I love showing off my friends' books whenever I can, and if you enjoy Amish fiction, I'm sure you'll like Nancy Mehl's new book, SIMPLE SECRETS, out now from Barbour Books. SIMPLE SECRETS is the first of a series combining mystery, romance, and suspense, set in the fictional small Mennonite town of Harmony. The town itself becomes a character in the story, and you'll find yourself wanting to settle in for a visit...a place populated by nice, friendly people, one of whom happens to be a killer. SIMPLE SECRETS is a charming read, and you'll find yourself wanting to go back to Harmony again and again!
I asked Nancy for a few comments on how this book came to be, and here's what she said:
Simple Secrets: The Harmony Series by Nancy Mehl
I never planned to write about the Amish/Mennonite way of life. In fact, “Simple Secrets” was originally a proposal for a cozy mystery. At the time, the title was “Murder, Plain and Simple.” The setting was an Amish town. I came up with the idea because the concept of evil set in such a simple, innocent location appealed to the mystery writer in me. But somehow, things changed until the town became Mennonite and the story morphed into romantic suspense with a strong thread of mystery. When my publisher first suggested I adjust the story line to lean toward a more romantic flavor, I wasn’t certain I could do it. Although I hate to admit it now, at the time I had a tough time understanding the appeal of “bonnet books.” But after I agreed to change my original concept, I discovered something interesting. I think I figured out why so many people love to read stories written by wonderful authors like Beverly Lewis, Kim Sawyer and Cindy Woodsmall. One of the clues came from my previous cozy mystery series. The Ivy Towers’s mystery series was set in a small town drawn from my imagination. I named it Winter Break, Kansas. I’m a winter person, and the winters in Wichita, where I live, had been rather disappointing. I said I’m a winter person, but actually, I’m a snow person. Love it. Crazy about it. My frustration with our lack of snow led me to create Winter Break – where snow comes early and leaves late. I began to fashion the town as a place I wanted to live. And readers responded. I received lots of letters and emails telling me how much they loved Winter Break. One woman even said she’d been scouring maps, trying to find it! I realized as I began to create the Mennonite town of Harmony, Kansas, that all of us are looking for that rare place – a home in our hearts where old-fashioned values still exist. Where people treat each other with love and respect. Where evil is defeated and good triumphs. What better place than a town filled with people who live simply - who have shut out the harsh voices of the outside world? So called “bonnet books” actually open the door to that unique spot where life is lived the way we dream it can be. I hope my readers will fall in love with Harmony, Kansas like I have.
Blessings from Harmony!