Author Spotlight: Emily Wierenga


Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from the last Author Spotlight giveaway is NANCY RODMAN! Please email info {at} suzannewoodsfisher {dot} com with your mailing address to claim your prize.


This week we are featuring Emily Wierenga! To enter to win a copy of her book, A Promise In Pieces (Abingdon), leave a comment on this post.

What is the smartest writing advice you ever got?

Emily Wierenga emailI was attending a writing retreat in Lake Como, Italy, and Janet Fitch, author of one of my favorite literary novels, White Oleander, was teaching a session on description. She got us to go outside and use our noses, our eyes, our ears, our fingers and tongue to describe the particular scene we were encountering, and to do it without using any kind of cliché, or by turning the cliché upside-down. That was the most memorable writing lesson, but the best advice has come from either one of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird or Steven King’s On Writing.

What was your biggest break?

I’m not sure that I’ve had it yet. I’ve been blessed by a number of beautiful endorsers for this debut novel (including our own Suzanne Woods Fisher), as well as some grand influencers like Jodi Piccoult, Susan Meissner, and Janet Fitch, and I am also excited about my memoir releasing in July with Baker Books. But I haven’t had a “big break” yet—more of a number of small breaks leaning gently against the other like a line of dominoes. And I think if we’re always waiting for the “big break,” we will miss the miracle in the small ones.

I’m inspired by . . .

Literary novelists and writers like Toni Morrison, Jeanette Walls, Barbara Kingsolver, Margaret Atwood and Khalid Hosseini—they all inspire me to write better and to say things in a newer, fresher way. I listen to music like The Piano Guys or Enya, or simply light a candle, grab some dark chocolate, and tea and sit in my favorite tan chair in the living room—the one by the bookshelves my husband made from his Pappa’s old farm boards, stocked full with children’s stories I read to my sons—and that’s where I find my inspiration. But before I even begin to write, I bow there in that chair, and I pray. Because without the Holy Spirit, my words are as dry as the bottom of an empty kettle.

My great adventure has been . . . 

I am a traveler, and my great adventure has been the amazing cultures I’ve been privileged to encounter. This past January I traveled to Uganda and Rwanda on a bloggers’ trip, and I fell hard in love with the joyous ebony people I encountered—the red ribbon roads, the children who run and hug your legs in their bare feet and ripped T-shirts, the babies without pants and the mothers looking tired but radiant. They have nothing and yet, everything, and I long to spend my life serving them.

The one thing I hope to discover is . . .

The secret to the kingdom of heaven—the pearl, that the merchant sold everything for. I want to find that pearl:

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. — Matthew 13:45-46 (KJV)

If I could go anywhere, it would be . . . 

I’ve been to Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The only continent I haven’t been is South America, and my husband and I would like to visit the Amazon Jungle in Brazil.

But truthfully? I would return to Africa in a heartbeat.

If you have only . . . an hour . . . 

I will hug my babies and husband and pray over them and sing to them and love on them.

Describe yourself in one word:A Promise in Pieces


If your house were on fire, what one thing would you save?

Besides my children, I can’t think of anything else—when my husband got in a car accident the other day, he asked me why I wasn’t upset about the car. “Because you’re alive, honey,” I said. “That’s all that matters.” And it’s true. In the end, it’s people who matter.

What has been your most surreal, “pinch-me-I’m-dreaming” moment so far?

When I was standing in Uganda, hugging babies. I have never been happier.

What drives you to succeed? 

For years I longed to succeed due to a terrible loneliness that formed when I was a little girl desperate for her Daddy’s attention. My father was a pastor who put ministry before family, so everything I did was an attempt to get his attention—and when I couldn’t, I got an eating disorder instead.

My Dad and I are good friends now, and the reason I write is because of a calling I feel from God. I believe he wants me to write to the best of my ability but any success I experience is entirely because of God’s favor, and not because of my talent. He is gracious, and I long to succeed only so that the money I make can go towards helping those children who are abandoned and starving in the slums of Uganda. Education and clean water will revolutionize their future; I long to give that to them.

