ABOUT AUTHOR: Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish. She hosts a weekly radio show, Amish Wisdom, and is a columnist for Christian Post. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find Suzanne on-line at She loves to connect with readers!

What fascinates you about the Amish life style? What do you most admire?

It‘s easy to get distracted by buggies and bonnets and beards—and to stop there. But there’s so much more to the Plain people—their intention to live out Christ’s words from the Sermon on the Mount, their focus on forgiveness, sense of community. I believe, at their best, they are close to the heart of Christ. They remind us to pay attention to things in our life that need minding: simplicity, consumerism, greed, excess. In a word: priorities.

In your research for The Haven, what surprised you? If nothing surprised you, what did you learn that you had to put in this book, series?

Many Amish are remarkable birders—their farms are eco-friendly and welcoming to birds. More than a few times, I’ve been on Amish farms that are cordoned off because an endangered species is nesting on the property. 

I had an idea for a nesting Peregrine falcon pair to take up residence on an Amish farm. I interviewed falconers and learned some fascinating information that affected the overall theme of The Haven. When a trainer releases a falcon, he trusts the falcon to return. There is a bond between them. That theme suited the characters in this book so well—a coming of age story for young people who are trying to find their way in the world.

Your new book, The Haven, has Sadie Lapp come back from being in Ohio for the winter. She’s faced with tough decisions to make. What do you hope readers take away from this novel – hope they feel when they read the last page and close the book?

 Sadie Lapp is a quiet, unassuming character who follows rules and doesn’t make waves. In the blink of an eye, she has broken every rule and is in serious trouble! Or so it seems. 

As the story unravels, the circumstances surrounding Sadie affect everyone in the community, especially the two young men who are vying for her affections.  

I hope readers read the last page and wish Sadie’s story wasn’t over. I hope they feel so connected to the characters that they wonder and worry about them as if they were friends. And then…I hope they go on-line or to their favorite bookstore and pre-order The Lesson, book 3—Mary Kate’s turn (finally!) as the main character.

In your bio it says that you have a radio program called Amish Wisdom – how did that opportunity come about? What do you talk about each week? How can readers find your program?

You are celebrating your 2 year of your weekly radio program called, Amish Wisdom, what are you doing to celebrate? What are your hopes and plans for the new year?

You’ve said, you don’t have to “Go Amish”, to incorporate many of their principles – simplicity, living with less, appreciating nature – into your life! What are some examples of the first steps readers can take toward the simple life and incorporating some of these principles into their lives?
That’s a great question! I’d suggest starting slow—maybe even try a few things for one month. Evaluate, readjust, see how it works for your family, then add or subtract.

For example, honor the Sabbath for one month, four Sundays. Make it a day set apart from the normal ebb and flow of the work week. (Don’t use it as a day to catch up on the week!). Plan a family dinner that allows everyone to linger (make Sunday dinner a no-cell phone zone). Play a family game together—something that requires interaction.

After a month—ask yourself if you notice any changes. Some things I’ve noticed—I enjoy church more. I’m more rested and refreshed on Monday. I have a greater sense God’s pleasure in everyday moments. Hmmmm….there’s a reason it’s one of the Ten Commandments.    

I read that you raise puppies for the purpose of being a Guide Dog for the Blind – How does that process work? How long does it take? How did you get into doing that? Are there some dogs that are just not cut out for this line of work? How long before you discover the dog is not going to make it? Do you have any pictures to share of your puppies?

These pups are a big part of my life (two are sleeping right by my chair as I type). My youngest son started puppy raising when he was in third grade. We went through training as a family and raised “Arbor,” a male yellow lab. Between fifteen and eighteen months, the puppies are recalled for formal training. Arbor became a guide—and we started on puppy two. Then puppy three. Ten puppies later, I’m hooked. Right now I am a breeder custodian for “Tess,” a golden retriever who has had a few litters for Guide Dogs for the Blind. 
Raising puppies is kinda like eating potato chips—you can’t stop with one.
I read on your website that you travel to Amish country for research every year. Where do you travel and what research do you do that helps you in writing your Amish Novels can you share some photos with us?

I'm delighted to share some pictures that I took to help me in the stories I'm writing. These were pictures taken on my trip to Amish Country with Nyna. The remind we of the experiences I've had and how the settings can be related or incorporated into a story.

Can you tell us a little bit about your new book Life with Lily? It looks good. What’s the book about and how did the process work with your co-writer Mary Ann Kinsinger?

Co-writing the series with Mary Ann has been such a delight! She was raised in an Old Order Amish home, married and started a family, but recently left the church. It’s been a painful experience. She started a blog, A Joyful Chaos, as a way to capture the stories of her childhood. It caught fire! She has over 30,000 visitors every month, and the New York Times mentioned it in an article. 

As Mary Ann and I became acquainted, we talked about collaborating on a book one day. I presented the idea to my editor and…fast forwarding…the proposal was accepted. Actually, we proposed three books: Lily Lapp as a young girl, a move to a new community where Lily meets a horrible boy who torments her, and then in book 3, Lily marries him. (Based on Mary Ann’s life!).

