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Herald Press changes in fiction titles


Mennonite Publishing Network Release

After 14 titles, and over 240,000 books in print, Herald Press is ending a decade of publishing Carrie Bender stories. Her final Herald Press title Beyond Mist Blue Mountains was published at the end of 2003.

Carrie Bender is a pen name for a member of an old order Anabaptist group. She began writing for Herald Press with the 1993 publication A Fruitful Vine. This title became the first of a five-volume Miriam’s Journal Series, featuring the day-by-day adventures of a middle-aged Amish woman.

Bender lives with her husband and children among the Amish in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She also wrote the Whispering Brook Series, books about fun-loving Nancy Petersheim who grows up surrounded by what the Mennonite Brethren Herald called "the seemingly idyllic life the Amish lead."

These titles reflect an era when Herald Press took a special role as a publisher of Amish folk fiction, beginning with the popular Ellie's People series by Mary Christner Borntrager, a Mennonite of Hartville, Ohio. The Borntrager series, which began in 1988 to 1997, sold over a half million copies.

Although no new Bender titles are forthcoming from Herald Press, the publisher has agreed to keep all her titles in print as long as sales merit.

Levi Miller, director of Herald Press, noted that the publisher will continue to do fiction, but to choose titles which are closer to the denomination's current aesthetics and culture. He noted the current Crossings of Promise touch of Romance books, such as Eye of the Storm by Janice Dick. Her stories are Christian fiction of young people caught up in the upheavals of the 1917 Russian revolution.

In 2004 Herald Press is also publishing a second Hutterite romance by Hugh Alan Smith called When the River Calls and a first novel by Kirsten Klassen entitled Katelyn's Affection. Klassen, of Goshen, Indiana, wrote a coming of age story of a young girl growing up in a Midwestern college town.