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Friday, September 26, 2008

CFBA Blog Tour - Cindy Woodsmall and When the Soul Mends

Today's author is also fondly known as my "big sis." We met at ACFW conference a few years ago, and when I told her I had 3 brothers but no sisters, she unofficially adopted me. We've been "sisters" ever since. Her writing has been heralded as some of the best Amish stories in years. The intricate stories she crafts will stay with you long after you finish the last page. I'm sure you'll love her as much as I do.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
When the Soul Mends
Waterbrook Press - September 16, 2008)
by Cindy Woodsmall


CINDY WOODSMALL Cindy Woodsmall is a veteran homeschool mom. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.

Her first novel, When The Heart Cries, released in 2006 to much acclaim and became a Christian Book Association best seller. Cindy was a 2007 ECPA Christian Book Award finalist, along with Karen Kingsbury, Angela Hunt, and Charles Martin.

Her last book, When the Morning Comes, hit the New York Times best-sellers extended list and the Christian Book Association best-sellers list.

Cindy's real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity.

Cindy, her husband, their three sons and daughter-in-law reside in Georgia. Her husband is a registered land surveyor and a vice president at an engineering firm. Their oldest son has a bachelor's degree in nuclear medicine and works at a local hospital. Their second son and his wife are both students at the University of Georgia. Their teen-aged son keeps the household energized with his love of music, books, and writing.


Returning to the home she fled in disgrace, will Hannah find healing for the wounds of the past?

After receiving a desperate and confusing call from her sister, Hannah Lapp reluctantly returns to the Old Order Amish community of her Pennsylvania childhood.

Having fled in disgrace more than two years earlier, she finally has settled into a satisfying role in the Englischer world. She also has found love and a new family with the wealthy Martin Palmer and the children she is helping him raise. But almost immediately after her arrival in Owl's Perch, the disapproval of those who ostracized her, including her headstrong father, reopens old wounds.

As Hannah is thrown together with former fiancĂ© Paul Waddell to work for her sister Sarah's mental health, hidden truths surface about events during Hannah's absence, and she faces an agonizing decision. Will she choose the Englischer world and the man who restored her hope, or will she heed the call to return to the Plain Life–and perhaps to her first love?

If you would like to read an excerpt, go HERE.

"A skillfully written story of forgiveness and redemption. Woodsmall's authentic characters illustrate beautifully how wounded souls can indeed be mended."
Susan Meissner, author of The Shape of Mercy

"Like the stitches on a well-loved quilt, love and faith hold together Cindy Woodsmall's When the Soul Mends, the brilliantly written third story in the Sisters of the Quilt series. With deft plotting and characters that seem to jump off the page, this novel offers the timeless truth that forgiveness is the balm which heals all wounds and a blanket for the soul."
Kathleen Y'Barbo, author of Beloved Castaway

"What a vibrant, strong, emotional story! When the Heart Cries will grip you and not let go, I promise. Highly recommended!"
Gayle Roper, author of Allah's Fire and the Seaside Seasons series

"Reaching deep into the heart of the reader, Cindy Woodsmall pens a beautifully lyrical story in her debut novel When the Heart Cries."
Tamera Alexander, bestselling and RITA-award-winning author of Rekindled

Buy your copy of When the Soul Mends Today!


CINDY: Hi, Tiff. Thank you so much for this interview. I'm thrilled to bring the conclusion of Hannah's journey to readers, and I've been blessed over and over again by the support and faithfulness of readers.

1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

I had an Amish-Mennonite best friend growing up, and neither set of parents were pleased with the relationship. But one evening as an adult, I was listening to a song by Avalon called "Testify to Love." I was preparing dinner and dancing a bit to the music. I flipped the ketchup bottle into the air, and when it landed in my hand, a plotline came to me. I’d begun dabbling in writing a few weeks prior to that, but I knew the moment that woman came into my mind that she had a unique background. I didn’t know what that background was at the time. In my mind’s eye she was in the kitchen and a man stood at the entryway to the kitchen. As it turned out, she became Hannah, a young woman who had been raised Old Order Amish. She's the main character in all three books. And the man was Martin, who is a main character in books two and three—a wealthy engineer who'd been raised by Hannah's shunned aunt. The story began unfolding that night and I began writing.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

Each step I take in life is influenced by where I've been and what I've seen, heard, and experienced. So my characters start out as an influence of who I am. This seems to be the truest when following the internal journey of the characters. After some development within their story journey, the characters become who they are. It's a little like raising children. They begin with their own personality, but they're greatly influenced by their parents and environment. After traveling through their life/story journey, they become their own people—toddler-hood is forgotten, elementary school is over, teenage rebellion has dissipated, and they stand as adults with their own expressions of the value of life. My characters do the same thing and I have to follow their lead by writing according to their true selves—even though that sounds like an oxymoron since they aren't real.

