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Sunday, January 17, 2010

"The Choice" Blog Tour

"The Choice" by Suzanne Woods Fisher is a riveting book. Set in the Amish world, readers take the avid descriptions and become ensconced in them. There is just enough detail to be immersed in the setting but not so much as to bore the reader. The protagonist, Carrie, is a young woman; her exact age is never given, perhaps so a wider audience of women may relate to her. She loves a fellow Amish man, and they have plans to marry. However, when he makes a sudden and unexpected decision, everything changes. Carrie then finds love elsewhere, if that is what one would call it. The reader learns whether or not Carrie loves her new mate in step with Carrie as she finds out for herself. There are many twists and turns in the book that readers would not think that Fisher would dare do--let alone twice. The book starts out a bit slow, but the drama kicks into high gear after the first twenty pages or so. It is akin to someone sitting down to watch the middle of a soap opera with no prior knowledge--it goes slowly because personas are not known--but that feeling subsides. Readers may not be happy with all the decisions Fisher makes with regards to the characters and their choices, but they would have to agree that the book is entertaining nonetheless. There are only a few major events in the book that are drawn out for the reader to make connects, so it is difficult to discuss more plot without giving away the story.

Available January 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

You can find Suzanne on-line at http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com/ or Facebook or Twitter (suzannewfisher). She loves to hear from readers and tries to get back to each one. Below is an interview with her:

Amish Fiction is a "hot genre" right now in the Christian book industry. The Wall Street Journal recently ran a front-page article that cited its market share as high as 14%. Why do you think people are so intrigued by the Amish?
There’s a direct correlation between how complicated our lives are—with all kinds of time-saving technology that oddly consumes time—and peoples’ longing for a simpler life. It seems as if people are hungry for margin in their lives—for leisure time, for fewer demands, for quiet, for peace. I’m not sure life ever has been simple, but there’s a perception that a rural, less materialistic life is more manageable. And who better personifies the simple life than the Amish?

Not many authors write both fiction and non-fiction. In fact, most authors find "their voice" and stick with it. Why is that different for you?
Having started as a magazine writer, I assumed I was a non-fiction writer. As I ventured into fiction, I wondered why I had limited myself! My non-fiction writing has improved because of writing fiction—I’ve learned to jazz it up. And my fiction writing has an edge because I have research skills to give it credibility. I really think writers should be open to stretching their vocal chords!

You started your writing career as a free lancer for magazines. Your first book was published with a small press. Are you glad you "started small?"
Very, very glad. It was a small pond to learn in, make mistakes, gain important skills like public speaking or book promotion. I can’t say enough about the benefits of starting small.
I learned two important principles:
1) Take your writing very seriously. Set goals, find a writers’ group, attend conferences, learn from others.
2) At the same time, don’t take yourself too seriously. Get a tough hide. Persevere. Anticipate a few battle scars. Laugh at your mistakes. Enjoy this writing gig!

How do you get your ideas for writing?
It takes a while to get a story into focus, but I start with the main “footprint” and fill in as I go. It really is strange how a story starts to take on a life of its own.

What has God taught you through writing?
Four words: “Hangeth Thou In There.”

Tell us about "The Waiting", Book 2 in the "Lancaster County Secrets." (To release on October 1, 2010.)
The second in this series takes place in the same town of Stoney Ridge, Pennsylvania, but in a different time period—during the 1960s. Jorie King is in love with Ben Zook—a fellow who has a tendency toward “fence jumping” and is currently serving in Vietnam as a Conscientious Objector. Everyone assumes Jorie will marry Ben when he returns, but life in Stoney Ridge takes a few unexpected twists and turns.

Why did you kill a character just as the readers were growing attached to that character?
I know! I know it was hard to see that character go (can't say too much...don't want to reveal the plot!). In my own life, there have been some unexpected, untimely deaths of friends or family members. The Amish believe that when death comes, a life is complete. Doesn't make it easy to accept the loss, but it does help to remember that God holds our lives in his hands. So I guess that was the reason...but I am very pleased that readers felt "attached" to that character. That is not an easy thing to do! Even if it means they feel grief. And if it makes you feel better, I grieved for that character. So did the editor! But alas...that individual's book life was complete.

Did you intentionally not mention Carrie's age so more female readers could identify with her?
Carrie is around age twenty-ish...that wasn't meant to be omitted as much as assumed. Young enough for teenagers to relate to her, but starting to move into young adulthood. Maybe...like so many at that age...it came a little before Carrie was ready for it.

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