06 November 2011

Interview with Suzanne Woods Fisher






Suzanne Woods Fisher is the author of “A Lancaster County Christmas” and ‘Lancaster County Secret’ series, as well as some non-fiction books about the Amish, including “Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World.” She is under contract to publish a whole bunch more books, too, through at least 2016, with her latest contract "Petticoat Row" to be set in Nantucket.

I met Suzanne Woods Fisher at ACFW in St. Louis, Missouri. She is represented through Joyce Hart, who is also my agent.  I got to chat with Suzanne at the recent ACFW conference.

Thanks Suzanne for the interview!


Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your character’s has had to get past?

My dad is in late stages Alzheimer’s disease. I’m sure that many of you can relate to having a loved one who suffers from AD. It is a very sad, long-term and costly (emotionally and literally) experience in my family’s life. My dad was my go-to person—very practical, matter-of-fact, full of energy and enthusiasm. He was a delight! The strange thing about AD is the by the time someone is diagnosed—which is called “Early Stages AD”—years have passed. The first symptom of AD in my dad was impaired judgment. He was scammed by Canadian sweepstakes con-artists. Over $135,000! A long story and a very sad one—but as my siblings and I caught wind of what was going on, we stepped in to protect my parents, then try to figure out how Dad could have been susceptible to such evil people. (And they truly were evil people—they would call my dad and start the conversation with “God bless you!” Then proceed to scam him.) Anyway…ten years later, Dad is still quite healthy physically, but doesn’t recognize us and can’t carry on a conversation. The piece of my dad’s demise that is hardest for me is that I know he would have hated this long, dribbling end. He always wanted to drop in the harness. But as one reader told me, “As long as you’re breathin’, God has a reason.”

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
“His name will be called Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us’.”( Matthew 1:22-24). It seems so simple—yet it is such a fundamental truth. So very profound!

Disability friendliness:  Suzanne has seven books on audio (Here's a link to Simply Audiobooks). Listening is my preferred mode of reading.  I dowloaded The Choice which I will review this week. Five downloads are available for purchase through Audible.com. She also has three large print books. All of Suzanne's books are available on Kindle.
 
What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
My hope is to write in a way that invites readers to get to know God better. To take a step toward deepening one’s faith. But I really try not to ever whack readers on the head with a 2x4—that’s not my job. Changing hearts is the work of the Holy Spirit.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
As I have studied the Old Order Amish, I think what has touched me in a deep, unsettling way is their intentional forgiveness. We just don’t emphasize that enough in our churches! To the Amish, it’s a daily attitude of “letting things go.” The Amish place great importance on forgiving others because of Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount: “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:15). It really makes me gulp!

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
In “A Lancaster County Christmas,” Jaime Fitzpatrick is a young woman who keeps trying to stuff down some serious issues in her life…but they keep popping up. Her mother had recently passed away, her father has just re-appeared in her life, and her poor husband, C.J., seems to get the short end of Jaime’s trouble with trust. Jaime’s story was inspired by my close friend’s life. I watched my friend come to grips with her father’s “here today-gone tomorrow” love and separate her father’s character from God’s character. Ten years later, she is a teaching leader for Bible Study Fellowship and has an amazing ministry. God is in the business of redeeming all things—even flawed parenting.

Thank you Suzanne Woods Fisher for agreeing to answer these questions.  Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!

Thank you, Carrie, for inviting me to pop by! I’m easy to find on Facebook and via my website: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com  Connecting with readers is the best part of this author gig!

GIVEAWAY: We are giving away an AUTOGRAPHED (generic, sorry but it is her signature!!!) copy of Suzanne’s newest book, released September, 2011, “A Lancaster County Christmas” in hardcover.  Please leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win a copy!  The cover on this is awesome BTW!!

54 comments:

  1. It's such an honor to have one of my favorite authors in the whole world with us on OTT. She is such a gem! Thank you both for this touching interview, and I'm so sorry about your dad, Suzanne. My mom passed away last year, and as hard as that was, I wouldn't want her here suffering. I will be praying for you, your father, and your family, as I know Alzheimers is a very heartbreaking disease, and so hard on everyone involved.

    Thank you for blessing us so with your wonderful books, Suzanne; I have read all of them, except your new release The Keeping. I am so looking forward to reading AND reviewing that one!

    Thank you for the wonderful interview, Carrie, and Suzanne, thank you for sharing your heart with us.

