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30 January 2012

Chatting It Up with Beth Wiseman

Your hostess this week is Delia Latham.

Beth Wiseman

Beth Wiseman is hailed as a top voice in Amish fiction. She is a Carol-award winner and author of numerous bestsellers including the Daughters of the Promise and the Land of Canaan series. She and her family live in Texas.

Well, the votes are in! It was a very close clash...and no, I'm not ready yet to reveal the winner. :) (Still gotta wait 'til Friday, folks!) But I loved the snippets from these two books - both were excellent examples of good Amish fiction. Thank you so much to each of you who voted and left comments!

This is what some of you had to say about Excerpt A, from today's featured author, Beth Wiseman:

The first excerpt has me wanting to know what in the world is going to happen when these two women do have a face-to-face meeting. The scenario has me baffled and wanting answers.

The suspense of Katie Ann's husband's mistress was difficult, but in Amish style, she set the thought away and readied for the wedding. Good, true discipline that one sees in the Amish way.

Loved both excerpts but A had an air of mystery and M&M's. Eating M&M's seems so natural, so everyday normal, makes the Amish seem like "real" people. A makes me want to know more!

Hmm...who'da thought of M&Ms to draw a reader in? I love it - it's proof that chocolate can accomplish anything! :)

Each author answered a few questions to help us "know" them a little better. I hope you enjoy sitting in on my chat with Beth Wiseman, author of Excerpt A, from The Wonder of Your Love. 

Hi, Beth! It's such a blessing to have you on Clash of the Titles! How long have you been writing, and how many published novels do you have? When did you see your first book in print?

I’ve been writing in some capacity for most of my adult life. I’ve written some freelance articles, done a humor column for a newspaper in Houston, and I was a journalist for five years. But writing fiction is where my heart is, particularly Christian fiction. I’ve completed for publication nine full-length novels and five novellas. Seven novels are on the shelves, as well as four novellas. The other two completed novels and the novella will release this year. My first book—Plain Perfect—released in Sept. 2008, so I’ve been incredibly blessed to be able to stay so busy.

With that many published books just since 2008, yes—I'd say you're incredibly busy—and very blessed! Is Amish life familiar to you, or does writing this genre require a lot of research? If the latter, what type of research do you do?

I have Amish connections, but I still research. I have a friend who grew up Amish, and even though she isn’t Amish anymore, her family is. They help me keep things authentic, and my friend reads every book prior to publication. In the beginning, there was a ton of research, but with each book, it gets a little easier. An Amish friend told me, “None of you will ever get it completely perfect because you don’t actually live among us. But you do a good job striving to keep things authentic.” And that’s all I can do—my very best to portray these wonderful people as they really are.

That's high praise from your Amish friend, Beth. I'm impressed! Do you write exclusively Amish fiction?

Until recently, all my novels and novellas have been about the Amish, but I have my first non-Amish contemporary—Need You Now—releasing in April. It was fun to write something different, and the story is based in a small Texas town about ten miles up the road from me. I also enjoyed writing about a married couple raising teenagers and the challenges they face along the way. I’m looking forward to writing more contemporaries, but there are also more Amish novels in my future.

Oh, how fun! I love writing about familiar locations. What's the thing you most enjoy about writing (Amish novels or otherwise), and what aspect of it is the most difficult?

The thing I enjoy most about writing (Amish or contemporary) is the opportunity to reach another person through words that glorify God. If one of my books touches one person and brings them closer to God, then I’ve done my job for Him. The most difficult part of writing is when fear and self-doubt creep into the picture, and I have to force myself to push past that.

It's so important for Christian writers to keep in mind that goal of glorifying God in their stories. Do you have a favorite verse of scripture...a "life verse"? What makes that verse special to you?

There are lots of verses that are special and meaningful to me, but I wear one of them on a silver bracelet on my wrist almost daily—Love is patient, love is kind, it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perservers. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13) My niece recited that at my wedding.

I love the idea of using that verse in a wedding ceremony. It's perfect! What single piece of advice has most influenced your life as a writer?

This might be an unexpected answer, but a truthful one. A writer told me, “Take care of yourself.” And what she meant was—keep your doctor appointments, get your eyes checked, go to the dentist, exercise, eat right, get regular checkups, etc. It is so easy to get lost in this world of writing that we push those important things to the very bottom of the list due to deadlines—which leaves us wide open for sickness, exhaustion, and stress. I try to keep up with my health needs so I can write more books. :)

Excellent advice! Good for you for heeding it. Thank you for taking time from you very busy schedule to answer my questions, Beth. We enjoyed your visit to Clash of the Titles!
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