So many American folk sayings are attributed to Benjamin Franklin or Abraham Lincoln. “Never swap a horse in mid-stream” is credited to Honest Abe, though it’s actually from an old joke that made its rounds in the 1840s.
Here’s how the joke goes: A poor fellow was crossing a stream on a mare, with a colt in tow. Falling off the mare, he grabbed the colt’s tail as it swam toward the bank. Onlookers yelled that he should take the mare’s tail instead as she was the stronger swimmer. But the man held fast to the colt, shouting in reply that this was not a good time for him to change horses.
Personally, I’m impressed this poor fellow had the wherewithal to shout something wise and profound in the midst of a very personal crisis. But set that aside, and let’s ponder the point.
Is it ever wise to swap a horse mid-stream? I just did so.
After more than thirty novels about the Old Order Amish, all set in the same little fictitious town of Stoney Ridge, Pennsylvania, my editor called and asked if I would be interested in writing a contemporary women’s series. “Pick a spot on either coast,” she said. “And think of summer. Think of a place that calls to a woman’s heart.”
Well, that wasn’t hard to do. The coast of Maine, during long summer days, calls to us all. Even those who haven’t been to Maine have a sense of it in their minds. Early sunrises, the smell of balsam pine, crashing waves on rocky shores, sounds of seagulls and loons, big bowls of plump blueberries for breakfast, bright red lobster for dinner.
Ah, but I digress. Back to my main point: is it wise to switch genres? After all, it wasn’t like I’d fallen off the horse in that rushing stream.
Bottom line, a writer is a writer. But that doesn’t mean that I would agree to write in any genre. I avoid reading thrillers, for example, and if I had to write one, it would be more of a “calmer.”
Although a writer is a writer, she still needs to true to herself. On a Summer Tide is a story about a family in a small town community full of quirky characters. So far, sounds a little like my Amish novels, doesn’t it? Nature plays a big part of the story, too. Hmmm, sounds very Amish.
But the tangles in this story are more like those in our everyday world. A demanding career causes our main character, Camden Grayson, to drift off track, resulting in anxiety issues for her little seven-year-old boy, Cooper. When Cam’s dad buys a bankrupt island off the coast of Maine, she’s convinced that dear old Dad has lost his mind. Until she gets there, catches her breath, and finds herself drifting back on course. There’s just something about an island…
I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I do hope you enjoy this summer read as much as I enjoyed writing it.
So is it ever wise to swap horses in mid-stream? It has been for me. I might just switch again, in fact. Stay tuned. 😉
About Our Guest Author: Christy award nominee Suzanne Woods Fisher writes stories that take you to places you’ve never visited—one with characters that seem like old friends. But most of all, her books give you something to think about long after you’ve finished reading it. With over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, Suzanne is the best-selling author of more than thirty books, ranging from non-fiction books, to children’s books, to novels and lives with her very big family in northern California.
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I would say, Suzanne, you ride this new horse just as well as the old one! I have loved all your Amish stories and enjoyed On a Summer Tide just as much. Can’t wait for the next visit to Three Sisters Island or Stoney Ridge or wherever you choose to take us!