Monday, January 13, 2014

THE CALLING - Suzanne Woods Fisher - One Free Book

A note from the author: I want you to know three things about The Calling. The first is it is different. A sticky topic is tackled: how the Amish deal with mental illness. But it's a light hearted book, too, that will make you grin, laugh, and feel sorry to come to the last page. An excerpt can be found HERE.

The second is that I'm heading out on a book tour this week! Join me if you live near any event! Details here. And if you're able, I'd be honored if you'd pick up a copy today-and tell your friends and family about it!
Third, watch my contest page beginning January 20th. I'm celebrating the release of The Calling with a great giveaway: TWO iPads, TWO Kindles, and TWO Nooks!

Welcome back, Suzanne. As an author, I know it takes a lot of people to birth each book. Who were the people involved in the birthing of this book, and what were their contributions?
Sounds like a stretch for an Amish novel … but this story was inspired by an 88-year-old African American dynamo named Mother Williams. She saw a need in her community for a soup kitchen and knew she could do one thing well—she could cook. So she started a once-a-week soup kitchen at age 77 (!) and is still going strong. After interviewing volunteers who worked alongside Mother Williams, I ended up creating five elderly Amish sisters in The Calling to do the work of one Mother Williams. Talk about an inspiring individual! Mother Williams doesn’t plan on retiring. She says she wants to keep serving God “until the day is done.” Imagine if we all shared her convictions to serve God in any way we can, for as long as we can. The world would be a different place.

That is so true. If you teach or speak. What’s coming up on your calendar?
I’m extremely excited to be one of the speakers at the Festival and Faith at Calvin College in April. Over-the-moon excited! Many other speakers of whom I am starstruck: Anne Lamott, Richard Foster, Luci Shaw.
If you had to completely start over in another place, where would you move, and why?
At this stage in my life…I would happily move to wherever my adult children are planted. (And where my grandchildren will be!)

If you could only tell aspiring novelists one thing, what would it be?
“Hangeth thou in there.” If you want it badly enough and work hard enough for it, your moment will come.

You’ve been asked to be in charge of a celebrity cruise. Who would you ask to take part, and why? (AS in what program, singers, etc. [it doesn’t have to be writing related])
I would probably invite established, awesome professional authors and have them teach Master classes in writing. The music would be a jazz quartet … quietly playing in the background. Maybe a brilliant guest speaker on marketing and promotion, just to ice the cake.
I’d sure like to be on that cruise. Now please tell us about the featured book.
Like many young adults, life hasn’t turned out for Bethany the way she hoped and planned. In The Letters (Book 1), she finds out her boyfriend isn’t who she thought he was—not by a long shot. In The Calling (Book 2), she is trying to figure out what to do with her life. Stay Amish or leave? Accept a date with that too-handsome-for-his-own-good Jimmy Fisher or heed warnings that he’s nothing but trouble?

Five elderly Amish sisters from the Sisters’ House sweep Bethany under their wing. Reluctantly, she helps the ancient sisters with their soup kitchen for the down-and-outers of Stoney Ridge. A little less reluctantly, she starts a community garden. The miracle of finding oneself while serving others begins in Bethany, until she is slipped some personal information from a sassy teenaged down-and-outer that shatters her world. 

Please give us the first page of the book.
As far as Bethany Schrock was concerned, this summer was hotter than a firecracker lit on both ends. A little rain would certainly be welcome, she thought, as she untied her stiff prayer cap strings and tossed them over her shoulders, but the heat wave held Stoney Ridge tightly in its grip. All the more reason to set to work in the cool of the basement of the Sisters’ House.

At the bottom of the basement stairs, she held the lantern up to gaze around the dusty, cobwebby basement, and blew out a puff of air. If it were even possible, there was more clutter down here than in the rest of the house. She’d been steadily trying to organize the Sisters’ House for weeks now and had barely made a dent. Sylvia, the youngest of the five elderly sisters of the Sisters’ House, had told her she was doing a fine job and they didn’t know how she worked so quickly. “You are a doggedly determined young lady,” Sylvia had said.

Bethany had smiled, pleased Sylvia was so pleased. She had always considered doggedness to be a rather unappealing characteristic, but it had been valuable at the Sisters’ House. “Thank you,” she told Sylvia. “It’s easy when you know how to organize things.”

The sisters, on the other hand, did not know how. They were in desperate need of someone with dogged determination after the deacon had gently reminded them they were overdue in taking a turn to host church. Overdue by years and years. They needed to get their house tidied up, first, they told him, giving him their sweetest smiles. And that’s where Bethany came in.

Jimmy Fisher had done the sisters a very great favor by suggesting they hire Bethany to organize their house. If it wouldn’t cause his big head to swell even bigger, she might even tell him so one day.

But she wouldn’t tell him how much she needed to work, to keep busy, to get her mind off the near shipwreck she had made of her life. It still galled her to think that just four weeks ago she was this close to running away with Jake Hertzler, only to find out he wasn’t the man he said he was. Not even close. He was a no-good, lowlife skunk, that’s what he was.

