Monday, September 7, 2015

Old Amarillo by Sara Barnard {Spotlight} with Ten Behind the Scenes Facts and feeling there is more to life than can be found on her family's Indiana farm, atypical Amish girl Katie Knepp bucks tradition and leaves everything behind, bound for a supposed Mennonite settlement rumored to be somewhere around Amarillo, Texas. But the trail to Texas is a hard one, laced with disease, would-be-could-be bandits, and a drought so severe that turning back isn't an option. During her epic overland struggle, Katie discovers friendship, even in the ever-present outlaw element, a strength in herself she'd never dreamed she possessed, and those in her past who refuse to become unwilling memories. Katie's story isn't Amish, nor is it western . . . it is uniquely Texan. 

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Sara Barnard and her family of six make their home deep in the recesses of Native America with a trio of rescue dogs, a trifecta of rescue cats, a flock of Easter Egger chickens, and a "tiny" herd of Dwarf Nigerian pygmy goats.
Some of Sara's works include The Calling (Prairie Rose Publications), The Saga of Indian Em'ly series (Painted Pony Books), Shootout in Old Amarillo (Prairie Rose Publications), The Everlasting Heart series, Rebekah's Quilt, and Desperado (all from 5 Prince Publishing). Sara is a certified elementary teacher and a bona fide coffee aficionado. Follow Sara at or @TheSaraBarnard on Twitter.


1. 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!

2. 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.

3. She camped in front of the fireplace, writing, while her kids were in school and her baby was with Granny and Grandpa.

4. Sara wrote in between frequent naps and a constant stream of Dr. Quinn's and Hallmark-movie westerns.

5. Everyone is real in this book, except for Katie and Peter -- most even haunt Sara's own family tree.

6. Old Amarillo features characters from Sara's debut Amish novel, Rebekah's Quilt.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

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