Saturday, December 20, 2014

Author Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Suzanne Woods Fisher


It is always a pleasure to welcome Suzanne Woods Fisher to The Power of Words because she is one very special lady - as a writer who has just published her 25th novel and personally as well. Suzanne has the ability to create rich, character-driven stories with multi-layered plots, but that's something that all who have read her stories already know.

Christmas at Rose Hill Farm is a fascinating story (please see my review here). Suzanne has graciously offered to share a copy with one of you and details are at the end of this post. Now enjoy hearing from Suzanne as she shares about this book and her new novel that releases in the early spring . . .


Q:  How does it feel to have published 25 novels, Suzanne? God certainly touches us through your writing and I pray that He will continue to guide your thoughts as you write - and may you never tire of this craft!

How do I feel about 25 published novels? Kind of…dazed! You’d think I’d feel more confident about writing. I can’t shake the fear that every contract is my last one. About halfway through each manuscript, I’m convinced it’s a horrible story and someone should take away my computer. Then, after the manuscript all comes together and I’ve written the best story I possibly could, after I’ve submitted it to my editor and am waiting for her response, I get hit with another wave of confidence-crisis. But on the plus side of a lack of confidence, I do not take any story for granted. I want each novel to be better than the one before it, and I want to keep growing in my craft. And I never, ever grow tired of writing. I feel very grateful.


Q:  What is one of your favorite family Christmas traditions, past or present?

We started a new tradition a few years ago that I wish I had discovered when my children were little. As my family has expanded through marriage and grandchildren, I had to start simplifying gift giving. I came across this Victorian guideline:





It’s been a big success in our family and is a great Christmas stress-reducer tool. Feel free to borrow!


Q:  Please tell us a little about Christmas at Rose Hill Farm and how it fits into the Stoney Ridge novels.



        A few years ago, after my novel The Search released, I was surprised by the amount of reader e-mails who asked the same question: What happened to Bess and Billy? They were teenagers in The Search and, typical of teens, they had an on-again, off-again relationship. I still get more reader e-mails about Bess and Billy than any other characters in my novels. It was obvious that Bess and Billy needed a story of their own. 
        Christmas at Rose Hill Farm is set in the late 1970s, a few years after The Search takes place, as Bess is preparing to marry Amos Lapp. (Just a side note: we meet up with Amos again in The Keeper). In her grandmother’s greenhouse, Bess stumbles on a potted rose tucked deep in a corner with one single bud, soon to bloom. Unable to identify this rose, she calls a rose society to send out a rose rustler—someone with skills to track down the origins of the “lost rose.” And that’s how Billy Lapp returns to Stoney Ridge. After leaving years earlier, he took his love and knowledge of roses and became a highly respected rose rustler. No longer Amish, though.
        So why did Billy leave Stoney Ridge in the first place? If there’s a love triangle (Bess and Amos and Billy), will Billy end up loveless? And where did this mysterious rose come from? I can’t answer the first two questions without spoiling the story, but I can tell you about the origin of this rose: it came over on the Charming Nancy, the ship that brought the first group of Amish to America from Europe in 1737. And if that piece of history intrigues you, you’ll love Anna’s Crossing about that very ocean voyage, releasing next March.


Q:  You must have really enjoyed the research into heritage roses, rose rustlers, etc. Did any tidbits of information especially capture your imagination?

        “Rose rustling” is an odd term because, unlike cattle rustlers, they don’t steal anything. Just the opposite—they seek to preserve it. When rose rustlers find an old rose, they identify it and take cuttings to propagate (with permission, of course). Now and then, they come across a “found”—a rose that was thought to be extinct. A “found” is the equivalent of an earthquake in the rose world. Such an unusual discovery causes reverberation and ripples and excitement. After all, each rose has a story behind it.
        Here’s one that tugs at my heart, a reminder that God does not forget the brokenhearted. It’s about a pink rose called “Louise the Unfortunate.”
        In the mid 1800’s, Louise was a mail order bride from New Orleans. She traveled to Natchez, Mississippi to meet her new husband-to-be and start her new life. She waited and waited on the docks but no one came to claim her. A day turned into night, then a week, then a month. Had her betrothed come to the docks, seen her, and changed his mind? Or had something happened to him? Penniless, heartbroken and ashamed, Louise became a prostitute, working “Under the Hill,” until she took ill and died. Her white marble headstone has a simple epitaph: “Louise the Unfortunate” and a pink rose adorns her grave.


