An Intimate Interview with Renowned Author Suzanne Woods Fisher by Susan Scott Ferrell

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Suzanne Woods FisherToday we have the honor interviewing author Suzanne Woods Fisher. By the end, you’ll know more about her – personally, spiritually and professionally!

Suzanne, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to allow us to peak into your life for a bit.

Let’s get PERSONAL…

DA: You have mentioned that your grandfather was raised Plain. Was he raised Amish?

SWF: My grandfather was one of eleven children, born into a German Baptist (or Dunkard) family in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. The Dunkards could be considered cousins to the Amish – they are Anabaptists (baptized as adults), with a similar theology to the Amish and the Mennonites, and share many core values.

DA: Why did he decide to leave the Plain life?

SWF: The Dunkards do not practice “shunning” (actually, only the Amish practice shunning as a church discipline, and only after one has been baptized). Although my grandfather was raised in a farming family, he had an intellectual bent. He became a schoolteacher (one room schoolhouse) and then went to Penn State to major in Agricultural Economics. He did “farming reports” for KDKA Pittsburgh (first radio station in the country). I think his path was set after that – he never returned to farming, though he maintained a very close relationship with his siblings.

DA: You have said that you have a great admiration for the Plain people and that one does not have to ‘go Amish to incorporate many of their principles into [life].’ How do you personally incorporate Amish values into your daily living?

SWF: On a practical level, I try to make decisions based on principles of simplicity. Doing so helps me clarify complicated issues and distill them down to their essence. The curious thing is that simple living looks different for everyone. For example, we lived in Hong Kong for four years – a crowded, vertical city! And yet it became a time of great simplicity for our family. We kept family life honed to the basics: what was easy, doable, and kept us close together.

DA: You have family that were raised Plain, and I know you visit the east frequently for research. Do you think that the Englisch romanticize the Amish and their way of life?

SWF: The Amish are either romanticized…or skewered! Nothing in between. I think they would prefer to be viewed as imperfect people who love God.
As for those who romanticize them: some of that comes from the Amish’s rural life, with a heightened view of nature. Some of it comes from the deep community that surrounds them.
As for those who skewer them (and I get plenty of emails from those people) – they accept media misconceptions as truth, they believe there is a one-size-fits-all for the Amish, and they can’t see another culture without applying their own filter over them.

DA: Congratulations on the newest addition of your family! Give us the details!

SWF: Thank you! Madeline Claire was born on October 3rd to my son and daughter-in-law, and she is adorable! Only complaint her parents have is that she sleeps all day and is awake all night. They are exhausted!

Let’s get SPIRITUAL…

DA: You often mention how important prayer is to you. Of course, it should be so for everyone, but why is it for you? Did you have a “watershed moment” that made prayer a priority in your life?

SWF: Great question! Have you ever noticed what the first recorded words are of God in the Bible? You’ll find them in Genesis 1: “Let there be light.” Those are powerful words! For me, so much of prayer is God shedding light on my thoughts, my actions, my choices, my life.

DA: Why do you think prayer is important?

SWF: Prayer is such a gift and such a mystery – why would the living and sovereign God of this massive universe want to hear from us?! And yet, Scripture tells us that He longs to be in constant conversation with us. “From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth – he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do” (Psalm 33:13-15, NIV).

Let’s get PROFESSIONAL…

DA: When did you discover your love for writing and what was the first work your wrote and thought, “Ah, I really can write!”?

SWF: Still waiting for that moment! But I have always loved to write. I don’t remember a single teacher (or my parents, either) who noticed my writing as exceptional. It was a strength for me (way more so than math!), but what drives me is a passion to write, and to write well. I don’t think I’m a gifted writer. Just a hard working writer!

DA: You have a new book, The Devoted, that just released. I read it and absolutely LOVED it! (Readers see review here.) For those that haven’t read your Bishop Family series yet, this is the third and final book in the series. Who is your favorite character in The Devoted and why?

SWF: David Stoltzfus! He’s inspired by an Amish bishop I’ve had the privilege to know, and I really enjoyed how David had those “aha” moments in Scripture, to help him clarify a sticky situation (See? Another variation on the theme of “Let there be light!”).

