posted on February 12, 2014 by Marta Perry

FLOODS, FICTION, AND REAL LIFE

floodSome years stand out in my memory for the happy events: a wedding, the birth of a grandchild, a special vacation trip. Others are written in capital letters for the disasters that hit our area, which in the ridge and valley area of central Pennsylvania means floods. We’ve experienced what the weather service optimistically calls “hundred year floods” too many times in recent years. Each time, we were swept up in the perils of the moment and the hours of volunteer labor that came as our community struggled to put itself back together again. After the time we evacuated to a neighbor’s house on higher ground and watched our car and garage float past, I felt panic each time it rained—a familiar experience to some of you, I’m afraid!

As a writer, I always knew that someday I’d write out those experiences in a novel, and after the major flooding that hit in 2011, I knew the time had come. In SUSANNA’S DREAM, the second book in my Lost Sisters of Pleasant Valley series, I forced my poor characters to relive my own memories and those of people I knew…frightening, funny, tragic, heroic episodes that show the proof of what a friend of mine observed—that a disaster brings out the worst in bad people and the best in good people.

susannas dreamPoor Susanna—as if she didn’t have enough troubles struggling against a handicap, undergoing the shock of learning she had been adopted, discovering that she has two sisters she’d never met, and fearing she might have her beloved Amish Gift Shop sold out from under her by her partner’s son. Now even nature seems to turn against her, as the oncoming flood threatens all she holds dear. Can she come through the waters to a new life?

People familiar with central Pennsylvania may well recognize the origin of my fictional community of Oyersburg. Although I’ve changed things to suit the needs of my story, the experiences my characters go through are real, experiences that show the heroism and generosity of real people faced with disaster.

I’ll be happy to send a signed copy of SUSANNA’S DREAM to one of the people who comments on this post!

martaperry.com

Marta Perry

Marta Perry

Born in Pennsylvania, I now live in a century-old farmhouse in a valley in the eastern part of the state. My husband and I have a daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren in Philadelphia, a daughter, son-in-law and two granddaughters in Charleston, South Carolina, and a son, daughter-in-law and and two grandchildren in Tampa, Florida. We keep the phone lines busy with our e-mails! Before I retired to write full time, I was a church education director.

I knew I wanted to become a writer when I was eight years old and picked up my first Nancy Drew mystery. "The Secret in the Old Clock" — remember that one? Somehow that dream was put on the back burner for a long time, but eventually it re-surfaced. I've written everything from educational materials to devotional articles to travel pieces to children's fiction, but the books I'm writing for Steeple Hill's Love Inspired line have to be the most satisfying I've ever done. It's such a joy to tell a romantic story that includes the spiritual lives of the characters. I'm delighted that I'm also writing romantic suspense novels for Love Inspired Suspense. And coming up next year will be a series of three Steeple Hill single titles about Amish characters.

When I'm not writing, you may find me visiting my grandchildren, helping out at church, or enjoying an evening out with my husband and friends. And several times a year you can track me down on my favorite island beach. I'll be the one in the deck chair with a new novel and a blissful expression!

36 thoughts on “FLOODS, FICTION, AND REAL LIFE”

  1. Robin says:

    I love how you are incorporating the real with the fiction and making us see a part of the country we may never have been. It seems to me, that for some of us, that is the only way we may ever know how living through all the characters have lived through. It is how I choose a lot of the books I read. I want to see the world and books allow me to do that.

  2. Marta Perry says:

    Thanks, Robin. I too love stories that take me somewhere I’ve never been.

    Marta

  3. Sally Shupe says:

    I love hearing about this book. I like fiction wrapped around truth. I’d love to read this story and read about the events of this flood and how Susanna copes. What is her handicap? Would love to win a copy of this book!
    tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

    1. Marta Perry says:

      Susanna was left with a limp as a result of the accident that killed her birth parents, Sally.

  4. this book sounds wonderful I love your books they take away my trouble while reading

    1. Marta Perry says:

      Thanks so much, Brenda!

  5. Karen Farley says:

    What a great tie in idea. Reading Amish is the best time ever spent. Thanks for all you do with your writing.

  6. When I happened upon your books, it was by accident but It didn’t take me long to get hooked. I read them on my Kindle and get them from my library. I have read so many, I can’t keep up with the count. They are so inspiring and you write so much about real life and the joy and sorrow we all go through at some point in our life.

  7. Nancy Cooper says:

    I particularly enjoy stories that incorporate meteorological incidents. The struggle of man versus nature always adds to the interest in a story.. I would think it would be especially interesting in an Amish world because they have to rely on the community, which in this present day we often do not do.

  8. Patricia Ullmann says:

    This is definitely a book I must read. Sounds like great reading. I love your books! Thanks for sharing your talent of writing with us. I enjoy how you take us to places I may never see.

