Today I am happy to host an interview with Suzanne Woods Fisher for this blog tour of her book, The Choice. My review for this tour will be at the end of the post!
What drew you to write about the Amish?
My grandfather was raised Plain. Not Amish, but a close cousin. He was one of thirteen children born in an Old Order German Baptist Brethren home (also known as Dunkards). He began his career as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse and ended it as publisher of Christianity Today magazine. I’ve always had an interest in my Dunkard relatives and the reasons behind their lifestyle.
How are your books different from other Amish fiction?
I write both non-fiction and fiction. My first book about the Amish was the non-fiction Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World. I visited Pennsylvania and Ohio Amish communities a number of times, stayed in Old Order Amish homes, and interviewed many families, as well as experts about the Amish. That book has become a foundation for my fiction series about the Amish. I wrote from what I observed and learned; many story lines come from the families I met. Because of that, I hope my books are very credible.
You wrote a well received non-fiction book called Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World. Have you been influenced by your experiences with the Amish?
The Amish people I met while researching Amish Peace were very remarkable, well educated people with a deep and abiding faith. My fiction reflects those kinds of people. The Amish are the first to say they’re not perfect people, but I do believe they have a tighter grasp on some important values that we could all benefit from observing.
What is The Choice about?
Sol Reich wants to play baseball, Carrie Weaver wants to be with the man she loves but she also wants to protect her younger brother, and Daniel Miller just wants to find a way to move beyond a very painful past. What none of them ever dream possible is that the truth brought into their lives by an innocent man serving time in prison would forever change their future.
How did you go about writing The Choice? Are any of the storylines true?
There are some true to life threads in The Choice. As I was writing the story, there were some tragic events of contaminated kerosene tanks blowing up and killing some Amish individuals. Also, the reason I chose baseball was because I drove by many Amish schoolhouses in Pennsylvania and saw Amish boys playing softball. During the same trip, I kept bumping into signage for the Lancaster Barnstormers. That’s how the story begins…as a baseball scout spots an Amish young man who throws a mean fast pitch.
Which character in the book was your favorite? Why?
Mattie. She was so solid. And she never wavered in her ability to be a faithful friend to Carrie, even when feelings for Sol came between them. I liked what Mattie modeled for other girls. We have plenty of bad examples in books and TV; we need more good examples.
Tell us about The Waiting, Book 2 in the “Lancaster County Secrets.” (To release on October 1, 2010.)
The second in this series takes place in the same town of Stoney Ridge, Pennsylvania, but in a different time period—during the 1960s. Jorie King is in love with Ben Zook—a fellow who has a tendency toward “fence jumping” and is currently serving in Vietnam as a Conscientious Objector. Everyone assumes Jorie will marry Ben when he returns, but life in Stoney Ridge takes a few unexpected twists and turns.
What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
Well, one thing…it is a great cosmic joke on me that my last name is Fisher and I just can not abide fish or seafood. It’s embarrassing!
What has God taught you through writing?
Four words: “Hangeth Thou In There.”
Your blog is gaining a “buzz.” You write about everything–Christianity, parenthood and family; writing, slowing down, books, the Amish, funny stories, ideas, life–even stories about your dad’s journey with Alzheimer’s disease. Tell us about the community you’re building through your blog.
Meeting others through social media (Facebook, Twitter, my blog) has been a surprisingly delightful experience! There are so many kind, generous, interesting people out there. I pray for many people, and I know others are praying for me. A few people have written who have a loved one with Alzheimers’, and we’re able to support each other. I used to view a blog as “piano scales”…exercises for daily writing. Now, I feel as if I’m keeping up with my friends.
What other writing projects are you working on right now?
I just signed contracts with Revell for another three-book Amish fiction series. Very excited about those stories! They’re based on three sisters. Each sister will take a turn as the main character.
Anything else you’d like to share?
1) In every book I write, I hope the reader ends the story feeling closer to God than she began. I never want to whack someone on the head with faith. I just want to encourage a reader to trust God a little more, rely on Him a little deeper, to get to know Him in a fresh way.
2) I have to end with a heartfelt thank you to each and every reader. Your time is valuable and I’m grateful you choose to read one of my books.
About the Book:
Lancaster County has always been her home–but where does her heart belong?
One moment Carrie Weaver was looking forward to running away with Lancaster Barnstormers pitcher Solomon Riehl–plans that included leaving the Amish community where they grew up. The next moment she was staring into a future as broken as her heart. Now, Carrie is faced with a choice. But will this opportunity be all she hoped? Or will this decision, this moment in time, change her life forever?
A tender story of love, forgiveness, and looking below the surface, The Choice uncovers the sweet simplicity of the Amish world–and shows that it’s never too late to find your way back to God.
About the Author:
Suzanne Woods Fisher’s interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W. D. Benedict, who was raised in the Dunkard Brethren Church in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Benedict eventually became publisher of Christianity Today magazine. Suzanne’s work has appeared in many magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman, Worldwide Challenge, ParentLife, Christian Parenting Today, and Marriage Partnership. She has contributed to several nonfiction books and is the author of
Amish Peace and two novels. Fisher resides in Alamo, California.
You can find Suzanne on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com or Facebook or Twitter (@suzannewfisher). She loves to hear from readers and tries to get back to each one.
WOW. How can I say what I feel about this book? It was AMAZING!!! I literally DID NOT want to put this book down for ANYTHING. Sadly, I had to. But, while I was reading it, it was a true page turner from page one.
The Choice is the first book to a new series, and it has a been a GREAT start!! I read ALOT of Amish novels and this is, by far, one of the BEST ones I have read so far! Suzanne makes you feel apart of the characters’ lives from beginning to end. I easily fell in love with all the characters, from Carrie-who suffers so much tragedy in so little time, to Abel-Carries cousin-in-law who was in prison, to Sol-Carrie’s ex who chose baseball over her. Suzanne uses humor to spice the story up and keep the readers attention. But she makes the plot super twisty and that is what kept me! Just when you thought “okay this is good” or “okay this is not good”, you turn the page and see that Suzanne has twisted it yet again! Suzanne will make you laugh, smile AND cry in this book. My heart broke at different places in the book at all the struggle and the things that happened to Carrie, but in the end, I was smiling with joy, with all God(and Suzanne!) did in this book! I certainly can not wait until October for The Waiting…book 2 in this FANTASTIC new series!!!
I give this wonderful book a 5 stars, 2 two thumbs up AND a permenant place on my book shelf!!!
Available January 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.