Still Life in Shadows
It’s been fifteen years since Gideon Miller ran away from his Amish community in Carlisle, Pennsylvania as a boy of fifteen. Gideon arrives in the Smoky Mountains town of Twin Branches and settles in at the local auto mechanic’s garage. He meets a host of interesting characters -the most recent acquaintances are Kiki, an autistic teen, and her sister Mari. Known as the “Getaway Savior” he helps other Amish boys and girls relocate to life in modern America.
One day the phone rings. On the other end is his brother Moriah calling from Florida. Of course Gideon welcomes his brother to stay with him and offers him a job. But Moriah is caught in a web which ends in his death and forces Gideon to return to the town of his youth, with his brother’s body in the back of a hearse and Mari and Kiki at his side. He must face not only the community he ran away from years ago but also his own web of bitterness. Will he be able to give his anger over to God and forgive his father?
Introducing Gideon & Kiki
Brief physical description
Gideon is about six-feet, has curly hair, wears John Deere caps, and is trying hard to ward off a middle-age pouch in his abdomen.
Kiki, of Japanese descent, has short cropped dark hair and is lanky.
I’m attaching a photo of ex-Amish, Mose Gingerich, the inspiration for my character, Gideon Miller.
Gideon has a tendency to get angry easily. He blames it on his Amish father. He is quick to judge others. He blames that on his father, too.
He helps ex-Amish youth relocate to Twin Branches and they love him for it.
Kiki blurts things out without filtering much. She so wants to belong and have a friend. Once she is your friend, she is as loyal as they come.
Quirk (if any)
Gideon is a clean freak, believing everything has a place.
Kiki carries around a cat hand puppet she calls Yoneko. She also likes to say, “For Pete’s sake” often.
Your inspiration for the character
Mose Gingerich (Amish: Out of Order) was my inspiration for Gideon. Mose helps dissatisfied Amish youth leave their communities. He gets them jobs, and helps them resettle into English Life. My Gideon does the same and is known as the “Getaway Savior.”
Kiki came about from the many autistic kids I have worked with as a social worker. One in particular was named Pauline.
Background to the story
My four novels with Bethany House Publishers are written in first person present and from the viewpoint of twenty-something year old women, hoping to meet the right guy. Still Life in Shadows is written in third person and told by a thirty-year-old ex-Amish man named Gideon Miller and a thirteen-year-old autistic girl named Kiki Yanagi. This is my first novel with River North/Moody Publishers. It’s not a romance, although there is a romantic element to it. (Gideon does want to get to know Mari, the attractive manager at Another Cup.) It’s really a story about how hard it is to shed your old life and move into a new place. As an ex-Amish in a Southern mountain town, Gideon strives to be accepted and Kiki, who is often sent to the principal’s office, does, too. Basically, there is a great human need to want to belong. This is also a story of forgiveness, especially about being able to forgive yourself. Although different from my other novels, Still Life in Shadows is also like all my other novels because it’s set in North Carolina (the Smoky Mountains), there are elements of grief and loss, and there are some tasty recipes in the back, including one for Bread in a Can.