Q:  There's so much we'll never understand this side of heaven, but I'm sure the subject of angels fascinates many readers. Do the Amish believe in angels and what inspired you to incorporate "George" into your story?

        First of all, the Amish do believe in angels. As I wrote Christmas at Rose Hill Farm, I wanted to introduce an angel as one of the characters. Carefully, though. I didn’t want to get off track from what the Bible infers about angels. Based on biblical assumptions, I used my imagination to add some details. For example, George, the angel in my story, had an unlined, unstressed face. And he was always hungry, happy to accept what was offered to him, but food was always lacking in taste, he said. The way we’d feel if salt were left out of soup. Or the difference between a home grown tomato in August and a store bought one in January. Those things seemed like reasonable assumptions to me because Heaven was George’s home.
        George was assigned to Billy Lapp, a troubled soul in Christmas at Rose Hill Farm. His role was a little like a guardian angel, but his job was a short-term assignment. His goal was to help Billy make amends before it was too late. He never interfered, he just gently prodded. I loved that character!


Q:  I love how your stories always have a strong spiritual message, Suzanne. Is there one particular insight that really speaks to you, or that you hope readers will take away?

        I’d like to answer your question with another point about George the angel. He knew the Bible and quoted it, though he didn’t bother to memorize the numbers of verses. I had to really think that one through—would an angel even know the Bible? Would he need to know? After all, George already had the end of the story. But then, in a way, so do we.
        Emmanuel, God is with us.
        That is what I hope readers will take away from the story.



Q:  Please share a little about your upcoming novel, Anna's Crossing, which contains the back story of Christmas at Rose Hill Farm - and any other stories or series you might have in the works.

        Anna’s Crossing is a story about the first Atlantic Ocean crossing of the Amish in 1737, based on what facts there were to be found. It tells the story of the treacherous sea journey through a community of endearing (mostly!) characters, stuck on a ship together. Here’s a snapshot of the book:
        In Anna’s Crossing, when Anna first meets Bairn, the Scottish ship carpenter of the Charming Nancy, their encounter is anything but pleasant. Anna is on the ship only to ensure the safe arrival of her loved ones to the New World. Hardened by years of living at sea, Bairn resents toting these na├»ve farmers—dubbed “Peculiars” by deckhands—across the ocean. As delays, storms, illness and diminishing provisions afflict crew and passengers alike, Bairn finds himself drawn to Anna’s serene nature. For her part, Anna can’t seem to stay below deck and far away from the aloof ship’s carpenter, despite warnings.


Q:  I always end my interviews with this question because I think it's so important . . . How can we support and/or pray for you, Suzanne?

What a lovely note to end on! I’m a big believer in intercessory prayer, so here’s my request: In six months, two of my children are getting married…just six weeks apart! Please pray for wise use of my time, for attention-to-details with weddings and book work, for completing manuscripts to the best of my ability. And thank you!


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Bio:  Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award winning, bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. She is a Christy Award finalist and a Carol award winner. Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, who was raised Plain. A theme in her books (her life!) is that you don’t have to “go Amish” to incorporate the principles of simple living. Suzanne lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind. She loves to hear from readers! You can find her on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor.


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GIVEAWAY

To enter the drawing for Christmas at Rose Hill Farm, simply answer the following question:


This story has several themes - including angels, growing roses,
a love triangle, and "Emmanuel, God is with us." Is there one
particular theme that resonates with you?

E-mail addresses are required for the drawing and be sure to leave them in a safe format - [at] and [dot]. If you're willing, it's also helpful to share about this giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter.

"Likes" on my Facebook page, ThePowerofWordsBookReviews, are greatly appreciated, as are followers on Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and this blog.

  • E-mail required, one entry per person. Odds of winning are based on number of entries.
  • Contest ends at midnight PST on Tuesday, December 31.
  • Winner will be chosen by Random.org and contacted by e-mail. Respond within 48 hours of notification or another winner will be chosen.


59 comments:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful book. The theme that resonates with me is "Emmanuel, God is with us."
    starlitestudios.art@gmail.com

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    1. Mary, it is so good to see you here! Thank you for taking the time to stop by.

      To anyone who might be scanning through these comments, Mary is talented at painting and crafts, and is a believer who has written a touching article entitled "O Come Emmanuel" at http://starlitestudios.blogspot.com/2014/12/o-come-emmanuel-and-giveaway.html. Be sure to check it out if you have time.

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  2. I do enjoy a story with a strong spiritual message.. The theme I like is Angels..
    I would enjoy this book ...
    dkstevensne AT outlook DOt COm

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    1. Deanna, I believe you would really enjoy "George" in this story. Thank you for coming by.

