An Amish novelist takes the world of Christian literature by storm, selling nearly a million books while setting the hearts of the ultra-conservative community racing.
Linda Byler has been referred to as the EL James of the Amish people, but she assured DailyMail.com that her latest work, Tapestry of Loveis “tamed” in relation to Fifty Shades.
Her writing career began at an Amish newspaper where she honed her talent before embarking on her series of romances that propelled her into the literary stratosphere.
But not everyone is thrilled with the runaway success of her gripping novels, and some alumni say the rising popularity of romance novels is fueling sexual abuse.
“They’re very tame books,” Byler said, adding that there’s no sex. “There is nothing impure in them. There’s touch, my editor said it should be discreet and a little kiss,” she told DailyMail.com.
Amish novelist Linda Byler (pictured) is taking the world of Christian literature by storm, selling nearly a million romance novels while keeping the hearts of America’s ultra-conservative community racing.
Byler says his works couldn’t be further from the sassy Fifty Shades trilogy – whose sadomasochistic themes captured the zeitgeist more than a decade ago, making James an overnight millionaire.
After James’ huge success, she is now one of the richest authors in the world, with a net worth of around $200 million. And Byler is hot on her heels with her extraordinary success earning her an income that means neither she nor her husband need work again.
Byler began writing in an Amish newspaper to make ends meet when her husband went bankrupt. She then added strings to her bow by publishing several children’s books. But she found her way into the romance novels that became increasingly popular in the American Bible Belt and other Christian communities.
With sales exploding, it was soon dubbed the Amish community’s answer to EL James.
Regarding recent cases of sexual abuse within the Amish community, Byler says members have unfairly put the blame on her doorstep.
“Over the past ten years, romance novels have become a bad thing in the community,” Byler said.
“Romance novels are looked down upon by a large part of the younger generation – they look at them negatively because of the many assaults and disturbed people in the establishments where they seek help.
“But there’s a bit (of sexual abuse in the community) and you know, when those things come out, they blame romance novels.”
A “racy” excerpt from Tapestry of Love:
‘That’s enough. I’m only being brutally honest here. I think I may be the type to never love as deeply as some, always remaining a bit independent, but I have a sneaky feeling you might be the same. He smiled, then slowly closed the gap between them. When he reached her, she stepped out from behind the chair, her eyes locked on his, taking the question into hers, answering with her own question. But will it work? He whispered. She nodded, then went into his arms. Their lips met in mutual agreement. Susan gave herself to him in spirit, driven by her willingness to accept him, and despite the imperfections of her past, all the realities of her life in the West, she would take him as her husband.
Due to the Amish sect’s strict rules of avoiding all modern conveniences, including electricity and motor vehicles, Byler writes his novels by hand, in a notebook, and then sends them to Sky Horse editor, Tony Lyons, New York.
Regarding the Amish people, Byler said that instead of becoming more progressive over the years, his community has actually become even more conservative.
“Touch is despised these days, but it wasn’t in my day. Sex before marriage is a no, of course. But we have pregnancies. We have couples who “loved” each other before marriage. There are single mothers, but they are not rejected: they are accepted in the community,” she explained.
The Amish are a 250,000 strong sect, mostly drawn from Swiss Mennonite religious groups who began emigrating to the United States in the 18th century to avoid religious persecution and compulsory military service.
They speak a Germanic dialect known as Pennsylvania Dutch, travel by horse and cart, and survive by farming.
Byler comes from the “Old Order”, which is the most conservative type of Amish settlement.
Electricity is banned and residents have no access to cars, telephones, televisions or the internet, fearing it will destroy their simple way of life.
And while the community welcomes new members to “mingle and jingle” within the Amish community, Byler issued a warning to those wishing to join: “People who are not of the Amish community and who join – we never say no, but it’s never part of the Amish community. that works. You almost have to be born into the culture. Otherwise, it doesn’t work. It’s too restrictive for foreigners.
Linda explains how her writing career began when her husband went bankrupt and she was forced to go work at an Amish newspaper where she discovered her talent as a writer.
Despite the comparisons, Linda tells DailyMail.com, her books couldn’t be further from EL James’ sassy Fifty Shades of Gray trilogy, whose sado-masochistic themes captured the zeitgeist more ten years old.
The Amish community has lived in America’s Bible Belt for centuries
Premarital sex is strictly prohibited in the Amish community.
Having given birth to seven children, Byler said three of her children either decided not to join the church or left the community after joining the church at the required age of 19.
“They go to church, but they’re not affiliated. I have a daughter; she lives in Florida. And then I have another son, he never joined the church because as soon as he turned 19 he decided not to join the church.
Fortunately, Byler and his other family members who remained in the community were not excluded.
The author said, “When the Amish are shunned, in rare cases the elders do not break bread with them at the same table, work with them, or worship with them under age-old practice. avoidance of religion. In stricter regulations, exclusion can divide families, cutting off all contact between parents and their children.
“I mean rejection is very different than it used to be – there’s no pride in that. You are ashamed, something is wrong, but it fades. You are still a respected person in your community.
Despite the Amish reputation for rejecting all Western ways, Byler admits she loves reality TV and watches it when she’s vacationing at her daughter’s house in Florida.
But she’s not a fan of the Kardashians’ narcissism: ‘I watch TV every summer when I go on vacation to the beach. I like the reality show The Alaskan People – it’s about the people who live on the frontier.
“I’m 65, so I’m not a fan of the Kardashians. I don’t look down on them or judge them. They just seem to think only of themselves. I’m not interested in that.
Despite the Amish’s reputation for rejecting all Western habits, Linda admits she loves reality TV.
Not Using Modern Technology and Always Wearing Simple Clothing: Inside Amish Beliefs and Traditions
The Amish believe that God called them to a simple life of faith, discipline, dedication and humility. They are known for not using any modern technology, dressing in old-fashioned clothes, and even opting for a horse and buggy to get around. The Amish follow seven basic principles:
- Baptism is celebrated in adulthood only after a confession of faith. This is because children do not have the knowledge of good and evil and therefore cannot benefit from baptism.
- Members who have sinned are warned twice in private. In the third case, they will be informed publicly and permanently banned from the group.
- Only baptized adults are permitted to attend the Lord’s Supper.
- Church leaders are known as shepherds and they must all have good character.
- They reject violence, even if it means separating from society.
- Because the rest of the world and politics are considered corrupt, they do not participate in public functions or civil affairs.
- Because words are not enough, members don’t make promises.