Laura Bradford joins us today to answer questions about writing and her new Amish mystery, Suspendered Sentence. Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter post at the bottom of the page. To keep in touch with Mystery Playground, find us on Twitter +Mystery Playground and on Facebook.
If you could meet any author alive or dead, who would it be and why?
This might be cheating, because I’ve already met her (this picture of the two of us hangs on the bulletin board in my “office”), but it was brief so I’m going to say her anyway.
I would love to have lunch with Mary Higgins Clark. I’d love to ask her questions about her early career, tell her how much she’s impacted mine, and just enjoy spending time with someone I admire.
Where did you get the idea for this book? How did you know that was the book you wanted to write?
The idea for SUSPENDERED SENTENCE came to me sort of like this:
Nineteen years ago, Sadie Lehman simply up and disappeared during her Rumspringa in the Amish community of Heavenly, Pennsylvania. Led to believe her daughter had gotten caught up in the English world by the girl’s peers, Waneta clung to hope that one day Sadie would come back.
Yet while Waneta prayed for a reunion, Sadie’s friends hoped for something very different—that Sadie’s body would never be discovered.
I saw that set up as plain as day (it came to me in the middle of a Panera, no less).
Suddenly, I had to know more…
What really happened that fateful night? Why did Sadie’s friends keep her death a secret? How could they let her mother believe she’d merely run off? How do you live with that kind of secret?
The more questions I asked myself, the more excited I got by the answers I came up with. And, before long, I had the plot for SUSPENDERED SENTENCE (the 4th book in my Amish Mysteries).
What is the best thing that has happened to you as a result of your novels?
First, they’ve helped teach my daughters to reach for their dreams and work hard—a lesson they’ve embraced (I’m blessed).
Second, it has been on this writing journey that I have met some of my dearest friends—people who came into my life because of my writing. It’s funny, but back when I was ten and dreaming of being a writer, the brass ring was seeing my name/my book on a library shelf. Now don’t get me wrong, seeing that for the first time was as cool as I’d imagined. But it’s the friends I’ve met along the way that have truly changed my world for the better.
What did you do to research the book??
Every time I’m gearing up to write another Amish mystery, I spend a day or two in Lancaster County, PA (where my books are located). I go on tours, visit some Amish homes, and re-acclimate myself to the pace and the feel of that world. Since my protagonist, Claire, is English (what the Amish call us), she’s always learning something new about the Amish. My research trips help make sure that the things I have Claire learn are, indeed, accurate.
For SUSPENDERED SENTENCE in particular, I had to do a lot of research on Pennsylvania law. I picked the brains of a fellow writer (who happens to be an attorney), and utilized some connections specific to Pennsylvania, as well. What I discovered, surprised me, and really helped shape this story.