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.
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.