Susan Lantz Simpson has been writing stories and poetry since the age of six when she penned her first poem. Her love of words and books led her to earn a degree in English/Education. She has taught students from prekindergarten to high school and has also worked as an editor for the federal government. She holds a second degree in nursing and has worked in hospitals and in community health.
Susan writes inspirational stories of love and faith and has also published a middle-grade novel (Ginger and the Bully). She lives in Maryland and is the mother of two daughters.
What drew you to the Amish genre?
I have always been fascinated by the Amish ever since I was a little girl and have tried to learn as much as possible about their ways. I admire their faith, strength, and ideals. I have read and enjoyed many Amish novels. We have Amish and Mennonite communities near my home in Southern Maryland. I had never come across any novels set here, so decided to try my hand at writing their stories.
Let’s talk about your new book, Lizzie’s Heart (Zebra, May 2020). Please tell us about it.
Lizzie Fisher is an Old Order Amish girl who loves weaving, animals, and art. Her secret love of drawing has kept her from joining her church. Quite by accident, she meets Stephen Zimmerman while on her way to rescue kittens from a burning building. They continue to find themselves thrown together by circumstances beyond their control and discover that they both have siblings who could use a little matchmaking help. Their plan backfires, and they find that a different match might be brewing. But how can a match be possible for an Old Order Amish girl and an Old Order Mennonite boy?
Why did you write this particular story?
Since we have Amish and Mennonite communities in Southern Maryland, I wondered what would happen if there was an attraction between members of the two groups. From there, my imagination ran away with itself. I like showing that differences can be resolved. “Where there is a will, there is a way,” became my motto.
Your books encourage and inspire others. What encourages and inspires you?
I can be inspired by a beautiful sunrise or sunset or some other wonder of nature or by a particularly meaningful song. My family and my readers encourage me. I receive so many wonderful responses from people who have found my books meaningful and enjoyable (even a 90+ year old great uncle!) I am very thankful for each and every one.
A few fun questions…
This website features writers as well as musicians, so I’d like to mix it up a bit. Do you listen to music when you write?
I don’t usually listen to music when I write. It is normally quiet. If there does happen to be any background noise, I tend to block it out when I get lost in a story.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
I would be something upbeat and catchy, something that would be memorable and leave someone smiling.
Are you a major or minor chord?
I am a major chord. I’m a “glass half full” kind of person. I try to look for the good in people and situations. I would much rather be joyful than melancholy.
Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
I love music. I do play the piano, but I’m not sure that I am particularly talented at it!
Thanks, Susan! It’s nice to have you as a guest at Divine Detour.
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