USA Today bestselling author Susan Lantz Simpson has been writing stories and poetry since childhood. Her love of words and books led her to earn a degree in English-Education. She, subsequently, taught pre-kindergarten to high school level students and penned a middle-grade novel entitled Ginger and the Bully. Susan has also worked as an editor for the federal government and holds a degree in nursing.
Her inspirational novels include the Plainly Maryland Series, the Southern Maryland Amish Romances Series, and a novella, The Christmas Fudge Miracle, which is a part of the USA Today bestselling compilation Amish Christmas Miracles Collection.
Susan lives in Maryland and is the mother of two daughters.
What started you on your writing journey—and why Amish fiction?
I have been writing ever since I could hold a pencil. A poem I wrote in second grade won a red ribbon at the county fair, cementing my desire to write. I wrote short stories and poetry all during my school years and decided to try novel writing as an adult.
The Amish have always fascinated me. I remember seeing them at the farmers market as a child. We have Old Order Amish, Old Order Mennonite, and more modern Mennonite communities near my home. I remember discussing an Amish story with my mother many years ago, before any Amish fiction appeared on the market, so the seed had been germinating for a long time before I wrote my first Amish novel. I admire their faith and their hard work. I wanted to write realistic stories about Plain folks that would inspire and entertain my readers.
Just as all good novels include a plot twist, the Author and Creator of our lives often writes in a twist that ultimately blesses us more than our original plan. Have you ever experienced such a “Divine Detour”?
I’ve experienced many “detours” in my life. I always wanted to become a teacher, which I was fortunate enough to do. I have taught high school, middle school, and elementary school. I thought I would always teach, but plans changed. I became an editor for the federal government and honed my editorial skills.
After my children were in school, I went back to college for a degree in nursing and spent most of my nursing career in community health. At first, I felt bad about switching careers several times, but every job I had gave me a wealth of experience and tons of writing ideas. I believe God put me in each of the positions I held to respond to the needs of others and to increase my knowledge. Looking back, I don’t regret any of the changes, even if they were difficult at the time.
Let’s talk about your new book, Christina’s Courage (Vinspire Publishing, May 2023), the first in your Plain Path Series. Please tell us about the book.
Christina Brubacher loves running the nursery and store left to her by her grandmother. The serenity she has always known at her shop is completely destroyed, however, when she discovers the body of an Englisch man in her storage shed.
Compassion and a sense of justice prompt her and her longtime crush, Noah Zimmerman, to secretly join forces with the man’s distraught sister to find the murderer. But will they be able to keep their mission secret from their Old Order Mennonite community and put all the odd clues together before one of them becomes the next victim?
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
I don’t really have a “comfort food.” As a kid, I would have answered ice cream, but now if I want a snack, I usually choose pretzels, crackers, or grapes (I love grapes!).
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
I think I’m a little bit of all of these, but mainly the mysterious woman behind dark glasses. It isn’t that I am a hard person to figure out, but I’m an introvert and prefer to observe people and actions from the background. It’s so much fun to people watch. I would much rather write than talk, so I extract fibers from my observations and weave them into stories.
Is there a Bible story, parable, or passage that has been particularly important to you and/or describes your personal journey of faith?
I have a lot of favorite verses and passages. One of my favorites is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Many times I have wondered how I was going to do something or get through a difficult time, but this verse reminds me that Christ gives me the strength I need to persevere.
Another favorite is “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). This verse reminds me that God is in charge of everything. He is at work in every part of my life and can make all things good, even things that I mess up!
Thanks, Susan! It’s nice to have you as a guest at Divine Detour.
Thank you for having me!!
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