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Mindy Starns Clark | An Amish…Introvert?

Have you ever thought you might like to be Amish? Given the simplicity and surrender of their lifestyle, the idea can be tempting. But I think the better question is whether or not you could actually pull it off. If you really wanted to, could you live an Amish life?

For most people, the honest answer is “no,” usually because of the lack of modern conveniences such as cars and electricity. For me, however, the primary reason I know I could never pull it off, at least not in the long term, is because I’m an introvert—and Amish life is about as extroverted as it comes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means shy, and I do enjoy social encounters. But I also require a good amount of “alone time” to stay sane. In my world, finding a little daily solitude isn’t difficult, especially now that my kids are grown. But when I picture an Amish home, such a thought seems nearly impossible.

Statistics vary, but the average Amish couple has seven children, and it’s not unusual for elderly parents or in-laws to live with them as well. Add regular visits and gatherings with other members of their tightly-knit communities, and that totals a whole bunch of time spent in the company of others. Perhaps Amish farmers get their share of peace and quiet as they work the fields, but I can’t imagine an Amish woman or child ever being alone.

That’s why I was so intrigued when my co-author, Leslie Gould, explained what she had in mind for the main character of our latest book, The Amish Seamstress. We had already decided that the story would feature Izzy Mueller, a gifted caregiver and talented seamstress who falls in love with her best friend, Zed Bayer. Unlike the typical Amish fiction heroine, however, Izzy would be a loner and a daydreamer, desperate for solitude and quiet creativity in a world that offers little of each.

In short, she would be a square peg in the round hole that is Amish life. Leslie’s idea totally clicked for me, and I found it incredibly easy to climb inside Izzy’s head as we wrote. (It didn’t hurt that I, too, once fell in love with my best friend; we’ve now been married for 25 years, and he’s still my favorite person in the whole wide world.)

By the time Leslie and I finished the book, we were both quite pleased with the story and found Izzy to be extremely “real” and relatable. Now that this fourth and final installment in the Women of Lancaster County series has been released, I’m curious where others fall on this issue of solitude vs. perpetual community. Do you draw energy from being alone or being with others? Would you enjoy the social aspects of Amish life? Or would you, like Izzy, spend much of your time trying to get off by yourself to recharge?

The Amish Seamstress Bestselling authors Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould provide an unexpected surprise in The Amish Seamstress, Book 4 in the Women of Lancaster County series, which tells the stories of young Amish women as they explore their roots, connect with family, and discover true love.

Izzy Mueller is an exceptional listener and gifted caregiver. She's also a talented seamstress. As the young woman sits with her elderly patients, she quietly sews as they share their stories. She's content with her life until circumstances reconnect her with someone she once loved.

Zed Bayer, a Mennonite, is not what her family is hoping for in a spouse, and his creative interest in filmmaking is definitely at odds with her Amish upbringing. As Izzy is swept up again in Zed and renews her friendship with his sister, Ella, she begins to ask questions about her own life--her creative longings and historical interests, her relationships and desire for romance, and most importantly, her faith.

What is the path God has for her? Can she learn from the past of both her family's and Zed's--or must she forge a completely different future of her own?

Comment to win a sewing kit and a copy of The Amish Seamstress




45 comments posted.

Re: Mindy Starns Clark | An Amish…Introvert?

would like to read
(Kathy Weber 1:34am August 18, 2013)

I suspect Izzy can and will do both; learn from the past of
their respective families and build a life that is uniquely
their own.
(Diana Corlett 2:05am August 18, 2013)

Amish life must be a very, very hard life.
(Lynn Anderson 6:43am August 18, 2013)

I've never read a Amish book but would love to start. Thanks for the
(Kim Cornwell 7:22am August 18, 2013)

I think she will learn from both families and put that knowledge to good use.
(Betty Hamilton 8:06am August 18, 2013)

I love the name Izzy, it is my grand daughters nickname, so this starts out making the story special to me. I think we can all learn from our families and our put that information to good use for our future.
(C Culp 8:11am August 18, 2013)

Since I was not raided Amish, I think it would be hard for me. I have read a couple of Amish books.
(Leona Olson 8:30am August 18, 2013)

Have not read a Amish, but if I win one I would read it to see if I like it. I am more a mystery reader. Thank you for leting me e nter.
(Judy Ferguson 9:00am August 18, 2013)

I love to read about the Amish. They chose such a harsh way to live. Thanks
(Bonnie Capuano 9:13am August 18, 2013)

I'm more of a loner than a social person myself, but socializing is good for your health. People with strong community and personal ties live longer and are typically happier. On the other hand, I always crave personal time so an Amish lifestyle may not be ideal. (I also crave the phone and internet and tv, but that's beside the point.)
(Jamie Fortney 9:36am August 18, 2013)

