Serena Miller is the author of "An Uncommon Grace," which tells the story of an Afghanistan veteran and an Amish man looking to find their way in this world. Miller recently spoke with The Christian Post about her own faith and her interest in the Amish tradition.
"The Amish have only been in our community for about the past ten years," she said. "It's been fascinating watching as they cleaned up the old abandoned farms that they purchased, and established flourishing home businesses where none previously existed. Our area is blessed to have them here, helping to stabilize the agricultural base of this rural Appalachian area."
It was Miller's agent who suggested the idea of her writing Amish fiction.
"Up until then, it had never occurred to me- but the minute she mentioned it, I knew it would be the perfect genre for me. Getting to write about the Amish people, and the friendships it has brought me, has been one of the greatest blessings of my life," she said.
Why use an Afghan veteran as the main female in the book?
"My son is living in Afghanistan right now … We were talking on the phone about possible heroines for my book and he suggested I use a military nurse fresh from the Afghanistan war zone. I loved the potential conflict of juxtaposing a military nurse against a pacifist Amish," the author explained.
Religious themes abound in "Uncommon Grace," and it's clear that faith plays a central part in Miller's personal life.
"What role does faith play in my writing? That's a lot like asking what role oxygen plays in my life. A month after I signed my first contract, my husband got extremely ill for a very long time.
"Worrying about him, and physically caring for him almost consumed me. Without prayer and absolute faith that no matter what happened the Lord would take care of us, I could not have concentrated long enough to put two sentences together let alone write a book. Frankly, I think I would have trouble writing secular literature," she continued.
"I am concerned about the busy-ness of Christians in general," Miller cautioned. "Many people, in an attempt to add another day to their week, have fallen away from church attendance, substituting a televised sermon for actual fellowship with other Christians. I believe there needs to be a better way to add hours to our week than giving up that special time of spiritual nourishment."
What is next for Miller and her characters Levi and Grace?
"I'm presently writing the sequel and am bringing a very special man into Levi's widowed mother's life. I will continue to weave the Afghanistan theme into the book by bringing home a former Amish man who made a career in the military," she revealed.
As for Levi and Grace, "they'll have to struggle through some problems and compromises in order to create a solid marriage," Miller said.