Inspirational author, Rachel J. Good grew up near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the setting for her Amish romances, and she frequently visits Amish friends, who help to ensure the accuracy of her novels. She is the author of more than 2300 articles and 50 books in print.
The following transcript is a shortened version of the original recording.
Tracy: Hey there. Welcome to another episode of Buggy Talk. I’m your host, Tracy Fredrychowski, and each week I bring you the story behind the stories, along with the storytellers. For this week’s episode, we have USA Today’s Best Selling Author. Rachel J. Good and she grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for many of her Amish novels.
Good morning, Rachel, how are you this morning?
Rachel: I’m fine. Thanks, Tracy. Nice to be with you.
Tracy: We are so happy to have you here. I’ve been talking you up a little bit on Facebook, and people are very excited about this interview. You know, I probably have read more of your books than I’ve probably read almost any other Amish author. And that was before I really started writing myself. So, I actually sort of look up to you. I don’t know if that embarrasses you at all, but I really enjoy your style of writing.
I’m very tickled that you’ve joined us today. Before we get started chatting about the Amish Christmas Miracles Collection. I like to take our listeners behind the scenes a little bit so that they can get to know you.
So, can you tell us what your work schedules like when you write?
Rachel: Well, I have a lot of book contracts, so there’s really rarely a time when I’m not writing. I guess you could say most of my life just revolves around writing.
Tracy: What do you, what do you think your most interesting quirk is when it comes to writing? You know, some people can only write in their PJs. You know, some people don’t sit at a desk, they sit on their sofa, I know, Laura Bradford, she doesn’t like to sit at a desk. She sits in her comfy chair. And that’s where, where she’s the most creative. Where do you think you’re the most creative?
Rachel: I prefer PJ’s, I’m sitting on my bed actually with a laptop easiest. I generally do my best writing from 10 o’clock at night to like two or three in the morning.
Tracy: I like to write outside. I’m the most creative when I’m sitting on my back porch. So we all have our little zones that we go off into and, you know, we escape into our, into our stories. Rachel, you grew up in Lancaster County. So you have a lot of background in the Amish community. Is that where you do most of your research?
Rachel: Most of my books are set in Lancaster County. I love the research part. I find whenever I’m visiting my Amish friends; I always get lots of story ideas. And then I drive around Amish country and see settings. And that gives me an idea for a story. So I go back many times to, you know, to visit the places and, you know, talk to the people there and meet the Amish people who are there.
Tracy: Your latest release, His Pretend Amish Bride from your Unexpected Amish Blessing Series. Can you tell us a little bit about that, and what is the main inspiration for it?
Rachel: This book is set on an Amish camel farm, and the way I came up with the story idea, we were traveling in Lancaster County. And we went around a bend, and we spotted camels in a field. Actually, they had camels and water Buffalo, and it was so surprising. You know, I had to stop and take pictures. And once I saw those mama camels and the babies crossing the road to the barn, I knew I had to write about those sweet little babies.
And then I went into the store there that they had there and discovered that camel’s milk has been used to help autistic children. So I was hooked. I felt like God directed me into that setting because Priscilla, the heroin, and the book had already been mentioned in book one. And she not only worked as an aid at Amish special needs school, but she also had a brother with autism. So this was the perfect setting for her. I just feel like, you know, God has brought me to that spot. Well, those camels were a God thing. And then I got to do a lot of research.
Tracy: So your main character, Priscilla, if you could describe her in three words, what would those three words be?
Rachel: I’d say caring, upright, and honest, but I also have to mention she has trouble speaking up for herself. So she ends up getting blamed for a lot of things. She didn’t do. That’s kind of little extra that’s more than three, but that’s okay.
Tracy: What’s the main theme or what’s the main message in the book
Rachel: I based the book on the Bible verse, all things work together for good and that when life looks the darkest, sometimes good comes out of those disappointments and tragedies.
So in the book, both Priscilla and Gabe have their deep dark valleys, but God uses those to bring them together and to bless both of them in unexpected ways.
Tracy: That’s a perfect message. So what’s next
Rachel: I’m always working on a couple of books at one time. Right now, I’m writing book two in the Farmer’s Market Series. That’ll be coming out in 2021. Also, a Christmas at the Amish Bake Shop that I’m doing with Shelly Shepard Gray.
That book will come out for Christmas next year. So those are my main things. I have a few small projects, and I’m also in my spare time writing a story for that Amish Miracles Collection.
