Q&A with Cindy Woodsmall Plus Three Book Giveaway

Q&A with Cindy Woodsmall
author of
Ties That Bind

On sale date: 09/08/2015
Tradepaper ISBN: 9781601426994
e-Book ISBN: 9781601427007
WaterBrook Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

Q1. Ties that Bind is the first book in the Amish of Summer Grove series and it takes us into the world of an Old Order Amish family. What did you like about writing Ariana’s character and is she based off someone in your own life?

My portrayal of Ariana is based on a young woman some of my Amish friends have been telling me about for years. Ariana’s love for others is like a cup that runs over with goodness. But that doesn’t stop her from having challenges, especially with someone who seems determined to take loved ones away from her and from the Amish community. I’m enjoying slipping into the skin of someone who is so sincere and obedient. It’s interesting to see how even good traits must be tempered. Ariana longs to fully trust the things that come natural for her—blind faith and steadfast obedience.

Q2. In Amish culture, their adherence to the Old Order provides their identity. What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of this approach to life?

I admire their ability to take the hard road and how they do all they can to make sure the next generation follows them. They have spiritual, emotional, and physical fortitude to do what they believe is right. I think one of their greatest challenges is their fearful obedience to the Ordnung—the rules by which they live. Sometimes it seems as if they believe the Ordnung came straight from God, so they don’t dare challenge it. For example, women wear head coverings because the Word of God addresses that topic, and they interpret the Word literally. I applaud that level of faith and discipline. But all the women wear their hair parted in the middle and in a tight bun because the Ordnung declares that’s the way it needs to be, even though there’s nothing in the Bible about that. Many of the women say they do it out of respect for their elders or parents. But since no one dissents from such practices, I have to wonder if they obey these rules out of fear of displeasing God, of embarrassing loved ones, or of being shunned.

Q3. We have seen a rise in the depiction of Amish communities in entertainment. TLC’s “Breaking Amish” is one prominent example. Many of these shows focus on the desire for young people to leave a very harsh and restrictive environment. Do you believe this is a fair portrayal of the Old Order? Does it tell the whole story?

Several Amish have told me that the decision of whether to stay Amish or leave is a very real one for almost every one of them. The journey to making that decision is as liberating as it is imprisoning. But since even posing for a snapshot is forbidden for faithful Amish, the show’s producers had to find young people who were very rebellious and had either made the decision to leave or had already left, and pay them to be on television. The premise of the first season was to take viewers on the journey with the young people, but in truth, most of the cast had left their communities years earlier. Only a few of the most dissident Amish were willing to be on television, and because of that heightened rebellion toward the Old Ways, viewers didn’t see a fair portrayal of the decision-making process. Still, there are certain truths seen in the show—like the great divide between those who stay and those who leave, the pain of disappointing one’s entire family, and the reality of burning bridges that will take years to rebuild—if rebuilding is even possible.

Q4. In writing the Amish of Summer Grove series, can you see the whole plot stretched out in front of you or is it a blank canvas, where the picture slowly takes shape with each book?

For this series, I can only see a few chapters at a time. When I get six or seven chapters written, I know what’s going to take place over the next few chapters. The main Amish characters in this series experience that awful sensation we’ve all felt at times: that the world is falling apart—not just their world, but the world as a whole. What happens to the minds and hearts of faithful Amish people when they can’t escape a reality that defies the usual peacefulness of Amish country? We, as non-Amish, experience some of this on a daily basis. Our faith community helps keep us ready for the daily battles. But what would happen to us if all of that were removed? When that happens to the Amish, life can feel apocalyptic. I don’t know how the series will end, because the characters haven’t gone through the dismantling of their worlds yet. They haven’t realized what doubt can do to a soul.

Q5. In a culture that seems so removed from the outside world, what can we learn from the ways of the Plain people?

There is power in a unified, concerted effort to stand against self-indulgence. The Amish way of life challenges us to consider more than the mantra of self-discovery and self-rule. When we get a peek into their world, we can understand how and why they put sacrificial action behind their beliefs. We take a journey into a world that struggles to uphold all that the previous generation valued, yet they have witnessed the devastation of trying to keep too tight a grip on the next generation. The heart cry of the faithful in every generation, whether Amish or English, is to do what we believe is best for the family, the faith community, and the people we influence. The determination and trials of the Amish are a clear depiction of our own struggles with the world around us.

Q6. Why are you personally drawn to Amish fiction and what drives you to keep telling these remarkable stories against this backdrop?

While growing up in Maryland, I had a best friend who was an Amish-Mennonite. That meant they were “Plain.” The women wore prayer caps and cape dresses, and the families were nonresistant (pacifists) and lived very minimalistic lifestyles. The moment I stepped inside my friend’s house, I noticed a lot of differences between her home and mine. Their culture and value system were quite dissimilar to mine, even though I was raised in a God-fearing, conservative home. Our friendship continued for years, until my parents moved to a different region of the US. But my fascination with the Amish as a fourth grader continued into my teen years. So when my parents moved back to Amish country when I was an adult, I reconnected with the Plain community. Whenever I stay with friends who are Old Order Amish, I find myself digging deep to understand who they are and comparing that to who we are as non-Amish believers—and discovering where those two worlds meet.


