Wednesday, January 16, 2013

THE LESSON - Suzanne Woods Fisher - One Free Book

Meet Suzanne:
Suzanne Woods Fisher lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has one husband, four children, one son-in-law, a brand new grand-baby, and a couple of dogs. She graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California.

Suzanne has contracts with Revell for six more books about the Amish, both fiction and non-fiction. She is also the host of “Amish Wisdom” on, a weekly radio program featuring guests who are connected to Simple Living.

How did you come up with the idea for this story?
In every novel, I try to weave some true-to-life elements from the Plain life into the plot line. In The Budget (an Amish-Mennonite newspaper), I had noticed references to Plain families fostering children whose mothers were serving jail terms. The Plain families weren’t trying to convert the children—they cared for them, took them to visit their mothers, and the result was a noticeable reduction in recidivism. I used that piece of information in the plot line for The Lesson.

If you were planning a party with Christian authors of contemporary fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
If you wanted to really shake things up, it would be fun to have a party of six radically different authors (all Revell authors, naturally): Stephen James (suspense), Lorna Seilstad (romantic comedy), Lorena McCourtney (mystery), Irene Hannon (romantic suspense), Janice Thompson (romantic comedy), Mary Ann Kinsinger (my co-author with the children’s Amish stories). Think of the conversation we would have! I would tape questions on the bottom of their dinner plate, so each would have to answer. What’s your best writing tip? What was your most embarrassing moment as a novelist? How long did it take you to get published? What is your biggest fear about being a published author? I could keep going…but I’ll stop now. J

Now let’s do that for a party for Christian authors of historical fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
Sarah Sundin (World War II), Dan Walsh (romance), Jill Eileen Smith (biblical fiction), Ann Gabhart (Shaker fiction), Ann Shorey (western romance), Maggie Brendan (historical romance), Amanda Cabot (western romance), Tricia Goyer (romance). Oops…that eight. But…again, think of the riveting conversation! Same thing…I would provide prompts to get the chatter rolling. Have you ever made a horrible research mistake? What happened then? What time period do you wish you lived in? What made you pick that particular era to write about? If you could write any book you wanted to write, what would it be about? On and on and on…

Many times, people (and other authors) think you have it made with so many books published. What is your most difficult problem with writing at this time in your career?
Keeping my eyes straight forward and not looking left or right. Just straight ahead at what God wants of me. It’s so easy to get distracted and allow “the good to be the enemy of the best.” That’s my 2013 aim: to keep my eyes looking straight forward.

Tell us about the featured book.
The Lesson is a coming of age story about a one of a kind young woman, Mary Kate Lapp (known as M.K.). She’s bright, curious, amusing, with a nose for trouble. She means well, acts first and thinks later. We first meet M.K. as a young girl in The Keeper and The Haven. Fast forward to The Lesson. M.K. is nineteen and restless for adventure. It arrives on page one! Two young people with a mysterious past land in Stoney Ridge on the very day a sheep farmer is shot and killed. M.K., who fancies herself a part-time detective, decides the local sheriff needs a little crime-solving help. Naturally, she ends up creating all kinds of complications.

If there’s one takeaway value I’d like readers to get out of The Lesson, it’s the impact of love. There is a theme of unconditional love in this story that weaves its way through many characters’ lives and changes them forever. 

Please give us the first page of the book.
Chapter One
The year Mary Kate Lapp turned nineteen started out fine enough. Life seemed full of endless possibilities. But as the year went on, a terrible restlessness began to grow inside of her, like sour yeast in a jar of warm water on a sunny windowsill. There were days when she thought she couldn’t stand another moment in this provincial little town, and days when she thought she could never leave.

On a sun-drenched afternoon, M.K. was zooming along on her red scooter past an English farmer’s sheep pasture, with a book propped above the handlebars—a habit that her stepmother, Fern, scolded her about relentlessly. She was just about to live happily ever after with the story’s handsome hero when a very loud Bwhoom! suddenly interrupted her reading.

Most folks would have turned tail and run, but not M.K. She might have considered it, but as usual, curiosity got the best of her. She zoomed back down the street, hopped off her scooter, climbed up on the fence, and there she saw him—an English sheep farmer in overalls, sprawled flat on the ground with a large rifle next to him. The frightened sheep were huddled in the far corner of the pasture. Doozy, M.K.’s big old yellow dog of dubious ancestry, elected to stay behind with the scooter.

M.K. wasn’t sure what to do next. Should she see if the sheep farmer was still alive? He didn’t look alive. He looked very, very dead. She wouldn’t know what to do, anyway—healing bodies was her sister Sadie’s department. And what if the murderer were close by? Nosir. She was brave, but you had to draw the line somewhere.

But she could go to the phone shanty by the schoolhouse and make a 911 call for the police. So that’s what she did. She waited at the phone shanty until she heard the sirens and saw the revolving lights on top of the sheriff’s car. Then she jumped on her scooter and hurried back to the sheep pasture.

