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Suzanne Woods FisherSuzanne Woods Fisher is the CBA bestselling author of The Search, The Choice, The Waiting, Amish Peace, and Amish Proverbs. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W. D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Benedict eventually became publisher of Christianity Today magazine. Suzanne is the host of a radio show called Amish Wisdom and her work has appeared in many magazines. She lives in California.

Favorite Verse: Matthew 1:23, (kjv) Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

 


 

 Our Interview with Suzanne Woods Fisher


 

How have you become involved in the Amish Community?

My grandfather was raised Plain. He left the church but remained close to his siblings. After a long career with Saturday Evening Post, my grandfather became publisher of a brand new, struggling magazine--Christianity Today. I have always had a keen interest in my relatives’ Plain lifestyle—but even more so, I was intrigued by their peaceful countenance. Their faith infuses every part of life, like a teabag in hot water. My agent knew of my family connection and introduced me to an editor who had an idea about a book that addressed peace among the Amish. A topic I had pondered! And voila! That was how “Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World” came to life. That book became a wonderful foundation for me to write credible fiction about these endlessly fascinating people.
 
How did you come up with the concept for A Lancaster County Christmas?

There were a couple of story threads that I had been mulling over—a Search and Rescue Dog (I’m crazy about big dogs), a young (non-Amish) woman who doesn’t know how to accept her husband’s love, and an Amish wife struggling with infertility. I liked the idea of having these two women’s lives collide for Christmas weekend—(and boy, do they ever!). I still needed a crisis point…so that’s where Tucker, a very cool Search and Rescue Dog, enters the scene to save the day.    

Do you think there’s pressure on the women in the Amish community to have babies?

I wouldn’t call it pressure—but they do place great value on motherhood. Fatherhood, too. Every child is a gift from God—every single one. Children with handicaps are called “special children.” I’ve heard many Amish parents talk about what they have learned from their special child—patience or unconditional love. I’ve never heard a complaint about the challenges of raising children. Not one.

It’s a different way of thinking from our modern culture. Time together as a family is cherished. And Amish children are loved—but not adored. Oh…we have so much to learn from them.

 

Do you have a favorite character in A Lancaster County Christmas? Why?

This story takes place over 48 hours—and there are only six characters. It’s not easy to create fully dimensional characters within such a short time span! But I think it came together beautifully--each character is very distinctive. The easiest one to write was a character who added comic relief—an Amish teenager who was a “fence jumper” (code for a leaning-toward-the-world-kind-of-guy).
 
How much research did A Lancaster County Christmas take?
 
It was the Search and Rescue (SAR) aspect of the story that required the most research. I had a pretty good grasp of the details of how the Amish celebrate Christmas from other work I’ve done—but SAR was new to me. I interviewed a very knowledgeable and seasoned SAR volunteer—later, she was kind enough to read the manuscript to check for errors.

What is the most interesting fact that you learned while researching and writing A Lancaster County Christmas?

About a year ago, I was in Lancaster County and happened upon an occupied eagle’s nest. It was as big as a Volkswagen! Each evening, I went back to watch the eagle parents feed their hungry eaglets. It didn’t take long for an eagle’s nest to find a role in this story. The Amish I have met are dedicated “birders.” They have such a respect for God’s creation--so I try to add a new nature twist in each book. It’s fun for me to learn, too.
 
What are some of the challenges you face as an author?

Time! Not enough of it. I wish I had two mornings for each day. Maybe, then, I could catch up and stay caught up.

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

Two things:

1) I am passionate about writing—I always have been, even though I have to say that I don’t remember a single teacher or family member ever suggesting I had any talent. But I have always loved to write—and I am a hard worker. (It compensates for a lack of talent!)

2) It is a joy to connect with readers. I’ve gotten to know so many wonderful people through Facebook or e-mail. My life has been enriched.

What clubs or organizations are you involved with helping with your writing?

I strongly recommend aspiring writers find a local or on-line writing group, join ACFW, or attend writers’ conferences. I made it so much harder on myself by not using those resources.

 

What new projects are on the horizon?

Lots of exciting things are in the pipeline! A new 3-book Amish fiction series kicks off with “The Keeper” in January (it might be my favorite!), and an Amish children’s chapter book series is coming out next summer. I’m co-writing the series with Mary Ann Kinsinger, who was raised Old Order Amish and writes an amazing blog called “A Joyful Chaos” (ajoyfulchaos.blogspot.com). Some other projects are getting finalized, too. My goal is that every book is better than the one before it—I never want to stop improving my craft.

What message would you like your readers to take from reading A Lancaster County Christmas?

Emmanuel—God is with us. Stop for a moment and think about that simple phrase. God has entered His creation to come alongside of us. Such a miracle!

What was your favorite book as a child?

My mother read a book to me called “Hitty: Her First Hundred Years” by Rachel Field –it chronicled the life of a very loved doll, who started life on a whaling ship with a little girl named Phoebe. Does anyone else remember it?

What is your greatest achievement?

Personally, it would be the great delight I have in my four children. Throughout their childhood (even in Hong Kong, where we lived for four years), I attended weekly Moms in Touch prayer groups. I have no doubt those prayers were heard! Never, never underestimate the power of prayer.
 
Professionally, I think it just happened! On the morning of the Christy Award Event (The Waiting” was a finalist), I received a call that “The Choice” was a finalist for a Carol Award with ACFW. Talk about feeling as if “my cup runneth over.” What a moment!

What do you do to get away from it all?

Oh--that’s why God made dogs. I’ve been a puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind for ten years. You just can’t take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone’s underwear in its mouth.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I love connecting with readers! You can find me on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com or on Facebook. I host a lot of giveaways on my website—a small way to thank readers. And I have a weekly radio program, “Amish Wisdom,” every Thursday at 5pm EST on toginet.com (http://toginet.com/shows/amishwisdom).  I interview guests who have some link to the Amish—authors, scholars, even formerly Amish! There’s always something to learn about living a simpler, life.

Thanks for your interest in my books. Hope to hear from you!

 


 

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