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TEN BEHIND THE SCENES FACTS ABOUT OLD AMARILLO
- Sara wrote all original 51,000 words to Old Amarillo over a three-day period. It has since been trimmed to 47,000 words including a recipe!
- Sara was ill with a massive upper respiratory infection that may have in fact been walking pneumonia, however she just came home from the clinic instead of having the diagnostic x-ray to make the determination.
- She camped in front of the fireplace, writing, while her kids were in school and her baby was with Granny and Grandpa.
- Sara wrote in between frequent naps and a constant stream of Dr. Quinn’s and Hallmark-movie westerns.
- Everyone is real in this book, except for Katie and Peter — most even haunt Sara’s own family tree.
- Old Amarillo features characters from Sara’s debut Amish novel, Rebekah’s Quilt.
- Old Amarillo also features flashbacks from Katie’s Rumspringa to New York City . . . which is what the sequel to Rebekah’s Quilt is all about. That book isn’t yet released, but is coming soon.
- Certain characters from Sara’s debut novel, A Heart on Hold, cross over into Old Amarillo as well. Charlotte and Cotton come into Minerva’s dress shop.
- In Old Amarillo, Katie Knepp accidentally catches a tiny baby bat, or pup, on her dress as she leaves a cave. I took this from real life experiences when I worked at Carlsbad Caverns as a wildlife biology intern and caught a bat pup on my shirt after the bat flight one night.
- One western Sara watched while writing Old Amarillo featured a woman named Amy, who was dying of cancer. She began seeking a wife to take her place for her husband, which she found in a prostitute played by Farrah Fawcett. That movie touched Sara deeply and left her distraught and crying . . . she blamed it on the infection. A few short months after, Sara learned that she was suffering with the same form of cancer that took Farrah Fawcett’s life.
How it all came to be . . .
A memory from Rumspringa had pushed its way gently to the forefront of her mind, blocking out the sudden wave of guilt that threatened to consume her. The duster-clad man’s face was as clear in her mind now as it had been that day on Rumspringa. He had looked first at her covering and then her plain purple dress when she’d accidently run into him on the boardwalk in New York City.
Excusing herself, the stranger had simply touched the tip of his tall hat and offered her a warm grin. His accent, strange and wonderful, boasted a bit of a drawl that pulled on his letters in a way she’d never before heard. “Why, hello there, little lady,” he said. “I wonder now, what’s a young girl such as yourself doing up in these here parts?”
Not knowing how to respond and unable to wrap her mind completely around the accent that was so unbelievably out of place, Katie simply stared back at the larger-than-life stranger.
With a short laugh, he continued, “I do declare. You could be Joseph Goetz’s daughter. He did some work on my barn for me last summer. Did a right fine job of it, too. I would hire any Mennonite feller over a tinker any day of the week.” His blue eyes sparkled with some seemingly untold secret. “Tell me darlin’, you don’t happen to be from that little bee-keepin’ settlement outside of Amarillo, do you?”
“Um, Am… Amarillo?” Katie twisted her tongue around the foreign word that didn’t sound entirely English.
“Well, us Texans call it Amarillo. It’s the Mexican’s that named it though – Am-uh-ree-yo is how you say it proper. Means yellow.” He smiled again. “Either for those beautiful golden sunrises or all the blowing dirt, haven’t figured out which one yet.”
Unable to help herself, Katie smiled back. “Amarillo. What a lovely sounding place. But I’m not from there. My family is from Gasthof Village, back in Indiana.”