Friday, September 14, 2007
Copper Star by Suzanne Woods Fisher
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Suzanne Woods Fisher’s critically acclaimed novel, Copper Star, recently released and has been flying off the shelves. The sequel, Copper Fire, is set to release in early 2008. Fisher is a contributing editor to Christian Parenting Today magazine. Her work has appeared in Today’s Christian Woman, Worldwide Challenge, ParentLife, and Marriage Partnership, among others. The best thing about being a writer, she feels, is that all of life becomes material for writing. It’s all grit for the oyster.
Find Suzanne Woods Fisher on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com
Why did you become a writer? Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
Throughout high school, reading and writing clearly became my only interests, despite dismal career options. (Besides, I was hopeless at everything else. True story: I took Algebra and got a “D,” which I blame largely on the thick accent of my Persian teacher. I couldn’t understand him. Sadly, I had to re-take the class in summer school and was greatly disappointed, on the first day, to discover the same Persian teacher standing at the front of the class. (When he saw me, he looked equally disappointed.)
I got another “D.”
Fast forward to Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, a small Christian college. I was on the staff of the college newspaper and met a young student named Ginny Hubbard. We became fast friends, though Ginny eventually transferred to Wheaton College in Illinois. Sharing a love of writing, we kept our relationship going through letters. A few years later, after we had both married and had started families, Ginny called me to ask if I could take over some freelancing jobs. I jumped at the chance. I started writing for Christian Retailing, then Christian Parenting Today, and eventually became a contributing editor for that magazine. And those relationships have opened other doors.
What do you love about being an author? Is there anything you dislike?
Most favorite part? All of life is material. It’s all grit for the oyster. Least favorite? I still only make a dime an hour. And I still get plenty of rude rejection letters!
How do you balance your personal and writing time?
I am constantly trying to find a balance. I don’t think I’ve ever had a typical day! Not with four kids and a corporate-guy husband, a steady stream of puppies we raise for Guide Dogs for the Blind, added into that mix is my parents. They just moved in across the street (yep! You read that right. As in wave-hello-as-you-pick-up-your-newspaper-off-the-driveway kind of proximity! Seriously! Check out my blog) because my father is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. But…let’s imagine what a typical day would be like. My goal is to try and get three to four hours of concentrated work in, nearly every day. I can’t get much more than that in, yet I think that’s reasonable. I don’t want a spine that ends up resembling a question mark.
How do you write? Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?
I start with an idea, but try to be open to changes as I research the era or discover new connections…so, I don’t have a story all buttoned up before I start. I used to think that it was necessary to have the entire story planned out before I could start to write fiction…and found that it was paralyzing! I didn’t even try! It’s much easier, at least for me, to just start with an idea, stay with it, be open to new ideas, twists and turns of the plot.
What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
My favorite is historical fiction, because it becomes a fascinating puzzle to fit true events into a storyline. I work hard at representing history in an accurate way—I want readers to enjoy a good story but to finish my book confident in what they’ve learned. Also, I try to write about interesting people who have been overlooked. For example: Louise Tracy, wife of Spencer Tracy. In 1942, Louise Tracy started a foundation (The John Tracy Clinic) to teach oral communication (lip reading and speaking) to pre-school age children. She and Spencer had a deaf son, John. Louise ignored the conventional wisdom of the day (sending John to an institution to learn sign language) and had remarkable success teaching him to communicate. There’s a deaf child in my novel Copper Star. I contacted the JTC while writing Copper Star and was able to write it into the storyline, with their blessing. Louise Tracy was a remarkable woman. Way ahead of her times! I loved being able to bring attention to such a woman through this novel.
What is the biggest misconception about being an author?
I have found that promoting my books is half (maybe even more than half) of the work of being an author. Connecting with people is wonderful—I love that part. But I didn’t realize how much marketing belongs to the author—any author! (Well, maybe not J. K. Rowling.)
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
A little of both. I start with an idea of a character, and add to him/her some quirks from people I know who resemble him/her.
Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
I really like my main character in Copper Star, Louisa, the young resistance worker smuggled out of Germany by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. She’s funny, determined, smart… and flawed. And she knows it! She has an ability not to take herself too seriously.
