Chatting with Suzanne Woods Fisher
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Let’s start by sharing with my followers how the two of us know each other. What are your recollections of when, where, and/or how we first met?
I remember meeting you at a LifeWay Christian bookstore in Brea, California. I was there doing a book event and you came!
I remember that well. I didn’t even know you were going to be there! So glad I “happened” to stop by that day.
Tell something about yourself as a person and as a writer.
In no particular order, I’m a wife and mom, new grandmother, cook, gardener, and an average but enthusiastic tennis player. And I happen to love to write.
I’m a new grandmother myself! My grandson just had his first birthday a few days ago.
What genre(s) do you write in, and why?
I write both fiction and nonfiction. I used to be a magazine writer. When I took the plunge to become a fiction writer, I found that my nonfiction skills gave my work credibility. Now flip it around. My fiction writing jazzed up my nonfiction. I try to encourage writers to not put themselves in a box. Ever.
Tell me about obstacles you had to overcome to become an author.
I think the hardest thing is that your work is open to public opinion. It’s all part of the author gig. Here’s a way for a non-writer to imagine what it might be like: Think of times when you’ve cooked your best meal, maybe Thanksgiving or Christmas—a meal that’s full of planning, preparation, and family tradition. Then the doorbell rings. Strangers arrive to evaluate your dinner, rate it, and decide whether it’s worth serving again. And whether to tell their friends. They might love your meal…but they might not.
Do you have a story of a writing setback or failure?
Oh, so many! My very first novel was just a few weeks away from getting released, and Publisher’s Weekly gave it a horrible review. And I mean horrible. My confidence, shaky at best, was shattered. That was a tough thing to get past…but happily, more than 200,000 copies of the book have sold. That has helped me get over it.
Tell me about your current work-in-progress.
I’m working on a three-book series about an Amish bishop and his family. The first book, The Imposter, is in the editing process. The main character is loosely based on a favorite bishop of mine. He’s got a heart as big as the sky, and a perspective on God’s sovereignty that caught me off guard.
What do you love most about writing?
The mental gymnastics of bringing illumination of faith into the written word.
Describe your most difficult challenge in writing.
Probably…that I’m not talented at writing. I have to work very, very hard at it. I spend a lot of time on the editing/revising part of writing.
That’s true for pretty much all authors, I think … no matter how many books they’ve written.
Describe your proudest writing success.
Being a finalist for a Christy Award. It was for one of my favorite books, too: The Waiting. It was a book that practically wrote itself. Much of it was based on my grandfather’s life. (Not sure if you knew that my grandfather was raised Plain Amish.)
Do you prefer print or e-books, and why?
Print, because it’s something to hold in your hand. Something material. Plus, I underline and mark books up as I read. However, I do read e-books and appreciate their benefits.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. But that doesn’t mean I was ever identified as a particularly good writer. I wasn’t! It was a strength for me (versus math, which definitely wasn’t), but I’m a writer because I love to write.
What is your favorite book on writing?
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers is a must.
I couldn’t agree more!
Is there an author who inspires you, and why?
Eugene Peterson, author of The Message and many other wonderful books. His ability to spin a phrase leaves me “wow-ed.” Also, I think his knowledge of Scripture infuses his other books in a wonderful way.
What is the best advice on writing you ever received?
First you write. Then you revise.
Describe your writing space.
A laundry room! It really is. It’s appalling. I share it with two big dogs. But on the other hand, it’s the heart of the house.
What one piece of advice would you share with aspiring writers?
“Hangeth thou in there.”
Excellent! Thanks, Susanne!
Suzanne Woods Fisher is the best-selling author of the Stoney Ridge Seasons and the Lancaster County Secrets series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. She is a Christy award finalist and a Carol award winner. Her interest in the Anabaptist culture can be directly traced to her grandfather, who was raised in the Old German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne hosts the blog Amish Wisdom and has a free downloadable app, Amish Wisdom, that delivers a daily Penn Dutch proverb to your smart phone. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find Suzanne online at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com. She loves to hear from readers!