New from best selling Christian fiction author
Today is a great day for many reasons! First, we’re halfway through a short work week for most. Praise! Secondly, we have author Cindy Woodsmall here today to share about her new novel, Seasons of Tomorrow, which released yesterday. And thirdly, we’re giving some of her new books away TODAY!
For your chance to win one of three copies of Seasons of Tomorrow, simply leave your name in the comments section of this post. And for fun, tell us what state you live in.
You have until midnight tonight (Wednesday, April 16) to enter. We’ll announce our 3 winners on Thursday morning.
(Giveaway rules listed at the end of post)
And now, let’s hear from Cindy about what lead her to write this novel which, come to find out, wasn’t in her original plans!
The Amish Vines and Orchards series has been well received by readers, but when you began writing it, you had intended to make it a three-book series. Book four, Seasons of Tomorrow, released yesterday. So what happened to cause you to write this fourth novel?
Love! Love for what readers would want from this series. Love for the characters, who are warmly based on real people. Love for my own broken heart, because by the end of book two, I was in tears. Could readers’ hearts and my own be mended through me writing only one more novel in the series? —not that I get passionately invested in the stories or anything.
When I began writing book one of Amish Vines and Orchards, I was overcome with fervor and excitement. While doing my research in preparation for writing this new series, I became intrigued with the beauty, trials, and victories of apple orchard farming in the Woodsmall family (http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/woodsmall-apple-orchard/). I also spent time with Old Order Amish friends and came in contact with a woman who struggled with forewarnings and insights. Were they of God or not? Should she embrace them or stand against them?
As I continued my research, I stumbled onto the most fascinating Amish settlement I’d come across in years, one that had moved to Maine only a couple of years earlier. I asked some of my Amish friends in Pennsylvania if they were familiar with the Maine group. As it turned out, one of my Old Order Amish friends was related to and spoke to those in the Maine settlement regularly.
With my imagination racing, my research in hand, and connections to knowledgeable resources for each aspect of the story, I began writing the series that became Amish Vines and Orchards. But the more I wrote, the larger the story became. Apparently there are times when an author shouldn’t have such great resources that help enrich her stories.
As I finished writing book one, A Season for Tending, I felt it ended in a good place. I had a few minor concerns as to how I would manage to wrap up all the story lines by the end of book three, but not too many.
When I finished writing book two, The Winnowing Season, I was teary-eyed and torn. What would happen next? Two brothers who were best friends were in love with the same woman, and unbeknownst to her, she wasn’t in love only with the one who’d been courting her.
Could I finish their story with only one novel left to write in the series?
As I stared at the screen through teary eyes, I had to admit that I wasn’t even sure who Rhoda should end up with. I dried my tears and rushed out the door with my husband to meet friends. It was time for our every-other-month dinner with four other couples that we’ve known for well over a decade. I love this diverse group. They’re clever, faithful, loving, and very down-to-earth. I entered the restaurant flustered, running late because I’d taken the time to write the last line of book two and my heart was pounding over the ending. With the story churning inside me like a storm, I was honest when one girlfriend asked how the writing was going.
“Confusing and heartbreaking!”
I’d never really talked shop with these friends before. They would ask, and I would talk for a few minutes before shifting the topic to how work or stay-at-home mom life was going for one of them. But this time, I needed their help, and soon the girls were fully engaged in a discussion of their personal pasts that led them to their right spouses. We discussed men they’d dated, who they’d almost married, and why they ended up with the ones they did. By the time we finished dessert and coffee, I knew who Rhoda would end up with and why. But my heart was still broken. Couldn’t I clone her? One Rhoda for each man? After all, despite my research and the situations that are “warmly based on real people,” I am writing fiction.
But the integrity of the story wouldn’t allow me to ponder that question for very long. The next natural question was what would happen to the man Rhoda didn’t end up with?
If Rhoda was going to handle herself in For Every Season in a manner that respected each man, herself, and God’s beautiful ethics about relationships, the journey would take time. A lot of time. There were also numerous other storylines that would take time to finish—all important aspects readers would want resolved in an emotionally satisfying way—which meant each facet would take a lot of pages. Would there be any room in book three to find healing and maybe even romance for the brother she didn’t end up with?
And what about Leah, the younger sister of the two brothers? She’s just a teen, healing from years of low self-esteem and making poor decisions. Will she have enough time in book three to go from rebellious teen who thinks God hates her into a mature young woman who’s ready to make decisions she can’t turn back from? What about the brothers? They had been best friends until Rhoda came along. Would there be time to heal that relationship?
With those questions pounding in my heart, I sat down to pen book three.
Months later, I was pleased with what had taken place in For Every Season. It was true to the original story, the research, and to the writer’s and readers’ hearts.
Still, I hadn’t finished the journey for the “other brother,” so I faced the dilemma I’d been concerned with—to either write an extra five to seven thousand words rushing the reader through what happens to all the characters in the future through added chapters and an epilogue, or ask my publisher to allow all of us to go on one more journey with Samuel, Jacob, Rhoda, Leah, Landon, Iva, Phoebe, and Steven.
I decided to turn in my manuscript to my editor and not say anything about a fourth book. I’ve had this same editor for every book I’ve written, and like my relationship with my girlfriends, I may not always agree with all of her opinions, but I trust her and the conclusions she comes to.
I wasn’t surprised when she called me about six weeks later and said, “You know what I think readers would enjoy the most? For you to restructure Leah’s journey in book three and give her time to mature, and for you to show the healing in the life of the brother who doesn’t face the future with Rhoda by his side. How would you feel about writing a fourth book?”
Um, this is how I felt: “THANK YOU!”
So, for readers who love family sagas, and these characters in particular, book four—Seasons of Tomorrow—is now available.
By entering today’s giveaway, you affirm and acknowledge LifeWay Christian Resources’ official promotion rules here.
Today’s giveaway starts at the posting time of this blog and ends Wednesday (4/16/14) at 11:59 p.m. central time. You must be 18 years old to enter and you may only enter once. The winner will be selected at random. For questions about the rules and regulations of this giveaway, please contact Rachel McRae at One LifeWay Plaza, Nashville, TN 37234.