Friday, May 17, 2013

A Warm Welcome to Adina Senft

Is there a story behind your book The Tempted Soul?
Yes—the title! In my original proposal to my publisher, the heroine’s temptation was very different, but it turned out to be the wrong one for her personality as she had developed over the other books in the series. So my husband and I were out one day and as we drove, I was racking my brain trying to come up with a temptation for her, because the title was already listed in the catalog and we couldn’t change it. I gave him a quick summary of the plot, and he said, “She doesn’t have kids? Can the Amish use a fertility clinic?” A lightbulb went on in my head—because they don’t. The Amish consider a child a gift from God, to be given in God’s time, and according to sociologist Donald Kraybill, fertility treatment is virtually nonexistent in their culture. So there I had Carrie’s temptation!

What started you on your writing journey?
In third grade, I wrote a little story about a ghost in a graveyard, and when it came back, my teacher had written on it that I’d scared her. I’m sure she was only being kind, but it was the first time I had ever realized that something I wrote could affect someone’s emotions. That started me on my career … though it took another thirty years or so before I was published. My master’s thesis was my first full-length sale to a commercial publisher, and my MFA thesis was … The Wounded Heart, the first book in the Amish Quilt trilogy!

What kind of books do you enjoy reading? (Book recommendations very welcome!)
I’m a very eclectic reader. A few of my recent reads:

  • What Darkness Brings by C.S. Harris (Regency historical mystery—adore the whole series)
  • Thrill of the Chaste by Valerie Weaver-Zercher (nonfiction about the appeal of Amish romance)
  • Back to Eden by Jethro Kloss (research for my new Healing Grace series)
  • The Wedding Gift by Lucy Kevin (contemporary romance)

  • What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
    After 25 years, my long-suffering husband has gotten used to unusual adventures in the pursuit of research. At the top of that list is the day we went up in a real Zeppelin airship, one of only two on this continent at the time. It was an amazing experience—and helped me get the details correct in the Magnificent Devices steampunk series I write as Shelley Adina (

    What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?
    I rescue chickens, and I’m also boarding a pair of Silkie hens for a friend. One of these little birds, Tetra, looks like a dainty white powder puff with a beak. But behind that adorable exterior is a will of iron and a highly developed sense of exactly how the world should work. If things aren’t going the way she wants, she will let you know in no uncertain terms. There is nothing funnier than a ticked-off powder puff having a temper tantrum. ::ahem:: I shouldn’t laugh. Really. ::giggle::

    Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?
    I’ve been to 23 countries so it’s hard to narrow the list down to just one! But my top three have to be:

  • Vancouver Island, Canada – because it’s home and because the ocean and the islands are so serene and beautiful. And you can collect shells on the beaches. And see eagles.
  • Vienna, Austria – combine deep history, fabulous food, and music in the air at any time of the day, and you’ll see why I love it there. Plus I’m addicted to dirndl and polka and Sacher torte.
  • Venice, Italy – need I say more?

  • Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?
    I travel from California out to Lancaster County every June to research my Amish books. The moment I stop the car and get out, I listen for the sound of clopping hooves, and smell the fresh-cut grass. I see the women going about their work and lift my eyes to the rolling hills and fields, and all my stress just melts away. I think this appreciation for the setting in which the Amish live and work sinks into the way I write about them. The flowers on the waysides and the smell of good cooking, the way a woman wears her prayer covering, the stride of an Amish man … these things all affect my experience of the countryside and find their way into my books.

    What's your favorite meal with family and friends? (and feel free to share a recipe with us!)
    We’re big fans of food around here—in fact, my whole neighborhood socializes together (and I fear there is some competition among the men, who tend to do most of the cooking). In the winter, during crab season, our favorite thing is a crab riot, where we boil up a bunch of crabs fresh from the boat and serve them with a fresh salad and good Santa Cruz sourdough bread.

    In the summer, blackberries are thick all over our neighborhood. Here’s my favorite thing to do with them:

    Neighborly Blackberry Pie

    5 cups fresh blackberries

    1/4 cup flour

    2/3 cup sugar

    2 tsp tapioca

    1 1/2 Tbsp lime or lemon juice

    1/4 tsp cinnamon, if desired (I leave it out)

    2 pie crusts (Pillsbury frozen crusts are just as good as homemade)

    Toss first 6 ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Fill lower crust with mixture and dot with 2 Tbsp butter. Lay top crust on, crimp, and vent. Bake at 450F for 10 minutes, then lower to 350 for 30-40 minutes. Serves 6-8.

    Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you (and why it's special).
    Psalm 139:9–10 (KJV) “If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” That verse is so comforting to me—it gives me joy to know that even in the oddest of my adventures along this writing path, God’s hand is cupped around me. Plus … “wings of the morning.” I wish I’d written that.

    When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
    I’m really excited about my next Amish series, called Healing Grace, which will launch in 2014. It features a young Amish widow who is learning to be a Dokterfraa, or herbal healer. Each book’s title is the country name of the herb she uses as a cure in the book, and it also symbolizes the emotional cure that God works in the patient. For instance, in book one, Herb of Grace, that’s the country name for rue. And the patient rues something in his past that he has to resolve before his physical ailment can be cured. Meanwhile, as my heroine is learning to make herbal cures, her oldest son is getting restless and looking to move to an Amish settlement way out west in Colorado, which breaks her heart. And speaking of the heart, a lonely man has moved into the farm over the hill who was once Amish and chose to leave the church, which makes him off limits to all the single women in the community … unless God loves him back to Himself …

    To buy Adina's books, go here:

    Barnes & Noble:




    Author Bio

    Adina Senft grew up in a plain house church, where she was often asked by outsiders if she was Amish (the answer was no), she made her own clothes, and she perfected the art of the French braid. She holds an M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from
    Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania, where she teaches as adjunct faculty. 

