Farmville Herald

Our local paper, The Farmville Herald, ran a nice human interest story on the Rebecca books yesterday. The focus was the girl who modeled for the cover. She attends the local university, Longwood, so makes for community news, I suppose. The article and pictures ran in their weekend section, front page. (used here with permission)

Jerry Eicher


Amish Romance




Most college students expect to spend some time with their books, but not many find themselves on the cover of them. Longwood University sophomore Courtney Edwards is still pleasantly surprised every time she sees her picture on the cover of two recently released books by local author Jerry Eicher. The topic might be a further surprise for Courtney’s friends back home. Rebecca’s Promise and Rebecca’s Return are Amish fiction.

How did a girl from Smithfield, active in her Baptist church back home, become the model for Rebecca, the heroine of Amish romance? Courtney believes her major in theatre played an important role in her new career in modeling.

When Eicher started on Rebecca’s Promise, his sixth book to date, he went to Farmville’s “Design and Photo Man” Brian Richie for help in designing the cover.

“I was planning on self publishing like I did with my previous books,” Eicher related. “Then Harvest House Publishers picked it up as well as the second book in the series, Rebecca’s Return.”

Since Eicher already had Richie’s photos for the book’s cover he offered to send them to Harvest House for consideration.

“They accepted the photos right away,” Eicher said.

Brian Richie, who took the cover photos, had decided that the logical place to find a young woman to model for Rebecca would be Longwood University.

“I went to Longwood University’s theatre department,” Richie noted. “When I told Pam Arkin what I was looking for she said she knew just the girl for the photo.”

Being a theatre major with the ability to assume different roles made Courtney Edwards an obvious choice for the photo shoot. She appeared in the Longwood production Peer Gynt her freshman year and Crimes of the Heart this year.

“I did a little modeling when I was 12 years old,” Courtney added. “I’ve always wanted to explore that again, but I didn’t think I would have the opportunity to do it in Farmville.”

Eicher, who lives in Farmville and runs a construction business, began publishing his books centered on Amish life in 2006. He writes with a depth of understanding that comes through to readers; Eicher was born and raised in an Amish community.

Fortunately for Eicher, his fiction fits a currently popular niche.

“Amish romance is some of the most popular fiction today,” he noted.

While Rebecca is Amish, she still faces contemporary issues as two young men occupy her thoughts and vie for her hand.

“This was a little different from what I’ve done before,” Courtney admitted. “But I really enjoyed the experience, and I learned a lot.”

While the busy student hasn’t had a chance to read the Rebecca books yet, she plans to do so as soon as her schedule permits.

“My step-mom has read the first book and she called Rebecca a great representation of a Christian woman,” Courtney related.

A contemporary of Rebecca, Courtney also understands the value of Christian outreach.

“Last summer I went on a mission trip with Smithfield Baptist Church to Romania and Germany,” she related.

Working with the children in Romania, in fact, inspired her plans for after graduation.

“I plan on joining the Peace Corps for two years and then coming back to start my own children’s theatre,” she noted.

Recently Courtney acquired an internship for the summer with the SPARC Theatre for Children in Richmond.

With the release of Rebecca’s Promise and Rebecca’s Return on March 1, Courtney’s latest modeling/acting endeavor is beginning to attract attention. When she was home on spring break some of her friends said they had seen the book online.

“They told me ‘that girl on the cover looks just like you, ’ ” she smiled. “I told them — that is me.”

“I’ve already got people calling me Rebecca,” she said.

Whether looking at the world through Rebecca’s eyes or her own, one thing is sure for this college sophomore — the future is optimistic.

“The opportunities opening up for me are just amazing,” she concluded.

With Rebecca’s Promise backing her up, Courtney Edwards is sure to succeed.

Rebecca’s Promise and Rebecca’s Return are available locally at Amish Originals and Kroger stores. The third book in the series, Rebecca’s Choice, is scheduled for release in January 2010.


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One Response to “Farmville Herald”

  1. This was a really nice story. It sounds like Courtney has a lot going for her. Best of luck to her!


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