Revell came back with a surprise—four books to start and hold off on the courting story! Mary Ann and I got right to work. Book 1, Life with Lily, will release on October 1st, just in time for Christmas. Lily is a wonderful heroine—amusing, endearing, mischievous, and enveloped in a happy family.   

What is your favorite scene in The Haven? Why? Which scene in The Haven did you have the most fun writing? Why? 

Same answer to both questions! The following is a scene between two of my favorite characters, Mary Kate (M.K.) Lapp, Sadie’s youngest sister, and Jimmy Fisher, M.K.’s arch nemesis. The two are pressed into community service due to an unfortunate bad choice they had made:  

Jimmy was going to try to fix the sagging porch corner today, so he went back to the buggy to get his tools as M.K. started to unload the hamper. She added some wood to the smoldering fire in the stove so that she could warm up some oatmeal Fern had made for the old man’s breakfast. The stove started to smoke and seep soot. “You’d better clean out the stovepipe,” she told Jimmy as he passed through, swiping a cookie from the hamper of groceries.

“Me?” He mumbled around a cookie in his mouth. “That’ll take all morning. I wanted to get that porch done. I can’t do everything, you know.”

M.K. held back from giving him a snappy retort. “We can’t leave him with a clogged stovepipe. It’ll start a fire.” M.K. pulled a chair over to the stove. “I’ll help.”

Jimmy exhaled, a slow whistle. The pipe rose out of the stove and angled at the ceiling. He climbed up on the chair to try to pull apart the lengths but couldn’t work them loose. “Botheration! This could take all morning.”

M.K. pointed out to him that botheration wasn’t a word, but he ignored her. “Sometimes I think you are getting as deaf as Annie’s grandfather.”

“I hear you,” Jimmy grumbled, “but it goes in one ear and out the other.”
“Nothing to stop it,” M.K. said.
“It’s too bad you don’t think about things that the average person might actually have to face.”
“Like what?”
“Like how to tolerate working alongside one of the most aggravating girls on earth.”

It never took long on these Saturday mornings for Jimmy Fisher’s manners to go right out the window, which wasn’t a long toss. She thought about pushing his chair back so he would fall, but she supposed that might be mean. “And that, Jimmy Fisher, is just one of the many reasons why you don’t have a girlfriend.”

“Who would want one?” He looked down at her. “Nothing but a nuisance. But if I wanted girlfriends—” he snapped his fingers “—they’d come running.”

Sadly, that was true. It was a never-ending mystery to M.K. that so many girls swooned over the likes of Jimmy Fisher.

He hopped off the chair. “I’ve got a brilliant idea.” He reached into a pocket and drew out a metal tin. He opened it and showed M.K. what was inside. “Firecrackers.”

It was a well-known fact, to everyone but his mother, that Jimmy Fisher was never without firecrackers. He took three out of the tin. “Just takes a pinch of gunpowder to clear the stove, pipes, and chimney.” He snapped his fingers. “Easy as pie.”

For once, M.K. was the one to think twice. “Jimmy . . . I’m not sure . . .”

He waved her off. “Prepare to be swept up in a whirlwind of superior force.” He unlatched the stove door, then looked at her and squinted. “Uh, maybe you should stand back.”

M.K. went into the other room and watched from behind the doorjamb. Jimmy struck a match to the kindling inside and threw in the firecrackers.

Then quite a lot happened. With an explosion that left M.K.’s ears ringing into the new year, the whole stove danced on its legs. The stovepipe came clattering down from the ceiling, belching a bushel of black soot all over them and the entire kitchen. The windows were covered with coal dust, darkening the kitchen. M.K. thought Jimmy would have been killed outright by the explosion, but he seemed to be still standing. She saw his eyes blinking rapidly in the midst of his coal-blasted face. His eyebrows were missing.

“Maybe one firecracker might have been enough.” He spit soot out of his mouth. A burnt-powder haze hung in the room.

It took M.K. a few minutes to get over the shock of it. Then, she roared! “Jimmy Fisher! Er batt so viel as es finft Raad im Wagge!” That did as much good as a fifth wheel on a wagon! She stamped her foot and shook a fist at him. Her ears were still ringing. “I won’t be hearing right for a week or two!”

“As if you didn’t bring this all on yourself.”

M.K. and Jimmy whipped around to locate the source of that familiar voice.
Fern! So ubiquitous!

“At this rate, you two are going to be working off your Saturdays for the rest of your lives.” Fern said she happened to be leaving the Bent N’ Dent down the street when she heard the firecrackers and knew Jimmy Fisher was behind it. So, she decided to check up on them. “Good thing I did,” she said, as she folded up her sleeves to set to work. “The two of you without supervision are an accident waiting to happen.” She pointed to Jimmy. “Don’t look so surprised. A person could hear that explosion halfway to Harrisburg.”

