Seek Me with All Your Heart, Land of Canaan Series #1Seek Me with All Your Heart, Land of Canaan Series #1
Beth Wiseman
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Emily Detweiler's family abruptly moved to Colorado after tragedy struck in Ohio. But Emily can't get far enough to escape what happened there.

David Stoltzfus is not happy when his family relocates from Pennsylvania to Colorado. Nevermind that they haven't told him why. David struggles not only with this unwelcome move, but also with the fear that a health condition could keep him from living his life in full.

Emily and David each come to terms with a past that follows them, testing their faith and resolve. Will they overcome adversity and step onto the path God has chosen for them?
     


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Beth WisemanWriting has always been a part of Beth Wiseman's life. When she was introduced to the Amish, she gained an appreciation for their simpler way of life and began writing novels featuring this endearing group. Her first novel was Plain Perfect. She and her family live in Texas.

Favorite Verses: 1 Corinthians 13 "... And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."   and John 14:18 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."


 

 Our Interview with Beth Wiseman


 

Please tell us a bit about yourself. 

I’m a wife, mother of two grown sons, fulltime author, and I am loving a life blessed by God.  I live in a small town in Texas, in the country—God’s country.  It’s beautiful here, and wake up to our rooster (Rusty!) crowing, and I spend my days writing stories that God puts in my head. 

What inspired you to write Seek Me with All Your Heart? 

This was a joint effort with my editor and publishing team based on an article that detailed how Amish families are migrating to Colorado—from Pennyslvania, Ohio, Indiana, New York, Michigan, and Missouri.  Most of them are pursuing less-expensive land and more land for future generations.   

Is any part of Seek Me with All Your Heart factual? 

Emily and her family run a dry goods store which is loosely based on an Amish-owned dry goods store that I visited in Colorado.  And, strange as it sounds, there is a bird named Elvis in the book.  My best friend has a parrot named Elvis.  Also, I can’t give away the ending, but there is a special place that two of my characters visit, a place I saw and fell in love with while in Colorado. 

How closely is Seek Me with All Your Heart based on your own life experiences? 

I think that all of my books are based on various aspects of my own life.  All my characters struggle with forgiveness, trust, and particularly fear and worry, which block the voice of God.  I am a worrier, and fear often plagues my heart.  I struggle with these things daily, even though I know in my heart that all things are of His will.  

How did you choose the location for the setting? Where is Canaan located? 

The fictional town of Canaan is located near Monte Vista, Colorado.  Monte Vista is Spanish for ‘mountain view’, and the Sangre de Cristo (which means ‘blood of Christ’) Mountains are to the east and the San Juans are to the west.  I’ll be going back to the area in August to do more research.  We chose that location because there is an Amish community just outside of Monte Vista. 

 

How long did Seek Me with All Your Heart take you to complete? 

I’m not sure, but longer than any other book I have written so far.  I would guess that it took me about six months. 

How many books will be in the Land of Canaan Series? 

My Daughters of the Promise series began as a 3-book series.  I’m working on book #5 for that series, with discussions of a possible book #6.  So, I don’t really know how many books will be I the Land of Canaan Series—at least three.

Do you have a favorite character in Seek Me with All Your Heart? Why? 

I have two favorite characters.  My protagonist, Emily, struggles to move past a tragedy, to trust again, and to reestablish the close relationship with God that she used to have.  Despite her strong Christian upbringing and faith, she can’t understand why God would let something so horrible happen to her.  I think many of us have questioned God’s plan for us.  Even though the Amish are taught to accept everything as God’s will, they are only human.  I also have a special place in my heart for Martha—a snappy Englisch woman who ‘seeks’ God…and finds Him.  These two very different characters both struggle—and find—the peacefulness God has to offer when you open your heart to Him.      

How much research did Seek Me with All Your Heart take? 

This new series takes several of my characters from the Daughters of the Promise series out of Lancaster County and to Canaan, Colorado.  New territory for all of us!  I started my research the way I always do—reading material about the area and Internet research.  However, through my travels to the area, God opened the doors and led me to the people who can help me the most—the Amish folks in that area. 

What was the most interesting tidbit that you learned while writing Seek Me with All Your Heart? 

How different Amish communities are everywhere.  I knew this, but through extensive research and a first hand visit to Colorado, I learned even more.  My main characters in Seek Me With All Your Heart come from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and Middlefield, Ohio.  So, they bring with them different colored buggies, different types of prayer coverings, and other little things that vary from state to state.  And things are even more different in Colorado than either Pennsylvania or Ohio.  

 

What are some of the challenges you face as an author? 

The biggest challenge is balance.  I treasure my relationships with my family and friends, and sometimes the writing deadlines get so tight that it threatens my time with them.  

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

The cards, letters, and emails that I receive from readers.  Especially the ones that say how my books introduced them to God, or helped them reestablish a relationship with Him, or in some other way changed their life for the better.  Right now, I am getting a lot of letters from birth mothers who gave up their children for adoption—something that my latest release, Plain Paradise, focuses on.  These mothers have never found the children they put up for adoption, and they tell me that Plain Paradise gave them a sense of peace.   

What writing clubs or organizations do you belong to?

I’m a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA).

What were your favorite books as a child? 

Nancy Drew mysteries.

What is your writing style?   (Do you outline?  Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants?   Or somewhere in between?) 

Oh, I am definitely a seat-of-my-pants writer!  I tried to outline ONE time when I was working on a book, and my editor told me not to ever do that again!  It just doesn’t work for me.  I like for the characters to have the freedom to run with the story, and it’s so much fun when someone new and unexpected shows up on the scene.

Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?
 
When I am finishing one book, characters from the next book to be written start screaming in my head.  They start telling me all about themselves and often are demanding to be written before I am ready to start the book.  By the time I start chapter one, I have a pretty good feel for my characters and the story they want to tell.  So, I suppose they have a life of their own before I even start, and I just get to know them better as I write. 

 

What other new projects do you have on the horizon?

I’ll be alternating between the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of Canaan series, with one book from each series releasing every six months.  I will also being doing another collection of novellas with authors Kathleen Fuller and Kelly Long titled An Amish Wedding.  The collections are fun because we have crossover characters!  

Who was the person who influenced you the most with your writing? 

My mother.  I can remember coming home from school, and my mother would have her head buried in a book, though not every day (I better add that in case she reads this!).  I wrote my first story to my grandparents when I was five or six years old.  I wanted to write stories that made people feel good.  My Mom is my biggest fan and continues to influence me on a daily basis. 

What message would you like your readers to take from Seek Me with All Your Heart? 

That the only way to true peace is through a one-on-one relationship with God.  The Amish don’t have a monopoly on that kind of peace, and you don’t have to live in Lancaster County or Colorado to have it.  It is available to all of us if you Seek Him With All Your Heart.  I think this book is a good example of that belief.

What is your greatest achievement? 

Surviving the teenage years with both my sons.  Truly. 

What is your goal or mission as a writer? 

To write the stories that God puts in my head, books that give the reader a non-preachy understanding about the peacefulness that comes from a real relationship with God. 

What do you do to get away from it all? 

That never happens.  Kidding!  I like to get away with my husband, just the two of us.  It doesn’t really matter where, as long as we’re together. 

Is there anything you’d like to add? 

Just that I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams with a wonderful husband, family, and friends.  And I always wanted to publish ONE book, to somehow make a difference.  I’m currently contracted for fourteen.  I thank God every single day for the enormous blessings He has bestowed on me.  I feel very undeserving, but profoundly grateful.

Do you have discussion questions for Seek Me with All Your Heart? 

Yes, all of my books have discussion questions in the back.


 

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