There are aspects of the Amish community that I think that I would love, but the most difficult to adjust to is my constant want for the internet.
(Tara Burkhart 9:37am August 18, 2013)

I've always been an outgoing person, but as I'm getting older, I've learned to crave more time to myself. The one thought that popped into my head about the Amish, however, is that when you're born into that lifestyle, being around a lot of people seems "normal" to you, and you just sort of go with the flow. I don't think that you would find an Amish woman that would even consider wanting to be by herself, because it isn't engrained in her. As for your book, because I love to read about the Amish, and have met and spoken with an Amish man a couple of years ago, which I truly enjoyed, I would love to read your book. I also love reading quilting stories, which is an added plus!! This would make a great Fall read!! The cover is stunning as well!! Kudos to both of you on this book!!
(Peggy Roberson 10:39am August 18, 2013)

Your books are always so tender and inspiring. Thank you for just being such a wonderful writer and sharing your talent with us.
(Ann Martinisi 11:14am August 18, 2013)

I love books like this I enjoy reading about the Amish. I wish I lived closer I would buy their can goods I love the home made items. Their quilts are so beautiful!
(Penney Wilfort 11:18am August 18, 2013)

I would love to read Izzy's story and see if she weds Zed.
(Bonnie Gonzales 11:43am August 18, 2013)

Your books are memorable and special. Thanks for your
wonderful post and the chance to enjoy your novel.
(Sharon Berger 11:45am August 18, 2013)

love the Amish stories
(Teresa Roberts 11:57am August 18, 2013)

I've read a lot of Amish books and love them. I wouldn't want to live that way.
(Wilma Frana 12:14pm August 18, 2013)

Love the Amish stories. I can't imagine living without all of the technology I use every day, but I love the sense of family and community.
(Pam Howell 12:23pm August 18, 2013)

I have been extremely interested in the Amish lifestyle and want to get my hands on any and all books about them as possible. thank you for this opportunity!
(Sandie White 12:48pm August 18, 2013)

Sounds like a good book to read. Thank you for the give away
(Charlotte Wills 1:14pm August 18, 2013)

I love Amish reads. They're heart warming and good clean reads. I haven't yet read any of your books but plan to do so. Thanks for the chance to win.
(Gayle Pace 2:01pm August 18, 2013)

The Amish lifestyle and language is intensely unique and amazingly a stronghold in many communities. I have never read an Amish novel therefore I would love to read yours!
(Susan Coster 2:06pm August 18, 2013)

I gain energy in quiet and solitude. At the end of a
school's-out summer, I'm very much aware how much more
solitude I need than I get. My beloved eight-year-old son is
an extrovert-- in a pronounced enough way that we knew that
about him from his sixth month, when we met him. And I am
his favorite person in the world. Lucky-- and accursed. :D
(Mary Ann Dimand 2:08pm August 18, 2013)

As Amish introvert would have difficulty living in an Amish Community. With all of the responsibilities of daily life, where would Izzy go to be by herself? Could Izzy getaway mentally while she did her chores? Could her dreams of romance, etc. interfere with her faith? I'm glad I don't have to make her decision.
(Joanne Hicks 2:59pm August 18, 2013)

I look forward to reading THE AMISH SEAMSTRESS and learning the path God has chosen for Izzy's life. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy!
(Britney Adams 3:03pm August 18, 2013)

Izzy sounds so interesting and I would love to learn more about her. I am keeping my fingers crossed for the win and thank you for the chance.
(Melanie Backus 3:28pm August 18, 2013)

I love reading about the Amish - thanks for giving us this chance to win THE AMISH SEAMSTRESS
(Joanne Schultz 3:35pm August 18, 2013)

This sounds like a wonderful book. I love sewing and elderly people and their stories, so I can relate in some ways to Izzy. I also tend to daydream frequently. I have not yet read any of your Amish books and did not realize that the average Amish family has seven children. This explains why they all work hard and well together. They learn how to bake, sew, carpentry, and farming alongside each other.
(Linda Luinstra 4:21pm August 18, 2013)

What a great plot! My nature is more solitary but I love
community. Groups invigorate me while my time alone keeps me
sane--after all, my time alone is when I read!
(Catherine Barbaro 4:44pm August 18, 2013)

I enjoy being with people, but I NEED my time ALONE at home to recharge my battery. I am currently running on empty!

