Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Choice, The Waiting, The Search, and A Lancaster County Christmas, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Benedict eventually became publisher of Christianity Today magazine. Suzanne is the host of an internet radio show called Amish Wisdom, and her work has appeared in many magazines. She lives in California.
With Suzanne's signature plot twists combined with gentle Amish romance, she invites readers back to Stoney Ridge for The Letters, the first book in her The Inn at Eagle Hill series, featuring fresh stories of simple pleasures despite the complexity of life.
Description for the book - Rose Schrock is a plain woman with a simple plan. Determined to find a way to support her family and pay off her late husband's debts, she sets to work to convert the basement of her Amish farmhouse into an inn. While her family, especially her cranky mother-in-law, is unhappy with Rose's big idea, her friend and neighbor, Galen King, supports the decision and he helps with the conversion.
As Rose finalizes preparations for visitors, she prays. She asks God to bless each guest who stays at the Inn at Eagle Hill. As the first guest arrives and settles in, Rose is surprised to discover that her entire family is the one who receives the blessings, in the most unexpected ways. And she's even more surprised when that guest decides to play matchmaker for Galen King!
I had a short one on one conversation with Suzanne recently about inspiration and life in general.
Suzanne, what got you interested in writing about the Amish?
The answer to that goes back to my grandfather and his siblings. He was raised Old Order German Baptist, a cousin to the Amish, and I grew up with an admiration for my Dunkard relatives. When I was thirteen, my cousin's little boy was passing away because of a genetic metabolic disorder. Watching my cousin and her husband walk through that period in their life with such peace in their hearts, such confidence in the sovereignty of God--well, it made an impact on me. In college, my major was American Studies and I learned more about the Anabaptists. Years later, when an editor from [my publisher] spoke to my agent about a non-fiction book about the Amish, I was ready!
How have you been encouraged by the people living within an Amish community?
Sometimes I think people get distracted by the buggies and bonnets and beards and they stop there. They assume the Amish are all about a simple, old-fashioned life. But there's much more to glean from the Amish--their sense of community, their commitment to forgiveness, their belief in the sovereignty of God in all matters. They take Jesus' Sermon on the Mount to heart--and that's what inspires and encourages me.
Are any of the characters in your books based on your personal life?
Oh, lots of them! Makes my friends ver-r-r-r-r-r-y nervous.
What has God been teaching you lately?
On August 1st, my youngest daughter is moving to China to teach at an international school. This is a terrific career opportunity for her and we had lived in Hong Kong for four years, so I have a comfort zone with living in an Asian city. It's all good! But...there's a part of me that's grieving, too. I worry about the what-if's--will my daughter move back to the San Francisco Bay Area when her contract is up? Will she get hooked on the international teaching life (which is a pretty sweet gig!)? Will she meet that "special someone" overseas and never come home? I've had to keep my palms open, metaphorically, about these worries and trust in God's providence for my daughter's future. I do believe that God has a wonderful plan for my daughter's life (for all my children...and yours, too!). I do believe it...and yet I don't always feel that peace. So that's what God is teaching me this summer--holding on lightly and trusting Him completely.
What is on your "bucket list?"
My first thought is to make it on the New York Times bestseller list--but I guess a bucket list isn't really a wish list, is it? On the short list: traveling to visit my daughter in China and seeing parts of Asia that we missed when we lived in Hong Kong. Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos are first on the list! Stay tuned...
For more from Suzanne, click here.