The sheriff walked over to ask M.K. if she was the one who had called 911. She had known Sheriff Hoffman all her life. He was a pleasant-looking man with a short haircut, brown going gray around his ears, and a permanent suntan. Tall and impressive in his white uniform shirt and crisp black pants, radio clipped to one hip, gun holster on the other. He questioned M.K. about every detail she could recall—which wasn’t much, other than a loud gunshot. She didn’t even know the farmer’s name. The sheriff took a pen from his back pocket and started taking notes. (What would he write? Amish witness knows nothing. Absolutely nothing.) But he did tell her she did the right thing by not disturbing the crime scene. He took her name and address and said he might be contacting her for more questions.

M.K. stuck around, all ears about whatever she could overhear, fascinated by the meager clues the police were trying to piece together. When the county coroner arrived in his big black van, M.K. decided she had gleaned all she could. Besides, the trees were throwing long shadows. The sun would be setting soon and she should get home to let her father and Fern know about the murder. It was alarming news!

She took a shortcut through the town of Stoney Ridge to reach Windmill Farm as fast as she could but was intercepted by her friend Jimmy Fisher. Standing in front of the Sweet Tooth Bakery, he called to her, then ran alongside and grabbed the handlebars of her scooter to stop her. She practically flew headfirst over the handlebars.

Men! So oblivious.

“I need your help with something important,” Jimmy said.

“Can’t,” M.K. said, pushing his hands off her scooter. “I’m in a big hurry.” She started pumping her leg on the ground to build up speed. Doozy puffed and panted alongside her.

“It won’t take long!” Jimmy sounded wounded. “What’s your big hurry?”

“Can’t tell you!” she told him, and she meant it. The sheriff had warned her not to say anything to anyone, with the exception of her family, until they had gathered more information. She felt a prick of guilt and looked back at Jimmy, who had stopped abruptly when she brushed him off. She liked that he was a little bit scared of her, especially because he was older and much too handsome for his own good.

She glanced back and saw him cross the road to head into the Sweet Tooth Bakery where her friend Ruthie worked. Good! Let Ruthie solve Jimmy’s problem this time. M.K. was always helping him get out of scrapes and tight spots. That boy had a proclivity for trouble. Always had.
Distracted by the dead body and then by Jimmy Fisher, M.K. made a soaring right turn near the Smuckers’ goat farm, and possibly—just possibly—forgot to look both ways before she turned. Her scooter ended up bumping into Alice Smucker, the schoolteacher at Twin Creeks where M.K. had spent eight long years, as Alice was herding goats across the road into an empty pasture.

A tiny collision with a scooter and Alice refused to get to her feet. “I AM CONCUSSED!” she called out.

M.K. was convinced that Alice was prejudiced against her. And she was so dramatic. She insisted M.K. call for an ambulance.

Two 911 calls in one day—it was more excitement than M.K. could bear. She hoped the dispatcher didn’t recognize her voice and think she was a crank caller. She wasn’t! Nosir.
Naturally, M.K. waited until the ambulance arrived to swoop away with Alice, who was hissing with anger. When M.K. offered to accompany Alice to the hospital—she knew it was the right thing to do, though the offer came with gritted teeth—Alice glared at her.

“You stay away from me, Mary Kate Lapp!” she snapped, before she swooned in a faint.

Alice. So dramatic.

After M.K. rounded up the goats and returned them to the Smuckers’ pasture, she arrived at Windmill Farm, her home and final destination. She couldn’t wait to tell her father and Fern about the news! She was sorry for the sheep farmer—after all, she wasn’t heartless. But finally, something interesting had happened in this town. It was big news—there had never been a murder in Stoney Ridge. And she had been the first one on the scene.

Well, to be accurate—and Fern was constantly telling her not to exaggerate—M.K. wasn’t quite on the scene. But she did hear the gunshot! She absolutely did.

She knew Fern would be irritated with her for being so late for dinner. Fern was a stickler about . . . well, about most everything. But especially about being late for dinner. The unfortunate incident with Alice Smucker had slowed her down even more. The accident did bother M.K.—she would never intentionally run into anyone. Especially not Alice Smucker. Of all people!

M.K. set the scooter against the barn. She heard her mare, Cayenne, whinny for her, so she went into the barn, filled up the horse’s bucket with water, and closed the stall door. She latched it tightly, her mind a whirl of details. It wasn’t until she had pulled the latch that she noticed her father’s horse and buggy were gone. She peered through the dusty barn window and saw that the house was pitch dark, its windows not showing any soft lampshine. Where could her father and Fern have gone? They were always home at this time of day. Always, always, always.
This day just kept getting stranger.

Interesting. I had wondered what M. K. would be like when she grew up. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Facebook and Twitter might be high-tech, but they are filling an old-tech human need for community. Facebook is a wonderful tool to connect people. After a recent book tour, I realized that over half the people who came to signings were those I’d “met” through Facebook. Another social media twist is my free downloadable app, Amish Wisdom, that delivers a daily Amish proverb right to your iPhone or iPad.