  9. Leah Roesch says:

    Marta it is very refreshing and inspirational to read your blog. First let me say that any great works that I’ve read are by authors who incorporate true life struggles into their stories. It is something that the reader can identify with or empathize with depending on the situation. I love how you do this with your novels. Each story weaves a tale that keeps you wanting to learn more about the characters. Thankfully you continue to weave the tale further in your series. I find that while works of fiction are entertaining the stories you tell inspire me!

  10. Pat Hall says:

    I love your books so much. Thank you for writing good clean books that warms my heart.

  11. Donna Forker says:

    I really like reading stories, where there are so many people that care for one another!

  12. Pat Hall says:

    I love your books so much. Thank you for writing good clean books that warms my heart. You have a God given talent.

  13. Pat Hall says:

    I love your books so much. Thank you for writing good clean books that warm my heart. I have read so many of your books and each one just seems to bless me. You have a God given talent. May God bless you and your family always.

  14. Cathy Carruthers says:

    Marta, I can’t wait to read Susanna’s Dream!

  15. Sharon Hofmann says:

    I have read your first book and enjoyed it very much. I have been waiting for the 2nd book in the series and am looking forward to reading her adventures. Thank you for the great reads

  16. Sharon Hofmann says:

    I have read your first book and enjoyed it very much. I have been waiting for the 2nd book in the series and am looking forward to reading her adventures. Thank you for the adventure that you take us on in the Amish life.

  17. Marta Perry says:

    Thanks so much for all the kind words. I’m so glad you’re enjoying my books.

  18. Marsha Cole says:

    I have been lucky to never have been flooded out. A few years ago though, an area I drive though every day was hit by a flash flood. I worked with a few of the families to get funding for repairs to their homes. Just listening to their stories and seeing the pain in their eyes brought me to tears.
    I love your books because they take me away and I feel I am right there seeing the farms, the people, and the towns,

  19. Penny Mettert says:

    Sounds like an interesting book. I’d love to read it. 🙂

  20. Penny Mettert says:

    Sounds like an interesting book. I’d love to read it. 🙂
    I’ve loved everything of yours I’ve read.

  21. Penny Mettert says:

    Sounds like an interesting book. I’d love to read it. 🙂
    I’ve loved everything of yours I’ve read.
    (It keeps saying my message is too short. But others seem as short to me. And I can’t think of anything else to say. Hope this does it.)

  22. Penny Mettert says:

    Sounds like an interesting book. I’d love to read it. 🙂
    I’ve loved everything of yours I’ve read.
    (It keeps saying my message is too short. But others seem as short to me. And I can’t think of anything else to say. Hope this does it. Hmmm. It didn’t. How long does a comment have to be?)

    1. Ann Mettert says:

      Now it posted all of them. Weird. 😛

  23. I like capturing real events and places in fictional stories. Right now I am writing a novel that takes place during WWII. It so much fun doing the research, My history classes always ended with the U.S. Civil War or before.

  24. JoAnn Sterner says:

    Marta, I love your books, especially your mystery books. I know about those floods since I live in York Co. near the river that always floods, now it is the ice jams that are causing trouble. Thanks for the chance to win your latest books.

    1. Marta Perry says:

      The ice jams are always a problem in a cold winter, aren’t they? We live on a large creek, and our barn has been flooded by ice jams too many times. One year the lower field flooded and then froze, and the kids ice skated on it all winter!

  25. sonja1971 says:

    Love the sounds of this book. I have read quite a few and know I would love this one just as much..

  26. michelle conti says:

    Love Your Books 🙂

  27. librarypat says:

    People lucky enough to have escaped a major disaster seldom realize how it can effect a person. Initially there is shock which often turns into anger, frustration, discouragement, greed, and blaming. Luckily, such situations also bring out the willingness of people to help in any way they can. As a Red Cross disaster volunteer, it is a privilege to serve those who are dealing with losses that will often take years to recover from. Each person deals with such events in their own way and the best anyone can do is support them and help out when they can. Sometimes, that is just taking the time to sit and listen. Talking helps them sort out their feelings and begin to deal with what is ahead.

    1. Marta Perry says:

      So true, and very well said! I worked with processing help requests after one flood, and sometimes I think my main job was to listen.

      Marta

  28. Lisa Johnson Cowell says:

    We had many floods where I grew up, also. The water was so deep and so widespread, the school bus driver would dump us off five miles from our home, and leave us to find our own way home! That was back in the 60s. So glad they can’t do that anymore.

  29. Rhonda says:

    I’d live to read susanna’s dream!

  30. Rhonda says:

    Dang smart phone… I’d LOVE to read it 🙂

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