"Buy this book! It's a five-star read in my opinion. Whether you have ever read Amish detective stories before or not, I know you'll like this one and be totally engaged from start to finish. The characters are well-developed, unique, quirky and three-dimensional. I enjoyed the author giving her readers an inside view of the Amish community, especially during dangerous and unpredictable times. I eagerly await the sequel to this novel!"
-Wendy Pearson, moderator of The Write Practice
"Ashley Emma has crafted an intriguing crime mystery with a surprising twist. I didn't see that ending coming at all. And I'm a little jealous. Once I got into this book, I couldn't put it down."
-Michael Wilkinson, bestselling author of A Father's Guide to Raising Daughters
"I really enjoyed this book, right through the last page!! Undercover Amish is a compelling read that will keep you going until the very end! The only disappointing thing for me about Undercover Amish was when the story ended--I already miss the main characters!"
-Sue M Wilson, author of Home Matters
"What can I say, I LOVE mysteries! I love getting to know the characters, their motivations and then trying to figure out the outcomes. I am therefore delighted to have discovered Undercover Amish. Not only does the main character, Olivia, has a unique background of being Amish, but the trajectory of her life from that background to becoming a policewoman is fascinating and totally unexpected. Not only did I find myself engrossed in the unraveling of a crime, but also in the learning about a culture, within my own country, about which I was, admittedly, basically ignorant. Kudos to Ashley Emma for creating this wonderful series. I can't wait to read more of them!"
-Leslie Malin, LCSW, psychotherapist, author of Cracked Open
"Undercover Amish is a suspenseful, realistic work of fiction. Ashley weaves two opposite worlds together in a fast-paced story following Detective Olivia Mast. Olivia's journey forces her to face issues of identity, rise up to work challenges, and eventually she finds love. It's an easy read that will keep you guessing until the end."
-J.P. Sterling, author of Ruby in the Water
"Don't let the word "Amish" fool you, with more than one twist at the end, this book is very riveting. I didn't want to put it down. I've been looking for a new author to read for a while, so glad I found Ashley Emma. Can't wait for her next one."
-Karen Herzog, court transcript proofreader
Check out this podcast interview with Ashley Emma and AOIS21 Publishing! It is all about Ashley's Amish Adventures and Ashley's immersive research.
Here is another Author Interview with Ashley Emma
Posted by STACI TROILO on SEPTEMBER 30, 2016
Wrapping up my pay-it-forward theme, I'd like to introduce you to Ashley Emma. Ashley writes about a culture few of us know about, or perhaps it's more accurate to say we think we know about it, but popular media has gotten the details wrong. I'm talking about the Amish, and I know Ashley has it right, because she lived with them to do her research. That fact alone fascinates me (she wrote all about it in Ashley's Amish Adventure), but wait until you read the mystery novel she's written about the community.
Please help me welcome Ashley Emma, author of Undercover Amish.
Hi, Ashley. I'm going to ask you questions about writing and your work.
1.How did you come up with the idea for your book?
My Amish books are inspired by my stay with three Amish families in Unity, Maine when I was 20 years old. While I was there, I realized they do not lock their doors, and they are pacifists. I thought this would be such an easy area for criminals to target, especially since the Amish do not report crimes that happen to them. From there my imagination ran with it, and several of the characters in my books are based on Amish friends I met in Unity.
2.What sort of research did you do to write this book?
I lived with three Amish families in Unity, Maine for a total of ten days. I was also invited back there for a wedding and an occasional visit. My two books about this experience, Ashley's Amish Adventures, are available now. It was such an amazing experience and I'm so glad I was able to do it before I got married and had children.
3.How did you come up with the title of your book?
The main character of the book, Detective Olivia Mast, must go undercover to investigate a murder in her former Amish community. Since her cover is as an Amish woman, the title Undercover Amish seemed to fit from the beginning of the writing stages, and I never changed it.
4.What are you working on now? Any chance of a sequel?