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  2. Carrie what a wonderful interview. Suzanne thank you for sharing with us about your dad. My mom is getting up in age and we were told she has the beginning stages of dementia, and right now some days are better than others, so I know a little of what you are going through. It's so hurtful to see the loving person(s) who cared for you as a child needing care themselves. Thank you for taking time for this interview, also thank you for using your God given talent to delight others with your writing. God Bless you! tsmathews61@gmail.com

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  3. Thanks for the wonderful interview. I enjoyed reading it. I would love to read this new book by Suzanne Woods. I have not read any of her books yet. Thanks! tscmshupe at pemtel dot net

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  4. Interesting to read what you said in the interview about the daily "letting go" of the Amish. That is such a productive way to live. I would love to read your book. Please put my name in the possibility pile.

    Thank you for blessing people through your writing. jsmithg@hotmail

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  5. Thanks for the great interview, Suzanne. My mom had Dementia from being a brittle diabetic so I can relate to what you have been dealing with your father. It is very difficult seeing loved ones go through such things. I would love to read your book.

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

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  6. what a wonderful interview/posting...i would love to read suzanne's latest book...thanks for the chance :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  7. This was supposed to go up tomorrow. I goofed! Will email Suzanne to let her know, but so glad to see all of you over here. Welcome and thanks for your kind comments about the interview!

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  8. Great interview Suzanne and Carrie. I love Christmas stories and Amish stories so I know I will love reading "A Lancaster County Christmas". Thanks for stopping by to chat and share with us Suzanne and thanks Carrie for the opportunity to enter giveaway.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

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  9. My father is entering the later stages of Alzheimer's. He still knows who I am most of the time and we can have some conversation, but he's slipping fast. Dad is the 3rd member of our family with AD. It doesn't get any easier, but we have learned better how to cope with the changes. Rough stuff, for sure.

    I live in an Amish community and I so admire their ability to forgive and move forward. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of the book.

    twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

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  10. Suzanne's interview struck home. I am caring for my Mom who has Dementia. We are watching her slowly being robbed of her memory and it makes you wonder what place Mom goes to. Not being able to retain what someone says even for a second is hard for me to comprehend. I was sick over the amount of money that Suzanne's Father lost through EVIL scammers! Isn't it heart breaking?

    I thank God for Authors like Suzanne. We need to read good Christian life changing stories. Suzanne is definitely right when she said, It isn't her job to (my words) brow beat people into a walk with Christ. She can plant the seeds..and the Holy Spirit will take over!

    I would love to win a copy of, "A Lancaster County Christmas". I have read every single one of her books so far and am a fan for life.

    Blessings!
    judyjohn2004[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  11. Hey, Carrie and Suzanne -- WONDERFUL interview!! It's so nice getting to know Suzanne better. Like you, Carrie, Suzanne and I "officially" met at ACFW this year, and as far as I am concerned, it was a meeting long overdue!! Suzanne is a real sweetheart, and I am blessed our paths have crossed!!

    My heart aches for you and your family with your dad's illness, Suzanne, and I can't imagine the heartbreak of it all. Thank God you have the Lord to carry you through during such a sad era of his life.

    LOVE the title, Petticoat Row!! Will that be Amish stories or are you trying your hand at something else???

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  12. Hi Carrie and Diana and her many lovely blog followers!
    Thanks so much for your encouraging words, especially about my dad. I genuinely appreciate hearing about your experiences with a loved one, too. A blessing in the midst, to walk alongside each other.
    I wrote this interview up a few weeks ago, but it's very timely right now. On Friday, I took Dad to his doctor's appt. (the one for AD). There was a significant change in what the doctor discussed...this time, it was about decisions we need to make for Dad's passing away. Sad. Good and necessary. But sad. So your words are especially poignant on this Monday morning.
    On another note...to Julie..."Petticoat Row" will be about Quakers (completely different from Amish though they share some core beliefs). I find faith-based communities to be fascinating! Thanks for asking! Warmly, Suzanne

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  13. Suzanne, we will be remembering you during this sad and difficult time, and as a matter of fact, I prayed for you continually until I fell asleep last night; now I know why. God bless you, dear, and thank you for all the many hours of reading pleasure you have provided for this lady!

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  14. Andrea Coomer dnacoomer@gmail.comNovember 7, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    Praying for your daddy.

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  15. Some people think that to love is the greatest thing of all--but love is not a feeling or a word that you say, love is something that you DO--and it begins with forgiveness and letting go.....Suzanne's books have that so right. antweis@sio.midco.net

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  16. I enjoyed the interview :) I have loved every book, cant wait to read this one too.