Tracy: That leads us right into the Amish Christmas Miracles Collection. So I know what your title is, but can you share that with our, with our listeners?
Rachel: It’s A Christmas to Treasure.
Tracy: What do you hope your readers will take away from your part in this collection?
Rachel: Not to close your heart love, even when you feel like another person is unlovable or that your love isn’t getting through, keep loving and giving.
In my stories, I often have grumpy people because I find that the people who reject others or act like they don’t care are often the people who need love the most. So I kind of want readers to think about, if you dig beneath the surface, you’ll often find they have deep hurts and pain. And I want to encourage the readers that if they know someone like that, don’t give up, but keep showing them God’s love.
Tracy: Aw, that’s really cool. You know, I often like to write about grouchy old people too, because they’re the most fun characters to develop, aren’t they?
Rachel: Yes, they are.
Tracy: You just gave us a short synopsis of your story. Do you have it finished yet?
Rachel: No, I’m just starting on it. I’ve have it outlined. And I have a few, I like to write key scenes first, so I have a few of those written, and then I go back and start from the beginning.
Tracy: I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anybody write like that. That’s interesting. So you write the main scenes of the whole story, correct?
Rachel: Yeah. The scenes that are most vivid to me are the most exciting, the ones that make my heart pound, you know, I feel like, Oh, this is going to be good.
Tracy: I’m the complete opposite. I have to start at the beginning, and I have to watch the story play out in my head. I can’t jump from scene to scene, or I get confused. I have to watch it like a movie playing in my head and I, and lots of times, I don’t know about you, Rachel, but lots of times the scenes write themselves. I may not even have a scene in my head, but as I sit and write, I watched the movie play out the scene just comes to life all on its own. So I think that’s the most exciting thing about writing stories that I have a passion for.
Rachel: Yeah. I love when that happens, it feels like you’re getting a download from heaven.
Tracy: You know, you write about God a lot in your stories as well. And you know, lots of times I always say, God, this is your story to tell, not mine, you know, just fill my mind with what you want me to say. And, he does, he answers, and puts on paper what he wants me to say. And so many of the Amish fiction authors that I interview and I’ve talked to; they do the same thing. You know, they, they may say a little prayer right before they write, because we all know just as you, these aren’t our stories to tell this is just God working through us to get his message out to our readers. That’s a perfect way to put it is. I like to end our little interview on something fun.
So how about you tell us when you were younger, what was your dream job?
Rachel: When I was younger, I dreamed of growing up to be a princess, somehow that didn’t work out, but I can kind of keep hoping that maybe someday I’ll find out I was switched at birth and I really have a Royal family, but that’s too funny.
Tracy: I don’t think I’ve heard anybody other than my, my five-year-old granddaughter say they wanted to be in princess. So, I have to ask, have you ever written a character that had aspirations to be a princess?
Rachel: No, but I should. That would be fun.
Tracy: I asked you earlier your main character in your latest book, Priscilla asked you to describe her in three words, and you did a very good job at that.
I’m going to turn the tables a little bit and ask you if you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Rachel: Definitely number one would be shy, hard worker, and optimistic. And I always try to be encouraging if I can. Oops. I think that was more than three words, but I was never very good at math. I’m sorry.
Tracy: I know you’re a little timid, but you know, your personality comes out in every word, you pen on a piece of paper. So it doesn’t matter how shy you are, Rachel. And I’m very thankful that you, you, you broke through that shyness and came on board to do this podcast with us today.
To end up, most of my listeners or our listeners love to hear what their favorite author reads. Can you tell us what book is currently on your bedside table?
Rachel: I just finished Susan Simpson’s Lizzie’s Heart. And I’m reading Joanne Brown’s Wish for Home that will be coming out in April 2021.
Tracy: So, Rachel, is there anything you’d like to add or anything you’d like to say to your readers now that you’ve have a captive audience to them?
Rachel: I just want to say thank you to the readers there. They’re the ones that make writing a joy. If it weren’t for readers, we wouldn’t be writers.
Tracy: Rachel, I want to thank you so much for spending time with us this week. And I look forward to reading your latest release along with your story in the Amish Christmas Miracles Collection.
That wraps up this week’s episode next week we’ll have Loree Lough as our guests to talk about her latest project, along with her part in the Amish Christmas Miracles Collection. So, we’ll see you next week on the Buggy Talk Podcast.