DA: What predominant truth do you want readers to come away with after reading The Devoted?

SWF: There’s a couple of different truths in Devoted: When is enough, enough? Cherishing time. Don’t confuse wanting to matter with what really matters. And maybe the best of all: Without God, the Promised Land is nothing.

DA: What are you working on for your next writing project?

SWF: My next two releases are historical fiction about the first Amish who came to America. The Amish Beginnings series started with Anna’s Crossing as a stand alone, but readers wanted more! In February, The Newcomer continues Anna’s story. Later in the summer, The Return concludes the series.

DA: Thanks again for stopping by! It’s so wonderful getting to know you better.

SWF: Thank you! I’m grateful for Destination Amish – how it connects readers and authors and interests in common.

Okay, readers! Comment below and tell us what your favorite Suzanne Woods Fisher novel is for an opportunity to win an autographed copy of The Devoted! Winner will be chosen November 8, 2016.

The Devoted by Suzanne Woods Fisher


Suzanne Woods Fisher has a specialty: she writes about real people living in faith-based communities. With over 750,000 copies of books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than twenty-five books, ranging from children’s books (‘The Adventures of Lily Lapp’ series) to novels (“The Choice”) to non-fiction books (“Amish Peace: Simple Living for a Complicated World”).

When Suzanne isn’t writing, she’s probably playing with puppies. She’s been involved with Guide Dogs for the Blind for over fifteen years. Raising puppies, she says, is like eating a potato chip. You just can’t stop at one.

Readers are invited to stop by Suzanne’s website at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

An Interview with Erin Brady, Author of Into the Amish

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into the amish erin bradyHi, Erin. Welcome to Destination Amish! Why don’t we start by you telling us a little about yourself?

Well, I love to laugh. Always have. And because of it, I’ve been writing chick lit books for quite a few years now. I’m also a city girl who has lived in New York all of her life and I am happily married with young children. I love reading books every bit as I love writing them and I’m a sucker for a happy ending. But then again, who isn’t!

You have a new book that you co-wrote with Sarah Price, can you tell us about Into the Amish?

I’ve known Sarah Price for a long time now, since we worked together in Manhattan and I think she’s one of the most talented authors around. She’s also one of the most giving and selfless people I know. She’s encouraging and someone I consider my personal mentor. In fact, I owe my writing career to Ms. Price. She’s the one who, after reading one of my manuscripts, encouraged me to publish my first book and I haven’t looked back since. She’s read all of my books and I’ve read hers. Her books are truly inspiring and I learned a great deal about the Amish and how these amazing people live in such close-knit communities. After reading one of her latest books last year, an idea for a romantic comedy came to me. What if a New York career woman was to find herself living in Lancaster among the Amish? How would she adjust? What life lessons would she learn? I went to Sarah with the story and she loved it! Not only did she love it but she offered to help me with the storyline as it pertained to the Amish. I think the end-result is a very funny, but also very touching story. I really wanted to portray those in the Amish community well, and I hope I did that. So often we are content to just see the “reality TV” version but I knew this wasn’t what I wanted to do with this book. Sarah’s help was invaluable and I think that we came up with a story that her fans, as well as mine will thoroughly enjoy.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Oh wow! I’m not sure I ever stop writing. But when I’m not writing because either the power is low on my laptop or my fingers cramp up from typing too long, you can find my singing loudly (and badly) while driving my children to and from school, watching my favorite romantic comedies on television or curling up with a good book.

How are you spending your summer?

When I’m not on my yacht and jet-setting around the world … Just kidding, of course! I plan to spend some of my summer soaking up the sun and taking some time to enjoy the warm weather with my family. I have young children and most of the year, I’m busy running around with them. Summer allows me the opportunity to spend quality time with them without the hustle and bustle of school and sports. Of course, I also spend a big part of summer time writing.

Do you have a favorite scene or quote from Into the Amish?

