Friday, October 30, 2015

TIES THAT BIND - Cindy Woodsmall - One Free Book

Dear Readers, Cindy Woodsmall is an award-winning author of Amish novels. I’ve enjoyed her writing, and her stories are so authentic.

Welcome, Cindy. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Hopefully I put very little of me in the characters. My goal as a writer is to develop characters that tell me who they are, not the other way around. I focus my energy on learning who each character is, often by basing a character on a few real people I know and their individual responses to actual incidents in the Amish community. I rely heavily on Plain friends, experiences, and research while developing the characters. While gathering all that information, it naturally goes through the filter of my mind, will, and emotions. In that sense, I can’t prevent the characters from being influenced by me to some degree. For the most part, I think my characters influence me in the story writing far more than I influence them.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I have two main methods. When choosing a name for an Amish character, I start by researching my stack of paperback directories for Old Order Amish districts, which I purchased from an Amish friend’s dry goods store. When choosing a name for a character who isn’t Amish, I often begin with a Google search of the top girl or guy names used in the year that character would have been born. If nothing on that list appeals to me, I search earlier years. To me, a lot of “baby name” sites seem cumbersome and slow, so I usually stick to the online Social Security list of names. After choosing the appropriate research tool, I look for a name that feels right for each character, and that often leads me to research the meaning of the name.

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
1. Be teachable. Highly opinionated people are difficult to teach, but they rarely see themselves that way. They may listen and ask questions, showing great interest in what an editor or critique partner is saying, but by the next morning, they will have rationalized away whatever insights the person tried to share. These writers will defend their point of view to the end. Months or years later, they won’t be able to figure out why no one wants to work with them. That’s not to say an author should accept everything that’s said. But if an author is resistant to suggestions (even politely), dealing with that person can be exhausting and counterproductive.

2. Be patient with yourself and with the market. Both are constantly changing.

3. Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you sow. (Robert Louis Stevenson said that.) The most important thing we can do is remain faithful. That alone will reap quite a harvest because someone is always watching us, and faithfulness to ourselves and our dreams is impacting our friends and family. When others hit a rough patch in their lives and are tempted to give up, they may recall our faithfulness and find the needed strength for themselves. And we should stay faithful to writing because when we seek, we find … eventually.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
An owl or eagle. Wouldn’t it be fun to soar, like we occasionally do in our nighttime dreams? Most of us are used to seeing pictures of owls perched on a branch, looking much like a stuffed bird. But they’re very skilled at soaring almost silently during the night. In my best dreams, that’s what I’m doing—soaring across beautiful, lush fields in the dim glow of moonlight, the ponds and lakes I fly over shimmering with that same light. Do I fly at night because I’m nearing the midnight hour of my life? Hm. I’ve never swooped for prey, which is a plus because the fun dream would turn into a rude awakening. If I’m choosing an animal based on dreams in which I can fly, I guess a third runner-up to the owl or eagle would be a flying squirrel. Ha-ha. I place that third because in those dreams, I could only fly from one tree to the next.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’m pleased that my family survived as a functional unit while my kids moved from childhood into adulthood. Maybe that sounds weird. But marriage is a little like a three-legged race, with the husband and wife constantly connected to the children. When your kids grow up and get married, you may or may not become a team with your adult children and their spouses. And they may or may not become a team with their siblings and spouses.  

My three sons are completely different from one another. I knew each one was distinctive from the moment he began to stir in my belly. And my two daughters-in-law are as different from each other as winter and summer—which only makes sense.

I wasn’t sure what would happen once my nest was empty. Would my sons move as far away as possible or stay in the area? Would their uniqueness put them at odds with one another? Would holiday visits be more taxing than refreshing? I did my best to get my boys to adulthood as friends who knew how to embrace their differences, discuss and have healthy arguments, and give each other space and respect. But what would happen when my mommy-ing years ended?

What did happen was beautiful and unexpected. All of my sons and daughters-in-law tossed lassos around one another’s teams—not just for major holidays or on birthdays, but often. I love it. I’m honored by it. I’m inspired by it. I’m also exhausted by it. But they strengthen me.

I so agree. My two daughters live in adjoining suburbs of Fort Worth, Texas, and our suburb adjoins one of theirs. Actually, we live just north of and just south of the same major street. And all the grandchildren and great grandchildren live in those same suburbs. We get together often.

Cindy can be found online here:

Thank you, Cindy, for sharing this new book with us. I know my readers will be interested in reading it.

Here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Ties That Bind - Chritianbook,com
Ties That Bind: A Novel (The Amish of Summer Grove) - Amazon
Ties That Bind: A Novel (The Amish of Summer Grove) - 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 Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, 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:


Linda Kish said...

This sounds like it will be a really good story. I'd love to read the book.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Melissa Henderson said...