Best Saturday Afternoon Read:

Anne of Green Gables 

Best Forgotten Custom:

Listening to people, playing board games with your family on the living room floor on Sunday afternoons, kissing your husband in public, singing.

Best Way to Break a Sweat:

I love to run. I don’t run fast, and to many passing by, it would probably appear like I am just speed walking, but those times down the country roads by my home are when I pray, when I soak in the silence of the fields and the sky, and when I find the peace I’ve been searching for all day.

Best Advice: 

Don’t write to be the best. Write to convey a message. But before you can convey that message, you need to live it. So don’t write until you’ve lived enough to have something to write about. And enjoy living. Live it to the hilt, with your hands raised high praising a God who loves you more than life itself.

More About the Author:

Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, commissioned artist and columnist, as well as the author of four books including A Promise in Pieces, releasing April 15 with Abingdon Press. She lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two sons. For more info, please visit Find her on Twitter or Facebook.


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About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.


  1. Donna Bayar Repsher says:

    Thanks, Suzanne, for introducing me to yet another author I’ve not yet read. I’d love to win a copy of her book, so please enter me in the giveaway.

  2. Michele Peti says:

    This sounds like a very interesting book. Thank you for introducing me to a great author I didn’t know about before and a book I’m sure I’ll enjoy. Please enter me into the giveaway.

  3. Emily–I read your interview and felt as if I was having a conversation with a good friend. So glad to have gotten to know you, both through your non-fiction and now, your fiction! Loved your comments about Uganda babies, too. A hug and a prayer–lasting forever.
    Warmly, Suzanne
    PS Hope we meet one day, face-to-face! Blessings on your novel.

    • Dearest Suzanne, What an honor to be here. You have become a friend to me, and I so appreciate you and your heart. I would love to meet face to face one day. Love, e.

  4. Jackie McNutt says:

    Suzanne, It was fun learning about Emily and her writing.
    She seems like such a down to earth person. I am looking forward to reading her book.
    thank you

  5. MS Barb says:

    Emily sounds like a very interesting person, and, sounds like she’d be a fun friend! THANKS for sharing her with us!

  6. Jennifer Long says:

    Thanks for the giveaway! Always looking for new Authors, thanks Suzanne!

  7. Jackie Tessnair says:

    I enjoyed this post.Thanks for sharing.I am looking forward to reading this book.I love the cover.Thanks so much for the chance to win and read it.

  8. sharon says:

    A most enjoyable post. Thanks for this introduction and giveaway.

  9. Carol Carman says:

    Thank you again, Suzanne, for another wonderful interview with this, a new author for me. I felt like Emily was sharing her heart, personally, with me alone, and I was moved to tears more than once. I would love to read her book and her “message.” Blessings on you both.

  10. Connie Hendryx says:

    Great interview! Thanks…

  11. I’m just so touched by all of these comments, friends. Bless you! e.

  12. Maryann says:

    Suzanne, what a wonderful interview with Emily. I like that she will use her writing to help those in Uganda.

  13. Kim Gayheart says:

    Thanks for all the hard work you do for us readers. Looking forward to this book.

  14. Enjoyed meeting Emily! Thank you, Suzanne. I related to her being a pastor’s daughter and also felt the congregation received way more from my parents than we did as their children. Yet God has a way of using everything in our lives to bring us to Him and then He can use us for His divine purposes. It’s inspiring to hear how touched you are, Emily by your trips to Africa and your mission to help them.
    I appreciate this giveaway opportunity.

    • Patricia says:

      sounds like a great book and a promising new author for whom to be on the lookout…

  15. D Stevens says:

    what an inspiring interview…

  16. June Shirey says:

    Great interview. Sounds like an enjoyable book and a promising new author. Thanks for a chance to win through this giveaway.

  17. Connie Saunders says:

    Wow, how did someone so young get to be so wise? Emily, you definitely have your priorities in order. I wish you much success with your writing career and I appreciate the chance to win this book.

