Please join me in welcoming Cindy Woodsmall back to the blog today to chat about her new Amish time-slip romance Until Then that she co-authored with her daughter-in-law, Erin!
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA bestselling author of twenty-six works of fiction and one nonfiction book. Coverage of Cindy’s writing has been featured on ABC’s Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal. She lives in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains with her husband, just a short distance from two of her three sons and her six grandchildren. Connect with Cindy at her website.
Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of four. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. More recently she and Cindy have coauthored five books, one of which was a winner of the prestigious Christy Award.
UNTIL THEN by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall
GENRE: Time-Slip/Amish Romance (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: September 5, 2023
Until then may I use my time as you desire . . .
In 1985, Old Order Amish couple Celeste and Vin Lantz have been married for six years. Vin is a carpenter by trade but an artist in his heart. He is especially captivated by drawing portraits, which the Amish consider idolatry. Knowing they could be shunned, Celeste is shocked to discover that Vin has secretly been sketching her and their sons. When she confronts Vin, they argue and Vin storms off . . . and seems to disappear, leaving Celeste to wonder if he chose his art over his family.
When he leaves the house that night, Vin seeks peace on his favorite mountain overlook. But he takes a fall and wakes to find himself injured and lost. Vin soon realizes just how far he has traveled—not only in distance but back in time, to 1822 Ohio, a place that provides the freedom he craved but where he is separated from his beloved wife and children. Vin is saved by the kindness of strangers and gradually learns to survive and even to use his skills to help his new friends in this unfamiliar time and place. But all the while he prays desperately for God to return him to his family, before Celeste makes a new life without him.
For fans of Amish romance and time-slip novels comes a gripping story of faith, freedom, redemption, and the truest desires of the heart by New York Times bestselling author Cindy Woodsmall.
Hi Cindy! Welcome back to the blog!
Q: You are a mother and daughter-in-law writing team. Can you describe your writing process?
Cindy: Our usual tag-team writing method was tossed out the window for this book. Typically, we each choose a main character or two, and through hours of brainstorming and outlining, we develop our character(s). But because of this particular story and the new difficulties of two storylines in two different times and the amount of research needed, I wrote, and Erin edited. We talked on the phone a lot to clear my head and help me to stay true to myself, my readers, and my genre. See, Louis L’Amour kept trying to take over! Decades ago, I read his works voraciously, and as I wrote this book, each time I slipped back in time to the 1800s, Mr. L’Amour showed up, trying to write the story from a male point of view with superheroic efforts. I got that out of my system and was able to hear just my voice. Finally, months later, I sent Erin the last five chapters of the book. At the time I had Covid and was quarantined in Canada, unable to return to the States. Erin read the chapters and called me, apologizing as she told me that those chapters didn’t work. The problem: I was coming from a place of being weary and irritable, and she pointed out that the characters were in love and needed to show a level of gratefulness and trust in order to be true to who they were. So, L’Amour hadn’t shown up, but Grumpy Author had arrived on the page. I told Erin if she could call her sick mother-in-law stuck in a tiny hotel room with no food service while trying to meet a deadline and gently speak the truth, she could do anything in life! I love being a team with her!
Carrie: it sounds like y’all have such a great relationship! Makes me miss my own wonderful mother-in-law ♥
Q: You’ve written Amish fiction for a while. How did you decide to combine Amish fiction with time-slip fiction?
Cindy: In many ways the Amish live in a different time, but to send an Amish person back to the 1800s added a new dimension of deliciousness. Would an Amish person adjust easier because of their way of living? In our time, the Amish are known for being separate from the world, but they were in the thick of social justice and political battles in the 1800s. A time-slip setting for this story allowed me to dive deep into the history of 1822 and write about the bravery and diligence of the Amish and Quakers when it came to fighting against slavery. Because the Amish and Quakers would never bear arms, their history is very different, and that difference had an impressive impact on quiet, unseen lives.
Carrie: those are fascinating questions – and history – to explore! I can’t wait to read it!
Q: You talk about the idea of an “until then” perspective in this novel. Can you explain what you mean by that?
Cindy: All of us are trapped in some ways: trapped with personal illness or the illness of loved ones, trapped with difficult bosses or a low-paying job, trapped with bills and taxes we can’t get free of, trapped in a difficult relationship, or trapped in silence as we watch loved ones suffer. When we can’t get to where we’d like to be, we can be free to do our best by praying, “Until then, may I use my time as You desire”.
Carrie: so true & an important surrender to come to!
Q: Can you give us a sneak peek into the main characters in Until Then, Celeste and Vin Lantz?
Cindy: Oh, man, are they in love! But Vin has secrets, and when Celeste learns of them, they argue like two people who’ve forgotten they love each other. Each one is a strong and vulnerable character in their own ways, and those strengths and vulnerabilities work for and against them. My favorite character to develop was Vin. He felt the power of being a competent and successful Amish man, but when he wakes in darkness, at the foot of an unknown mountain with no sign of civilization in sight, he quickly learns how little power he has. Within a few days, he’s close to death. If two escaped slaves didn’t cross his path when they did, he would’ve died.
Carrie: oh wow!
Q: As an author, what did you particularly enjoy about writing this story?
Cindy: I’ve never written anything with a historical thread in it, so I loved diving deep into the history of that time, including 1822-1823 Lancaster, Pennsylvania. What was hard about writing it? Researching all the roads during that time, mapping out how Vin and a few others would cross from central Ohio to eastern Pennsylvania in great specificity. My husband brought home a lot of plats with historical road maps. With all that information in hand, I began writing the story, but as events unfolded, I eventually discovered that the characters couldn’t use ANY of those roads since they went through slave states occupied by patrollers.
Carrie: that makes my head hurt on your behalf haha
Q: How do you expect Until Then to resonate with your audience?
Cindy: I have strong hopes that women will be impacted by the love story between Celeste and Vin, who are separated when Vin slips through time. Vin has no understanding of how to get back home. Celeste has no idea where he is or why. She isn’t a widow who can remarry, although she meets a very kind, handsome single man. She’s thrust into being a single mom of two in a community that believes she’s the reason her husband is missing. She faces being passively ostracized while trying to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table, and she feels the sting of being neither a successful breadwinner nor the kind of mom she dreamed of being. She’s so very lost and betrayed by her husband’s disappearance. I feel all women have witnessed or felt some of those stings on some level.
Carrie: definitely universal themes that women can relate to!
Q: What role does faith play in this story?
Cindy: In many ways, Celeste and Vin both see their faith burned to the ground in all they thought they knew and understood, and from those ashes, they each slowly find a new faith that carries them in very different ways.
Carrie: i think all of us have to come to that crisis of belief to truly mature in our relationship with Jesus
Q: What are you most excited for your readers to experience by reading Until Then?
Cindy: I’m most excited that as the story unfolds, we see both Vin and Celeste learn to trust in God differently than ever before, to accept what is and make good use of the time they are living in as opposed to fulfilling the dreams they shared.
Carrie: looking forward to reading this one soon!
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂
Tyndale House is offering a print copy of Until Then by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Until Then by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall?