Last summer I quickly wrote a little Amish-themed romance novella after spending a week in Florida with the Eicher family. I was inspired by some happenings in my own life and by visiting the Amish enclave of Pinecraft to write the short story. It was just meant to be a sweet story, wholesome and G-rated. Heck, Lovina read it and liked it and even bought 5 copies as gifts. So I just thought it’d be fun to advertise Rebecca at the Beach in The Budget to see what kind of response the book got from Amish readers, some who do have an appetite for romance novels.
I was graciously informed, though, by The Budget’s publisher that all books advertised in their paper’s “national edition” (The Budget publishes a local and national edition, the national is the one with all the scribe letters, etc) are subject to review first and if the content is deemed inappropriate for their audience (i.e. too racy, etc) then they reserve the right to reject the ad. So I sent Keith Rathburn, the publisher, a copy of Rebecca which he received on Wednesday and told me – again very nicely, sincerely – that he’d let me know by Friday whether it made the cut.
So I eagerly awaited to see whether Rebecca would clear the hurdle and make the national edition. Alas, it did not. I was informed this morning that “some passages would simply offend the more strict orders of Amish.”
Now, this blog post is in no way meant negatively towards The Budget. In fact, I made sure Keith didn’t mind me writing about the ad experience before I posted about it.The Budget is a venerable institution among the Amish and the administrators have done a yeoman’s job of doing what few other print papers have done: remain relevant in the internet age. I’m more sharing this story because A) it’s kind a cool to think that G-rated me is capable of racy romance writing even if that might be by Swartzentruber standards:) and B) I think it gives insight into the tough job The Budget editors have at balancing the needs of their competing constituencies. The Budget is read by elements of the most conservative Old Order Amish all the way across the Anabaptist spectrum to the most progressive plain people, including some German Baptists. Can’t be an easy job to make everyone happy but they obviously do it well so I have no quarrel with their thinking. I think, in the end, it was the book’s implication of an Amish-English romance that probably doomed it for an ad. Heck, I don’t think there was even a kiss in the book (terrible, but I can’t remember)…anyway, have you read Rebecca? What do you think, too racy?:) You can, by the way, order a copy from Amazon by clicking here or a 99 cent Kindle copy here.