I thoroughly enjoy connecting with readers! I’m easy to find:, my twitter handle is @suzannewfisher and my website is

Thanks, Lena, for your generosity in sharing my word with your readers!

I always love having you, Suzanne.

Celebrate the release of The Lesson with Suzanne Woods Fisher by entering to win one of TWO iPads!
Two winners will receive:
  • A brand new iPad
  • A $15 gift certificate to iTunes
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 20th. Winner will be announced on 1/22/13 at Suzanne's Blog.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Lesson, The: A Novel (Stoney Ridge Seasons) - paperback
Lesson, The (Stoney Ridge Seasons Book #3): A Novel - Kindle

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 4 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 if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Anonymous said...

I would love to win a copy of Suzanne's book. Thank you for the giveaway.
Katie J. from FL

Lyndie Blevins said...

Thanks for the opportunity to get this book.
Lyndie Blevins

Duncanville, Tx

mongupp r said...

I love Amish fiction.

Monica , Ontario

Patty said...

Sounds like a fun read. Not sure if I have read anything by Suzanne before.

Patty in SC

fredamans said...

I love her books, so inspiring! Please enter this gal from Ontario, Canada. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy reading Amish Fiction. Thanks for the chance to win.

Bonnie Jean

Amy Campbell said...

I love to read about the Amish and I hear Suzanne is a great author.
Amy C

scottsgal said...

I'm a fan of Suzanne's books - thanks for the chance
cheryl in IL
msboatgal at

Merry said...

MK sounds like a lively character, please add me for The Lesson. Thanks!

pol said...

I am a big fan of this amish story teller, Suzanne Woods Fisher. I would love to be in the drawing for this book, read the first in the series but have not got further yet.
thanks for sharing on Lena's blog.

Paula O(
a Ga fan

Anonymous said...


MsRubyKat said...

Would love to win a copy of Suzanne's book. Love reading her books. Thank you for the chance.

Karen, Troy, NY

karenk said...

thanks for teh chance to read this novel

karenk...from PA
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Jasmine A. said...

Thanks for hosting this giveaway. I'd really like to read this book!
Jasmine A. in Montana

Norma S said...

Hi Suzanne,
Thank you and Lena for the chance to win your book.Sounds like a great book i really enjoy Amish books. You must keep really busy, with a husband,
4 children, a son-in-law,grand baby,
and a couple dogs. I think that is great. Thanks again for a chance to win you book. God bless both of you.
Norma Stanforth form Ohio

Mary Preston said...

I do enjoy your Amish books so very much. I would love to read THE LESSON thank you.

Mary P


Judy said...

I'd love to win a copy of "The Lesson". I have read all of Suzanne's Amish fiction books. She is truly a talented author!

Judy B from Indiana

Jo said...

I haven't read any of Suzanne's books yet but have added her to my wish list. Her books sound quite interesting. What a wonderful giveaway!

Jo from Southern Arizona

Patsy said...

I love this magazine. Would love to win a copy.


apple blossom said...

love Suzanne's books thanks for chance to win a copy

live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Patsy said...

I don't know why I put magazine on my post. I meant book!!


Jean said...

I LOVE Amish stories! Thanks for the chance to win.

Jean Kropid
West Palm Beach, FL

rubynreba said...

I would really enjoy reading this book.
Beth from Iowa

Nancee said...

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a favorite author of mine. Thank you for interviewing her and giving us a review of "The Lesson." I'd love to have the opportunity to win a copy of her book.
Nancee in Michigan

Sarah said...

I would love to win,Enter me!!!
Thanks for the giveaway and God Bless!!!
Sarah Richmond

Sarah said...


Linda Kish said...

I would love to win a copy of this book.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Marissa said...

I would love to win this one!! I love in Colorado!

Lourdes said...

I would so love to win this book. Thank you.

Lourdes in Long Island, NY

Tammie Edington Shaw said...

Thank you for the opportunity to win this book. Sounds interesting. I live in Illinois.

Tammie Edington Shaw said...

Thank you for the opportunity to win this book. Sounds interesting. I live in Illinois.

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond

Jackie Tessnair said...

I would love to win this book.Thanks for the chance.Jackie Tessnair,N.C.

Kay from NY said...

I love reading Suzanne's books. I would love to win and read this one.

Kay from NY

Anne Payne said...

I can't wait to read M.K.'s story! Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.
Anne - rural NC

sharon m. said...

Looks like a very good book, THE LESSON. I would love to win an Amish Fiction book. I read lots of Amish fiction. sharon, san diego

Jorie said...

I haven't had the pleasure to read a book by this author as of yet, but when I read the inspiration behind the story of the Lesson {about Plain families taking in fosters whose Mum's are in prison?}, I felt compelled to put my hat into the pile of entries! I'd love to see how she knit this into the story, and the character of MK sounds spunky in such a good way, that I'd appreciate the chance to get to know her!

Florida, USA

Kevlin said...

I would love to read this new book by Suzanne Woods Fisher. Please add my name to the giveaway. Thanks.

Kevlin in NY