Bestselling and award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher offers readers a new series surrounding the life of an Amish deacon and the memorable characters he ministers to in Stoney Ridge. In Mending Fences (Revell), book one in The Deacon’s Family series, Luke Schrock returns to Stoney Ridge, struggling to make amends for his past. In this interview, Suzanne shares about the new novel, how it fits into the larger theme of the series, and what made her want to tell Luke and Izzy’s story…
Suzanne, Mending Fences is the first book in your latest series. What can you tell us about this novel?
Luke Schrock has been the “Amish bad boy” in a couple of books. He’s finally bottomed out, gone to rehab, and is coming home—but still has a long way to go on the path to recovery.
The title speaks to the story—Luke has been asked by the bishop to apologize to those he’d wronged, and to make amends. Both. They are Steps 8 and 9 from Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 Steps program.
It’s one thing to apologize, it’s another thing to make amends, to find out what damage he’d inflicted on others. For Luke, it’s a profound experience.
What’s the overarching theme or concept of the Deacon’s Family series?
In all three books, there’s a major theme about taking responsibility for one’s choices. Not so easy to do, not for any of us—but growth can’t happen without it.
And then there’s a minor theme in all three books, too: Protecting those who can’t defend themselves. The Amish aren’t perfect, but they do carefully guard values that reflect the character of God, such as that one.
Tell us about Luke Schrock and Izzy Miller. What about these two made you want to tell their story?
Luke Schrock and Izzy Miller met in a rehab facility—of all places for an Amish novel to begin! They’re very different individuals, but they both come to the story with “baggage.”
As their story starts to overlap, they begin to affect each other. Not in a good way, at first, but then there’s a shift. A crack. And things start to happen!
What do you hope readers take away after reading Mending Fences?
In the book of Romans, Paul wrote, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18, NLT). In other words, do your best to keep short accounts, to make amends.
Here’s what I’d like readers to think about after they finish reading Mending Fences: Which fences need mending in your life?
How does your faith impact how you write as a storyteller?
My faith impacts my writing the way a teabag infuses hot water with flavor and color and substance. It changes everything.
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Deacon’s Family #1
Suzanne Woods Fisher