Lisa Jones Baker is a newly published author, although she has been writing for years.
“I started writing 24 years ago,” she said. “But it takes a while for a publisher to read the book.”
Once she got the attention of a publisher, she hasn’t been able to stop writing.
Jones Baker’s first book “Rebecca’s Bouquet” was published in October 2016. The author’s stories follow the lives of Amish characters through their trials of love, faith and dreams while living in Arthur.
In its short time on the shelves, “Rebecca’s Bouquet” has already earned a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly. Her publisher, Kensington Publishing Corporation, has since begun publishing the series of books entitled “Hope Chest of Dreams.”
The second book, “The Special Christmas Cookie,” was published shortly after the first. Other books, including “ Annie’s Recipe” and “Rachel’s Dream,” will be available in the spring. “The Amish Christmas Candle” is scheduled for publication in December.
Jones Baker will be available during a book-signing event from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at Book World in Hickory Point Mall in Forsyth.
The author is familiar with the Amish community. She grew up in Weldon, but was always fascinated by the culture.
“They worked on our cabinets when I was little,” she said. “And I have friends who are Amish.”
Jones Baker communicates with her friends, bouncing ideas back and forth for story direction. While studying the culture, she found their plans and ideas are constantly changing. For years, the Amish were known to be farmers. Since the farming business is now expensive and risky, they are gaining a reputation as quality woodworkers, welders and chefs.
“They are really savvy business people,” Jones Baker said.
She kept her focus on the Amish, researching the culture through people and Amish events, such as the Arthur Amish Cheese Festival.
Jones Baker built a relationship with members of the Amish community and found them to be honest and smart. After she learned more about their lifestyles, she was able to write from her experiences. “It is easy to write about Amish, because I respect and admire them so much,” she said.
Getting a publisher to view her story ideas proved to be more difficult. Jones Baker began to take her books more seriously 10 years ago when she was able to get the attention of a literary agent.
Jones Baker sent manuscripts to publishers, but learned the process can take years. “It takes a while for a publisher to read the book, then they edit them, then do revisions,” she said. “And the book can get lost.”
Although the author entered several contests and won many awards, she wasn’t getting a contract to write a book.
“But I was getting feedback from authors and publishers,” she said.
Once she had an interest from Kensington Publishing Corporation, she was quickly offered two contracts for her book series “Hope Chest of Dreams.”
Jones Baker has found other authors have had the same delay in seeing their work in print. She advises writers to stick with it. She attended many writing conferences eventually meeting people who saw her books’ potential. “I ended up in the right place at the right time,” she said.