Susan Lantz Simpson has been writing stories and poetry since penning her first poem at the age of six. Her love of words and books led to a degree in English/Education. She’s taught students of all ages, from prekindergarten to high school, and also worked as an editor for the federal government.
Having traced her heritage to Amish family, likely Plain, in Pennsylvania, Susan has a lifelong interest in the Amish. Plain Haven is her first Amish novel.
She lives in Maryland and is the mother of two daughters.
What started you on your writing path?
I’ve been writing ever since I could string words together. I wrote my first poem at age six and have been writing ever since. I have worked as a teacher, an editor, and a nurse but always wrote whenever I could carve out a few minutes.
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 have experienced quite a few twists and turns along the way, and many times struggled when the answer was “wait.” As a new college graduate, I wanted desperately to teach school and applied in nearly every school district in the state. Although interviews went well, I never got the job I applied for. Summer was nearly over, and I still had no job. Just before the start of the school year, I was contacted by a Christian high school that got my resume from the public school system. I interviewed and was hired. The school where I never even applied to teach turned out to be the perfect fit for me.
Let’s talk about your new novel, Plain Haven (May 2017). Please tell us about it.
Lilly Brandt was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now she is running for her life—straight into a small, obscure Amish Community in Southern Maryland. Now as Hannah Kurtz, she vows to remain aloof since she doesn’t expect to be in Cherry Hill long enough to form any attachments. But her head has neglected to inform her heart of this plan. She hadn’t counted on meeting and being attracted to the kind, young man with the amazing blue eyes.
Jacob Beiler, skilled young furniture maker, has made a vow of his own. After being jilted by the girl he trusted right before he is about to propose, he decides to focus strictly on honing his craft and guarding his heart from any future injury. When Hannah Kurtz drops into his world, she drops into his mending heart as well, thawing the wall of ice he has meticulously erected. Against his better judgement, he allows himself to care again and to trust another woman.
When the Amish community discovers Hannah is not really Amish and that she is not even Hannah Kurtz, Jacob feels betrayed yet again. Will Jacob be able to forgive Hannah’s necessary deception or will he turn his back on her despite her desperate attempts to reason with him?
What inspired the idea for the story?
I have always been interested in the Amish even from childhood. I have since learned that my ancestors were most likely Plain. Maybe the curiosity was some innate longing to connect with my family’s past. I have enjoyed reading inspirational fiction for years, particularly Amish, romance, and suspense novels. I decided to combine all these elements into one novel set near my home.
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?
Hmm. I can’t really think of a comfort food. Usually when I want to celebrate, I share my news with my daughters; they’re my biggest supporters.
What Bible passage or story best describes your personal journey of faith?
So many Bible passages speak to my heart. One I particularly like is from Romans 12:12. “Be joyful in hope, patient in tribulation, and faithful in prayer.”
Many times I have had to tell myself not to let anyone or anything steal the joy from my heart. I had to develop patience every time God’s answer was “wait,” and there have been lots of those times! I pray at all sorts of times and in all sorts of places.
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 combination. I’ve had to be the strong one many times in my life—as a single mom after the death of my husband, handling parents’ affairs after their deaths, making decisions at home and at work. I’m also the down-to-earth girl next door who enjoys the simple pleasures of life. And then there’s the little girl who likes to be playful. In all times, I try to be the best person I can be and try to follow Jesus’ example.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
I am an animal lover. I’d adopt every animal needing a home if I could. Currently, I have three cats and dote on my daughter’s Yorkie. I have shared my life with numerous cats, dogs, rabbits, and guinea pigs and have loved them all!
Thanks, Susan! It’s nice to have you as a guest at Divine Detour.
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For more information about Susan, visit her website and/or on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
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