Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Author Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Suzanne Woods Fisher


Upon reading my first book by Suzanne Woods Fisher a few years ago, I quickly realized that her Amish fiction was in a class all by itself. One element that stands out is the interaction between the Amish and English as they live out their faith, giving Suzanne's books an appeal that goes beyond the Amish fiction audience. Emotional depth and relevancy are other factors - and with Anna's Crossing (click title to see my review), Suzanne has added rich historical detail. In addition to being a thoroughly enjoyable and moving story, Anna's Crossing gives readers much upon which to reflect.

I am thankful that Suzanne is no stranger to The Power of Words and each visit is pure pleasure, for she is such a gracious and humble lady. Now enjoy as Suzanne shares about Anna's Crossing and also about a new series she is working on . . .


Suzanne:  Anna’s Crossing was one of the best experiences I’ve had as a writer—largely because the research was fascinating. Crossing the Atlantic in the 18th century was incredibly difficult and dangerous. And I left out most of the more gruesome, gritty details!

Such as…twenty-four passengers (mostly children) died on that Charming Nancy ship crossing in 1737. Such as…four children from one family. Living in the lower deck for eight to ten weeks in overcrowded conditions must have been horrific: dirty, smelly, dark and dim. Here’s an historical detail that might offend some, and I didn’t include it in novel, but it was a fact: Placed around the lower deck were open vats of collected urine to fight fires. Oh…the smells the passengers had to endure must have been ghastly.

Whenever I found myself following a bunny trail of historical detail, I had to remind myself about the theme of the book. There was a bigger story to write about than the perils of an 18th century ocean crossing: Why the Amish left Europe, what they were hoping to find in the New World, and what gave these brave believers the inner steel to endure the journey. I kept that theme as a plumb line and it helped me stay on track.

The most amazing takeaway that I picked up after researching and writing Anna’s Crossing was that we all have a stake in a story like this one. Most all of us have a link to an ancestor who crossed the ocean in hopes of a better life. I don’t know if our ancestors were incredibly brave or cock-eyed optimists—because the odds of surviving an ocean voyage, especially in the 18th century, were dismal. And yet, that didn’t deter them. They came! Readers who don’t even like a ride in a motor boat will appreciate what their great-great grandparents endured. We owe them a thank you!

Currently, I’m working on a new contemporary series, ‘The Bishop’s Family." The series revolves around a character named David Stoltzfus, who makes a brief appearance in The Letters. He’s a true 2 am pastor type of church leader, sincere and faithful. His children and extended family, though, is another story. They deliver all kinds of trouble! Stay tuned…


Carole:  Suzanne, I hope you realize how much we enjoy hearing from you and we pray God's blessing on you as you continue to share the stories God places on your heart. And thank you for the generous giveaway of Anna's Crossing. Please come back soon!

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GIVEAWAY

To enter the drawing for a signed copy of Anna's Crossing . . .

1) If you're on Facebook, please go to ThePowerofWordsBookReviews and "like" my review page, if you haven't already (not required, but greatly appreciated!).

2) Answer the following question that Suzanne suggested or leave a comment for her:

Do you have someone in your family tree who made an
ocean crossing for a better life? Please share!

BE SURE to leave your name and your email address in a safe format - [at] and [dot] - for the drawing. E-mail required for entry. Contest ends at midnight PST on Wednesday, July 15. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and contacted by e-mail. Respond within 48 hours of notification or another winner will be chosen.

Eligibility: US residents

35 comments:

  1. Joane Keith, joanne384@live.com not sure if my comment went thru, My Grandad used to tell us tales of the crossing and Ellis Island. He came from Ireland. We loved hearing him talk about it, and it happened to be where he net the woman who would become or Grandma! She was there too, fresh from Ana Ganish in Nova Scotia It always seemed so romantic to me!

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    1. Joane, thank you so much for sharing! I love to read about Ireland and I would imagine your granddad passed down some fascinating stories. Best wishes in the contest.

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    2. Oh Joane...you've got the making of a book in your grandparents' story! Hope you write it down...if not for publication, then for your family. Lovely story! Thanks for commenting. Warmly, Suzanne

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  2. Some of my ancesters came from Switzerland and settled in Midway, Utah. My family has several traditions based off this. :)

    sydneyjames68[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. You're making me want to look a little deeper into my family history, Sydney. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

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    2. Hi Sydney! You've got me curious...what kinds of traditions? Foods? Would love to know more! Warmly, Suzanne

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  3. I wish I knew more about my family history but I feel like there were some somewhere along the way. would love to win this book!
    douglas(dot)emilee(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Emilee, I feel the same way! I know where my family originally settled here, but not much before that. Thank you for visiting and good luck in the drawing.

