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.
This week we are featuring Beth Wiseman! To enter to win a copy of her new book Plain Peace (Thomas Nelson), leave a comment on this post (U.S. addresses only).
Tell us a little about your new book. Plain Peace is book #6 in the Daughters of the Promise series. I love this story because it explores the relationships between so many of the different characters. Here is the blurb from the back cover:
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. Anna feels her own faith slipping when she is forced to deception in order to pursue her dream of marriage and family with Jacob. 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?
Anything new for you on the book horizon? I’m in the process of alternating between Amish books and non-Amish contemporaries. I also have a lot of novellas on the horizon. This is really the best of both for me. It’s like traveling to favorite destinations to visit old friends. Although, my next book—The Promise—will be a bit different than what I’ve done in the past. It’s a non-Amish contemporary that will take my readers across the world as my character embarks on a dangerous journey, questions her Christianity, and fights for her life. But even though I’m journeying in other directions, there are lots of Amish stories coming as well. 🙂
Why do you write? I don’t know if I could have given a good response to this question a few years ago. I probably would have said something cliché or given a stock answer. But the truth is that these stories minister to my soul. I hope that readers find my books entertaining and uplifting, and it is my desire that the reader will close the book with renewed feelings of faith, hope, and love. But I am truly pulling from the deepest parts of myself as many real life experiences find their way into my stories. God always has a plan, and if I had not experienced certain things in the past, I don’t think I would feel qualified to cover these topics. I’m flawed. My characters are flawed. And that is real life.
What are you best known for . . . writing or otherwise? I got my break writing Amish books, but I think I’m pretty well known for my love of shoes as well . . . lol. And I’m incredibly transparent. What you see is what you get, the good and the bad. I just try to spend each day being the best person that I can be.
Best author moment? When I won the Carol Award in 2011. I was fortunate to win it again this year, but that first time was my best author moment. I cried through my entire acceptance speech, and my head hurt so badly that I really did think I was going to have a stroke on stage. I just couldn’t believe it . . .
Worst author moment? I am racking my brain for a bad moment, but if it’s taking me this long, there must not have been one. If there was, I’ve gotten over it, buried it, and not let it hinder progress.
If you weren’t able to write, what would you do? Cry. Cry. Cry. Then I’d probably have to pick myself up and dive into another type of creative outlet. I love to paint in acrylics, even though I’m not very good at it.
Describe your ideal circumstances to write. I love my office (especially when it’s clean, lol), but when I need a change of scenery, there are two favorite places that I run to. I have friends in Colorado with a gorgeous house in the Rocky Mountains, and I love to go there when it’s snowing and have a fire in the fireplace. The view is amazing, and my friends nurture and take care of me—not always an easy task when I’m stressing under a deadline. My other favorite place is at the beach in Port Aransas, especially when there is nice cool breeze so that I can sit outside and hear the soothing sounds of the ocean as I write. That special spot is courtesy of my assistant, Janet. She is also very warm and nurturing, something I seem to need when I’m trying to finish up a book.
Right this moment, what does your office look like? My office is spotless. But that’s only because I just finished a book, and I like a fresh, clean office before I start another one. It was a disaster area with notes, papers, research everywhere. So, I packed it all up, dusted, and I’m ready for the next book.
How would you describe your writing style to a reader? Simplistically deep. I think my books are easy reads, but thought provoking. And there are always with messages of hope, faith, redemption, and forgiveness.
If you could write any book—on any topic—and be guaranteed a publishing contract, what topic would it be? (Or genre?) I think I just wrote that book! The Promise is mainstream fiction, longer than anything I’ve done before, and it delves into some issues that are prevalent in our lives now—religious prejudices, for example.
Ever had a bad review? How did you handle it? They say you’re not in the game until you are getting bad reviews, so I tried to remember that when I got a really bad one early in my career. I handled it badly. I went public on Facebook and cried to friends and readers. Not only did I get my hand slapped by my publicist (lovingly slapped), but my loyal followers bashed the reviewer on his site and it sort of went viral in our little circle. Then a radio station came calling and wanted to interview me about the whole ordeal. We declined, lol. Now, I cry silently if I get a really bad review, knowing that you can’t please everyone.
What’s one thing you learned about the publishing industry in the last five years? Last year? Last six months? I could probably write a book on everything I’ve learned about the publishing industry in the last five years, since I didn’t know anything when I started. But here are a few things that top the list: There will always be readers, but the publishing industry is still learning how to navigate in this new—and constantly changing—digital era. I’ve also learned that, sometimes, the world isn’t ready for the book of your heart—and more importantly, an author isn’t ready to write it yet. An author must earn her wings before she can fly in a new direction, such is the case when I when I was blessed with the opportunity to write The Promise.
Also, in the last five years, I’ve learned that writing is the hardest job I’ve ever had, but it garnishes the most rewards—and I don’t mean physical awards, but the rewards of the heart, the amazing emails and letters I get from readers. I’ve also learned that I’ve truly been given a gift, and with that comes responsibility to the reader.
In the past year, I’ve had to learn to be flexible. Editors, publishers, and agents change, right along with the changes within the industry, and change can be overwhelming only if you let it be. But change can be a good thing. And finally, over the last six months I have learned to recognize that the entire publishing empire will not go crumbling to the ground if I am two weeks late on a manuscript. That’s not to say I want to be habitually late, but I stressed out about it way too much.
How do you solve a grammar dilemma? The editor is always right. 🙂
Are you an introvert? Extrovert? In between? Totally 100% extrovert. Probably to a fault sometimes. I talk a lot . . . lol!
Do you enjoy public speaking as an author? Why or why not? Yes, I enjoy public speaking (see above answer). I love to write stories, and I love to talk about those stories, along with a host of other topics. I’m just chatty in general.
Can a person make a living as a writer? If you are fortunate and blessed enough to be in exactly the right place, at exactly the right time, and if you are totally committed to the craft and the hours you will have to put in to attain your dream—then, yes . . . you can make a living writing.
What are you working on now? Newest release? I’m starting on a fantastic project in conjunction with eleven other authors. The collection is called A Year of Weddings novella series, and each of the twelve authors are writing about a bride in each of the twelve months. My story will take place in July.
The House that Love Built—a contemporary based in Smithville, Texas—released this past April. Plain Peace released in November. And there are lots of Amish novellas in the works prior to my next full-length contemporary—The Promise—which will release in June of next year.
Any last thoughts to share? I love what I do. I’m exactly where I am supposed to be in my life. It took a long time to get here. But I am so incredibly grateful to my friends, family, readers, and of course our wonderful, wonderful God.
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Award-winning, best-selling author Beth Wiseman is best known for her Amish novels, but her most recent novels, Need You Now and The House that Love Built, are contemporaries set in small Texas towns. Both have received glowing reviews. Beth’s highly-anticipated novel, The Promise,is inspired by a true story.
Good news! The following books are on sale during the month of December:
The Lesson is $3.99 for Kindle until December 22.