Welcome, Suzanne. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Since The Painted Table is my story, I spilled my guts into Saffee, the main character. I have to admit that I choked up a few times as I relived “her” loneliness and emotional neglect. This reaction surprised me and has heightened my sensitivity to the feelings of children. There is a scene where Saffee’s attempt to converse with her mother has been unsatisfactory . . .
. . . The tire swing spins in lazy circles. Saffee daydreams that her mother smiles, puts down the iron, goes to the back door and calls. Invites her to sit down beside her on the step, strokes her hair, and talks to her. Explains things about life, and life’s mysteries.
She pumps her legs vigorously. Extending her arms and leaning far back, she looks at the pattern of the leafy canopy against the bright blue summer sky. Dapples of warm sun kiss her face, and she remembers that she is not alone.
Into my heart, Lord Jesus . . .
She smiles and whispers, “Jesus, You’re swinging with me.”
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Last summer, I took drum lessons! This was pretty out of character for me, but I loved it! Here I am hittingthe “high top.”
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I was editor of the high school newspaper, loved my college writing classes, and my first jobs were writing and editing. I guess it is part of my DNA.
Tell us the range of books you enjoy reading.
I love reading children’s books and wish I could buy dozens of them. I often find popular fiction disappointing, but recently enjoyed The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. As for Christian non-fiction I love anything by Patsy Clairmont and also Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn and Things That Matter by Charles Krauthammer are my next reads. My favorite classic is Le Miserables.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I choose not to run, run, run through life, although I feel its pressure all around me. I try to maintain a slower, saner speed, cheering those on who feel compelled to run past me.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
With great difficulty. Oddly enough, that was the hardest part of writing The Painted Table. I repeatedly changed all the names, trying them out on anyone who would listen.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Homeschooling my youngest daughter for ten years.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A songbird. It seems to me that a singing bird is praising God – between mating calls.
What is your favorite food?
Pizza. Supreme. Thick crust.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Lack of self-confidence. Haven’t overcome it.
Tell us about the featured book.
A Norwegian table, a century-old heirloom ingrained with family memory, has become a totem of a life Saffee would rather forget—a childhood disrupted by her mother’s mental illness.
Saffee does not want the table. By the time she inherits the object of her mother’s obsession, the surface is thick with haphazard layers of paint and heavy with unsettling memories.
After a childhood spent watching her mother slide steadily into insanity, painting and re-painting the ancient table, Saffee has come to fear that seeds of psychosis may lie dormant within her. She must confront her mother’s torment if she wants to defend herself against it.
Traversing four generations over the course of a century, The Painted Table is a beautiful portrait of inherited memory. It is a sprawling narrative affirmation that a family artifact—like a family member—can bear the marks of one’s past . . . as well as intimations of one’s redemption.
“This difficult but beautiful story of hurt and healing, desperation and hope, offers an intriguing view inside the world of the mentally ill and their loved ones.” —Publishers Weekly
“Describes a descent into darkness [and a] redemptive ascent into light . . . [The Painted Table is a] deeply moving experience.” —Melvin W. Hanna, PhD, author of Mood Food: Nourishing Your God Given Emotions
Please give us the first page of the book.
Metal teeth rip through the rough, mottled bark and bite into white cambium. Steady strokes saw forward and back, grating, rasping. Two hands push, grate; two hands pull, rasp, lacerating the ring of yellow sapwood. The blade advances, traverses golden heartwood, more sapwood, more cambium, then needs merely to touch the last of the bark.
The sacrificial birch tips, then plummets, its startled branches cry out, rudely raking upright brothers. Severed from stump and root, the tree crashes onto the rich
soil—a brutal amputation,
but necessary to be rendered a gift of love. A gift that will one day be
abased, and another day redeemed. Valdres
A damp, colorless dress, pinned to the clothesline, tosses about in the blustery prairie wind. Arms outstretched, Joann lets the fabric flap against her thin, seven-year-old frame. She aches for her mother’s hands that will never again extend from the empty sleeves that twist and turn about her head, caressing her face.
“Momma . . . Momma.” The wind snatches away her whispers. The dress belongs to Joann’s oldest sister now. Evelyn began wearing it last month when her own tore beyond repair. It is an ill-fit for her; Evelyn at fifteen is more plump than Clara had ever been.
Seeing the dress stretching across her sister’s frame is a daily offense for Joann. Joann’s dress, and four others of various sizes, each faded and threadbare, flutter nearby.
Not far from the line, Evelyn, Maxine, and Dorothy bend to pick stunted vegetables. Their pa warned that the well might go dry if they watered the patch more than every few days. The heat of August is fast approaching and it hasn’t rained on the
prairie since June.
Life on the prairie farm is at once strong and proud, fragile and
How can readers find you on the Internet?www.facebook.com/suzannefieldThePaintedTable
Thank you, Suzanne, for sharing your new book with us.
Suzanne Field is celebrating her novel The Painted Table with a beautiful hand-painted table giveaway!
One winner will receive:
- A beautiful hand-painted table (see it here: http://etsy.me/15L90cD)
- The Painted Table by Suzanne Field
Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by the TNZ Facebook Page on the 20th to see if you won.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
The Painted Table - Christianbook.com
The Painted Table - Amazon
The Painted Table - Kindle
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