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    2. Thanks for taking a moment to comment, Emilee!

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  4. Several of my ancestors came from France to Acadia, and then settled in Maine.

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    1. Maine is a beautiful state, Yvie. I hope you've been able to visit your family there. Be sure to leave your e-mail address for the drawing.

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    2. Hi Yvie! Isn't there a lot of history of French immigrants into Maine? Part of a sweep of immigration that led into Canada? Would be interesting to look for French influences in the area. Thanks for commenting! ~Suzanne

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  5. Some of my ancestors came from Germany more than 100 years ago; the only real tradition is the denomination in which we are raised. Blessings! jeaniedannheim (at) ymail (dot) com

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    1. Jeanie, my daughter leads a campus ministry in Germany and loves that country. Speaks German flawlessly, absolutely amazing to me. What a rich heritage you have! Best wishes in the drawing, Jeanie.

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    2. Hi Mama Cat! Guessing you mean the Lutheran church? A rich heritage! ~Suzanne

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  6. Yes. My Great grandparents came over from Italy with two gold coins sewed into the lining of their dresses.
    Awesome giveaway!
    dianemestrella at gmail dot com

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  7. I'm not sure about my family but I worked many years with a lady who came to America from Germsny with her parents when she was five. She didn't have to endure the horrific conditions that Suzanne describes but I get goosebumps when she relates seeing the Statue of Liberty that first time. Needless to say, she is one of the most patriotic people I know and she makes me appreciate my citizenship!
    Connie
    cps1950 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  8. I have ancestors that came from Scotland and Ireland.
    karenskrayons(at)gmail(dot)com

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  9. I don't know if anyone in my family tree crossed the ocean, but I would assume they did, from Germany. I love the book cover; I really want to dig into the story!

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  10. My family was from Scotland and came over on a ship but I don't know many details. This book sounds so interesting and I would love to win and read it!
    kkbosskay(at)gmail(dot)com

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  11. One set of grandparents came from Norway and the other set from Sweden! Guess that means I'm 100% Scandinavian! I'd love to visit these countries some day.
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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  12. One ancestor that crossed in the 1880's was Gramma Anna. She came from Prussia, in an area that is now Poland. Her paperwork had Russian, Polish, and German. She senet for her cousin, Floratena. Both were raised by Foratena's parents and had no propects for a good life in the old country. They both married and did well in Michigan.

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  13. I forgot my contact info! j4hibdon(at) yahoo (dot) com. Thanx for the giveaway!

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  14. Suzanne is a wonderful author. I am looking forward to reading this book. Be sure to link up with us again at Literacy Musing Mondays.

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  15. I cannot be sure if we have had a family member cross the ocean for a better life in the US, but I can imagine so. There are some broken links in my family tree that I haven't been able to figure out, but we are of Welsh and German descent that goes back a ways.

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  16. Oops, I always forget my email - tlhcoupon(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  17. Oh I love a good historical fiction! And yes, I had lots of family members cross the Atlantic to come to America in search of a better life. My grandmother has traced our ancestory way back, and she loves to tell us about them. The closest relative we have who came to America was my 5th-great-grandmother who sailed from Ireland when she was a young girl. Unfortunately, I don't know much else about her.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    Morgan Parson
    Mdp94 (at) bellsouth (dot) net

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  18. (1) Done. (liked facebook review page)
    (2) No, I don't know of anyone in my family who crossed the ocean for a better life. I do know my father's family came from England, but I don't know any other details about it. Wish I did.
    susanlulu(at)yahoo(dot)come
    Susan in NC

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  19. I have been dabbling in a bit of family history so I hope to find out whether anyone crossed the ocean to start a new venture,

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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  20. As far as I know, no one in our family made an ocean crossing for a better life.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  21. What little I know of my ancestors is that they were mostly German & English, but not sure when they came over. My aunt has done some research and the German ones settled in PA long ago, maybe late 1700's.

    I have liked your FB page

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  22. Yes our relatives came in from Germany & settled in Nebraska. We have some who have researched it and some interesting stories here in our local museum on our family :) dkstevensne AToutlookD OtCoM

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  23. no i have no one in my family that has traveled across the ocean for a better life

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  24. I'm sure I do have someone in my family who made the trip across the ocean, but sadly, it's too far back for the stories to have survived. I'm fortunate to have married into a Taiwanese-American family rich with remembered history. I love this stuff and love sharing it with my kids! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday!
    Tina

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