“Oh, he’s not surprised,” M.K. said. “He just doesn’t have any eyebrows left.”

It took the three of them the rest of the morning to put the kitchen into the shape Fern expected it to be in. By noon, a miracle had taken place. Jimmy scooped a little soot here and there, not much, but at least he fit the stovepipe back together. M.K., naturally, did the work of ten, scrubbing, sweeping, polishing, dusting. The kitchen was restored to its pre-explosion condition. And the stovepipe was cleaned out.

Annie’s grandfather slept through the entire thing. When he woke up, he hollered for his lunch.

You are shipwrecked on an uninhabited tropical island with a group of Christians – all friends and relatives of yours. You all have to work as a team to survive. Many roles have to be filled. Which role do you think you’d play? 

Hmmm…maybe…a cook? Yes…that’s it. A cook. I would have an important role to serve, so they wouldn’t abandon me, and yet I wouldn’t have to go hunting (my eyesight is terrible!).   

You've been given 48 hours to hang out with any two (alive or dead). Who would you pick and what would you do? (Besides Jesus) 

Benjamin Franklin tops my list. He’s known as the elder statesman who winks at us. Gotta meet that man! I think if he were alive today, he would have an iPad, a Mac, and an Iphone jutting out of his coat pockets. 

Second person on my list would be Mary Coffin Starbuck, who brought Quakerism to Nantucket in the late 1600s.  She’s known as Deborah of the Old Testament, and I am writing a three book series for Revell about her influence on creating a faith-based community in Nantucket.
What three things would you rather not live without? (Besides friends and family) Assuming I would have food and water (still stuck on the tropical island, right?), 

I would like to have my computer, my own bed, and my dogs.
A friend of yours has a time machine and they are going to let you use it. Where would you go and what would you do? 

To Nantucket in the late 1600s to have a long, long chat with Mary Coffin Starbuck. Talk about original sourcing!
When you were young is there a movie that really affected your life? If so what was it? If you didn’t watch movies what book stood out to you when you were young? 

The first movie I ever went to was Sound of Music and I pitched a fit. I didn’t want to go! From the title, I thought I was going to be watching a weird man in a tux with tails (think Tim Burton, in that withered old man role that he played on The Carol Burnett Show) bring out musical instruments and play them, one by one. What a happy surprise to be wrong! Oh, I loved that movie.  
Thank you for letting me drop into the book club! I’m grateful for every single reader, book by book. I’d love to connect with you! You can find me on-line at


Thanks Suzanne for stopping by and giving us a peek into your new book. As always it’s fun to read your reader interaction at The Book Club Network. Thanks to Revell our sponsor for giving away 10 copies of The Haven during our Birthday Party in the month of August. 

I LOVE the Dialogue that you are having @TBCN - you had some really good questions that gave a peek into your story and also brought up some good discussions! It's been fun to read.  





Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network


  1. Love to read would really love to win this book .Thanks

  2. Isn't Suzanne delightful? Wasn't this just a great interview? Nora, you made this post so much fun and so very interesting. Suzanne, I am a hugh fan of your Amish fiction books. I have read every single one of them. (Except for The Haven.)

    Blessings to you Nora and Suzanne!


  3. great interview - lots of fun - love to have a copy of Suzanne's book

  4. Hi, Dana and Murray; The giveaway opportunity is @The Book Club Network. I included the link in the interview!! The address is The link is also on the FRONT PAGE of TBCN. You'll see the other books being given away there too!

    Thanks Judy for stopping by and reading the interview. I LOVED all the pictures that Suzanne gave me to work with! It does make the interview fun.

  5. We are very excited about celebrating our Second Birthday Party in a big way, thanks to Wynn Wynn Media, Bethany House Publishers, and Revell for making our birthday party possible!

    Everyone will have a chance to enter our contests everyday. FIRST you’ll have to join The Book Club Network – it’s free. Then you’ll answer one of the questions that the authors have come up with to be entered into the drawing. Winners will be picked once a week and announced once a week.

    We have so many great books being given away. You'll have a chance to enter drawings for different Christian Fiction books every day. The winners will be picked once a week and announced once a week.

    We are also THRILLED to announce that we'll be publishing our FIRST BOOK FUN MAGAZINE SEPT 1st. It's a digital Magazine about Book Clubs, Book Clubs, Events, Food, reviews and so so much more!!

    Our Birthday Bash is well under way and there is lots of reader and author interaction. You can still enter to win SERPENT OF MOSES by Don Hoesel, To Love and Cherish by Judith Miller and Tracie Peterson, The Haven by Suzanne Woods Fisher and tomorrow you’ll have a chance at winning Irene Hannon’s new book Lethal Legacy!! We have new book giveaways every day. I’m Thrilled to say that many of the authors will be interacting with readers as much as their schedule allows!! What’s has been GREAT fun to read!! The beauty of that is the discussion will be discovered by book club leaders and readers long after this month is gone!!


    Nora St.Laurent
    The Book Club Network CEO

  6. thanks for sharing.