Sunday, January 16, 2011

THE SEARCH - Suzanne Woods Fisher - Free Book

Your new book really intrigues me, Suzanne. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

I have a theory that all of life is “material”…so I’m constantly collecting character types, or funny remarks, or odd circumstances to use in a novel. I probably make people nervous! As for how much of me is in the characters…there are probably parts of every character that I relate to in some way. There’s a little bit of me as a teen in Bess, and one of my great aunt’s was an inspiration for Bertha.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Gosh, Lena…this is so hard to admit publicly…but I’m a closet birder. LOVE bird watching! Birds fascinate me—their migration is just miraculous. That’s one thing I’ve enjoyed learning about with the Amish—many are crackerjack birders, and all Amish farms are bird-friendly. Feeders, birdhouses are everywhere! Nature’s insect-control!

You'd really like my husband. He feeds all kinds of birds in our yards and loves to watch them. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I have loved to write for as long as I remember. I don’t think I was particularly good at it—I honestly don’t remember any teacher noting that I was talented as a writer. Ever! In college, it became a strength for me—but that had to do with the fact that I loved it. I have writer friends who can write circles around me. They can make a trip to the mailbox sound poetic!

I know what you mean. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I read constantly—usually have two or three books going at the same time. If I find an author whom I really enjoy, I’ll read everything they write until I get a sense of who that writer is. The only kind of books that I avoid are dark books, ones that study the underbelly of humanity. Sadly—most of the bestsellers in the ABA are just that—very dark. Admittedly, great writing! But a dismal, godless theme.

That's why I've almost completely given up reading ABA books. I so miss the spiritual thread. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

One tool-to-slow-life-down is my daily dog walks. Getting outside, breathing fresh air, getting sunlight on my face, noticing nature’s gifts. I raise puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Am on my 9th puppy! You just can’t take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone’s underwear in its mouth.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I study Amish names and try to find ones that are credible and regional—there are only about 50 Amish surnames, and ones that are distinctly Ohioan or Pennsylvanian, etc. Writing Amish fiction has many boundaries—and names are one of them. I’ll usually pick a name for a character, and let it settle for a day or two, to make sure it feels right for that personality.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

On a personal note, I am so proud of my children as young adults. Awesome individuals, making wonderful choices with their lives, and each one (I have four) has a genuine love for God. My husband and I do not take this issue lightly—we know that parents can do their very best and things don’t always turn out the way they would hope for their kids. I attribute much of my children’s maturity and wisdom to the weekly prayer groups I’ve been a part of (Moms in Touch). Wherever I’ve lived (even in Hong Kong!), I’ve joined or started a Moms in Touch group. God has blessed my children in so many ways, and that prayer ministry has been a big part of it. Raised ‘em with a wing and a prayer!

Professionally…the last two years have been such a wonderful experience for me. Two huge highlights: Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World was a finalist for the ECPA 2010 Book of the Year…and The Waiting hit the CBA and ECPA Top 50 fiction and non-fiction bestseller list. What incredible moments! I feel so very grateful.

 If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

Golden retriever or lab. Preferably a guide dog, because those pups have awesome lives. They get to go everywhere! They’re cherished dogs with full, happy lives.

That's so true. What is your favorite food?

Just one?! I think I could survive on fresh fruit. (I live in California—close to the source.) But chips and guacamole is a close second! :-)

I love guacamole, too, but I have to make my own, because I can't eat raw onions. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Confidence. If you met me, you probably wouldn’t realize how much I’ve struggle with confidence…but I do! This is an industry that is not only not looking for you, but it tries to determine why your book (or article) shouldn’t be published. And then…if a writer is fortunate enough to have a book published, he/she is really exposed! I think of it as being in front of the world in your underwear (eek!). Reviews, opinions…they came at you! Most are positive, but not all. For me, giving my lack of confidence to God has been a step in spiritual growth. Whenever I am speaking to a group or doing a book event, I have to relinquish this all over again and trust in God for the outcome.

 Tell us about the featured book.

The Search is set in Stoney Ridge, Pennsylvania, and is the third in the Lancaster County Secrets series. The story begins on a summer day, as fifteen-year-old Bess Riehl is heading to her grandmother’s rose farm. Bess isn’t very enthusiastic about the immediate future, until she meets a young woman, Lainey O’Toole, who is working at the Sweet Tooth bakery. The warm friendship between Bess and Lainey seems to be coincidental…but it isn’t long before Bess’ grandmother reveals a few secrets that turn the summer upside down.

Please give us the first page of the book.

 It was a June morning, hazy with summer’s heat, and Billy Lapp was already bone tired. Only one person on earth could wear out an eighteen-year-old farm boy, and Billy happened to be her hired hand. For over two weeks now, Bertha Riehl had met him at the barn door of Rose Hill Farm with a to-do list that seemed to grow longer with each passing hour. Bertha’s granddaughter, Bess, was coming for a summer visit, and Bertha wanted the farm so spic-and-span clean a body could eat off the barn floor. Which, Billy knew, meant he would be the one scrubbing that barn floor until it shone.

