Suzanne Woods Fisher is the award-winning, bestselling author of more than 30 books, including The Sweet Life and The Secret to Happiness, as well as many beloved contemporary romance and Amish romance series. She is also the author of several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and Amish Proverbs. She lives in California.
In this interview, Suzanne talks with us about her latest Amish Romance novel, Lost and Found.
FF: Please provide a brief summary of your new novel, Lost and Found.
When Trudy Yoder hears about the plans to build at Wonder Lake, she goes straight to Micah Weaver. Together, they’ll find a way to stop the destruction of this beautiful bird sanctuary. After all, they’re a team. More than just friends. But Micah’s response is to leave Stoney Ridge.
Wonder Lake’s dire news tips Micah Weaver over the edge. He loves his community, loves the church, is grudgingly fond of Trudy Yoder—the only person on earth who doesn’t seem to realize he has a stutter—but he loves birds more. His plan is to head somewhere to chase down the most wily birds—the ones that don’t want to be found. Where, he doesn’t know. Not until phone calls start coming in from Shelley, Trudy’s estranged older sister, the girl who had once broken Micah’s heart. She’s in danger, Shelley says, and needs his help.
And suddenly Micah is on the best chase of his life.
FF: Your two main protagonists are Trudy Yoder and Micah Weaver, but you have a third character who plays a significant role in both Trudy’s and Micah’s lives. Can you please introduce this person and explain her relationship with Trudy and Micah?
Shelley Yoder played a significant role in A Season on the Wind in which sister Trudy lives in her shadow and Micah Weaver longs for her heart. Beautiful and gifted, Shelley left Stoney Ridge to pursue a singing career, leaving wounds. Shelley has left home, but home hasn’t left Shelley.
FF: You introduce two new sects of the Older Order Amish church in Lost and Found. Why did you include them in the novel?
One of the biggest mistakes people make is to assume that the Amish are one-size-fits-all. Not true! There’s a wide spectrum of Old Order Amish—from the progressive Beachys, who drive cars and allow modern technology in their homes, to the ultra-conservative Swartzentrubers, who flatly reject all modern conveniences (including indoor plumbing), to the Stoney Ridge church that lies in the middle. In Lost and Found, all three churches have a stake in how the story unfolds. This is what I enjoy about the Amish—there’s always something new to learn.
FF: The clock is ticking in Lost and Found. Can you provide some details as to why?
The little Amish church of Stoney Ridge is under pressure. Ever since the Beachys, a more progressive church, moved in, there’s been less affordable farmland, fewer jobs, and more temptations for their youth to jump the fence. Historically, the Amish move on to avoid conflicts. So Bishop David Stoltzfus sends a team to scout out a new location, led by a very-eager-to-go Micah Weaver. Panicking, Trudy Yoder knows that her father would never leave Stoney Ridge without his estranged daughter, Shelley. If Trudy can stop the Beachys from building at Wonder Lake and destroying the bird sanctuary, she’ll keep her beloved Micah Weaver from leaving town to find new birds to chase. What Trudy doesn’t know is that Micah is already on a chase to find Shelley, the girl who broke his heart.
FF: Micah desires to further his experience as a field guide for birding. How does his knowledge in this area help him in his search for Trudy’s missing sister?
Micah, Trudy says, can find any bird. He has an almost otherworldliness about birds, like he can almost think like them. His birding mantra: Stop. Look. Listen. Identify. When Shelley Yoder started leaving phone messages for Micah, he was able to listen carefully to background sounds to narrow down her whereabouts. Listening well, Micah says, is the most important skill of all.
FF: You’re known for choosing unusual topics to write about the Amish. Why did you choose birding for this novel?
The Amish hold a reverence for nature, especially for birds. Every Amish farm is dotted with bird feeders and birdhouses—both for insect control and for sheer enjoyment. Birding is a popular pastime for Amish families, including children of all ages. Unlike most birders, the Amish don’t use technology while birding (such as smartphones to “call in” birds). They only bring their scopes and their patience.
FF: What are some of the main themes covered in Lost and Found and what do you hope readers will gain from reading your book?
When I first tossed out the plotline of relocating the Amish church of Stoney Ridge, my editor gave it a thumbs-up. “I like it,” she said. “America is on the move.” In 2020, according to the US Census, nearly 10 percent of Americans relocated. In this story, Bishop David Stoltzfus realized there were two things at stake in considering a relocation for the church: Leaving Stoney Ridge, and all that would mean. Staying put, and what would need to change. If relocating your home is something you’re thinking about, both points seem worth a good, long ponder.
FF: What do you love most about writing Amish fiction novels?
The simple life has always resonated with me. Simple as in prioritizing the most important things, like faith and family, and making life less complicated. It’s a constant battle to hold on to those values in this fast-paced world, and the Amish remind us that it can be done.
FF: How does Lost and Found complement A Season on the Wind?
While both novels are stand-alones, they are similar in structure, with amusing bird logs in between chapters. A Season on the Wind carried Micah’s point of view. Trudy gets her turn in Lost and Found. If you liked A Season on the Wind, you’re sure to like Lost and Found.
Lost and Found
Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genres: Amish Romance
Release Date: September 26, 2023
Trudy Yoder shares a passion for birding with Micah Weaver—and she has an even greater passion for Micah. Their friendship is finally turning romantic when Micah abruptly grows cold. Worse still, he wants to leave Stoney Ridge.
Micah Weaver thought he was over Trudy’s older sister. A year and a half ago, Shelley had broken his heart when she ran away from Stoney Ridge to pursue a singing career in Nashville. Then, out of the blue, she’s started to leave distressing phone messages for him.
When the bishop asks for volunteers to scout out a possible church relocation in Tennessee, Micah is the first to raise his hand. Despite scant details, he’s confident he can find Shelley. After all, his reputation as a field guide is based on finding birds that don’t want to be found.
What Micah doesn’t know is that what you’re looking for isn’t always what you find.
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