The sequel Amish Under Fire is coming soon! I am halfway through writing the third book. I have the fourth and fifth books of this series, The Covert Police Detectives Unit Series, outlined and ready to be written. I also have a fantasy book, a YA suspense, and a standalone full-length Amish romantic suspense novel that will be published soon as well. Most of my books I wrote in high school or in my early twenties but are undergoing rewriting and editing.
5.Do you put yourself in your books/characters at all?
I definitely did for my fantasy book Identity because I was 14 when I wrote it and knew nothing about characterization, so I just based her character on myself, except she is more sarcastic and funny.
In The Ring Thief (coming soon) actually I put myself in the novel as a hairdresser in a salon, because in real life I actually am a hairdresser!
6.If your novel were being made into a movie, whom would you pick to play the lead roles?
That is funny you mention that because a reviewer recently just said she thought the book should be made into a movie! I think Kristen Kreuk from the TV show Beauty and the Beast would be perfect for playing Olivia! I think John Krasinski and the character he plays in 13 Hours combined with the character he plays as Jim Halpert on The Office would actually make a great Isaac because they are both quirky.
7.Is there anything interesting about this particular book we haven't covered yet? If so, what?
There's a lot, but I'll narrow it down to a few things. First of all, I wrote the rough draft for this book two summers ago and accidentally erased the entire file permanently (thanks to me being terrible with computers) and long story short, I had to rewrite the entire second half. Luckily I had the first half backed up on a flash drive. Now I use Carbonite to automatically backup all my files! The second thing is my brother in law is a police officer so I asked him a ton of questions to make sure the book was as realistic as possible. It was pretty fun to learn about police procedurals and evidence. He wants people to know that is not like what you see on TV!
8.What started you on the path to writing for a living?
I knew since I was a kid that I would be a novelist. I wrote a short 25,000-word novel around age 12, then wrote my first full-length novel at 14 and self-published it at 16. I'm actually going to be relaunching that one soon. I was homeschooled so I spent most of my free time reading and writing. I mean, I'd go over my friend's house, and we would just read novels for hours and go to the library and get stacks of books for fun. The two books that really stand out in my memory that made me want to become a novelist was Inkheart by Cornelia Funke and Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix.
9.What is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process? Least favorite?
Honestly, I thought I would hate marketing, but I've ended up loving it! I do love the actual writing the best and I actually can write a manuscript pretty quickly. I don't usually get writers' block or procrastinate too badly as long as I follow my outline. There's nothing like starting to write a new book or finishing the first draft! Also, seeing your book published on Amazon is a pretty great feeling, along with reading positive reviews. I couldn't believe it when the reviews started coming in. It was amazing to actually hear that someone thought I was a good writer from a total stranger and not just a family member!
10.What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?
I LOVE reading all the nice reviews people have been leaving me, and I check them every day. Seeing that orange bestseller tag next to my name is so awesome! I have now been on several podcasts, interviews, and webinars with experts like Jay Boyer. I also judged a writing contest and my book was chosen for Amazon Prime. I was also asked to visit an elementary school to talk to students about my author experiences and how I started so young, so I hope I inspired some of the kids!
11.Is there anything about the writing life that you think is misunderstood by the public?
It is not glamorous at all, sometimes it takes years to actually get anywhere with your writing, and writing is only a fraction of the job! You have to seriously love it or you'll just end up quitting.
12.Are there any nuggets of wisdom you can impart to aspiring writers?
Don't let not finding an agent or publisher hold you back, and don't let rejections discourage you. You won't be able to please everyone, and that goes for readers too. If an agent or publisher rejects you, it is not necessarily because you aren't good enough. Your book might just not be what they are specifically looking for. Undercover Amish was rejected by several publishers and now it is a bestseller. Doctor Seuss was rejected by 29 publishers.
So that was the fast-fifteen with author Ashley Emma. Thank you, Ashley, and thanks to our readers.