How did you come up with the concept for the Susanna’s Christmas Wish?
I was working last fall framing a log home for Chris & Connie MountCastle. I asked for plot line ideas from the two of them for my Christmas love story. Connie said I definitely have to write about a married woman whose former boyfriend shows up and makes trouble.
Is any part of Susanna’s Christmas Wish true?
Not really, although one scene comes a little close for comfort. But my lips are sealed.
Did you include any of your life experiences in the Susanna’s Christmas Wish?
Nope, don’t think so.
Do you have a favorite character in the Susanna’s Christmas Wish? Why?
I would pick the mother-in-law, Iva Wagler. I found her interesting, endearing, and fun to write about. Herman, with his calm, steady, self-sacrificing ways is probably the better choice, though. That is what makes Susanna’s feelings of love believable.
How much research did the Susanna’s Christmas Wish take?
Minimal. As I noted in the acknowledgement section, this story kind of landed in my lap. It seemed to be a tale which needed telling.
What was the most interesting fact that you learned while writing Susanna’s Christmas Wish?
The mother-in-law was the surprise character for me. Learning that she existed was quite interesting.
What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
The exhaustion of the writing, the repeated editing after the story is written, the wondering sometimes whether it’s worth it.
What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?
The privilege of finding the story. It must be akin to the wonder an amateur sky gazer might feel at the first sight of an unknown planet, or an unnamed comet.
What is your writing style? (Do you outline? Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants? Or somewhere in-between?)
The whole concept of outlining escapes me. I don’t understand how you know what to write until you know what is needed. And I don’t know what is needed until I’m there in real time. And to get there I must write the story. So I begin with a basic concept which has an ending, and we simply go.
What other new projects do each you have on the horizon?
Another series is planned for 2013, “Emma Raber’s Daughter”, and in 2014 we have “The Beiler Sisters of Lancaster County” in the works.
What message would you like your readers to take from Susanna’s Christmas Wish?
That love sometimes does arrive unbidden, but it can also come because we welcome its journey.
What do you do to get away from it all?
There is enough difference between my two jobs, construction and writing, that they both supply the ‘getting away’ feeling.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
As another passionate political season is upon us, I marvel that Amish fiction supplies a meeting ground where liberal and conservative minds gather in peace. I think the Amish would like that.