    Writing as Shelley Bates, she was the winner of RWA’s RITA Award for Best Inspirational Novel in 2005, a finalist for that award in 2006, and, writing as Shelley Adina, was a Christy Award finalist in 2009. Three of her books have shortlisted for the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Carol Award for book of the year. Of her fiction, publisher and industry blogger W. Terry Whalin has said, “Readers will be lost in the vivid world that [she] paints with incredible detail and masterful storytelling.” 

    A transplanted Canadian, Adina returns there annually to have her accent calibrated. Between books, she enjoys traveling with her husband, playing the piano and Celtic harp, and spoiling her flock of rescued chickens. These days, she makes period costumes and only puts up her hair for historical events and fun.

    To connect with Adina, go here:


    Adina is giving away a copy of The Tempted Soul. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

    Happy Reading!
    Caroline Brown


    squiresj said...

    Would love to win this book - get to know this author and get her known by reviewing book.
    jrs362 at hotmail dot com

    Judy said...

    I know Adina's work and I would love to win a copy of, The Tempted Soul.

    That Neighborly Blackberry Pie sounds wonderful!

    Judy B

    Lisa Lickel said...

    Hi, Adina! I love your challenge in this story, but I especially love the blackberry pie recipe. I've used flour and cornstarch in it, but haven't tried tapioca. Guess what I'm making soon?

    Diana Flowers said...

    Adina, thank you for the recipe and for sharing more about yourself with us! I have never been outside of the US besides Canada, so you are really blessed to have been able to do that! Thank you for the great giveaway opportunity!


    Library Lady said...

    I can't wait to try the recipe for the Blackberry Pie and can't wait to read Adina's newest book.
    Janet E.

    Cindi A said...

    My stepson went to Seton Hill too!! What a small world Ü

    Please enter me in the contest to win The Tempted Soul.



    Wendy Newcomb said...

    Thank you for this interview, I love her books.


    KayM said...

    It must have been really different growing up in a plain house church. Does that something to do with the reason you write about the Amish life and people?
    may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

    Nancee said...

    Thank you for sharing the blackberry pie recipe. Sounds delicious! I enjoyed Adina's visit on your blog, and look forward to reading her new release. Thanks for offering this giveaway!

    Patricia Bradley said...

    Loved getting to know Adina and the story behind The Tempted Soul. pat at ptbradley dot com

    Erin said...

    A great interview!

    Erin S
    emstclair {at} gmail {dot} com

    Linda Kish said...

    That pie sounds tasty.

    I would love to read this book.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

    Patsy said...

    I would to read this book.


    Patsy said...

    I would to read this book.


    karenk said...

    thanks for the chance to read this novel...special thanks for the recipe, too ;)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

    Adina Senft said...

    Oh, I hope you all will make the blackberry pie recipe ... the blackberries are just blooming in my neck of the woods, so it won't be long!

    KayM, there are a lot of parallels between Amish belief and that of the church I grew up in. And there are a lot of similarities in the way the women and young folks are socially, so I felt pretty comfortable writing about women's thoughts and feelings in that environment.

    I go out to Lancaster County every June for research ... in fact, I'm signing The Tempted Soul at the LifeWay bookstore in York, PA, on June 8 from 2 to 4 p.m. I'd love to see folks!

    Emma said...

    The Tempted Soul sounds wonderful. Thank you for the giveaway.

    Anonymous said...

    Hello Adina. Good you are here. Enjoyed hearing about your life and your upcoming books. I would sure like to win this one. Have tried before to win it. Maybe I will this time. Thanks Carole for having Adina as your guest. Please put my name in.
    Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

    Teela said...

    It would be a joy to read this book by Adina. Looks great. teelayoung at hotmail dot com

    Jo said...

    Thank you for the interview. I would love to read this book.

    Jo from Southern Arizona

    Rose Milligan said...

    Your new series sounds really good. I think you have beautiful and interesting name. Thanks for having the giveaway.


    Adina Senft said...

    Rose, thank you! My mom will be happy to hear that :) "Adina" was my grandmother's name, and "Senft" means "mustard" in German. When I was over there, I saw my name on every cafeteria table on the little yellow jar! LOL

    shirley Blanchard said...

    Your new series Your new series sounds really good, please pick me i cant wait to read it

    kathy milburn said...

    I would love to win this giveaway

    Unknown said...

    Would love to win the giveaway of the book The Tempted Soul!
    Thank you for sharing this with us!
    Cheryl Baranski

    Unknown said...

    Also thank you for sharing the receipe.
    Cheryl Baranski

    Mary Ellen Ashenfelder said...

    Thank you for the recipe and the interesting interview, Sounds like an awesome book. Please accept my entry in the giveaway. Thank you.

    Anonymous said...

    Wow this sounds so good! How fascinating what she used for the temptation! I absolutely love the cover as well! Definitely putting this on must read list!


    Teela said...

    I can't wait to try your recipe for blackberry pie. My favorite food choice!

    Anonymous said...

    Love to win one of you books.

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