  18. Wow, I really enjoyed reading this interview. Some really good thoughts to think on.


  19. Connie R. says:

    Would love to read this book. Thanks for introducing us to such intriguing authors!

  20. Janice says:

    I am always looking for good books to read.. Thanks for introducing us tp new authors.. 🙂

  21. nat says:

    wow! This sounds like a much needed read and relax break! Sunshine & warmth finally hitting MN, what better way to celebrate, than with a new book?

  22. Linda says:

    For some reason, I love reading books that have something to do with a quilt. There’s just something magical and warm about those stories… So thanks for this offer, Suzanne…maybe I’ll get lucky . (:

  23. Laura McLendon says:

    Smartest wiring advice is simply “Write Every Day”.

  24. Michelle says:

    I have read two of the books in the Quilts of Love series, “Beyond the Storm” and “A Wild Goose Chase Christmas”. I think they were by another author, but they were wonderful books. I love reading Christian Fiction books and have sort of a book club going with my Mom and Aunt. Anytime we find a good Christian novel, we pass it along between ourselves. 🙂

  25. Ola Norman says:

    Interesting interview. I think I’ll like the book.

  26. Barbara Thompson says:

    Emily is a new author to me and I really enjoyed her interview. Looking forward to reading her book. Thank you for the opportunity of the giveaway.

  27. Beverly Lytle says:

    Thank you, Suzanne and Emily, for an enjoyable interview. I have enjoyed each one of the Quilts of Love books I have read, and I look forward to this one as well.

  28. Nancy Horn says:

    One of my favorite past times is reading. I can sit with a good book or my Knidle for hours…poor hubs…has to beg for food! LOL Getting lost in the threads of a person’s story makes life so much more interesting! I love Amish reads, as well as Historical romance, Christian fiction and any book that has an inciteful and respectful story line and outcome.

  29. karenk says:

    what a wonderful posting/interview…thanks for the chance to read this novel 😉

  30. angela chesnut says:

    would love to win.

  31. Martha Peace says:

    I would love to win

  32. Rita Navarre says:

    I would love to win this book!

  33. Mary Calhoun says:

    Sounds like a winner!

  34. Carmee Ross says:

    Really enjoyed this interview, and would love the chance to read this book!

  35. Corky says:

    Looking forward to reading the book. Thanks for introducing it.

  36. Karen G says:

    Nice interview. I love the Quilts of Love series books. This one sounds really good. Would love a chance to win a copy. Thank you.

  37. Cathy Thomas says:

    I haven’t read this author but I’m going to have to.

  38. Wendy Davis says:

    Hi Emily,
    your book sounds like a winner. I can’t wait to read it. I am excited to read anything that is of good Christian content. I will add your name to my favorite authors list.

  39. Linda Kish says:

    It’s been great getting to know you. I agree, that people are the only thing important; things you can replace. I’d love to read your book.

  40. Thanks for a wonderful interview. Emily sounds like a very inspiring lady. I loved how much she wants to help those who really need the help. I have heard before that they are a happy people, and from us with so much always finding something to complain about and always wanting more. At least mot of us. My furniture , etc. are all very old, but is still very serviceable and I like it and am happy with it. Not always wanting new furniture. I love that she wants to help those people and would love to be there and help them and make friends. I would love to win her book. I too like that the Quilts of Love has gotten so popular. Was nice to meet another author thats new to me. Thanks Suzanne for this opportunity and would love you to put my name in the hat. Maxie mac (at) me ( dot) com

  41. Robin in NC says:

    What a Godly, charming & refreshing woman! Thank you Suzanne for sharing this wonderful interview!

  42. Lisa Stifler says:

    thank you sharing this interview. Emily is a new author to me and would love a chance to win one of her books.

  43. Renee says:

    I’d love to win this book. It sounds very good.

  44. Kay from NY says:

    New author for me. I will need to put this on my wish list – the book sounds really great. I would love a chance to win a copy. Thank you.

  45. Jennifer I says:

    I enjoyed this author interview. And I love the part about going outside and using your senses to then come up with descriptions without using cliches. This is how to hone in on the craft of writing. xo

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