In the end, her stepmother Rose often reminded her, she hadn’t run off with Jake. Something deep down in her knew better, Rose insisted. Her grandmother, less forgiving in nature, had left a 1938 edition of A Young Woman’s Guide to Virtue on Bethany’s pillow, a not-so-subtle poke about her disastrous judgment in men. Bethany thought she might use it to start a fire.
Bethany carefully pushed and pulled boxes so she could carve a path to the small window. She needed fresh air in this stuffy, musty basement. Hands on her hips, she looked around and wondered where to begin.

The sisters had left for a quilting at Naomi King’s house this afternoon, which suited Bethany just fine. She much preferred working without them anywhere nearby. Just this morning, her younger sister Mim had asked if she minded working for such ancient ladies.

Mim was right about them being old. Ella, the eldest, was in her 90s. Sylvia, the youngest, was in her early 80s. Fannie, Lena, and Ada fell somewhere in between. But they were lovable sisters, spinsters, who had lived together all their lives.

No, Bethany didn’t mind their ages. What she minded was that they were so extraordinarily messy. Yes, it gave her a job to do and, yes, the sisters paid her well. But it was not an easy job. These old sisters saved everything. Everything!

The cleanout and organizing of the Sisters’ House could have gone faster but for two reasons. First was the sisters’ involvement. They were constantly rummaging through Bethany’s system of three boxes: keep, throw, giveaway. The sisters were particularly interested in the giveaway box. Somehow, nearly everything Bethany tossed into it was quietly removed and slipped into the keep box.

The second reason the cleanout job moved slowly was Bethany’s doing. There was prowling to be done, especially in the basement. Being her share of nosy, she took her time examining wondrous things she had never seen the likes of—treasure chests overflowing with fancy old clothes, ruffled parasols, lacy unmentionables. Who knew that these ancient sisters had an exotic past? How thrilling! How worrisome.

She took care to hide the unmentionables in the bottom of giveaway boxes. It would never do to have such things end up at a Sisters’ House yard sale. Word might get out that the sisters were fallen women. Unrepentant jack-a-dandies. She could just imagine the dour look on her grandmother’s face, sorting through a box of ladies’ whale-boned corsets. Next thing you knew, the old sisters would end up on the front row of church, kneeling for confession before the entire congregation, promising to mend their ways. How awful!

Well, never mind. The old sisters’ secrets would stay safe with her.

It was fascinating to sift through the lives of these eighty-plus-year-old women. There were old newspapers and musty books, boxes of clothing, old quilts, even an old diary. One box held little small bottles filled with liquid. Bethany hoped the bottles might be perfume, that she had found another delightful secret about the fallen sisters. But when she opened one, it smelled like medicine. Evil smelling, strong and sickly sweet.

She came upon a soft black leather trunk, packed underneath other boxes at the bottom in a corner of the basement. It looked like it hadn’t been touched in years. The leather straps were cracked and dry, the brass nails that held it together were black with tarnish. She tried to open it but the latch was jammed, so she found an old iron fireplace poker and pried the lid open. Bethany peered into the trunk and stood with a start. A coppery cold moved along her spine and the perspiration on her skin turned to ice. She’d never had a sensitive bone in her body, unlike her friend and neighbor Naomi King, who’d imagined seeing ghosts and angels and demons her whole life. But this . . . this!


She backed toward the stairs, trembling. It would take a raging river to wash from her mind the sight of what was in that trunk. Human bones, including two skulls, with their empty sockets looking back at her. She hurried up the basement stairs, thinking of all the things she had to say to Jimmy Fisher to singe his tail feathers.

Where can we find you on the Internet?
I can be found at and love to hear from readers!

Thank you, Suzanne, for sharing your new book with us. I know all of my readers will want to know the rest of the story. As do I.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
The Calling -
Calling, The: A Novel (The Inn at Eagle Hill) - Amazon
Calling, The (The Inn at Eagle Hill Book #2): 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 Google +, Feedblitz, Facebook, Linkedin, 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...

Would love to win. Angela from Ky

pol said...

I love to read amish stories and esp this author, thanks for the interview. It took 5 women to fill the shoes of the one she wrote about in the book, interesting. I am anxious to read this story.
thanks for sharing

Paula O(
a Ga reader and fan

Unknown said...

Suzanne is among my favorite authors, I have read all her books and I am looking forward to The Calling. Thank you for featuring her

Unknown said...

Sorry I forgot to say I am from Ohio

Britney Adams said...

I love Suzanne and enjoyed her delightful interview. I can't wait to read THE CALLING! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of this book.

Britney Adams, TX

Judy said...

I am a huge fan of Suzanne's and I can't wait to read The Calling. I have read all her books up until this one!

I always enjoy her interviews!

Judy B from Indiana

Emma said...

The Calling sounds wonderful. Please enter me in contest. Thank you for the opportunity to win.I enjoy reading your books.PA.

traveler said...

