Tag Archives: Still life in Shadows

Still Life in Shadows Author, Alice J. Wisler visits the Scribes!

Happy Sunday! Katy Lee here with Author, Alice J. Wisler. Last week I spoke on my thoughts of her latest release, Still Life in Shadows, and now today I am excited to have Alice here to share more about herself and her fascinating EX-Amish story.

Alice, as authors who have moments of doubt, we always like to ask other authors how they battle their doubt monster. How do you handle that monster?

Thanks for having me, Katy, and that’s a tough one.  Reading about how well other authors are doing while working on a new project can make me feel the doubt.  I try not to compare myself to others.  God made us each as unique vessels and I aim to do my part of being the only Alice like this Alice.  I read some verses on how I’m loved and made by God and then go on a walk (I like to walk 3 miles each day) and that’s when I’ll remind Him that He gave me this desire to write, so please, please, encourage me today.  Encouragement follows—a fan letter, a new idea to my plot, etc. 

Perfectly said. You write like Alice and no one else. But have you thought about writing something that is completely different for you?  Perhaps writing in a new genre or just taking a story someplace that you haven’t done before.

My recent release, STILL LIFE IN SHADOWS, is a new venture for me—it’s my first published novel that is written in third person with two POVs. My other four novels with Bethany House have been written in first person from a single female POV.

Well, you did fabulous with this new venture into third person. I loved all the characters and what each brought to the story.

So now tell us, what is the most surprising thing that has happened in your writing career?

Having Chip MacGregor (whom I have yet to meet) take me on as one of his clients.

He is a wonderful agent and person. I hear great things about him. Congratulations!

Now, what would you do if you couldn’t be a writer any longer?

I think I’d want to be an actress in stage plays.  I love drama!

So how do you come up with your shtick?   By shtick I mean your voice. That thing that identifies the story as belonging to only you.  Perhaps an element to your stories like small towns or a thread of equestrian-life or medieval dialogue…something that says these are the type of stories that are your brand.

I like to think my shtick is quirky, fun, food-related, Southern, humorous and solemn—all mixed into one story.

 And I would have to agree.

What is your junk food of choice?

Let’s see, that would be trail mix, which isn’t too “junky” and chocolate. Oh, and butter pecan ice cream and oatmeal cookies.

Butter Pecan … my favorite.

What’s the most dangerous or risky thing that you’ve done?

Probably that would be sneaking out of the dorm in high school.  We’d climb out windows onto the dorm roof at our dormitory in Kobe, Japan. We were usually successful, but once I did get caught and that was no fun.

Kobe, Japan! Would love to hear more about why you lived there. But first, tell us about your book!

Fifteen years ago, Gideon Miller escaped the Amish lifestyle and now helps dissatisfied youth relocate from Old Order communities. Two unexpected people enter his auto repair shop in Twin Branches, NC—-Moriah, his younger brother with a drug habit, and Kiki, a thirteen-year-old autistic girl with a knack for fixing bicycles. Based on National Geographic’s Amish: Out of Order, Still Life in Shadows (River North/Moody) is a story of running from the past only to find it again, forgiveness, and the deep desire to belong.
Join her on Facebook at her author page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Alice-J-Wisler/333751835453
And of course, her website:  http://www.alicewisler.com
Readers: Feel free to leave questions and comments for Alice! Or even words of encouragement.

Still Life in Shadows – My Thoughts on this EX-Amish Story

Greetings, Katy Lee here with my thoughts and review of an ex-Amish book. That’s right, I said EX. I typically do not read Amish books, but this one caught my eye. So much so that after I read it, I invited the author, Alice J. Wisler, to stop by next Sunday for a little chat on her call to step out and write about the other side of the Amish stories. The stories of Amish people leaving their familiar lives behind for the unfamiliar, and why they do it. But for today, I wanted to share how the story effected me. It definitely brought back some memories.

When I was a kid, I took a vacation with my family to Lancaster, PA. I, like so many other Americans, was curious about the Amish way of life. I devoured books based in Amish communities and loved movies set there. I was in awe that these simple people were able to hold onto their peaceful existence amongst a harsh world.

So, when I had a chance to visit one of these communities, I took notice of the people whenever we encountered them along our travels. Some welcomed us into their homes. One even allowed us to take their picture from behind. I saw a woman mowing her lawn with an old-fashioned blade push mower. I saw young girls in bright colored clothing at amusement parks. I saw beautifully made quilts and fine woodworking. And all along the way, I kept thinking how lucky these people were.

Something I didn’t realize was that my mother was snapping pictures, capturing these people and their simple way of life when she thought no one was looking. It wasn’t until we returned home and developed the film that we saw every picture had come out black. You see, these were the days when your 35mm came with a removable lens cover and the camera didn’t alert you when the cover was on. Whole rolls of film could be snapped without the photographer ever knowing that the cap hadn’t been removed.

I can remember saying to my mother, “It serves you right, sneaking pictures of people like that, especially people who are trying to separate themselves from the sin of this world.” It wouldn’t be until years later on an afternoon talk show that I got an eye-opening glimpse into the Amish life. And from there, more truth began to filter out into the world that even the simple Amish had battles to fight. As green as that grass was that that woman was mowing, it was no greener than my own side of the fence.

Alice Wisler’s latest book, Still Life in Shadows, captures a clearer glimpse into the Amish life, more so than my own mother’s camera ever could—even with her lens cap off. Every beautifully placed word written on Alice’s pages has a purpose for being there. Each scene leads up to the overall meaning of the story, which I believe is the cleansing power of forgiveness. She is in no way devaluing the Amish way of life, but rather shedding light on the pain that some endure.

I don’t feel her goal in writing this story was to criticize any which way of life. She shows the pros and cons of both sides of the fence. She speaks truth. She doesn’t blur the image to make it seem more perfect for one side over the other. But rather she exemplifies the need for moderation. In the end, I believe Alice’s purpose in writing this story was not to place blame, but to show how the evil on either side can destroy people when we take our eyes off the ultimate focal point—God.

Now, because I like books that are character-driven, I can honestly say Alice did not squelch in this department. I was cheering them on the whole way and really felt their plight. Their caring support of each other gave the real depiction of what a family looks like, even if it’s not what their society says. Their message of keeping their eyes focused on God rang out, and because of that, they will prosper in whatever community they choose to live in.

Still Life in Shadows is available here for preorder now! Release date is August 1st.

Be sure to stop in next Sunday with your questions for Alice. She will be here to share more on her newest release that is sure to open many eyes.

Question: Have you read a book that opened your eyes on a certain topic? Please share!