads brought it to life . You sure know how to write a story that draws people in .
    Can’t wait to read your next book , will it be about an Amish family ? No matter I’ll be reading it .

    • Mary,
      Troyer is an Amish name so I wondered about your heritage when we first became friends on FB. And yes my next series is about Amish and in fact the same Amish family. Only this time the first story is Rachel’s and it is called “The Amish Heiress.” The second book will be about Jonathan’s great-great grandmother who was an Indian princess who converted to the Amish faith – “The Amish Princess,” and the third book in the series is about the matriarch of the Hershberger clan, a polish princess named Isabella who married an Anabaptist. It is titled “The Mennonite Queen.”

  2. omigosh! pat, I wanted to ask you how you started with a subject matter that I knew you were not previously aware of. what a great answer you’ve given us. and now I’m so excited to anticipate the next three in your new series.
    write fast! samm

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