Story Behind the Story: Buddy


I’m a pet lover, so cats, dogs, chickens, goats, and ducks have all found their way into my books. Throughout the three-book Amish Secrets series, Charlotte has a Chihuahua named Buddy. And I named Charlotte’s dog after a friend’s Chihuahua named Buddy.

My friend, Diana, ended up with Buddy via one of her grown children, and it was unplanned. Buddy was an unruly little fellow who didn’t get along with the dog Diana and her husband already had. Honestly, I didn’t care for that little pooch in the beginning. He was a bit vicious for such a tiny little guy. But he wasn’t that way with Diana—only everyone else and other animals.

Diana eventually decided that Buddy needed another home, so she took him to an area shelter but made them promise not to euthanize him if he wasn’t chosen for adoption. It was only a couple of days later when the shelter called to say that he was so vicious they couldn’t even feed him and that he would have to be put down. Diana couldn’t stand that, so she went to pick him up. She said little Buddy melted into her arms when he saw her.

I watched Diana literally love that dog into submission. In time, he learned to trust people and get along with her other dog. He’d run to greet me at the door instead of trying to bite off my ankle. Buddy would cuddle with everyone and became as much a member of the family as Diana’s other dog. It’s amazing what love can do. If you love someone (even an animal) enough it can change lives.

In Home All Along, Charlotte’s dog, Buddy, didn’t like most people, especially men. He growled, barked, and acted up around men. All except for one.

To avoid a spoiler for those readers who haven’t read the entire series, I won’t mention who that one person is. But it was symbolic, that as Charlotte learned to trust, so did Buddy, and Charlotte eventually makes a big sacrifice where Buddy is concerned, and she does it out of love.

I’m so sad to say that the ‘real life’ Buddy who inspired that thread in the story is no longer with us now. But while he was alive, he was loved, and he returned that love to everyone he came in contact with. Rest in peace, sweet Buddy.

Story Behind the Story: Pamela


Home All Along concludes the Amish Secrets series, so there were quite a few threads that I wanted to tie up that led to a satisfactory conclusion for readers. But buried within the pages was a personal goal targeted toward a person who is close to me.

While writing the story, I learned that this person—let’s call her Pamela—didn’t believe in heaven. Pam believes in God, but she doesn’t think there is anything for us after that. I know this woman well enough to know that preaching to her wasn’t going to work and would only push her further away from the truth. I began thinking of ways that I could ‘show’ her that heaven truly does exist, without beating her over the head with a theology she wasn’t buying into.

So I wrote this issue into the book, hoping to subtly reach Pam. I believe that there is a way to feel heaven here on earth, or at the least, to attain an all-knowing certainty that it exists. I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but for me, I just know.

I went into the story hoping God would lead me in the right direction to reach Pam, even if just a tiny bit. Maybe it’s just a start. I want Pam to know heaven and feel what we have to look forward to. I want her there with me someday.

Our faith journey is such a personal one, but reaching out to Pam was my main goal while I was writing Home All Along. Did I succeed? I don’t know.

Maybe it wasn’t Pam who I was supposed to reach. Perhaps it is the reader who is walking in the bookstore and picks up my book for reasons she can’t explain. Maybe this reader doesn’t even like Amish fiction, but God has lead her to this story. I’ll be praying for Pam to get on board, and I may never know the random reader the story might help, but I felt called to include this important issue in the book.