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  3. God is with us is a GREAT theme for me. Great post and review.
    susanlulu(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thank you, Susan - so glad you enjoyed Suzanne's interview. The name Emmanuel, just knowing what it means, is such a comfort. Thank you for visiting today, Susan.

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  4. Carole thanks for your interview with Suzanne. She is one of the first few I started following. I do follow yours too. GOD is with us is always needed for us to remember whether or not we are having problems. I would love to win Suzanne's book.
    Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

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    1. Maxie, I always love seeing you here and wherever you are online! There's just something memorable about your smile and kind words.

      Sometimes I immediately click with an author, and that is true with Suzanne. Thank you for sharing, Maxie.

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    2. Thank you very much Carole for your sweet words. GOD bless you.
      Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

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  5. Angels...Sounds like a goodread....
    rita dot navarre at yahoo dot com

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  6. Sounds like a great book. Love thinking about growing roses. My husband's grandma grew roses. She was an amazing woman. Was so blessed to know her. thedanielsr (at) Comcast (dot) net

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  7. I like the angels idea. I know that they are always near
    Sharon.holweger (at) yahoo (DOT) com

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  8. I like the angels angle as we know they are always near

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  9. Emmanuel God is With Us...too often we forget.

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  10. Angels resonate with me. They are always watching out for us.

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  11. I would have to say Emmanuel, God is with us. I also believe in Angels. I believe we have our own Angel assigned to us at birth. God has His Angel s watching over us. I love growing roses. They are my favorite of all. I would really enjoy this book. Thank you for such a wonderful interview. Suzanne is one of my favorites. God Bless Merry Christmas. Lindafaullkner860@comcast.net

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    1. Linda, I appreciate your comments so much! A lot is mentioned in the Bible about angels, and while we won't understand everything until heaven, I too believe they are somehow involved in our lives. And Suzanne is one of my favorites also. Thank you for sharing, Linda.

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  12. The theme of angels reminds me of the book Almost Heaven, by Chris Fabry. He incorporates an angel assigned to the main character in his book. It was a very interesting, compelling story.

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    1. I've read one Chris Fabry book and loved it . . . Now I'll have to find a copy of Almost Heaven. Thanks for sharing, and please leave your e-mail for the drawing.

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  13. A neighbor gave us 4 rose bushes a few years ago. They were beautiful but unfortunately did not survive one of our brutal winters!
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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  14. I love the angels and roses theme!Shelia Hall sheliarha64@yahoo.com

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  15. The theme of Angels means a lot to me because every time I see a cardinal I believe my Mom is watching over me. She passed away in 2009 and she loved cardinals and collected them in every form. dl.mandmlover@comcast.net

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    1. How sweet a thought! Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Definitely "Emmanuel, God is with us"!! Would love to read this book, sounds so interesting! jeaniedannheim (at) ymail (dot) com

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  17. The story about roses and Louise the Unfortunate is very sad but I find it very interesting.
    I love that God is always with us.
    Thank you
    mcnuttjem0(at)gmail(dot)com

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  18. The theme that resonates with me is Emmanuel, God is with us. Shamekkasheffield(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  19. Growing roses is the theme that definately resonates with me . My grandmother who has passed on had a real love of roses and I grow alot of roses in my garden every year as one one to honor and remember her. I love you Grandma,
    Hazel Helen Brown. Cnnamongirl(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. What a sweet way to honor the grandma you loved, Deanne! I've tried to grow roses, but just don't have enough of a green thumb to make it a success. They are certainly one of the most beautiful flowers in God's creation. Thanks for sharing, Deanne.

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  20. I love this. Emmanuel, God is with us. No matter what God is always with you n never leave you. Praise the Lord angel4god2013(at)gmail(com)

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  21. "Emmanuel, God with us" is always near to my heart, and especially at Christmastime. I want to walk closely to Him so that I can come to truly know God as He lives with me. It is a challenge but one I take seriously. I also like roses as my precious mother could grow them like no one I have ever known. During the many years I cared for her, bringing a bouquet of roses to her was always appreciated, even without the lovely fragrance of those old-fashioned roses.
    Thanks for sharing this review as it sounds like a book I will enjoy, whether I win or not!
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda
    lindalou [at] beingwoven [dot] org

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    1. Beautiful thoughts, Linda! Thank you for sharing. My husband could grow lots of things, but a rose wasn't one of them. There's just something special about this flower, though, and I can see you bringing bouquets to your mom. How she must have treasured them, Linda!

