Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Diane Lunsford is talking with Wanda E. Brunstetter, author of Amish Cooking Class: The Blessing
FQ: I was happy to have the opportunity to review The Blessing. The writing is fluid and I found it effortless to turn the pages. Given your background, have you ever thought of writing a memoir about your family history?
BRUNSTETTER: I have never considered writing a memoir about my family history, but it might be fun to do it sometime.
FQ: You have captured the essence of the beauty and simplicity of the Amish lifestyle and faith. I enjoy the positive and non-judgmental way you deliver your stories. Have you ever been challenged with a less than positive critique? If so, what was the occurrence and how did you address it?
BRUNSTETTER: I once had someone ask me why I always include God in my Amish stories. My answer was that God is the center of the Anabaptist faith, which the Amish belong to, and therefore He cannot be left out. The Amish are devout Christians and God comes first in their lives.
FQ: How difficult is it for the Amish community to adhere to their practices and beliefs in the world in which we live today? Are there any moments when youíve pondered this concept with your Amish friends (and if so), how did he or she respond?
BRUNSTETTER: Itís not that difficult for most Amish I know to adhere to their practices and beliefs. Their belief in God and their plain lifestyle is deeply rooted and passed down from generation to generation. That being said, when an Amish young person who has not yet joined the church, goes through their running around years, they might veer from their traditional ways, but most (around 90 percent) end up setting modern things aside and joining the Amish church.
FQ: I enjoy the bonus of recipes at the end of each of your stories. Do you have a favorite? If so, which one (and why)?
BRUNSTETTER: One of my favorite recipes is Haystack, which we have eaten in many of our Amish friends' homes. The dish is a layering of several ingredients that may include cooked ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, rice, onions, broken saltine crackers or corn chips, melted cheese, and sour cream. Itís not only tasty, but quite filling.
FQ: With the immersion of our younger generation in the world of technology, how does this impact the younger generations within the Amish communities? Is there a situation that stands out in your mind (and if so), would you care to share the experience and outcome?
BRUNSTETTER: Many Amish young people who have not yet joined the church have cell phones, drive cars, and may partake in some things English people do. I also know several Amish young people who are on Facebook.
FQ: It is clear you have a love of putting pen to paper and placing your words along the way with intent. In reading your biography, I must say you have an interesting array of interests. I am particularly interested in your ventriloquism. Do you have your very own ĎCharlie McCarthyí side-kick? How often do you practice this art? When did this come about?
BRUNSTETTER: I have several ventriloquist puppets I like to use. While I donít spend much time practicing, my skill as a ventriloquist is never lost. I use it sometimes at speaking engagements, and especially enjoy sharing how to throw my voice when Iím speaking to Amish school children.
FQ: In line with question 6 and your interests - what is the rarest bird you have ever happened upon and where was it sighted?
BRUNSTETTER: Iím not sure how rare the bird is, but Iíve always been fascinated with the little zebra doves that are found in Hawaii. They are much smaller than the turtle or mourning doves we have here on the mainland. They also make a distinctive sound like no other dove Iíve heard here on the mainland.
FQ: I thank you for the pleasure of reading your work. Is the next in the series in the works? Are you able to share some highlights?
BRUNSTETTER: I just finished writing book 3 in my Amish Cooking Class series. The first book, The Seekers came out in Feb. 2017. The Blessing is the second book and will be out the first of August 2017. Book 3, The Celebration, will be out in Feb. 2018. In this series a young Amish woman who is an excellent cook, opens her home to several English people who want to learn how to cook. They all come from different walks of life, and each has some sort of problem that needs a bit of mentoring. Iím also working on a sequel to my co-authored novel, The Hawaiian Quilt. When my daughter-in-law, Jean, and I wrote the first book we thought it would be a stand-alone, but an idea came to us for a sequel, so that book (The Hawaiian Discovery) will be out in June 2018.