Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of meeting author and agency sibling Mindy Steele. We chatted on the telephone about reading, writing, and her debut novel To Catch a Hummingbird that will be released on May 25. Keep your eyes open as she has three additional books coming out in 2021!
Raised in Kentucky timber country, Mindy Steele and has been writing since she could hold a crayon against the wall. Inspired by her rural surroundings, Steele writes Amish Romance peppered with just the right amount of humor as well as engaging contemporary suspense. She strives to create realistic characters for her readers and believes in charming all the senses to make you laugh, cry, hold your breath, and root for the happy ever after ending. Readers can find themselves somewhere along her pages. A mother of four and grandmother to a half dozen blessings, when not at her writing, she enjoys family, coffee indulgences, and weekend road trips. Steele is represented by Julie Gwinn and her debut novels, To Catch a Hummingbird, An Amish Flower Farm, His Amish Wife’s Hidden Past, and Christmas Grace, release starting spring of 2021.
Behind the Scenes
When you enter a bookstore, in which section do you look first?
Amish fiction of course. I love browsing the new releases. After snagging a couple for myself, I tend to get lost searching out my favorite authors of the genre in case I missed one.
What is your favorite genre to read?
I am a sucker for historical fiction and new authors in the genre. Authors like Laura Frantz, Elaine Cooper, Michelle Griep, Pepper Bashem, Rachel Fordham and Rachel McDaniel have given me endless indulgences.
How did you begin writing? What drew you to write Amish fiction and romance?
I have been writing poems, songs, plays, and silly stories since I could remember, but I was forty-four when I wrote my first full length novel. I was between jobs and took a trip to the local library to fill a void. I read my first Amish fiction novel. It was a good book. I live near the Amish and consider my neighbors close friends. I thought what the heck and grabbed a pen and notebook and wrote Strong’s Choice. A year later, I was offered a contract from my number one pick for an agent. Julie Gwinn has been pushing me since day one, and I love her only the more for it.
I love writing all genres, but she encouraged me to write what I know. Having the opportunity to learn from the source, Amish fiction became my strong suit.
I was forty-four when I wrote my first full length novel. I was between jobs and took a trip to the local library to fill a void. I read my first Amish fiction novel.
Where do you like to write?
I like to write in a charming log cabin with windows facing a foggy morning lake with the smell of pine filling the rooms. However, with that not being an option, yet, I write while sitting in my garden swing, watching the world grow and busy by. Then its to the writing cave to weave all my sloppy words together until they make sense.
Are you a plotter, a pantser, or are do you fall somewhere in between?
A pantser for sure. I get an idea of a character, a setting, and just go with it. It’s messy and crazy and sometimes requires twenty revisions before I’m satisfied. I tried my hand at plotting for the sake of the publishers interested in my proposals but find I can never follow the synopsis I first constructed. Characters tend to change their minds on who they are compared to who you want them to be.
Would you rather write a book about your greatest passion on a tight deadline OR would you rather write a book about something you know nothing about with no deadline?
Of course I want all the time in the world to research something new and create something beautiful with it, but if you ask my agent, editors, and even my mom, I do my best when I’m pressured with a short deadline. I’m a thinker, and if given too much time to think, I tend to over do it. Lol. Give me three weeks and a suggestion, and you will have a book.
Please tell us about your newest or upcoming release.
To Catch a Hummingbird is the first book in the Miller’s Creek Amish Series. It’s a story of faith and healing. How two people suffering very different losses are forced together by the local matchmakers and with the help of three mischievous children, soon find strength in each other. But just when you think these two characters have found a second chance at happiness, tragedy strikes. It’s a story of holding faith. Faith that even though bad things happen, good can come from the ashes too.
What is something God has taught you through your writing?
Writing about real and everyday circumstances has given me a window into seeing things through another’s eyes. Yes, they’re fictional eyes, but reading and writing alike, teaches empathy. I’ve been blessed with an healthy imagination and age has given me experiences. I believe God has presented himself to me more fully in my writing. His timing for me was perfect.
Writing about real and everyday circumstances has given me a window into seeing things through another’s eyes. Yes, they’re fictional eyes, but reading and writing alike, teaches empathy.