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12 November 2011

Meet the Creative Genius Behind the Waiting

Today's host: Jennifer Slattery

After reading our great Amish excerpts and celebrating our tournament champion, I bet you're dying to know who won this week's clash. Sorry, you're going to have to wait till Friday. But stay with us, because today and Wednesday you get a chance to meet the lovely authors behind the fabulous Cott-competing excerpts.

Today we're chatting with Suzanne Woods Fisher, author of excerpt A, taken from The Waiting.

Hello, Suzanne, what motivated you to write a novel about the Amish?

My grandfather was raised Plain—he was one of eleven children born into an Old Order German Baptist Brethren family in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. I had written a non-fiction book called Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World that became such a wonderful foundation for me. As that book came together, my editor invited me to put in a proposal for Amish fiction…and I ran with it!

Have you visited an Amish community?

Oh yes! Many times. Just this year--I’ve been to Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. There’s nothing like traveling along those Amish back roads, visiting communities, making contacts, and establishing original sources. I think it’s important to visit at all different times of the year, too. In the summer, Lancaster County feels claustrophobic. You can’t see the rolling hills because of the tall corn. In the winter, it’s just the opposite--the landscape is wide open. You can see for miles.

What are a few misconceptions people tend to have regarding the Amish?

The biggest problem I’ve observed is when someone hears one story (usually a negative one) and projects it onto the entire Amish population. There are all kinds of Amish people and all kinds of Amish churches. Each district is self-standing—they have church in the home (unlike other Anabaptists) and split when they get too big to fit in a farmhouse. It results in endless variation from church to church, which I find to be…endlessly fascinating. It’s true that all of the Amish share core beliefs, but they are not “one-size-fits-all” people.

If you were to live among the Amish for a year or two, what would you most enjoy?

The sense of security that comes from living in their community would be wonderful—I really think our local churches can (and should) provide that kind of caring community.

What would be most difficult?

The most difficult part would be trying to keep up with Penn Dutch! It’s a dialect of German that is the first language for the Amish. It’s their first language and the one used at home and church (unless Scripture is being read—then it would be in German).

Who do you believe readers will most relate to in your novel and why?

This story is focused on Jorie King, a young woman who is waiting for her boyfriend
to return from serving the country as a Conscientious Objector. A funny thing happened as I wrote the story—there are four brothers, the Zooks, who stole the show. I don’t know how or when they sneaked in and grabbed the top role…but they did.

Which character did you most enjoy creating?

Ephraim Zook is a 13-year-old boy, awkward, shy, sensitive, with a stutter. He seemed so real to me—I can just visualize him. He was an endearing character.

* * *
Readers, Suzanne has a question for you. The cover of The Waiting has a fence on it, and it’s there for a reason. The fence is a symbol—you are crossing into another world as you read this book. I’d love to know why you enjoy reading Amish fiction. What draws you to the simple life?

Suzanne, I've enjoyed talking with you today and The Waiting sounds wonderful! Remember readers, there's still time to get entered into our book give-away drawing. I know you'd love to win a copy of this one!
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Suzanne said... Monday, 14 November, 2011

Thanks for hosting me here today! So pleased to be featured on your excellent blog. Will pop back throughout the day! Warmly, Suzanne

Unknown said... Monday, 14 November, 2011

Suzanne is truly a wonderful writer, speaker etc. I love her books and enjoy listening to her podcasts.
I have shared this link on Facebook and hope that some people will check it out!

Allyson L

Gail Pallotta said... Monday, 14 November, 2011

Hi Suzanne,
What a nice interview. The cover to The Waiting is beautiful. I love the fence and the idea one is crossing into another society. I enjoyed a visit to Amish country when we visited friends in Indiana.
Congratulations on your writing!

Jennifer Slattery said... Monday, 14 November, 2011

Suzanne, I loved the fence, too. And actually, it triggered a lot of thoughts. As to your question, what draws me most to the simple life is increased time to draw near to God and a community centered around what is truly important in life--faith in the Savior.

April Gardner said... Monday, 14 November, 2011

Splendid interview, ladies!
Suzanne, it's so wonderful to have you here! You must tell us about that gorgeous dog.
As to your question, what draws me to the simple life? A greater sense of family and community. The knowing you've put in a good day of work, every day. Knowing 53 emails aren't waiting to be answered. LOL Too many reasons to count! God wants us to live simpler lives focused on Him, no matter where we are, right? Amish Peace was a great book to help in that way.
Thanks for playing with us, Suzanne!

Suzanne said... Tuesday, 15 November, 2011

Hi ladies! Love your thoughts about longing for a simpler life. Simple isn't easy, though, is it?! Probably because life is really about people, and people can't be simplified. :)
April--that dog is Tess, a golden retriever who is a breeder for Guide Dogs for the Blind. She is right by my feet, as I type! Such a sweet girl.
Thanks for your encouraging words, ladies! Warmly, Suzanne

Michelle Massaro said... Wednesday, 16 November, 2011

I just realized the comment I left here yesterday isn't showing up. Grrr! If I remember correctly, I said that I'm drawn to the simple life because of the priority placed on people, and the peace that comes only from living a life separate from the hustle and bustle most of us are entrenched in. Welcome Suzanne! =) I think it's awesome that you raise guide puppies!

Item Reviewed: Meet the Creative Genius Behind the Waiting Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jennifer Slattery