There are too many to mention, but the scenes I love the most are the ones when Emily tries her best to acclimate to country living and the Amish community. She has the best of intentions in mind and her heart is definitely in the right place, but there are many moments when things don’t work out as she’d like them to and it leads to some, well, very funny moments in the book. Now, if you were to twist my arm and name my specific favorite scene, I love it when Emily tries to milk a cow for the first time.

What is the one thing about you that your readers would be surprised to learn?

A lot of people don’t realize that I have quite a bit of the country girl in me. While it is absolutely true that I was born and lived all of my life in New York City (and can ride the subway with my eyes shut tight), I also spent many of my summer vacations staying with my grandparents in a rural area when I was growing up. I often woke up to the sound of the rooster crowing and, believe it or not, I have actually milked a cow! Writing “Into the Amish” brought me back to that happy place as I found myself recalling all of those fond childhood memories.

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview?

Well, since I write romantic comedies, I always wanted to be asked who my favorite leading man is in a particular book.

Future projects?

I’m actually writing a chick lit book for the Christmas season. I had so much fun writing The Holiday Gig” a few years ago. That book is about a career woman who finds herself having to invent a boyfriend to appease her boss at work and her family at home. Although she thinks she’s found the answer to all of her problems by hiring a man to play her boyfriend (The “gig”), she discovers some hard truths about herself and comes to realize what is truly important in her life. Writing the book put me into the holiday spirit and I’m hoping a second book will have me singing “Jingle Bells” throughout the entire summer! In case you can’t tell, I LOVE Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday and although I can do without snow most of the year, I don’t mind it at all during the month of December. But just December!

I’m also hoping to convince Sarah Price to collaborate on a sequel to “Into the Amish.” I fell in love with the characters in the book, especially, Dolores Carrington, and I’m anxious to bring them all back to life. I miss them terribly, as you will after reading the book! This time, I’d love for one of Emily’s relatives from Lancaster to visit her in New York City. I can see a lot of comical misunderstandings in such a story, I reckon. That’s for sure and certain!


Erin Brady is a self-confessed romantic comedy addict who hopes to never find a cure. She spends countless hours re-reading Pride and Prejudice and admits to never getting tired of Darcy’s britches. She loves watching rom-com movies because, when it comes down to it, she can’t get enough of the “girl meets boy and falls in love” stories. Most importantly, she loves to laugh and finds humor in everything from washing dishes to singing karaoke off key!

To connect with Erin, visit erinbradyauthor.com or become a fan on Facebook.

An interview with Colleen Coble, Author of Mermaid Moon

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colleen cobleShame can cause people to make drastic, sometimes life-altering decisions. When they experience the consequences of failure, whether at their own hands or at the hands of others, their instinct can be to retreat to avoid experiencing hurt again. That knee-jerk reaction can strain relationships and lead to isolation. This is one of the themes award-winning author Colleen Coble chose to examine in the second book in her Sunset Cove series, Mermaid Moon (Thomas Nelson/January 12, 2016/ISBN: 978-1401690281/$15.99).

Q: Mermaid Moon is the second book in the Sunset Cove series. How is the series tied together? Is there a specific theme that runs throughout?

I wanted these books to examine the various ways we all come to family. Some are born into the family, some are adopted, and some create their own family with friends. Claire’s story (The Inn at Ocean’s Edge) is continued as a subplot through the story as well, so I think readers will like that!

Q: Did something personal inspire the storyline of Mermaid Moon?

I’ve always wanted to explore the turmoil adopted children feel as they try to decide if they will search for their birth family.

Q: What do you love so much about Down East Maine, where Mermaid Moon is based? Why is going there a little bit like stepping back in time?

I love the wildness of it and the way you won’t find big superstores in all the little towns dotting the coast. The communities exist by being close-knit and supportive of one another. Many still earn their living from the sea the way their ancestors did. It’s a wonderful place to be!

Q: Despite its sleepy setting, Mermaid Mood’s plot is packed with action and intrigue. Why did you choose to juxtapose those two characteristics?

I do that in every book. I love creating a setting that’s homey and somewhat remote so my characters have to learn to be strong and overcome the obstacles in their way. It’s also what I know. I’ve never lived in a big city (and don’t want to!), and I love the way a small town operates.

Q: What are some of the challenges involved with writing a mystery?

