Interview With Author Suzanne Woods Fisher

# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

I have a couple of names: Suzanne, Mom and Mimi. My husband and friends call me Suzanne, my four young adult children know me as Mom. And Mimi is my nickname used by my grandchildren. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area with my husband and two big yellow labs, and have an enormous garden. That’s all the personal stuff. Professionally, I’m known as Suzanne Woods Fisher, an author of over 30 books, both fiction and non-fiction. My current release is At Lighthouse Point, the final book in the Three Sisters Island series.

# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?

This series is set on a remote island off the coast of Maine. The basic storyline is about a dad who realizes his three young adult daughters are growing estranged. He has to do something, he decides, so he buys a rundown summer camp on an island off of an island in Maine. His three daughters rush to the island, convinced dear old dad has lost his mind. But there’s just something about an island…

Each book features one of the sisters as a main character. The family is fictitious, but the remote island is based on some little islands off Bar Harbor. While researching the series, I traveled to those little islands. They’re not easy to get to, even in summer! I went into one community center (tiny) and met some very quirky Mainers. On the bulletin board were notices for numerous Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Imagine those long lonely winters! The isolation takes a toll.

But in the summer…those islands are glorious.

# What inspires/inspired your creativity?

Being in a place! There’s just nothing like original sourcing to spark creativity. Knowing what the sky looks like, the trees, the water, the people. Even little discoveries (like going into that tiny community center) inspires creativity.

# How do you deal with creative block?

I don’t believe in it. For me, writing is a discipline. I don’t want until I’m inspired…I just write. It’s not always good, but it keeps me moving forward.

# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

Little missed errors. So so frustrating! Many eyes look over a manuscript, yet typos or errors have a way of sneaking through.

# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

I give suggestions (lots of them!) to my publisher’s team, but the final choice is theirs to make.

# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

My very first published book with Revell received a horrible review from Publisher’s Weekly. The reviewer had nothing good to say. Nada. I thought I was done for. What I wished I’d known then was that a review was just one person’s subjective opinion. It wasn’t “truth.” And it didn’t forecast the book’s success. In fact, sales from that very book have sailed past 100,000 copies. Since then, I’ve been less affected by reviews. Even good ones. Those are also one person’s opinion. Instead, I try to do the best I can with each book and release expectations of its reception.

# How has your creation process improved over time?

Still a work in progress!

# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

In At Lighthouse Point, a small, charred lighthouse plays a main role. As part of promoting the book, I studied the history of lighthouses and shared some of the information on short Facebook videos. It shouldn’t surprise me…but everybody loves lighthouses. Those videos have been a big, big hit.


# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

Balance is just the right word. I keep my readers in mind as I write, but I also include scenes that I know might be cut or revised by my editor. Our agreement is that I’ll go ahead, push the envelope, and let her decide if something should pass through or not. She has a wonderful sense of what readers want. In fact, there’s a very pivotal moment in At Lighthouse Point in which I thought I might have gone too far…but no! It’s in there. (You’ll know what scene I mean when you read it.)

# What role do emotions play in creativity?

Can I substitute well-restedness in place of creativity? I write in the morning, when my brain is freshest. Words come twice as easily in the morning, after a good night sleep, than they do in the afternoon.

# Do you have any creativity tricks?

If you’re really stuck, set it aside. Do other tasks. Go for a walk. Get some fresh air in your brain. What seems insurmountable now might be easily fixed after a good break.

# What are your plans for future books?

In October, I have a wonderful book coming out that’s all about birds (I’m a closet birder). In A Season on the Wind, a rare bird ends up on an Amish farm, stirring up all kinds of interest (and trouble).

One of the editors said that she wasn’t sure she was going to like the book because she’s not into birds…but she did! And now she’s noticing birds everywhere.

Next spring, I have a new series coming out about an ice cream shop on Cape Cod, run by a mother and daughter (and you know how complicated that relationship can be!). You’re the first to hear the title: The Sweet Life.

# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

(See previous question…about me being a closet birder.)

Thank you for the interview! Loved the questions. I love to connect with readers. They can always find me on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com