If you were writing a script for the big screen, who would you want to act in your movie?
There’s a young woman who played the youngest sister, Rose, in a short-run TV show called Related, whom I can picture as Louisa. She has that rare and wonderful combination of intelligence and naiveté.
What would you want readers to take away from your books?
What a relationship with God looks like, inside out.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?
A while ago, I went to my first writers’ conference expecting to connect with editors, plug a few queries, well, you know the drill. I left the conference with something even better: Three new writer friends all at the same “career place.” We have kept in touch (a cinch for e-mail junkies), edit each others’ work, and are even writing a devotional together to encourage new writers called Grit for the Oyster. I went to the conference with one intention; God had another one in mind. So my parting words are: Stay open. Stay optimistic. And remember that if God calls you to write, He’s not calling you to be the best, just to give your best.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite books (authors, too) point the way to God’s high path. Philip Yancey is my all-time favorite. I’ll read anything he writes.
What are you reading right now?
I’m waiting for my son to finish the seventh Harry Potter book! And I’m actually reading books (don’t laugh!) on rocket science for Copper Star’s sequel, Copper Fire (due to release in early 2008).
ABOUT THE BOOK:
FYI: Copper Star includes a reading guide for book clubs.
Smuggled out of Nazi Germany by theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, resistance worker Louisa waits out the war in a dusty Arizona copper mining town. Unable to leave resistance skills behind her, Louisa soon turns the town upside down, unearthing a mystery that leads right back to Germany.
Robert stood up to skim rocks across the pond. I watched the ripples form in the pond. “Do you think an evil person comes to power like that rock creates ripples? It just overpowers the good people?” I asked.
“Perhaps. But look what happens now,” he answered. He threw a handful of pebbles all around the area where the ripples were heading out over the pond. Each pebble stopped the rippling effect of the large rock, and started a rippling effect of its own, albeit smaller. Little by little, the small pebbles stopped the course that the original ripple has started.
“It just seems, somehow, Hitler was handed a very large rock,” I said, solemnly.
“Yes. Yes, he was. But he can and will be stopped. Each time someone does the right thing, it changes the course of evil.”
“Why, Robert,” I said, feeling a little cheered up, “that is the makings of a great sermon.”
“Louisa’s outspoken but humble and pious personality provides the perfect point of view for anecdotes of small-town life during the war years. Copper Star’s plot builds in conflict and excitement, and its tender romance warms the heart.”
-- Historical Novels Review
“The characters are well developed, the romance is very real and present, and the faith message is expertly woven in. This author is one to watch.”
-- Armchair Reviews
“Robert and Louisa's romance is sweet and easy to root for. The setting is rich and the plot has plenty of adventurous turns; I can see why Fisher would gain such a fan base surrounding this material.”
-- Executive from a major motion picture studio
“The time of World War II, when everything still hangs in a balance, yet the Allied victory may be near, is captured in all its hopefulness and terror. It is as if the author had lived through these times.”
-- Reader View
“The action in the story is moving quickly, and the character of Louisa is a lovable, somewhat feisty young woman who does not mind the taste of shoe leather in her mouth. A wonderful book that is highly recommended for all readers.”
-- Round Table Reviews
“Author Suzanne Woods Fisher has obviously done her research and does a great job of weaving history and fiction. A well-written and well-constructed historical novel, Copper Star delivers on a variety of levels. Although billed as an historical romance, Copper Star relies more on history and story, shunning the traditional fluff of the romance genre.”
-- Christian Fiction On-Line
“I envisioned a WWII movie playing out before me, the characters are so real and that you are actually there. This is a must read.”
-- Karen Find Out About New Book
“Evocative, spellbinding and richly compelling, this story weaves together with such intricacy and beauty that you won’t be able to stop reading until the very final page. It is a story of espionage and fear, war and death yet with it hope and love, forgiveness and faith. An inspirational read.”
Copper Star by Suzanne Woods Fisher
A World War II love story
Publisher: Vintage Romance Publishing
Release Date: June 30, 2007
$11.91 from Amazon.com
Purchase Copper Star by Suzanne Woods Fisher HERE!!!