Melissa in Mechanicsville VA. I want to read this book. :-)

Trixi said...

Hi Cindy! I've read many of your books and have enjoyed each one. This one sounds like no exception from that :-)

I really enjoyed your author interview. I found it very fascinating on how you research the Amish names for your characters. Guess I've always wondered how an author comes up with the names. And that you set them for the time period you are writing in. I enjoy when a writer does extensive research for their stories, it makes it more fun for me to read! I also love the fact that you base them in part on real Amish folks you know. I like what you said here "I rely heavily on Plain friends, experiences, and research while developing the characters". That's why I enjoy your books so much because it's more true to the Amish way of life and how they think, act or feel. This was really fun for me to read today, gave me a lot of insight to your writing :-) Thank you for sharing!

Thank you, Lena, for the chance to win a copy of "Ties That Bind"

Trixi in OR

Amada Chavez said...

OH I've been dying to read and review this one! :D I REALLY enjoyed the last series from Cindy and this one sounds SO GOOD! :D

Blessings, Amada (pronounced:, NM

Melissa M. said...

I agree with Trixi--great to hear all the details of choosing names, and how you base your characters in part on real people!

-Melissa M. in TN

Melanie Backus said...

Love the review and would love to read this book! Thank you for the opportunity.

Melanie Backus, TX

Brenda said...

This sounds like a very good book! I have read some of your books and I love them! Thanks for this opportunity! I am from MS

Brenda said...

I would love to win this book! I have read some of your books and loved them. Thanks for the opportunity! I am from MS

Judy said...

I would love to win a copy of, Ties That Bind. I love Amish fiction and I love Cindy's books. I think it would be great to meet her in person one day.

Enjoyed the interview with Cindy. I think soaring as an Eagle or Owl would be fun too. The feeling would be so free! Having our kids spread out all over, we very seldom get together for any of the Holidays. It is just usually my hubby and me but we do make the best of everything God has given us.

Judy B from Indiana

Diana Flowers said...

Cindy Woodsmall has long been one of my favorite Amish authors -- since she wrote her very first series. I would more than likely pass out if I ever won one of her books, but it would be worth it! LOL! Thank you for the interview and giveaway opportunity!

Diana in SC


Kim Amundsen said...

Sounds like a great read. kamundsen44ATyahooDOTcom. NOrth Platte Nebraska.

cindypatt1230 said...

Cindy Patterson in Norfolk, VA. Looking forward to reading this book. Thank you Cindy Woodsmall for your books I enjoy them all.

cindypatt1230 said...

Cindy Patterson in Norfolk, VA. Looking forward to reading this book. Thank you Cindy Woodsmall for your books I enjoy them all.

Cindy Woodsmall said...

Wow, at the wonderful notes! Thank you!

Mama Cat said...

Thank you for the great interview - and being an eagle reminds me of Joyce Meyer's teachings about 'eagle Christians'. What a view, to soar above!! Jeanie in Phoenix, AZ

apple blossom said...

thanks for the chance to win Cindy's new book. love to read her books

live in ND

rubynreba said...

Cindy is one of my favorite authors. Thanks for the great interview. I always enjoy Amish books.
Beth from Iowa

Edward Arrington said...

I believe my wife would enjoy this one. I might also. :)
Edward A in VA

susanlulu said...

Favorite genre - LOVE Amish books! I'm sure this one would be a delight to curl up with this fall. I live in the beautiful North Carolina. Thanks.

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your amazing giveaway!!
Conway, SC.

Phyllis Bartram said...

I just finished Ties That Bind on audible. The story is fascinating and I truly grieved when it was finished because the story is NOT finished!
Audible, of course, would not allow me to share with my daughter so I desperately NEED a printed copy! Cindy has long been my favorite author of Amish fiction.

Anonymous said...

Amish fiction is my favorite genre to read and I would love to read Cindy's new book.
Thanks for the interview Lena
marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
Maryann in NY

sm said...

I really enjoy your books and Amish fiction is one of my favorites. sm CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Phyllis Kemp said...

I'd love to read this book.

Phyllis from Illinois

Anonymous said...

Hello to Cindy Love your books. Have some and would love more. Hoping to win this one. I too have dreamed of soaring off buildings and rising from low to high. Never dreamed a reason for it tho. Thanks lena for having Cindy today. Yjanks for the good interview. Maxie ( TX ) > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

Brenda Arrington said...

I love Amish fiction. Thanks for the chance to win,
Brenda in VA

Karen G. said...

Looking forward to reading Ties That Bind. Sounds so interesting. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

Karen G in NY

Connie said...

Cindy, thank you for the tips and thank you, Lena, for another great guest. Cindy, I especially love the new third point you make and you and Robert Louis Stevenson are so right!
Connie from KY
cps1950 (at) gmail (dot) com