Sounds like a great book!
(Barbara Wright 4:58pm August 18, 2013)

I've read the others in the series and have loved them all.
I'm really looking forward to this one. Sorry to see the
series end. I recently read the description of an introvert
and discovered that I am one...who knew? I too have to have
some time to be alone. Thanks for the opportunity to win a
copy of the book.
(Sandra Kaczanowcke 6:03pm August 18, 2013)

I like being alone and being with others. I can adjust easily no matter the situation and try to make the best of it. I would love to win and read your book, it sounds like a very interesting story. Yes, I have thought the Amish type of lifestyle would be great and wholesome. Thank you for this chance to win. May God Bless You.
(Esther Somorai 6:38pm August 18, 2013)

A person can adopt some of the Amish lifestyle and many have.
Your series is very popular at the library where I am the
branch manager!
(Jackie Merritt 6:41pm August 18, 2013)

I love to read about the Amish. I love the idea of all their "togetherness", but if I really had to live it, I think I would need to get away sometimes.
(Juli Lear 6:44pm August 18, 2013)

I have no desire to be Amish, it seems like a very difficult lifestyle. Not just because of the lack of modern conveniences, but because the "rules" of their society don't allow for much individual expression.
(Lorena Keech 8:08pm August 18, 2013)

Yes, I think I could handle the Amish lifestyle because I
was raised on a 1000 acre farm in Kansas. We worked hard and
fast all the time and I enjoy the peace and quiet the
country life has to offer compared to big and loud cities.
Mom and I used to go to amish restaurants and we would see
them. I would really love to win and read your new book: THE
AMISH SEAMSTRESS. The sewing kit would be great too.
Congrats on your new book. Thank You for the great contest.
Cecilia CECE
(Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez 8:36pm August 18, 2013)

Your plot for this book sounds not only fascinating but thought provoking.
(Karen Blossom 8:56pm August 18, 2013)

What a wonderful story ==lots to make you really think while reading the book. I'm definitely looking forward to reading this
(Shirley Younger 9:37pm August 18, 2013)

I have read a couple of the books in this series and really enjoyed them. . . this one sounds very interesting too!!
(Sheri Pruitt 9:42pm August 18, 2013)

So many people have never learned HOW to sew. Even those of us who learned, don't use those skills very often. Many years ago when I was first married, I made all of the curtains in our house because we didn't have the $ to buy them. Needless to say, after 30 years, guess what needs to be redone. And I still can't afford to buy what I want, so once again, I need to sew. Now that I'm off that tangent, I do so love romance!
(Marcia Berbeza 11:19pm August 18, 2013)

The Amish life is simple and yet harsh at the same time. Sometime creativity would show up and that is why one must follows one's talent. There is a reason why God gives us what we can handle and to find out what he has plan for us.
(Kai Wong 11:32pm August 18, 2013)

I like the book's premise! An Amish introvert would be interesting to read about. Yeah, I don't think I'd like that world ... well, for many reasons, but also for the same reason you professed. I'm an introvert too. I wouldn't want to live in the same house as 20 or so people every day!
(Lynne Stringer 9:22pm August 19, 2013)

What a wonderful idea for a story. I know I enjoy my quiet,
alone time.
(Mary Preston 10:26pm August 19, 2013)

Wow, I have been out of town and offline and just got back to find all of these
comments here. How fun! Thanks everyone for commenting!
Here are a few specific responses...
MaryAnn, I hear you! I LOOOOVED being an at-home mom to my two
daughters, but the last day of school was always a real mixed blessing for me.
Summers were so fun but so tough. Those of us who need our alone time can
go bonkers when we're constantly surrounded by other people, even our own
beloved kids. :)
Linda, you're so right, the Amish do frequently work alongside each other and
in fact Amish parents generally spend far more time with their kids,
(especially the fathers), than non-Amish. They put a huge emphasis on
teaching and on modeling behavior for their children, and they invest a
enormous amount of time in that. It's inspiring to watch.
Sandra, I agree that it's kinda sad to see the Women of Lancaster County
series end, but the good news is that I have a new series starting in the spring
called The Men of Lancaster County. :) It's being co-written with Susan
Meissner and starts with The Amish Groom, to be released in April. (I just
noticed yesterday that the cover is already up on amazon, which is exciting.
They usually don't post them so early.)
Jackie, that's great to hear, thanks for making my books available in your
Marcia, I enjoy sewing, but I don't find it nearly as economical as I used to.
Years ago, fabric was cheaper than anything you could buy ready-made.
Nowadays, it's almost always the opposite. I'm curious where you get your
fabric--and if you know of some secret, inexpensive source that I don't. :)
Thanks again to everyone for commenting and for all of the kind words. This
has been a real treat. Now I'm off to visit an Amish farm for research on my
next book!
Mindy Starns Clark
(Mindy Clark 2:13pm August 20, 2013)

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