I enjoy Amish novels and would love to read The Calling. Best wishes and much happiness. I live in NM. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Anonymous said...

Love to win. The calling sounds really good, love reading S uzanne's books. Florida

Linda McFarland said...

Oh WOW...gotta read this one. Thanks for the opportunity to win. I live near Lancaster Co., PA & love visiting & reading about the Amish. Have a great week! Linda

connie said...

ok-this certainly got my interest!! I would love to win this book!!

Anonymous said...

I was born and raised in Central PA, lived in NY for 20 years and have lived in FL for the past 19 years. I would love to win your book, "The Calling". I have thoroughly enjoyed every Amish book I have ever read and that must over 100. Thank you! FL

Heather O said...

Look forward to reading this new book. I really enjoy this type of fiction.
Idaho, United States
koho onefourthree at hotmail(dot) com

Angie M said...

I love reading your stories. I live about 2 hours away from Lancaster. I love stories that you feel like you are right there in the story. That's how I feel about your stories.
I live in Pennsylvania.

Anonymous said...

Would love to win a copy - sounds like a great read.

Ann E. from Texas

Unknown said...

I love to read Suzanne Woods Fisher's books. I live in Natchitoches, Louisiana. If you have seen Steel Magnolias this is the town where it was filmed.

Suzanne said...

Thank you, Lena, for hosting me on your blog today! Grateful to you for all you do for other have such a generous spirit! XO Suzanne

Anonymous said...

love to win from debary, fl

Robin in NC said...

I would love to win a copy!! Thanks Lena & Suzanne!!

Robin in NC
RW620 AT aol DOT com

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a very interesting story. One that I would love to read.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Debbie Wilder said...

WOW! This sounds like a great book. Thanks for the chance to win. I'm in Salinas, California.

Debora Wilder

Melanie Backus said...

I would love to read The Calling. Thank you Lena and Suzanne.

Melanie Backus, TX

Jackie Tessnair said...

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

CentralEast2 said...

Looks like a great read. I have enjoyed your other books and would love a chance to read this one. Carol from AL

RFerry said...

Cant wait to read would love to win the book :) Utica Pa.

redron said...

loveamish stories

redron said...

love to read amish stories

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to finish reading this book. That excerpt really got me into it!

LMcLendon said...

From Alabama, Here is my entry for a lucky win :)

Unknown said...

I'd love to read this book! ~ Kathy from Virginia

ReadingMama922 said...

I would love to win -- I love Suzanne's writing and have read many of her books. She is a wonderful woman and a caring author! I am from Port Orange, Florida.

Debbie Rhoades

Unknown said...

I really enjoy reading about the Amish.
Tonja in Virginia

Granny's Attic said...

I love Suzanne's books, and would love to win this.

Litany L said...

I'm LitanyL. ( or @prayerofhope on twitter) I livwe in nc(in school up here)

I can't wait to read the The Calling even if I dont win I am still going to buy it!

Mary Preston said...

Thank you for the very generous first page. I did enjoy it.

Mary P


Anonymous said...

Hi Lena. I enjoyed this interview with Suzanne. Book sounds very interesting.I can imagine how much old folks can collect in that many years. But, Bones? How tramatizing that would be. I would love to win this book of Suzanne's. Please put me in.
Maxie (Houston, Tx. ) mac262(at)me(dot)com

Vera Godley said...

Suzanne writes such a good book! The opening of the book is fantastic. I would love to win it.

I'm in North Carolina

Cindi A said...

I'm looking forward to reading Suzanne's latest book. Please enter me in the contest to win a copy. Thanks!!!
Cindi Altman from PA

Jean said...

Love Amish stories.

Jean from West Palm, FL

Tammie Edington Shaw said...

Think this would be a great read. Tammie from Illinois

Anonymous said...

I love your books! ❤️ Linda Landreth
Corpus Christi, Texas

Diana Flowers said...

I just love Suzanne's books (and her!) and this one looks and sounds especially wonderful. Thank you for the opportunity to win it!

Diana in SC


Mama Cat said...

This book sounds exciting - the first page is incredible, drawing me in to want more. Would love to win it. I live in Phoenix AZ

EJ said...

Love Suzanne's books & am looking forward to reading more! Elaine from Iowa

Norma S said...

Hi, i would really love to win this book, i enjoy reading Amish books, but i haven't read any of your book, but i always like to try new authors and this sounds like a great book. Blessings to you both.
Norma from Ohio

sam said...

Love Amish fiction and to read about an Amish Community Garden. sharon, ca wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Patsy said...

Amish reading is my favorite read!
from South Mississippi

Cindi A said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen G. said...

Would love to read this book. Love reading Suzanne's books.
Karen G., NY

Jackie Tessnair said...

Great review!I would love to win and read this book.Jackie Tessnair from N.C.

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Sharon Richmond Bryant

Jasmine A. said...

This story sounds very intriguing, I have always wondered how the Amish handle mental illness...
Jasmine A. in Mont.

Unknown said...

Great interview. Looking forward to reading The Calling. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

Kay from NY