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!
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