Thank you so much for the interview, Cindy!

I have WONDERFUL news everyone…the lovely folks at WaterBrook Press are giving away THREE copies of Cindy’s latest book, Ties That Bind to THREE lucky winners. Want to enter? Of course you do!

To enter, leave a comment…easy peasy! For an EXTRA chance share this post and leave a comment if you do.

Giveaway starts today, Wednesday, September 16th and ends Wednesday, September 23rd.

*Giveaway is only open to US residents*

Ariana’s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel. Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together—or simply tear them apart?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

CINDY WOODSMALL is a New York Times, CBA, ECPA, and USA Today best-selling author who has written over a dozen works of fiction and one nonfiction book. Her connection with the Amish community has been widely featured in national media outlets, including ABC “Nightline” and The Wall Street Journal. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains.




69 Comments

  1. Jean
    September 16, 2015

    Looking forward to starting this series whether I win or lose. Enjoy your books very much. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  2. Mary Ellen Ashenfelder
    September 16, 2015

    Would love to win this book and add it to my ever-growing collection. Thank you for this wonderful giveaway.

    Reply
  3. Judy B
    September 16, 2015

    I’ve read a lot of author Cindy Woodsmall’s Amish fiction books but I haven’t read this series yet. Looking forward to it!

    Blessings!
    Judy B

    Reply
  4. Judy B
    September 16, 2015

    I shared this post.

    Blessings!
    Judy B

    Reply
  5. Carolyn Jefferson
    September 16, 2015

    I’d like very much to win this book.
    Have read many of your books Cindy.

    Reply
  6. Betty Hallett
    September 16, 2015

    Would love to win

    Reply
  7. Cheryl Callan
    September 16, 2015

    I just love your books. Once I start one can’t put it down…

    Reply
  8. Cheryl Callan
    September 16, 2015

    I am sharing on FB….

    Reply
  9. Leanne Barfield
    September 16, 2015

    Love your books would love to win God Bless.

    Reply
  10. Jackie Mento
    September 16, 2015

    love her books and she is an awesome author! look forward to new books and hope I win and Good luck everybody!

    Reply
  11. Debbie Rhoades
    September 16, 2015

    I love Cindy’s books and cannot wait to read this one! I shared on Facebook and Twitter — thanks always, for the chance to win and your wonderful posts!

    Reply
  12. joy pressley
    September 16, 2015

    Would love to win this book.

    Reply
  13. Cassie w
    September 16, 2015

    Would love to win 🙂 thanks for the chance

    Reply
  14. Teresa Kerr
    September 16, 2015

    What a wonderful give away! I would love to win this book!

    Reply
  15. Teresa Kerr
    September 16, 2015

    Shared on my FB page!

    Reply
  16. Cassie w
    September 16, 2015

    Shared

    Reply
  17. Karen
    September 16, 2015

    You can never have enough Amish books!!!!

    Reply
  18. angela chesnut
    September 16, 2015

    would love to win.

    Reply
  19. Martha Schultz
    September 16, 2015

    Amish books are my absolute favorite…Hard working but yet a simple life

    Reply
  20. Cindy Sylvester
    September 16, 2015

    I would love to win

    Reply
  21. Elaine Shorb
    September 16, 2015

    Thank you for a chance to enter your giveaway. Thank you, Cindy Woodsmall, for your wonderful stories!!
    I shared this on Facebook!!

    Reply
  22. Kathy Rowe
    September 16, 2015

    Love your books, Cindy. Hope to win one someday 🙂
    Blessings to you.

    Reply
  23. Emma
    September 16, 2015

    I am looking forward to reading Ties That Bind.I enjoy reading her books.

    Reply
  24. Emma
    September 16, 2015

    share this post on facebook.

    Reply
  25. Tammy Traxler
    September 16, 2015

    I love your books Cindy.

    Reply
    1. Tammy Traxler
      September 16, 2015

      I shared on Facebook

      Reply
  26. Becky McCoy
    September 16, 2015

    I would Love to read this book! I’m pretty sure that I have read most of your books. Thank you for your beautiful stories!! I am sharing this post also.

    Reply
  27. Linda Zimmerman
    September 16, 2015

    Love your books! Hope to win one!

    Reply
  28. Sheryl Walker
    September 16, 2015

    This would be a wonderful birthday gift (9/18)! I would love to read this series. Thank you so much for offering it.

    Reply
  29. Maryann
    September 16, 2015

    Summers Grove sounds like a wonderful series that I would love to read.

    Reply
  30. Samantha
    September 16, 2015

    Love your books! Can’t wait to read this one!