He didn’t know why Bertha felt her farm needed sprucing up. So sauwer wie gschleckt. It was as clean as a whistle. The vegetable garden ran neat and tidy from the kitchen steps down to the greenhouse, beside the yard where she stretched her clothesline. Why, hardly a rose petal dared to wilt without Bertha flying out to the fields with a pair of pruning shears in her big hands. And besides that, folks visited each other all the time. But then Billy remembered that something was not quite right between Bertha and Jonah, her son, Bess’s father. He had left years before. Billy didn’t know what had caused the rift, but he knew enough not to ask. Bertha could be private like that, keeping her business to herself.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

I can be found online at
Also, I’m addicted to Facebook and Twitter.
I’m also on with my weekly radio program (“Amish Wisdom”—such a great show with wonderful guests! Check it out!) and keep up a blog:

Thanks so much for hosting me today, Lena!

And thank you, Suzanne for this glimpse into your life and work.
Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


karenk said...

would love to read suzanne's latest novel...thanks for the chance :)

karenk (from PA)
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Nancye said...

This sounds like a great book! I enjoy reading Amish fiction. Thanks for the chance.

Nancye in Kentucky
nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Claire Koenig said...

Suzanne inspired me last year at a writers conference in the SF Bay Area (where I live). Would enjoy a free copy of the book!

windycindy said...

Amish fiction is a favorite genre
of mine! I agree with you about the
ABA books and I like to escape with reading, and Christian books are usually much happier...
Many thanks, Cindi

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...


I'm a guacamole girl and often make it myself too, being from Texas originally... Plus most folks around here in middle Tennessee don't know GOOD guac!

I'd enjoy reading your latest!

may at maythek9spy dot com

Cindy W. said...

Oh, I love to watch birds too! There is such a beauty about them.

I would love to be entered to win a copy of The Search. Thank you for the chance.

I live in Auburn, IN.

Cindy W.


May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

PS - May sends her BEST greetings to your babies too!!! :)

Schnauzer spies get to go lots of places too!!!

Coolestmommy said...

What an intriguing beginning of the story. can't wait to read more.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

fredamans said...

I LOVED The Choice! Please enter this lady from Ontario, Canada. Thank you!

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Katie Marie said...

Looks like a neat read - please count me in! I've heard a lot about Mrs. Fishers work, but haven't been able to read anything by her yet. :-)

From Florida

Anonymous said...

I would just love to win a copy of "The Search" My name is angela and I am from The Great State of Kentucky.

Lourdes said...

Really looking forward to reading this book. Thank you for the chance to win.


misskallie2000 said...

I love Amish stories and would love to read The Search. Thanks..

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

rbooth43 said...

I agree that all life is material, but thanks to God I have a loving family that just became bigger by a beautiful great niece of 21 years that we didn't know about until Thanksgiving. Her father died 20 years ago due to a flood, and we and he never knew about her until now. She is a beautiful reminder of him and we are so proud. My niece, his mother has had a hard time since his death and this year she has married and has a new granddaughter. Amazing.
I love all nature, including bird-watching. My niece also raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Of course, I am so proud of her, too. We learned about a secret that turned our fall upside down for the better.
The Search sounds like a great read.
Rebecca in NC
rbooth43 at yahoo dot com

Patsy said...

This sounds like my kind of book. Would love to read it. Thanks for the giveaway. From Southern US

Julia M. Reffner said...

Would love the chance to read Suzanne's work. I haven't read her before, but enjoy listening to Amish Wisdom.

Julia in upstate NY


Unknown said...

i love reading Suzanne's books. i have some in this series...would love to win this one. Thanks for the chance. i am in Arizona

kristen said...

Sound fun.
I raised a guide dog when I was growing up. Unfortunately, she wasn't in the least bit smart, and didn't make it through the program. Poor pup!!

Thanks for the interview:)
Kristen from WA state

Charlotte Kay said...

OHHH, I am excited about a chance to win Suzanne's book! THANKS!
Charlotte Kay, OHIO
charsaltz at yahoo dot com said...

Would love to read this book. Thanks for the opportunity.

dancealert at aol dot com

Suzanne said...

Hi Lena-fans!

Thanks so much for your warm and encouraging comments. Fun to hear of those of you who have raised guide dog puppies or have a friend/relative who has! I am also thrilled to read that some of you are listening to Amish Wisdom on the radio/computer! Yea!
Hope you all win a book either here or via the Litfuse blog tour. Thank you for reading my books!
Warmly, Suzanne

Barbara said...

very interesting to read of different authors lives & what pushes them to write & where they get the inspiration & ideas for their books.
I grew up Amish & left 6 yrs ago & so I find it interesting to see what others write about amish. I miss alot of the closeness, fellowship & lifestyle that they have. And how many hands make light work. But I got shunned for religious reasons so there's no way that I'll be going back. Miss seeing my relatives very much.
I grew up in Parke Co, IN & live in Hot Springs Arkansas now.
ibittybarbara at gmail dot com

Kimberly said...

I am so glad that I have found Suzanne's books. They are so refreshing and give me a break from "my reality".


Melissa L. in NC said...

I found her books through her radio show. I really enjoyed reading her first book. Like her I have come to want to read books with spiritual themes. I am thankful that these writers have given us books to enjoy. I cannot wait to get her other books to continue.

Melissa in NC

Kristie said...

I love Suzanne's novels. Very realistic! kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

Jo said...

I enjoy reading Amish fiction. This book really sounds very intriguing and I would love to read it.


Suess said...

I absolutely loved the book...I love all of Suzanne's writings, however. Thanks!

Ann Lee Miller said...

Please enter me. Ann Lee Miller Gilbert AZ

scottsgal said...

I'm looking forward to reading an Amish novel
I'm in Illinois
msboatgal at

Kristen said...

I love Amish fiction. :-) Please enter me into the drawing.

Kristen, TX
jkfreitas at sbcglobal dot net