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  17. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of the book.
    My closet friend is going through this right now with her husband. It is so sad. Praying for all those that are taking this walk in life. Hugs
    toflake@gmail.com

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  18. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WRITING GREAT BOOKS!YOUR BOOKS ALWAYS HELP ME TO UNWIND FROM A STRESSFUL DAY.I WILL BE KEEPING YOU AND YOUR FAMILY IN MY PRAYERS .

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  19. Alzheimers and dementia are thieves. They rob us of our loved ones slowly, excruciatingly slowly sometimes. I don't know many families untouched by this disease. Love is so important, just as antweis noted. Even when the thinking is muddled, love can still be discerned.

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  20. So sorry Susan. My mother in law is going through this now too and is 95. It is hard on the whole family. Will pray for your Dad. Lisa hsrmom@msn.com

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  21. I can't wait to read this book! Thanks Suzanne!
    ptorella@yahoo.com

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  22. Suzanne, You and your family are in my prayers. Great Interview. I would be blessed to win a copy of this book.
    angelac(at)mchsi(dot)com Angela from KY

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  23. Dear Suzanne, I first read about your dad in Amish Peace, I know how personal of a pain this is. When I was a teenager I watched my great grandmother live and eventually let go while suffering Alzheimer Disease, I remember thinking, how can she not know me?? how can she not know her husband of over 50 years, she still looked, smelled, and seemed the same in so many ways and yet she was meeting us for the first time every time we walked into the room......God's Peace to you and your family Suzanne. I am looking forward to reading A Lancaster County Christmas.

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  24. Thank you, Suzanne, for sharing such a private part of your life. I, too, have a family member with alzheimer's and it is so difficult and sad to be on the "outside" and not be able to help.
    Your writings are a beautiful testimony to your faith.

    babykf at hotmail dot com

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  25. Suzanne, By sharing your heart wtih others, you help them deal with the heaviness in their own lives. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of your "A Lancaster County Christmas" margie at mijares dot net

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  26. A great interview. Can't wait to read this book. jlscott49 at roadrunner dot com

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  27. Thank you for the Interview and so sorry about your Dad, my Mom had Alzheimer and didn't know any of us and if she did she thought we where her parents or her siblings. It is heartbreaking.
    I would love to win your Book, I like reading about the Amish.
    Blessings to you and your family.

    ingrids62448(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  28. Suzanne, a nice interview about how the Amish forgive and let go,that can be one of the hardest things to do. But it was sad to read about your dad and your family going through this journey of Alzheimers.We went through this painful journey with my mother-in-law. Some of her children could not deal with it, and pretty much didn't want anything to do with her..it was so sad. But like the Bible verse says, 'God is with us'and he will be with you and your dad and your family.
    I enjoy reading all your books,and just read from you that the upcoming book, PETTICOAT ROW is about the Quakers,which I enjoy reading very much about,also!
    I would love to win your book- A Lancaster Christmas!
    janiefreeman@livecom

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  29. Good time for Christmas books!

    eveningstar888@aol.com

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  30. I have just finished reading two of the Lancaster County Secrets series and I am starting the third today. I love your books they keep you guessing on the ending with many twists and surprises along the way. I haven't enjoyed fictional books this much in a long time. I will be reading the rest of Suzanne's books soon.
    twyla@cheerful.com

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  31. Really love her books she is very talented wrighter thanks for the chance to win a book mrcferry@hotmail.com

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  32. I love Suzanne's books. I need to practice forgiveness too. I really have to practice forgiving myself though. That's the hardest one for me. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

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  33. These comments are so touching! Thank you--each one of you--for expressing your concern for my dad and for telling me about your own experience with AD. Amazing how many families are coping with this disease. So grateful, too, for your encouraging words about my books. Wow...what a lovely way to start the week! My cup runneth over. Warmly, Suzanne

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  34. Suzanne, I really applaud you for all of your books. I as well love to read about GOD and see how he makes each of our lives different yet similar. That is why I love the Amish books because even though their life is different, they go through similar heaps and sadness as we do in the Englisher's world.

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  35. Oh I forgot to leave my email, anicka2178@gmail.com

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  36. Jo, there is a connection between diabetes and AD. So sorry for your situation. Pegg Thomas, I did not realize there were Amish in Northern MI, now. When I was growing up we had a small Mennonite community the next town over, actually two small towns in the Upper Peninsula of MI. So sorry to hear of your family members with AD.

