Sunday, December 8, 2013

Featured Author Interview: Beth Wiseman

Beth Wiseman is the best-selling author of the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of Canaan series.  Her books have held spots on the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) Bestseller List and the CBA (Christian Book Association) Bestseller List. 

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She was a recipient of the prestigious Carol Award in 2011 and 2013, three-time winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, INSPY Award winner, and recipient of the coveted HOLT Medallion.  Her first book in the Land of Canaan series--Seek Me With All Your Heart—was selected as the 2011 Women of Faith Book of the Year.  Beth is contracted with HarperCollins Christian Publishing into the year 2015, and she has completed twelve novels and seven novellas to date.

Beth has a deep affection for the Amish and their simpler way of life, and while she plans to continue writing Amish love stories, she is also branching out into other areas.

The following is a December 2013 interview with Beth.

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ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
AT THE END OF THE INTERVIEW


Be in to win a copy of
Plain Peace or An Amish Miracle 
by Beth Wiseman


One print copy of each to be won

Contest open to entrants in the USA only.


Contest runs from 6-19 December NZDT


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Tell us a little about yourself.

My husband and I are empty nesters enjoying small town life in South Central, Texas.  We share our quiet country life with three dogs, two cats, two pot-bellied pigs, four goats, and two roosters.  I’m committed to writing the stories that God lays upon my heart, but I also need balance in my life.  I’d be miserable if I wasn’t writing, but if I go too long without seeing my friends and family, that makes me unhappy too.  So ‘balance’ is a key word in my vocabulary, and six years and nineteen books later, I’m still working on it.


How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write?

I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember.  And I tried it all—secular romances, scary stories, middle school novels, freelancing, I was a humor columnist, and right before I published my first Christian fiction book in 2008, I was a newspaper reporter.  But none of it was ‘right’.  I always told people, “There is something I am supposed to do, but I just don’t know what it is.”  When I wrote my first book in this series--Plain Perfect—for the first time in my life, I was finally on the right path.  There was a peace that settled over me, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had found my calling.  It took me forty-five years, but looking back…I wasn’t ready prior to that.  We all know that God works on His own time frame.  He knew when I was ready.   


What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  

I think that Christian fiction can be a tricky genre to write for.  Readers want an entertaining story, but many are searching for answers or striving to have a closer relationship with God.  My goal is for the messages within the story to touch the readers’ heart, but not be too heavy-handed or preachy.    Sometimes a reader is on the fence about their spirituality, a person who longs for the peace that comes with a relationship with God.  I once had a woman who told me, “I’ve been really mad at God for a long time.  But then I read your books, and I’m considering trying to reestablish that relationship.”  For me, that is what is significant about Christian fiction.  God has a way of leading people to the stories that will minister to their soul, help them to heal, renew their faith, and sometimes—it’s an introduction to Him for the first time.

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How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write?  

I hope that readers find the stories entertaining, but I’m always thrilled when I get a letter or email that says one of my stories changed a life for the better.  Every book I write ministers to my own soul, and I love it when others are benefiting from God’s amazing grace, finding the messages within the story, and getting on their own intended path.  


What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why? 

The letters and emails that have dropped me to my knees have been the ones from people who shared their stories with me—in response to something I wrote.  I’ve heard from people who have been abused, raped, teen cutters, parents with autistic children, adoptees and mothers who put their children up for adoption—all subjects that have been in my books.  When a reader is personally affected by a book and it helps them to heal or brings them into God’s loving arms, then it is confirmation for me that I am doing exactly what I was meant to do.  The response that affected me the most was when a woman sent me a picture of her slit wrist.  She wasn’t trying to kill herself, but she was a ‘cutter’, and she wanted to educate me, to let me know that cutting isn’t exclusive to teenagers, that there are plenty of older people who cut also.  So, I learn things right along with my readers.  


How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ? 

 I will always remember when things began to change for me, when I started on a spiritual journey that I never could have foreseen.  I’d always been Christian.  But when I told God that I was going to spend the second half of my life making up for the things I felt I’d done wrong during the first half, everything in my life started to change.  My dad had recently died, I’d had a very sick child, and there was that moment (for me it was at Texas Children’s Hospital with my son) when I totally and completely gave myself to God.  I knew that God was giving me the gift of story to share with others, but I had no idea that every single book would push me to go further along on my own spiritual journey than I could have imagined.  I think we are all guilty of saying, “Why is this happening to me?” when things are going bad.  But without some of those life experiences, I wouldn’t have been able to write the kind of stories that I do.  

