Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Introducing Author Beth Wiseman

Beth Wiseman is an inspirational novelist and award-winning journalist. Currently contracted with Thomas Nelson Publishers for three inspirational Amish novels, Beth has also garnished eleven literary awards in the past four years—most recently, first place news writing for The Texas Press Association.

Prior to her success as a novelist and full time journalist, Beth freelanced. She has covered high performance boating competitions for Poker Run Magazine, written an article about her mother’s canoeing adventures, and also penned an article entitled "Coping with Premature Birth." Her writing is as diversified as the person she has grown into.

Beth's first novel, PLAIN PERFECT, releases today. The first in a 3-book series entitled 'Daughters of the Promise', each novel focuses on one woman's journey into an Amish community where she discovers new meaning to the words faith, hope, and love. When Beth was introduced to the Amish, she gained an appreciation for their simpler way of life and began writing love stories featuring this fascinating and endearing group of people. She and her family live in Texas.

Beth, thanks so much for taking the time to join us today. This is a big day for you--your baby, Plain Perfect, hits store shelves. How are you feeling right now?

Wonderfully blessed...like everything in my life has come full circle. I think that everything that has happened to me to date has all been in preparation for this book series.

Tell us about your journey to publication.

Oh boy. First word that comes to mind...LONG...a very long journey! I wrote my first story to my grandparents when I was five or six years old. My earliest memories are knowing that I wanted to write. Maybe I just talk a lot and think I always have something to say...lol.

My first publishable story never made it to print. As an adopted child who reconnected with her biological mother, I wrote an article for Redbook Magazine, for the "A Mother's Story" column detailing my experience. Redbook wanted to buy the story, but only if I would divulge the name of my biological mother. Her other children didn't know about me, so I couldn't do that. But it was the words from that first editor that inspired me to continue writing in some capacity, that perhaps I had an ability to touch people through my writing. That was 21 years ago.

Since then, I've written in some capacity for most of my life--magazine articles, a weekly column in Houston, and as a newspaper reporter for almost five years. But my passion has always been novels, love stories. However, I don't believe I was writing the type of love stories that God had in mind for me. I received my calling to write words that glorify Him during a very intense and heartbreaking time in my life. I had a sick child, and I spent a month with him camped out at Texas Children's Hospital. I'm glad to report that he's doing great! But it was shortly after my son's recovery that God let me know He had a different plan for my writing. I wrote PLAIN PERFECT in three months. My agent sold it in two weeks, as a 3-book series. My incredible agent did all this based off of the first three chapters of book one. I think when something this amazing happens, credit can only be given to God. That book pretty much just wrote itself. PLAIN PERFECT was my fifth completed manuscript.

Writing a story about the Amish isn't easy. How did you research the Amish way of life?

I started with hundreds of pages of research from books and the Internet. But early on, I was fortunate enough to connect with a woman whose mother was shunned by the Old Order Amish in Pennsylvania. Both women started helping me via the Internet. The daughter, Barbie, became a good friend. I sold the series in Dec. 2007. March of 2008, I traveled to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and stayed at Barbie's B&B. She introduced me to an Old Order Amish woman. Since they are very private people, I'll refer to her as Sarah for the purposes of this interview.

Sarah and her family were fabulous. I bombarded them all with questions which they graciously answered. They invited me to a mud sale in a neighboring city. If you're not familiar with a mud sale, stay tuned for book #2, PLAIN PURSUIT! Barbie and her mother read my manuscripts prior to publication to verify authenticity. Sarah has a phone out in her barn. I can leave her messages and she calls me back to answer any questions. There are recipes in the back of each book in the series, which by the way is called Daughters of the Promise, and these are Sarah's recipes which she was proud to let me share.

The third book in the series, PLAIN PROMISE, will take place during the winter. I'm trying to decide if I can brave the cold and go back this winter to get a feel for how things are during that season. Either way, great friendships have been established and I will be going back. I'm blessed to know these people.

And when book 3 is finished? What then?

A long, deep breath and lots of chocolate! Honestly, I don't know. I love writing inspirational stories about the Amish. This type of book is very popular right now, so I'm hoping for another series to follow behind this one.

You live in rural area and don't have the benefit of a local writing chapter. I know there are a lot of people out there in that same boat. What have you done over the years to help hone your craft?

READ - especially books in the genre I'm writing. Years ago, I thought writing a great story was enough. I still think a great story is what ultimately sells, but for an agent and/or editor to pick you up, honing the craft is essential. I read a lot of books about writing. The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman is a good one. Write Away by Elizabeth George is another good one. My favorite is Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. And, of course, writing every day--even if just a page or two--keeps your head in the game.


A good tip for all of us. Beth, thank you so much for joining us today. For a review of Plain Perfect, check out my personal blog. If you'd like to know more about Beth Wiseman, or check out the book trailer for Plain Perfect, visit her website, http://www.bethwiseman.net/ And if you'd like a chance to WIN your own copy of Plain Perfect, just leave a comment.

P.S. Ack! Here we are, half-way through the day, and I just realized I forgot to include the blurb on Plain Perfect!

