Suzanne Woods Fisher returns with one of the season’s first Christmas stories. Enjoy meeting her characters.
Over to you, Suzanne:~
Two women—unlikely friends—are the main characters in “A Lancaster County Christmas.”
Jaime Fitzpatrick (non-Amish): Age 25, married, no children. Caucasian, curly red hair that she tries very, very, very hard to straighten. Has a natural outdoor beauty—a “cuteness.” Struggling to lose that exasperating extra five pounds. Works as a photographer at Sears Portrait Studio but prefers photographing nature.
Mattie Riehl (Amish): Age 28, married with one six-year-old son. Very plain in appearance—easy to overlook. Petite, fair-haired. Loves being a wife and mother.
Mattie Riehl: Scarlett Johansson without any make-up or touch-up!
Strengths and weaknesses
Jaime Fitzpatrick: A little self-centered and a lot insecure, leans to the materialistic side…but endearing. Very amusing.
Mattie Riehl: Calm, centered, mature, wise. Petite, fair-haired. Recently miscarried and is suffering from a mild depression. She’s the “hub of the extended family wheel.”
Quirk (if any)
Both of these women are coping with the realization that their lives aren’t turning out the way they had hoped and planned. Jaime Fitzpatrick blurts out whatever thought runs through her head. A total contrast to the Amish reserve. She gets herself into all kinds of awkward, amusing moments with her “lack of filter.” Yet her openness and vulnerability is good for Mattie Riehl, too.
Your inspiration for the characters
There were two threads that wove together to become a story…
In the Amish culture, motherhood is highly valued. I felt as if there could be a story in that: what does a woman do when she feels an inner and outer pull toward motherhood, and yet she isn’t able to have children? A character from “The Choice,” Mattie Riehl, came to mind as a woman who had the depth to tackle that enormous disappointment.
The story of Jaime Fitzpatrick was loosely based on the relationship a close friend of mine has with her father. I’ve known this friend long enough to see how her father’s “on again, off again” interest in being a dad has affected her. Hard stuff!
Over Christmas weekend, these two women weave an unlikely friendship that helps them both find what they’re looking for.
One little extra note: Service dogs is a subject near and dear to my heart. A very cool Search and Rescue dog plays a role in this story when a little boy wanders off in a snowstorm. I’ve been a puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind—many of the pups who don’t become guides are “career changed” into other service organizations—including Search and Rescue. SAR dogs and their handlers are truly heroic—risking life and limb to rescue lost people. I interviewed a friend, Celeste Butrym, who works at GDB and volunteers with SAR—she gave me all kinds of pointers and was kind enough to read the manuscript to make sure the search was accurately portrayed.
Background to the story
This is a story about two couples—one Amish, one English—whose lives intersect for 48 hours (Christmas weekend). Both couples are facing difficulties, for different reasons. And yet they both learn important lessons from each other.
Jaime and C. J. Fitzpatrick began their married life as most couples do–in love and looking forward to a bright future together. But four years later they’ve drifted apart and are almost ready to call it quits.
Mattie Riehl was hoping to give her husband Sol the Christmas gift they have both longed for–news that a baby was on the way. But as usual, she is disappointed. The holidays bring an acute awareness to Mattie that her dream of a big family isn’t likely to become a reality.
Then a winter storm raging outside blows the Fitzpatricks into the Riehl home–and into a much slower pace of life. Can these two couples from different worlds help each other understand the true meaning of love this Christmas?
Many thanks to you, Suzanne ~ so lovely to have you visit!
It’s Christmas in September!
To celebrate the release of her first Christmas book, Suzanne Woods Fisher has teamed up with her publisher, Revell, to bring you the “Christmas in September” iPad Giveaway! The winner will be announced on 9/27 at the A Lancaster County Christmas Facebook Party! Details below. Tell your friends and join in the fun (9/7-9/27).
Oh and be sure to follow the blog tour here – many of the bloggers have copies of the book to giveaway!
Suzanne and Revell will be presenting one merry winner with a Christmas Prize Pack (valued at over $600):
- A Brand New iPad 2 with Wi-Fi
- $25 gift certificate to iTunes
- A copy of A Lancaster County Christmas
To enter, click one of the icons below. But, hurry the giveaway ends on 9/26.
But, wait! There’s more! The winner will be announced at the A Lancaster County Christmas Facebook Party on 9/27 at Suzanne’s author page. During the party she’ll be revealing something *BIG* – you won’t want to miss it. She’ll also be hosting a book chat, trivia contest and giving away a few early Christmas presents! Hope to see you there.