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Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life?  

I want to keep growing in my relationship with Christ.  I want to always strive to be a better person.  I want to quit carrying the burdens of my past because all that does is weigh a person down.  I want the peacefulness in my heart that I know only comes with a relationship with God.  I am a worrier, and I’m scared of every little thing—something happening to one of my kids, my mom, or my husband, and a long list of other things.  I know everyone worries, but I’m a bit excessive sometimes, so my goal is to put my life totally in God’s hands with a complete understanding that everything is His will.  All the worrying and fear in the world isn’t going to help, only hinder my efforts to serve Him.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to paint in acrylics.  I am not any good at it, but it’s a creative outlet that relaxes me.  I love when my best friend comes to visit and we sit outside, listen to old 70s music, catch up on each other’s lives…and just paint.  :-)


What can you tell us about your latest novels?  

I’m in the process of transitioning between Amish novels and non-Amish contemporaries.  So far, I’ve written two books that aren’t Amish, both based in small Texas towns--Need You Now and The House that Love Built.  In both books, I tackled some tough issues, but I’ve done that in my Amish books as well.  I strive to keep things ‘real’.  People are flawed, and so are my characters.  But with the grace of God, we are given the freedom to choose are destinies, and in each of my books, you’ll find my characters searching for the right path, longing for the inner peace that only comes from a relationship with God. 

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What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead?  

There is a very different type of book on the horizon, one that I recently completed.  It’s titled The Promise, and while it’s fiction, it was inspired by a true story.  It will take readers across the world one of the most dangerous places on the planet.  It starts in Houston, Texas, but my character travels to Pakistan.  It’s romantic, suspenseful, and I believe thought-provoking as my character questions what it means to be a Christian.  I also recently completed two novella collections with other authors.  An Amish Miracle releases December 3, on I worked with Ruth Reid and Mary Ellis on that collection.  And An Amish Garden comes out in March 2014, and in that collection, I worked with Kathleen Fuller, Tricia Goyer, and Vannetta Chapman.  All of the ladies mentioned in both of these collections are fabulous authors, and it was an honor partnering with them on these collections. 


What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?  

A huge thank you!  I am blessed more than I could have ever dreamed.  I wanted to write one book, to possibly change one life—and the fact that I am starting my 20th book…well, it’s mindboggling.  Once God opened the door, he filled my head with stories to tell, and hopefully I’ll be worthy of His continued blessings.


Do you have any parting words? 

If you would like to keep up with me and my books, you can find me on Facebook at ‘Fans of Beth Wiseman’.  I also have a website at www.bethwiseman.com.  Another big thank you to readers, and I’ll do my best to keep writing stories that I pray will entertain, lift spirits, and give cause to think about what it means to be a Daughter of the Promise—someone who has traveled a spiritual journey where they find new meaning to the words faith, hope, and love.  :-) 


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The House that Love Built

Brooke has only loved one man, her late husband. Owen’s rebuilding after a painful divorce. Can a mysterious house bring them together for a second chance at love?

In the charming town of Smithville, Texas, Brooke Holloway is raising two young children on her own, supporting them by running the family hardware store. The last thing on her mind is falling in love. But she’s intrigued when a stranger moves to town and buys the old Hadley mansion. She’s always heard that house holds a secret—maybe even a treasure—and she can’t wait to see inside. When she meets the new owner and they spend time together, she can’t deny the attraction. Could God be giving her another chance at happiness? Or is she betraying her late husband’s memory by even thinking that way?

Owen Saunders bought the Hadley place to spite his cheating ex-wife. She’d always wanted to restore an old house in Smithville. Now he’s going to do it without her. But if anything needs restoration, it is Owen’s heart. Then he meets Brooke and her kids and finds himself tempted by love. Can he bring himself to trust a woman again?

Throw an eccentric uncle into the mix, along with the town’s teenage troublemaker, and even a finicky cat—and one thing becomes clear: God is bringing them all together for a reason.