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  37. Special comment to Kristie. When Jesus forgives our sins he casts them as far as the east is from the west. His blood is enough, so therefore, sweetie, you can forgive yourself, because he already has and doesn't remember your sins against you anymore. The enemy will keep bringing things up that you've done in your past, but just tell him you are forgiven, and to get behind you! Bless you, dear, and hoping for a win for you!

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  38. Judy, I am so sorry you are dealing with dementia with your family member. God has to give us special grace. And TEresa, sorry your mom is starting that. My mom was getting really forgetful but with the cancer she was on so many meds that last year that it was hard to tell what was going on.

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  39. Kristie, your comment touched me. God forgives us when we ask Him. Our sins are as far as the east is from the west. The Accuser is the one who doesn't want us to forgive ourselves. So stand on the Word against those lies that tell you that you are not forgiven. And forgetting is not the same as forgiving. We can remember we did something and determine that with God's help we won't repeat it, but we can be assured that we ARE forgiven. Done with my mini sermon. Anyway, hugs to you and bless you for commenting.

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  40. Thanks for sharing the struggles with your dad. I have a sweet friend who has gone through the same with her Mother in Law and now with her mother. I plan to share your story with her.
    I would love a chance to win. I always look for a Christmas themed book to read this time of year.
    quiltenbea@yahoo.com

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  41. Carrie, she got mini sermons from both of us, because I too was touched by her comment. I use to have the same problem until I heard a preacher say one time, "His blood is enough and if He forgives us we should also forgive ourselves!."

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  42. What a nice interview, Carrie. I love reading Suzanne's books. A big thanks to Suzanne for sharing parts of her life with us. I also admire the way the Amish can forgive so readily, something we all need to work harder at all the time.
    Kathy Faberge
    finulhour@sbcglobal.net

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  43. Wow, I just saw that Diana and I were posting almost identical comments at the same time, so I did not see hers nor did she see mine. That gives me Holy Ghost goose bumps! One of the things I love about sharing this blog with Diana - she is so open to the Holy Spirit nudging her to do and say. Dear God, for those who have not forgiven themselves, give them a very real, tangible, indication today of Your love and mercy and healing to their souls. In Jesus's precious name, Amen.

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  44. Amen to that, Carrie. I showed hubs your post last night and I told him the Lord gave us both the same thing to tell this lady (I had the Holy Ghost bumps, too), so out of the mouth of two witnesses it shall be established. I read her post and started to go somewhere else, and I told Paul that I HAD to say something to her and the words were right there. Thank you, too, Carrie, for obeying the Spirit of the Lord. I believe Kristie is being set free from this, in Jesus name!

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  45. Aww, I'm blessed that Diana and Carrie both heeded the Spirits guidance. Prayers here.
    As for the book, I think I may have already purchased it (Like I told Diana, since we've become friends I have purchased about 30 books in like, 2 weeks... she's a BAD influence on me!), but I'd like to be in on the drawing as I can bless someone else with it as a gift!!!
    tojoleen@yahoo.com
    Thank you ladies. These interviews give us insights into authors who would otherwise be meaningless strangers in our lives.

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  46. Thanks Suzanne for this heartwarming interview. You have such a sweet spirit. I'm so sorry about your dad, Alzheimer's is such a tough disease. I had a close friend who got it in her 50's.

    Our book club is doing Lancaster County Christmas for our December book. Blessings to both you and Carrie, I'm glad you are both a part of the Hartline Agency.

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  47. Loving the term "Holy Ghost Goose Bumps," ladies!

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  48. So glad to see Joyce Hart here! She is Suzanne's agent (and mine, so thankful to God that she agreed to take me on last year!) Glad to hear that the Pittsburgh Book Club Joyce belongs to will be reading A Lancaster County Christmas.

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  49. Suzanne, you must never have lived in the South. Wish I could lay claim to that expression but I can't. But it really does describe that sensation when you know the Spirit is involved!

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  50. This book sounds great. Please include me in your giveaway.
    Thanks
    Debbie
    debdesk9(at)verizon.net

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  51. I love Suzanne's work, really want this book.

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com
    wrensthoughts.blogspot.com

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  52. Carrie, There are studies that show that people who are diabetic and especially those who are brittle diabetics are more at risk for developing Dementia. We don't realize how often one problem with our health can cause other problems with them.

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  53. Thanks for coming by Debbie and wfnren! Jo, I have read that they "think" it is the inflammation caused by the diabetes. But if that was the case we'd also see people with arthritis having an increased risk for dementia. May have to look into that. Thanks for sharing!

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  54. I picked Ingrid, whose mom had AD. Congrats, Ingrid, and we pray you will be blessed by this book!

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