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February 2011

Looking forward

As her favorite verse says (Jeremiah 29:11), God has a plan for all of us; plans to prosper and build for us a hope and a future. That future is looking bright for Vannetta Chapman.

Abingdon is considering the sequel to A Simple Amish Christmas. But in the meantime, the first of her three-book series for Zondervan will release in September. Book one is Falling to Pieces, A Shipshewana Amish Mystery. And just a few weeks ago, she signed a three-book contract with Harvest House for an Amish romance series set in southeast Wisconsin. These books will begin releasing in 2012, with the first one tentatively titled Plain School at Pebble Creek.
Chapman and her husband

My First Sale: Vannetta Chapman

“Finding a good balance is always a challenge. I want to live in the present that God has given me, live with intention, and be appreciative of what I have now.”—Vannetta Chapman

Vannetta ChapmanAfter graduating from college, launching into a teaching career, re-establishing a family after a painful divorce, and writing nine novels, Vannetta Chapman knows the meaning of a challenge. However, since so many others also face the challenge of balance, she sees herself as like everyone else.

God used the pain to help shape her life and her writing.

Thankfully, Vannetta Chapman’s parents have always been supportive of her in all she’s pursued. During her years as a single mom, God used the pain to help shape her life and her writing. He showed her His grace and love, and confirmed to her His plan and purpose. Eleven years ago, she met and married her husband, and she wouldn’t be the author she is today without his love and support.

From heartache to hope

The years Chapman struggled following her divorce, she relied on her faith, her parents, and her inner strength to get through each day. Her work as a teacher kept her going and her family gave her the energy to keep pressing forward.

After adjusting to new family dynamics, she sat down and began writing freelance articles for Christian magazines. That birthed a passion for stories—and soon she was crafting fiction. After six years, she caught the attention of Barbara Scott with Abingdon Press.

Chapman's Book A Simple Amish ChristmasAround Christmas, Chapman learned Abingdon was interested in acquiring A Simple Amish Christmas. It wasn’t a Christmas novel at that point, but she assured Barbara she could move the action back four weeks and add plenty of Christmas details. Abington had been holding a few other manuscripts of hers, and Chapman knew she wanted to work with Barbara. Receiving that first contract was a balm to her soul.

But there were already so many Amish novels on the market. How could Chapman make her story stand out? She did extensive research, studied the existing novels, analyzed their stories and plots, and then sought to make hers different. By featuring a young heroine who established her career before joining the church, and depicting a woman with her foot in both worlds, she succeeded.

A Simple Amish Christmas released in October 2010 and reached number14 on the CBD fiction bestseller list within a few weeks. With that ranking, Chapman joined the ranks of fellow bestselling authors, Wanda Brunstetter, Cindy Woodsmall, and her friend, Amy Clipston, bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series from Zondervan.

Friends to get you through

Her books come alive on the page, and her characters feel like old friends after finishing one of her novels.—Amy Clipston

“Her books come alive on the page, and her characters feel like old friends after finishing one of her novels,” Clipston said. “I met Vannetta at a conference in Florida, and she was everything I expected her to be—open, honest, warm, and funny. I look forward to seeing her at ACFW. I’m blessed to have her as a friend, and I wish her much success with her upcoming books.”

Another Amish author who is also a friend, Beth Wiseman, lives just two hours away. “It has been a pleasure getting to know Vannetta and watching A Simple Amish Christmas do so well. I’m excited about following her career and I hope to see a lot more of her. It would be great to hook up and sign books together. She’s a fun and fabulous Texas gal!” Wiseman said.

Though born in Los Angeles, Chapman has lived most of her life in Texas and now resides in a town with a population of around 7,000 people. She has deer in her yard every morning—and loves it. Add to that a woman who doesn’t eat white foods and loves to hike but is slightly afraid of heights, and you’ve got a fun-loving gal with a passion for life.

The heart of it all

When you pick up one of Chapman’s books, you’re going to find a message portraying the unlimited depth and breadth of God’s grace. Just when she thinks she has her arms around it or thinks she’s described it in a story, God surprises her by showing her even more grace.

A recent interaction with the husband of a reader would bring tears to the eyes of any author. The man told Chapman his wife had passed away just a few weeks ago, but the last book she had been reading was A Simple Amish Christmas. The woman hadn’t been able to finish it. But, the knowledge of that reminded Vannetta that what God has called her to do, what he has called each of us to do—whether it’s writing or engineering or shingling a roof—should be taken seriously.

Keep up with Vannetta online.

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