3. If your heroine were an ice cream flavor, what would she be and why?

Hmmm, I have no idea. I guess I'm not an ice cream connoisseur. I can tell you my children's favorite ice creams. LOL! But narrowing a person, even a fictional one, down to one specific flavor? Ah, my little sis, you don't have enough time for me to analyze the ice creams and categorize the personalities of the hero/heroine to fit into said flavors.

4. What themes exist in When the Soul Mends that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

In life we find ourselves in places where we can't deny the longings of our hearts, but we can't follow them either. Sometimes where we find ourselves is a long way from where we thought we were going, but life is always a gift to be honored.

A theme that developed on its own as I wrote is this: Love doesn't have to be perfect when forgiveness is applied. Every dream doesn’t have to work out perfectly for life to be fulfilling and peaceful.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

One of my greatest challenges was getting past the opening. And I found that to be true for all three books. In book one an on-scene tragedy happens, and that took tears and physical headaches on my part. I felt very strongly that I couldn't open books two and three a few weeks, months, or years after the previous book ended. It seemed that for the integrity of not losing any part of Hannah's Amish past—or, for book three, her Englischer past—I needed to open each book where the previous one ended. The goal for books two and three was to share enough info so that new readers weren't confused, but to keep the pace moving forward so continuing readers didn’t feel like I was retelling the previous story. That made their openings tough to write.

My favorite parts of these books were Hannah's ability to adapt to her surroundings and her willingness to find ways to help people in each circumstance. The epilogue in When the Soul Mends is one of my favorite sections.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

I've just finished writing the novel The Hope of Refuge. I've turned it in to my publisher and it will come out in 2009—probably in the fall.

Raised in foster care and now twenty-six years old, Cara struggles against poverty, loss, and a stalker. When vague memories reveal snippets of life inside an Amish community, she follows every lead to discover the truth about her childhood. What she finds is more harsh than all her years of having no family.

The story is one of losses sustained due to poor choices made by her parents, and even as an adult, Cara continues to pay. But one Amish man dares to fulfill the command he thinks he's received from God: "Be Me to her."

* * * * *

Thank you, Cindy (big sis), for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of When the Soul Mends.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you leave your email address (name [at] domainname [dot] com/net) or that there's a way to contact you. Otherwise, you won't be entered. Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.

* * * * *


windycindy said...

Wonderful interview between you and your "sister!" My husband used to live next to a Mennonite family. There is an Amish community not too far from where we live. I have always been interested in the Amish way of life. I like their handmade furniture and dolls. Please enter me in your drawing for this wonderful book. Many thanks, Cindi

Lindsey said...

Thank you for the interview! I'm waiting impatiently to read this one. :-) I would love to be entered to win!

ladyufshalott at

Cherie J said...

Wonderful spotlight! Would love to be entered in the drawing.

squiresj said...

I am ready to read your third book. I have enjoyed your first two and right now a lady at church has borrowed them to read. I let my Church Secretary read them already. Keep up the good work and may God continue to annoint and keep you.

squiresj said...

I forgot to leave my email address. It is jrs362 AT hotmail DOT com
Jane Squires

Anonymous said...

Oh, I would love to win this one. I've heard so much about the series. please include me in the drawing.

I love you special announcement...very, very cool and congrad.!!

ldneuhof at hotmail dot com

Carolynn said...

Please enter me, I would love to win the book. I love this series!

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner from this drawing and that is:


Congratulations! I've sent you an email for your mailing information so Cindy can send out your book.

Others, check out the interviews on Sara Mills and Michelle Sutton to see if you've won.

As always, thanks to everyone for your continued support.