I have a confession. Remember all of those Member Spotlight posts featuring the Best of the Best contenders? Well, I missed someone. Yes, even I make mistakes, people. I feel terrible about it and have offered my apologies to the neglected contender. Fortunately, she was very gracious about it.

The good news is, you get a chance to meet her now. And this interview has nothing to do with the fact that she wasn’t included in the Member Spotlight, as she agreed to it before I realized my mistake.

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to Dee Yoder, a lovely lady from Ohio, whom I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time at the FaithWriters conference. Join me in getting to know Dee a little better. And again, sincerest apologies for my error.

LYNDA SCHAB: Tell us a little about yourself.

DEE YODER: I have a BA in Biological Sciences. I worked for several years as a technician conducting animal studies with rats in the Reproductive and Teratology (Birth Defects) vivarium of a research facility. When I discovered, at age 36, I was going to have a baby, I quit that job! I have been a stay-at-home mom since then. My son will be 18 this summer. His father passed away from cancer when our son was three. It was a difficult time for us, but God was there. A year later, God brought Arlen Yoder into our lives and we have been a family ever since. God is faithful to heal and rebuild!

LYNDA: How did you get your writing start?

DEE: Like many writers, I’ve always had stories floating around in my head, and even wrote and “published” several books when I was a kid (including the “fancy” art work).  When I turned 50 (I called it my Jubilee Year), I decided to try some of the things I’d always wanted to do, and writing was at the top of that list. So one Thursday morning, I Googled “Christian Writing Contests” and came across FaithWriters Writing Challenge. I read the rules, wrote the story, and submitted it all under an hour—I think about 15 minutes before the deadline! (I’m sure the judges appreciated that.) Once I received my first gold box (comment), I was hooked. Then Verna Mitchell came alongside me as my Challenge buddy and that was the beginnings of a great friendship with her and with Faithwriters.

LYNDA: Have you had any work published?

DEE: I’ve had a few articles published in church magazines, and short stories published in a literary magazine. I have several short stories slated for publication in future FaithWriter anthologies, too. But I have to confess I have been lax in sending material off for consideration since I’ve been working on my novels.

LYNDA: Speaking of your novels…Amish fiction is hot right now and you have taken advantage of that by writing an Amish novel. Tell us more about that. Is it based on your Amish experiences?

DEE: My novel is based on the stories of several former Amish young people I’ve met through Mission to Amish People. Their experiences reflect a side to the Amish lifestyle many Englishers never read about in other Amish books. Their stories are sometimes heartbreaking. The Amish life is not simple…not easy…and sometimes not even Christian. I felt called to tell the WHOLE truth about Amish living. I am currently working with Linda Glaz, an editorial assistant for Terry Burns of Hartline Literary Agency, to edit the manuscript. My own experiences with my Amish in-laws are quite different from those I know who are connected with Mission to Amish People. My in-laws are more open to relationships outside the Amish faith and we have family reunions with them often. This is not true for the more conservative Old Order and Swartzentruber sects my book is based on.

LYNDA: Tell us more about your family. Are they supportive of your writing?

DEE: I have one son, Joseph. He is entering his senior year of homeschool. My husband, Arlen, is a Supported Employment Specialist with a local mental health community center. They are both very supportive of my writing and have attended both FaithWriter conferences with me. They’ve gotten to know many of my FW friends pretty well! They’re both eager to help me celebrate whenever I accomplish a new goal in my writing. We also have unofficially adopted a former Amish young lady as her family. We recently helped her with her wedding in late May. It was a new and unexpected experience for Arlen and I to be “parents-of-the-bride”.  Rachel and her new hubby, Eli, are settling into their married life nicely. Our goal is to continue to be supportive of them both and to include them as much as possible in family functions. Once a person has left the Amish life, many times they no longer have a relationship with their families. This is the choice of the Amish community and parents. None of the former Amish young people want it to be this way. Our job, as supportive English family members, is to be there when the former Amish need a family’s love and care. We become their surrogate family.

LYNDA: Wow. That is so cool. What a difference you’re making in their lives.

So what do you like to do for fun?

DEE: Hmmm…fun…well…I like to garden, read, and I love to watch old black and white movies. I’m pretty boring, really! Most of my free time is spent volunteering for Mission to Amish People in one way or another. I’m currently writing the Former Amish Newsletter. I gather news from those who are starting over in the English world. We like to share this news with others so we can support and celebrate their achievements. I helped to start the Amish Forum and Discussion board and helped to administer this board until recently.

LYNDA: What are your short and long-term goals as a writer?

DEE: My short term goals are to finish edits on the Amish novel, The Miting, have it accepted by an agent, and then have it published! My long-term goal is to finish my second novel (halfway written) and also have it published. I’m going to be a guest on August 31 with Brenda Nixon on her Parent’s Plate radio program. We’ll be chatting , along with another guest, Sherri Eldridge–an adoption expert and author–about Non-Traditional Adoptions.

LYNDA: Name your favorite:

  • Pizza topping: veggies and olives
  • Color: red
  • Board game: anything with trivia—I have a lot of useless factoids stored in my brain—ha!
  • book of the Bible: The Gospels. I love to read about Jesus and enjoy reading the comparisons of the same events from different author’s perspectives.

LYNDA: W here can members connect with you online?

DEE: My blog is My Heart’s Dee-Light at:  http://deeyodersblogspot.blogspot.com/

LYNDA: Thanks so much, Dee, for a great interview! Looking forward to seeing that novel on bookstore shelves one day soon!

Visit Dee’s FaithWriters profile HERE

Read Dee’s Best of the Best contending entry: Worshiping with the Beast

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