Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Lady of Grace You'll Want to Meet

Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. Her novel, Falling to Pieces, is a 2012 ACFW Carol Award finalist. A Promise for Miriam earned a spot on the June 2012 Christian Retailing Top Ten Fiction list. Chapman writes Amish fiction for Abingdon Press, Zondervan, and Harvest House. She lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.
Vannetta Chapman 
I'm surprised how often readers ask me, "Where do you get your ideas?" I have a hard time turning off my writer's brain, and it seems that ideas for new stories are everywhere.
  • People I know
  • People I don't know
  • News stories
  • Music
  • Memories
  • Photographs
You can see, no one is safe from turning into a story! For my current release, Material Witness, I came up with different parts of the story from different places.
My "material witness" who sees the murder is a handicapped Amish boy. I taught for 15 years, and I worked with quite a few "special needs" children. They are incredibly bright, strong, resilient people. I also have a stepdaughter who is handicapped. So I know firsthand what parents go through as they try to raise these children to be independent.
Another side story I wove into Material Witness is John Wayne's movie The Cowboys. This is the 1972 movie where John Wayne uses a group of boys to help him move a herd of cattle. WHY would I include John Wayne in an Amish novel? It just so happens that the new version of True Grit (with Matt Damon) was filmed very close to where we live. In fact, Matt Damon stopped in our town to buy flowers. It was a BIG DEAL for this small Texas town. That started me watching old John Wayne films, and suddenly those young boys reminded me of young Amish boys--perhaps because of their innocence.
And music is just a huge inspiration for me. As soon as I heard the Eric Church song "Homeboy" I HAD some of the main characters in this book. It's a song about one brother's love for another, and how he wants him to come home.
It took me about four months to write this book. I keep a pretty strict schedule, determined to write so many words a day. This keeps me from being too stressed when a book is due! I have no trouble sitting down and "imagining" all day, but it is hard for me to stay inside working when the weather turns pretty like it is now. I work more hours than I did teaching, but it is totally worth it.
One scripture that helped guide me through this story was Ephesians 5:20 "always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." You'll find this verse in all of my Author's Notes. It helps me to focus, to remember that I am thankful for the opportunity to share stories about God's grace, and most importantly--it reminds me that all I do, I do in the name of Christ.
                               Let's find out what Material Witness is about.  

Tragedy strikes on the opening night of the Fall Crafters Fair when a woman is killed in the parking lot of Daisy's Quilt Shop, and the only material witness is one of Melinda Byer's boys. The investigation takes a more bizarre turn when detective Shane Black becomes convinced the killer was actually after Callie.
This time it's a madman loose in the largest crowd of the year, and he's looking for something or
someone. If they can't figure out what, one of Deborah and Callie's close circle of friends may be next. Masked identities, antique quilts with hidden messages, an Amish boy whose handicap makes him stronger, one brave dog, and a possible hidden treasure ... this time it's nonstop action, danger, and a dash of romance.

Would you like a chance to win a copy of Vannetta's new book? Check out her reflection question. We would love to hear what YOU have to say. (Winner will be selected from a random drawing later in the week.)

Vannetta wants to know. I love fall festivals, cooler days, and watching old movies--all of these things are included in Material Witness. What is one of your favorite old movies?
you can order your copy of Vannetta's book and find out more about this great author at any of the following links.


  1. My very favorite old movie is, Steel Magnolia's! My grown up Daughter and I watched this over and over. We also sobbed over and over! She is now in Stockholm, Sweden with her AirForce Husband and their Children. (He is serving 3 years at the US Embassy there.) I want to rent this movie in June so we can watch it together again when they come home for a visit.

    I have read all of Vannetta's books and I'd be thrilled to win a copy of material witness. My Sister and I hope to meet Vannetta this month in Shipshewana!


  2. I love Titanic...beautiful ship and story of resilience! Love all your books and would love to win! Rhonda

  3. Thank you so much for having me on your blog!

    Judy, Steel Magnolias was a great movie. SO romantic and I love the southern touches.

    Rhonda, there's something about the Titanic. Isn't there?

    I love fall because it's a good time to snuggle up and watch some of these old movies.


  4. My favorite movie is Paint your wagon.

  5. It isn't a real old movie but my favorite movie is Remember the Titans. I don't know why. I'm not really a football fan but there is something about the movie that just speaks to me.

    Karen Hatfield

  6. My favorite movie is "Witness"!!!!! I love anything Amish and they did such a great job with this one!

    Dianna Bupp

  7. My favorite movie is Father knows best ( Home for Christmas 1977 ). I couldn't fine it in any stores so I went to Amazon . Some one had recorded this Christmas Special from the TV along with another Anniversary special & many weekly Father Knows Best shows . They put it on a DVD . Got it cheap . We watch it every Christmas . Even the olden days commercials are fun & Funny , better then now days .

  8. I have lots of favorite old movies since I devour them constantly. but one that sticks in my mind had Olivia De Haviland in it and it was about a homely young woman, who some guy was going to marry ONLY because her family had money. I think he was Montgomery Cliff. Can't remember. Anyway when she thought he loved her as unlovely as she was, she later turned bitter when he found out her dad wouldn't give her her inheritance if she married the slob. Oh, it goes on and on, but it sure did have a good story line.

  9. I still enjoy The Sound of Music. Loved the music and loved Julie Andrews.
    Kathy Faberge

  10. I don't watch a lot of movies except for Christmas ones which I am addicted to. Our family old Christmas movie is It's A Wonderful Life.

  11. My favorite old movie is Jane Eyre with Orson Wells and Joan Fontaine! He's so strong and imposing and she's so beautiful - it's a wonderful edition of the story.

  12. My favorite old movie would be Gone With The Wind, but only when it can be viewed in a magnificent old theater (the kind with balconies all around and deep red velvet curtains with gold trim and huge screen). You've got to have the right atmosphere to fully enjoy GWTW. Unfortunately, those theaters are few and far between. I last saw the movie in a theater like this in the mid-70s. djragno {at} hotmail {dot} com

  13. I love the movie "Yours, Mine and Ours" with Lucille Ball. I am not sure what I would do with 18/19 kids. I do know my life would be not so quiet but very interesting! Melissa

  14. Our little community has a wonderful fall festival. They actually close the state road that goes through town of LaGrange, Indiana. There are rides for the kids, a parade every day of the festival, and, due to the diverse cultural blend of folks, you can enjoy deep fried pickles from the "English", cupcakes in a jar from the Amish, and panbaso from the Hispanics all in the same afternoon. Connie BnCPfefferkorn@alumnidotpurduedotedu

  15. One of my favorite old movies is My Fair Lady! I love Audry Hepburn... she is just lovely!

    ladettek [at]gmail[dot]com

  16. I love the movie White Christmas.

    Cheryl B

  17. Sounds like a book to read pronto. Would love to win.

  18. My favorite old movie is It's a Wonderful Life.

    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  19. I have so many old movies that I love, they are so much better than today's movies. Today I'll say, Meet Me In St. Louis.


  20. My favorite movie is E.T. -- not a classic, but a movie I enjoy watching with my grandson.

  21. Not sure how old "old" has to be, but one of my favorites from a few years ago is "Somewhere in Time."

    Would love to win your book.

  22. Joyce Schmidt / joysmit@bright.netSeptember 6, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    Somewhere in Time was a good movie!!! I love lots of old movies!