Holmes County Diary, Day 1: Encounter at the Salad Bar…

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CAPTION: Author Wanda Brunstetter pictured below.

I’ll confess to not being all that familiar with Amish fiction writer Wanda Brunstetter’s work.  I’ve explained why before: 40-something men like me are not the typical demographic for these novels and that’s fine.  They just don’t appeal to me all that much, maybe because I’m around the Amish so much that I don’t need to escape by reading about them. And when I decided to pen my own Amish-themed fiction (Abraham’s Redemption, to be released in 2013), I didn’t want to read anyone else’s Amish-themed novels, because I wanted to develop my own style.  Still, I respect Wanda’s work and the following she has cultivated.  On Monday, Rachel and I were eating lunch in the Farmstead Restaurant in Berlin, Ohio, both of us picking at our noodles and planning our day. I was in Holmes County for a research project. Suddenly, Rachel (who was facing towards the entrance to the dining area) motioned for me to look over.  We both recognized her: Wanda Brunstetter, one of the queens of the Amish fiction genre.

Between the two of us, we both have millions of readers for our various published products, I felt like we should have done a joint book-signing there or something:) Yet here we both sat, feet away from one another quietly eating lunch. She was accompanied by her husband and two other people.  Okay, nix the joint book-signing idea, but I decided I should at least introduce myself. I decided I didn’t want to bother her while she was sitting at her lunch table.  So I settled upon approaching at the salad bar.  I’m sort of shy by nature when it comes to one-on-one encounters, but I mustered up the nerve and sidled over to the salad bar.

“Um…I’m staying here,” Rachel said, who is more shy than I (but unlike me, she has actually read Wanda’s work, so she should have come)

I nervously approached the croutons and bacon bits.

“Wanda Brunstetter?”

She answered affirmatively and I introduced myself. She explained that she was leading a bus tour of the county, taking the passengers to dinner in an Amish home, and also doing a book-signing.  I told her that many of the Amish Cook’s readers are fans of hers.  She seemed to be familiar with The Amish Cook, maybe not “oh, wow, The Amish Cook!!!” familiar, but familiar.  Anyway, it was a gracious 30-second encounter and one of those fun, unexpected moments that just sort of unfolds.

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The Discussion


  1. How fun! I met her at a booksigning here in St. Louis and I think she tends to be more on the quiet and shy side as well. I love when those random kinds of things happen ~ all the more special.

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  2. Bonnie Lusk Denig says:


    I love Wanda’s books and have read them all! A great chance meeting for you! Can’t wait to read your book, Kevin. It is coming out in 2013? Great news!

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  3. Barb Wright says:


    That is neat..what are the odds of one Amish-style(?) author running into another? I have not read any of her fiction,but I do have 2 of her cookbooks as well a little inspirational one.

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  4. that’s so fun.. I love that area of Ohio, and I love Wanda’s books… can’t wait to read your’s too!! I have a friend who live in Wayne County, and we visit there,and I love the Kidron area also.

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  5. Well, ya just never know who you will meet while dining, do you?
    What a special surprise to an already nice day. Who knows, perhaps
    one of us will “run into” you and your lovely wife on a trip to Berlin
    or another Amish community around Ohio. Keep smiling and talking
    to “strangers” (who are just friends one has not yet met).

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  6. I laughed a wee bit about the 40+something men etc. because I remembered you just had your birthday & felt so odd turning 40 that you probably cringed to have to write it-(I’m 45 by the way so sympathize.) I do think of you as approx. 25 or so still!

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  7. Wow! I am an avid reader of Wanda’s books along with Jeanette Oak, ShellyShepherd Grey, who is from around Loveland, Ohio., just to name a few authors. I can’t wait for your book to come out next year. I understand why you don’t want to read other Amish author’s books since you are writing one yourself. But my hubby reads all of those books. I am originally from Scioto County-town-Portsmouth, Ohio, which I miss very much. I love when you tell us about your visits there and I just sit and try to imagine all that you get to see and places that you get to visit. You sure don’t look 40. Kevin, keep up the great work that you do for all of us who so enjoy all about the life of the Amish. Blessings. Donna Conway, Arkansas

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  8. I have read several of Brunstetter’s novels. One of her recent books, The Half Stitched Amish Quilting Club is supposed to be running now as a musical in Shipshewana. I have it in my mind to go and see it before it closes, but not sure if I will make it up there.

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