    Reply
  31. Crystal
    September 16, 2015

    Looks like a good read

    Reply
  32. Susan Fletcher
    September 16, 2015

    I’d love to read this book. The cover draws you right in………

    Reply
  33. Brenda W
    September 16, 2015

    sounds like a wonderful book. please enter my name for the give away Thank you

    Reply
  34. Christine Caldon
    September 16, 2015

    I love your books! I have been waiting for a new one. Thank you for writing.

    Reply
  35. Dorothy
    September 16, 2015

    I have been reading Amish fiction for the last 6 months and love it. I have read a couple books by Cindy Woodsmall that I got from our local library and enjoyed them very much.

    Reply
  36. Debbie Hale
    September 16, 2015

    Can’t wait to read, and I shared!

    Reply
  37. Karen Clinton
    September 16, 2015

    I LOVE your books and hope to win this Giveaway! Sharing also.

    Reply
  38. Patti
    September 16, 2015

    I would love to win, thanks for the chance! I love your books!

    Reply
  39. Debbie Hazelton
    September 16, 2015

    Would love to win. Love your books.

    Reply
  40. Debbie Hazelton
    September 16, 2015

    I shared this post.

    Reply
  41. Dawn
    September 16, 2015

    i would love to win this book! I just can’t get enough”

    Reply
  42. Cindy Patterson
    September 16, 2015

    From one Cindy to another Cindy. Great books about the Amish. Thank You for sharing your gift of writing.

    Reply
  43. Genevieve A Emidy
    September 16, 2015

    i Hope my name is chosen For Winning One Of Cindy Woodsmalls Book I enjoy all of Cindy’s Books am such a n Amish Bookworm!!💐🌻🌹👄🌈🐎💞

    Reply
  44. Tiffany Hall
    September 16, 2015

    Can’t wait to read this book! Would really like to win a copy.

    Reply
  45. Tiffany Hall
    September 16, 2015

    Shared this giveaway on my Facebook for an extra chance to win.

    Reply
  46. Rebecca King
    September 17, 2015

    Thanks for chance to win this book. I love Amish fiction!!!

    Reply
  47. Kathy
    September 17, 2015

    Looks really good. Can’t wait to read it.

    Reply
  48. Martha Peace
    September 17, 2015

    Love your books,Thanks for a chance to win

    Reply
  49. Myrtle1961@gmail.com
    September 17, 2015

    I absolutely love the cover. I’ve made space on my bookshelf. Thank you for your generosity. Blessings

    Reply
  50. Jean Smith
    September 17, 2015

    Love all your books, looking forward to this one.

    Reply
  51. Linda Ortiz
    September 17, 2015

    Love Cindy Woodsmalls books! Would love to read her new book!! 😀

    Reply
  52. Patricia Thackston
    September 17, 2015

    I have read many of Cindy Woodsmalls books and I love them all!
    I collect Amish writers works, it good old fashioned clean reading for the family!

    Reply
  53. Patricia Thackston
    September 17, 2015

    I would love to win this collection of books!

    Reply
  54. Linda Horin
    September 17, 2015

    Sounds like a great book. I would love to read it!

    Reply
  55. Rita Clements
    September 17, 2015

    I so love her books! Looking forward to starting this series!!
    Thank you for the opportunity to win the first one!

    Reply
    1. Rita Clements
      September 17, 2015

      P.S. I definitely liked and shared!

      Reply
  56. kim amundsen
    September 17, 2015

    Love her books.

    Reply
    1. kim amundsen
      September 17, 2015

      SHared on twitter @cheetah1959.

      Reply
  57. Karen G.
    September 17, 2015

    Looking forward to reading this new series. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of Ties That Bind.

    Reply
  58. Pam Lenharr
    September 17, 2015

    Would love to add these to my collection of your books.

    Reply
  59. Judy McCrone
    September 17, 2015

    Looks like that would be wonderful books to get under a soft blanket and read.

    Reply
  60. Rhonda Gikas
    September 17, 2015

    Love your books! You are an awesome author!

    Reply
  61. Phyllis
    September 17, 2015

    I would love the chance to win this book and start a new series. I really do love your books. The first one that I read was The Hope of Refuge and I was hooked. Thanks and God bless.

    Reply
  62. Andrea Woodard
    September 17, 2015

    I would love the chance to win this book. Can’t wait to read the series.

    Reply
  63. Andrea Woodard
    September 17, 2015

    I shared on twitter, facebook, google and pinterst

    Reply
  64. Karen G.
    September 17, 2015
    Reply
  65. Donna B
    September 17, 2015

    I love to read Amish fiction! I’ve never been disappointed in any of Cindy’s books that I’ve read. Thanks for a chance to win this book!

    Reply
  66. Michelle Dawn
    September 25, 2015

    Hello everyone! Thanks so much for entering to win Cindy’s new book. The winners are: Leanne Barfield, Joy Pressley, and Rhonda Gikas. Congratulations!

    Reply

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