Debra Torres

Why I Started Writing:

Have you ever had a dream that someone criticized or shot down? When my high school guidance counselor asked me what career path I wanted to take, I told her that I wanted to be a novelist.

Quickly, she said that wasn’t practical and advised I use my writing in a different way. Taking her advice and abandoning my dream to be a novelist, I instead pursued other writing careers like journalism, public relations, and more recently, web content writing (which I love).

But my desire to be a novelist remained, and God kept nudging me in that direction. About ten years ago, I created a scene where a young Amish writer is faced with the decision of her life while swinging out over the rushing Shenango River in Northwestern Pennsylvania. This evolved into my 83,000-word novel, The Forbidden Gift, where Johanna Yoder is torn between her love to write and the ban of her craft by an overbearing Amish Bishop.

Johanna’s story in The Forbidden Gift has extended into a three-book series where my readers get to follow her personal and spiritual growth as a young Amish woman with an insatiable love for the pen.

As an author of inspirational Amish fiction, I write romantic suspense for readers who are looking for relatable characters dealing with raw and real-life issues. My books are touching stories of self-discovery, forgiveness, and healing set in a small Amish community that sidles up to the New Wilmington settlement, which houses a large Old Order Amish group in Pennsylvania.

Because of my own love for Amish and Mennonite fiction, I tell people that “I am my audience.” I like to write about matters of the heart and true human experience that take place within the fascinating Amish subculture.

Authors Who Have Influenced Me:

I have been most influenced by other authors of inspirational fiction: Beverly Lewis, Cindy Woodsmall, Jolina Petersheim, Francine Rivers, Jan Karon, Karen Kingsbury, Siri Mitchell, Janette Oke, and Deeanne Gist.

Books I Have Written:

Forbidden Gift, an Amish novel of romantic suspense, was released in May, 2021, by Elk Lake Publishing, and is the first in a three-book series.

What I'm Working On Now:

Currently, I am working on my second Amish novel, The Belonging. This is the sequel to Forbidden Gift. A third book in the series will follow.


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