You have to keep the reader guessing and engaged. I want the reader to stay up until two in the morning because she couldn’t put the book down. It’s also challenging to keep each book fresh. After writing as many books as I have, I have to think hard about plot and character before starting a new book.

Q: Your main character, Mallory, left behind her small hometown and a string of strained relationships after her mother died. Why does our struggle with personal shame have such a strong impact on our relationships?

When we are hurt and fail, it makes us want to retreat and not take the risk of getting hurt again. Personal shame strikes at our core because we feel we can never make up for that failure. We fear the relationship can never be mended. When the shame and guilt run deep, it takes God to bring the necessary healing too.

mermaid moonQ: Family relationships can be the trickiest relationships of all. Why do you think that is?

Our family relationships have the deepest thread of love running through them. When you are hurt by someone you love that much, a sense of deep betrayal can make us put up our guard. It strikes at the core of who we are because the family relationship helped form us into who we are.

Q: Why do you think women, particularly single mothers, will find a kinship with Mallory?

Mallory had a lot to overcome in Mermaid Moon, but she didn’t let her circumstances keep her from doing what had to be done. Single moms have so much on their shoulders, and I have a lot of empathy for them (though I’ve never had to go through that myself). I want them to know God is there for them, and they can find the strength to do what needs to be done every day.

Q: What is so bad about being a perfectionist? Isn’t striving for your best a good thing?

Too often a perfectionist bases her worth on doing things right. Any failure to perform perfectly leaves her feeling she isn’t good enough. Of course we want to give anything we do our best, but our character isn’t damaged when we fail or when we mess up. People can love us even if we aren’t perfect.

Q: When Mallory finds herself in distress more than a decade after leaving home, her first instinct is to reach out to her first love. Why does our first love often have such a lasting impact on our hearts?

I think we never forget our first love. Everything is new and wonderful, and it seems perfect to our young and impressionable selves. Sometimes first love is the only time we throw ourselves fully into a relationship. It shouldn’t be that way, but if the first love ends badly, it can affect how much of ourselves we are willing to give to a future relationship.

Q: When is it appropriate to give others who have hurt us a second chance, and when should we leave them in the past?

I think you have to look at their character. Did they hurt you because they simply messed up? We all mess up. Or did they hurt you because they didn’t care enough to be faithful and devoted? Is the offense likely to happen again? Did they habitually hurt you? If that’s the case, it’s not really wise to put yourself in that position again. You have to forgive them and not hold onto bitterness, but it’s foolish to think they will change if you just love them enough.

Q: The death of a loved one often leaves us thinking about how to live without regrets. In what ways can we take that sentiment too far?

Some people can take that in a wrong direction and live for themselves only. They give no thought to other people and the future. It’s much wiser to take that loss as a chance to make sure you care for your loved ones as best as you can. The worst regrets are when a loved one dies and you know you could have done better in showing them your love and care.

Q: Without giving away too much, at one point in Mermaid Moon, Mallory cuts her hair off, even though she’d been growing it out for 20 years. What was the symbolism in that act? Have you ever done anything similar to mark a big decision?

I wanted the reader to see Mallory was not being weighed down with the past any longer. Much of her decision to grow it out was rooted in the past, and she was ready to let go of that. I used to have hair as long as Mallory’s, but mine was only cut off to shorten time spent on it so I could use that time with my new son.

Q: What is the main impression you want to make on readers of Mermaid Moon?

It’s usually harder to forgive ourselves than to forgive others. God doesn’t want us to carry around that burden of guilt and shame. We can be free of it if we realize He forgave it long ago. We’re the one still lugging it around.

Q: What do you have planned next for the Sunset Cove series?

I’m working on Twilight at Blueberry Barrens. This is Kate’s story, and she witnesses two bodies going off a cliff in the first scene. The authorities rule it a murder/suicide, but the brother of one of the victims believes it was murder. Kate gets drawn into the danger when she takes charge of the two girls orphaned by the deaths.


To keep up with Colleen Coble, visit www.colleencoble.com, become a fan on Facebook (colleencoblebooks) or follow her on Twitter (@colleencoble).