On the rolling plains of Lancaster County, PA., Lillian Miller is searching for her grandparents’ house . . . and so much more. After years of neglect and abuse, she’s turning to a lifestyle of simplicity among the Amish to find herself.

As she discards the distractions of her former life, she befriends the young boy working on her family’s farm and his attractive widowed father, Samuel Stoltzfus. Despite Lillian’s best efforts to the contrary, her feelings for Samuel—and his for her—deepen. Will Lillian find her faith in Plain living, or will she be forced to return to her former life?

28 comments:

  1. Wow, I'm the first to comment (it's 2 am and I'm still up). :)

    What a great interview! Beth, congratulations on this first novel release! I know you're so, so excited.

    I loved hearing the story of how you've been able to visit Sarah. I hope you're able to go visit again this winter (even if it's not quite Texas weather!) :)

    Thanks so much for visiting the Faith blog today!

    Missy

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  2. I enjoyed reading this interview and would love to read this book. Please enter me in the drawing.

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  3. Dear Beth,
    Wonderful interview! I'm so happy for you. Congratulations on hitting this mark. I pray your journey just gets better and better from here. By the way, my first novel wrote itself in and out of hospital and an emergency birth with my son, much like your story. It's amazing to see how God works.
    Blessings from a fellow Thomas Nelson author,
    Nicole Seitz

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  4. Beth, what a great interview and the series sounds like it is going to be great. Please enter me in the drawing.

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

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  5. congrats on your first book! sounds like a great series :)

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  6. Congratulations, Beth! I've known you for only a small portion of the journey you have traveled in your life, but during that short time, you have inspired me in so many ways. May God continue to bless you, as you have blessed so many of us!

    Love always,
    Carol

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  7. Thanks for sharing your journey! I can't wait to read this book:)
    Regards,
    Liz Morey

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  8. Please enter me.

    Melissa
    forest_rose[at]yahoo.com

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  9. I always love reading about people's journeys ... and I love the Amish! It amazes me somewhat that this is one genre that readers never tire of--but they are such a fascinating people!

    Thanks to both of you for the interview!!

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  10. Congratulations, Beth. I can remember the excitement of my first book arriving. Enjoy it!

    I'd love to read your book. It sounds wonderful.

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  11. Looks good. Please put me in for the drawing.

    Nora

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  12. Wow! Thank you all SO much for sharing this special day with me! You guys are making me cry! I feel so incredibly blessed!

    Thank you again!!

    Beth Wiseman

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  13. Congrats on your first novel! It's so exciting to hear about how the story came together for you and the neat things that happened along the way. :) The whole series sounds really awesome!

    Kasey
    kaseylheinly(at)yahoo.com

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  14. Congratulations on your first sell! And thanks for the exciting interview! So many wonderful new authors and isn't it also great how we come to know each other and draw close in the process!

    Great interview!!!

    I would be blessed with a copy of your book
    Shirley Connolly
    http://apenforyourthoughts.blogspot.com/

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  15. Ooh! Sounds like a wonderful series. Would love to read this book. Please enter me in the drawing.

    cherierj(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  16. This looks like a great series - please enter me...

    Janna
    ryanx6 at msn dot com

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  17. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by! I hope you'll come back again.



    Beth, have you seen your book on the shelf yet? If so, be sure to take photos! :)

    Missy

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  18. please enter me, this looks really good!

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  19. Thanks again everyone! Missy, the nearest book store is an hour away and I'm buried in revisions for book #2! But it's killing me! I'm ready to get in the car and drive to Houston! And I will definately be taking pictures!

    Beth

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  20. What a great introduction! I'm really glad to meet you Beth! This book/series does sound delightful and is now making it to my TBR list. Please do include me to win, it would be so nice and jumpstart me in the series. Good luck with all you do!!!

    cherryblossommj (at) gmail [dot]com

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  21. The story sounds great. I appreciate how much research you put in and how sensitive you are to those who are your primary sources.

    Please enter my name in the drawing.
    keligwyn[at]earthlink[dot]net

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  22. Congratulations on your first novel, Beth! This sounds like a great book, and I'd love to read it. Please enter me in the drawing.

    Deborah Piccurelli
    DebPiccurelli[at]verizon[dot]net

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  23. Hello!
    Please enter my name in the drawing. Thanks & God Bless!
    Kyndra
    smile_y9[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  24. Loved reading the interview, and I would LOVE to read the book.

    Please enter me in the contest.

    Thank you,

    Becky C.
    rec(at)hiwaay(dot)net

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  25. Congrats Beth!!! Your story helps to encourage me on my writing journey. Keep it up, and my your writing be blessed.

    Dianna Shuford

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  26. Well goodness, Amish books must be popular from the amount of entries in the contest :-) Yippee for Beth!
    Thank you very much for visiting with us this week, Beth.

    Thank you also to our commenters.

    Angie

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  27. Thanks to all of you for making Beth feel so welcome. There's still a few more hours to enter.

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  28. I would love to read this - please enter me in the giveaway! And thank you so much for the interview!

    Lindsey
    ladyufshalott at yahoo.com

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