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  22. Emmanuel, God with Us, and the love triangle...interesting combination! THanks for a nice Giveaway! Badawson16 at AOL (dot) com

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  23. The theme that intrigues me the most would be "Emmanuael, God with us". I would be interested in reading a book on this theme.

    tinkerbell2by2@gmail.com

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  24. The theme that intrigues me the most would be "Emmanuael, God with us". I would be interested in reading a book on this theme.

    tinkerbell2by2@gmail.com

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  25. Emmanuel, God is with us. God is always with us in good and bad times.
    seraphinangel7(at)aol(dot)com

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  26. God is with us. I quoted the same phrase to my cousin who spent Christmas alone because his young wife is suffering from Alzheimer's and needed to be housed in a nursing home. His name is Glenn and hers is Gerry Lynn. I've pre-purchased the back story. rohn@comcast.net

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    1. "God with us" has got to be one of the most comforting and reassuring messages in the Bible! And often, that's what carries us through the rough times like Glenn and Gerry Lynn are enduring. Thank you for sharing, Rohn.

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  27. Great interview, Suzanne! I've always loved your books. There isn't one theme that intrigues me, but two-thirds Emmanuel, God is with us and angels.
    fujitanis3[at]gmail[dot]com

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  28. The theme that resonates with me is angels. I think we each have a guardian angel that watches over us. I know mine has been with me through many things. Love your books, thanks for having the contest.

    sweeps4us at gmail dot com

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  29. I'm sorry that I don't have time to respond to every comment individually, but they are all being read and are very much appreciated. Thanks, everyone!

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  30. Roses have a special place in my heart. I think God created them to remind us that not only like the rose every person has thorns of some sort....our own imperfections. I love growing them just as much as thinking about his graces simple reminder. The white rose is my favorite...

    Mzshawnaj at gmail dot com

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  31. I love the "including angels". I kind of feel sometimes that there is someone watching and taking care of me at very specific times. It's very comforting to know. sonja dot nishimoto @ gmail dot com

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  32. This book has been on my wishlist ever since I first laid eyes on it. Growing roses resonates with me b/c when hubby and I bought our home here in SC everyone told us you can't grow roses in SC. I was determined to have a rose garden and I ended up with healthy roses of several different hues. When my neighbor across the street was dying of cancer my rose bouquets brought her much joy. So thankful God helped them to grow for her, if for no other reason!

    dianalflowers(at)aol(dot)com

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  33. The Angel theme intrigues me. I believe when someone passes on that they become an angel and that they watch over us. Would love to read this book. dhazelton at myfairpoint dot net

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  34. The theme that resonates with me is Emmanuel, Good with us. Michael_weiss at hotmail dot com

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  35. Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway :)
    Both the angels and Emmanuel theme appeal to me ;)
    Happy New Year everyone!
    sbissonnettes_23 at videotron dot ca

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  36. I loved the blurb on this book and I think the Angels and the love triangle are what interestes me.

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

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  37. Emmanuel - God with us - resonates most with me. I'd be lost in every way without Emmanuel!

    ckbarker at gmail dot com

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  38. Emmanuel, God Is With Us is the theme that speaks most to my heart. I love reading Amish fiction. This sounds like a great book for winter reading.
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
    Maryann

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  39. I believe in angels. In 1992, I watched as a tractor trailer truck came through an underpass and tore off the front bumper of my truck. My daughter and son were with me. The next moment, we were sitting on the side of the road, all alive. We had gone under the truck, but we bounced off his tire. Totalled our truck, but our lives were spared......by God's angel.

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  40. I am with many others. Emmanuel - God with us! Would love to read what she has to say and how she incorporates it in the story!!
    Thanks Carole

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  41. I just can't choose - they all resonate with me! Thank you for the giveaway. I always enjoy Suzanne's books. Kathy
    khsa (at) hotmail (dot) com

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  42. I love the daily reminder of Emmanuel, God is with us especially on the rough days. Blessings!

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  43. So sorry I didn't pop by sooner to thank Carole for the opportunity to guest blog and to read through the comments! Loved hearing people's thoughts, and am grateful for the encouraging, uplifting words, too. Happy new year to each one of you! Warmly, Suzanne

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  44. My favorite Christmas tradition was setting up the little village in the snow, under the Christmas tree. It was so fun, all the miniature trees, the train, houses, and especially the round mirror we used for an icy pond for ice skaters. It was wonderful fun.

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