Chloe Humphrey has a mystery on her hands, one that is affecting the Amish community of Appleseed Creek more than anyone expected. Who is responsible for cutting the hair of several young Amish girls? Is this crime linked to one that’s far worse and much more shocking?
A Plain Scandal, Book Two in Amanda Flower’s Appleseed Creek Mystery Series, will give you a serious case of the “Who-Dunnits?” Full of mystery, humor, and even a bit of romance, this book would make great addition to your summer reading list.
What I liked…
Amish fiction is a new genre I’ve begun to explore over the last year. So far, I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve come across and A Plain Scandal is no different. It’s part of a series, but works as a stand-alone title as well. Amanda Flower’s take on Amish fiction was refreshing and unique. By making it an Amish mystery, I thought she offered something new and different. I got a slice of Amish culture but also got the chance to look through the eyes of an outsider via the book’s protagonist, Chloe.
Chloe is the “Nancy Drew” of the book, if you will. Each chapter left me with questions, and I needed the answers. I was drawn into the mystery of the story while also becoming involved with the characters along the way. Reading A Plain Scandal made me want to go back and read Book One, A Plain Death, as well as continue on with the series with Book Three, A Plain Disappearance, which releases in September 2013.
A Plain Scandal is Amish fiction with a twist. For those mystery lovers out there who haven’t been drawn to the Amish genre before, this book may just be your hook. I quite enjoyed this book. If you liked the Nancy Drew or Mandy mysteries as a kid, you’ll enjoy A Plain Scandal as an adult.
An Interview with Amanda Flower
1. A Plain Scandal is a mystery set in the Appleseed Creek Amish Community. What is it that drew you to write novels with an Amish setting? Was there a lot of research involved beforehand?
When I was twenty-four and just graduated from graduate school, I looked all over the country for a librarian job. The only offer I got was for a small college in the middle of Ohio’s Amish Country. I lived there for three years near the Amish. At the time, I didn’t think much of it, but later, I realized what a unique experience I had had and that it would be a great basis for a mystery. For the series, even though I had friends with close Amish connections, I researched a lot because I’m a librarian and I enjoy it. Much of my research never makes it into a book.
2. A Plain Scandal is the second in a series. How do you plan and prepare for series writing? How is it easier/ more difficult than writing a stand alone title? What advice can you offer to writers who aspire to be series authors?
I’ve always been a series writer because that’s what I like to read. I love to see how characters will develop over multiple books. With series, I can take my time, especially in the case of the romantic story line because I know I have several books to draw it out over.
For those who aspire to be series writers, I would say create amazing characters that a reader will want to revisit again and again.
3. This series is unique in that it is a mystery/suspense series as well. What are some elements you believe are needed to create a good mystery? Is it more difficult to write a mystery rather than your typical inspirational story? Why or why not?
Every novel I’ve written, even those for children, have been mysteries. I’ve never tried my hand at another genre, but I imagine it would be difficult for me because in my mysteries the crime solving drives the main plot. As a mystery author, I know the bad guy will (usually) get caught in the end. A good mystery surprises readers and has just enough clues for the ending to make sense.
4. The protagonist, Chloe Humphrey, is really a modern day Nancy Drew. She has a knack for solving mystery, and she isn’t afraid to put her nose where it doesn’t belong if it means digging up the truth. How much of your own personality can readers expect to find in Miss Humphrey? What about crime solving appeals most to you?
I like mysteries because I like puzzles and problem solving, so does Chloe. Other than that, Chloe and I are very different. She is much braver than I am. I wouldn’t try to solve a murder; I’d leave it up to the police.
5. A Plain Scandal also has a touch of romance. What is the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for you? How do you draw from real life experiences to make your stories more authentic?
Goodness. That’s a tough one for me. I think the little things couples do for each other are the most romantic or the inside jokes they share.
6. Is there a verse or scripture passage that has helped or encouraged you in your writing? If so, what is it and how has it impacted you?
Psalm 37:4 is my verse for my writing life. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” It took me nine years to get published, which was my heart’s desire; I fell back on that verse a lot.
7. When did you know that writing was the career for you? What would you say to aspiring authors who are feeling discouraged in their pursuit of a writing career?
When I was in grade school, I read a humorous story I wrote to my class and they laughed. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a writer. My advice to any aspiring writer is don’t give up. There are many obstacles to a writer’s life, but you have keeping going and keep writing. Eventually, you will break through and get that contract.
About Amanda Flower…
Amanda Flower found her call to write in sixth grade. She read a story she wrote about being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel, putting her whole class in stitches, and it was at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland. She also writes mysteries as Isabella Alan. You can learn more about Amanda Flower by visiting her website at AmandaFlower.com or by connecting with her on Facebook and Twitter.
I received an EBook copy of A Plain Scandal from Shelton Interactive. I was not asked to write a positive review. All views and opinions expressed are solely and completely my own. I received no compensation other than a digital copy of A Plain Scandal, which is mine to keep. This post also contains affiliate links. To learn more, please see my full policy.
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