Purchase The House that Love Built:
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle
The Book Depository]


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Plain Peace

Anna loves the grandfather who raised her, but his strict adherence to the Ordnung is scaring away any boy who might be interested in her—except newcomer Jacob.

In normal circumstances Anna Byler would have her choice of any of the young men in her Amish community. But because of the strict rules enforced by her grandfather, the bishop, the available suitors are afraid to court her. Then handsome Jacob Hostetler moves to Paradise and decides Anna is worth the challenge.

Anna sees that the bishop’s legalism is dividing the community and risking the lives of its members—but her grandfather doesn’t. When she is forced to deception in order to pursue her dream of marriage and family with Jacob, Anna feels her own faith slipping. If only she could get her grandmother to help her stand up to the bishop. But Mammi is keeping secrets of her own.

Anna wants to honor her grandparents, the two most important people in her life, but her heart is divided by the rules that guide their little Amish community and the growing love she has for Jacob. How can she be true to both?


Purchase Plain Peace (Daughters of the Promise #6): 
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle
The Book Depository]


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An Amish Miracle

"Always Beautiful" by Beth Wiseman: 
Becky Byler is eighteen and overweight. She is overwhelmed by the embarrassment she feels when comparing herself to other girls her age. Having lost all hope, she considers taking her own life. As she stands before rushing water, unable to swim, Becky begs God for a miracle. In just several months, Becky sees her prayers answered as food and temptation lose their hold over her. She’s finally pleased with how she looks, but does she like the person she has become? And has the man she has dreamed of been right beside her all along, loving her exactly as she is? 



"Always His Providence" by Ruth Reid: 
Widow Rosa Hostetler has one month to pay her delinquent taxes before the county auctions her farm. She’s prepared to sell whatever is necessary to pay the lien, but she isn’t willing to request money from the community’s widow fund. She’s embarrassed and refuses to admit she needs help. Rosa depends on income from selling eggs, but when that income is threatened, only a miracle can help Rosa accept the kindness of a neighbor.

"Always in My Heart" by Mary Ellis: 
Hope Bowman believes God is punishing her for giving up her firstborn son when she was a teenager. She’s hidden this secret from her husband, who is thankful for their daughters but longs for a son. Hope prays desperately, but the son God sends her isn’t a new baby. It’s the fifteen-year-old boy she gave up years ago.

Purchase An Amish Miracle
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle
The Book Depository]


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An Amish Garden

"Where Healing Blooms" by Vannetta Chapman
Emma discovers a run-away teen in her barn, and the bishop asks her to provide a haven for a woman and her two children. Then her mother-in-law reveals a secret about her garden. Will Emma choose loneliness or learn to accept God’s gifts?

"Flowers for Rachael" by Kathleen Fuller
Rachael’s garden is beautiful, but she is lonely. Gideon is in love with Rachael, but when Rachael finds her garden in shambles after a crisis, she rejects his help. Will she realize she doesn’t have to do everything on her own?

"Seeds of Love" by Tricia Goyer
When a corporation shows interest in buying Sadie’s heirloom seeds, she panics. They are all she has left of her Dat and Mem. Eli believes he can help Sadie, but a misunderstanding leaves her heartbroken. Will she trust him again, and will the seeds of a new relationshiptake root?

"Planting a Future" by Beth Wiseman
Rosemary is doing her best to run her family’s household. She excels at all her tasks except one: gardening. Saul has been interested in her for years, but Rosemary has turned him down repeatedly.Saul begins helping with her family’s garden, but someone is sabotaging his efforts—and keeping a secret that could change their lives.


Pre-Order An Amish Garden
[Amazon.com | Amazon Kindle
The Book Depository]



Buy Beth's Books at The Book Depository

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

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Be in to win a copy of
Plain Peace or 

An Amish Miracle 
by Beth Wiseman


One print copy of each to be won

Contest open to entrants 
in the USA only.

Contest runs from 6-19 December NZDT


Please comment about the interview, or leave a message for Beth when making a blog post comment. Simply commenting about entering the draw or wanting to win the books does not qualify for valid entry into the draw. 

All entries must be made using the Rafflecopter contest to be eligible for drawing. Winning entries drawn will have their entry options validated before being accepted - if incomplete another entry will be drawn. 


Read Previous Featured Author Interviews


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