A New Series that Brings
Contemporary Mennonite Romance to Life
Sweep into Florida, where a hurricane leaves a self-made man homeless and faithless in A Stranger’s Gift. Releasing November 2011, A Stranger’s Gift is book one of Anna Schmidt’s new series, Women of Pinecraft.
On the heels of a horrific hurricane, Hester Detlef, field director for the Mennonite Disaster Service, blows into the life of self-made, shunned Amish man John Hafner. Will she find a way through his shield and into his heart? Although the hurricane has left John homeless and badly injured, the last thing he wants is some do-gooder Mennonite woman intruding in his life. Will his impatience with her intention of restoring his faith and property keep him from accepting this beguiling stranger’s kindness?
About the Author
Anna Schmidt is the author of over twenty works of fiction. Among her many honors, Anna is the recipient of the Romantic Times’ Reviewer’s Choice Award and a finalist for the RITA award for romantic fiction. She enjoys gardening and collecting seashells at her winter home in Florida. Learn more about Anna and her books by visiting www.booksbyanna.com.
A Stranger’s Gift by Anna Schmidt / Women of Pinecraft series
November 2011 / $12.99 / 320 Pages * Paperback
Praise for A Stranger’s Gift
“A Stranger’s Gift is an inspirational, uplifting romance that beautifully demonstrates both the strength and kindness of the Mennonite people.”
– Melanie Dobson, author of Love Finds You in Amana, Iowa
“Schmidt crafts a fascinating picture of Mennonite life in an area that has been little explored in Plain fiction, and readers will be delighted with this new entrant in the popular genre.”
– Marta Perry, award-winning author of Lost in Plain Sight, Vanish in Plain Sight, and Katie’s Way
Q & A with the Author
1. What inspired you to write a contemporary romance series about the Mennonite community?
I live part-time in Sarasota, Florida, where there is a large and very active Amish/Mennonite community. Over the years I have become more and more interested in how this community—normally located in more rural and Midwest areas—has adapted to the west coast of Florida.
2. Amish and Mennonite fiction is very popular. What makes A Stranger’s Gift stand out from other books in the same genre?
The main thing is the setting—these are not farmers but people who live and work in the very heart of a larger community where tourism is in many ways the very foundation of their economy.
3. How did you research the Mennonite and Amish communities to prepare yourself to write this book?
This was the FUN part! I started introducing myself to people—mostly women. I would see them on the beach and just start talking or I would meet them at the many events held in the community of Pinecraft. They were warm and welcoming and each new connection led to more.
4. You decided to go the route of using a disaster relief organization for the setting in A Stranger’s Gift. What influenced this part of the story?
I have a friend who volunteered with the Red Cross for national disaster relief and when I mentioned the Mennonites she said they were incredible when it came to showing up and especially in terms of taking on the tough clean-up chores that no one else wanted to touch.
5. Will you be using a disaster relief organization throughout the Women of Pinecraft series or will readers be introduced to a new setting?
Oh, it just (hopefully) gets better and more diverse as each of the other two stories unfold—in Book Two, a terrible car accident is the setting and in Book Three, it’s a children’s ward in a hospital.
6. What made you decide to use a female instead of a male as the hero in this book?
That’s a tough one because as all three books came about, there were many “heroes” that came forward. The secondary character of Zeke, introduced in Book One, just refused to be quiet, and he shows up (along with others) in all three books! But that doesn’t answer the question. In all three stories a woman is the lead character because I find it interesting that in societies that are quite patriarchal, the women are often the true heroes!
7. What type of lessons do you think readers will pick up on when reading this book?
I hope that readers will examine their own lives and think about whether or not they are opening themselves to the possibility that God may have other plans for them—much as John and Hester must discover in Book One. I also hope that there will be a lesson learned about “judge not.” So many of us make up our minds about another person—or group of people—before we’ve opened ourselves to getting to know them!
8. Will any of the characters in A Stranger’s Gift be present in future books of the Women of Pinecraft series?
Absolutely! Pinecraft (even my fictional one) is a tight-knit community and people just don’t fade away. I do hope readers will return to Pinecraft in May for more Hester, John, Olive, Zeke, Jeannie, Emma. . .etc.