Interview with Fay Risner

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I spent my first fourteen years on a farm near Schell City, Missouri in the Ozarks. The rest of my life I've lived in the country thirty miles from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. For my Nurse Hal Among The Amish series, my experiences on the farm helped me write about Nurse Hal as she struggled to learn about taking care of animals, chickens and a garden so she will fit into the Amish way of life. Since I've always lived near a small town where everyone knows everyone else, it was easy to write my other series, Amazing Gracie Mysteries. That series takes place in early 1900's, and is about two elderly women in a retirement home that spend too much time watching the neighbors and can always find a mystery. Both series take place in Iowa so I can mention real places that are supposely near my characters fictional towns.
When did you first start writing?
I've written short stories since I was a teenager in high school. It took years to develop my skills to write books. An English teacher helped me for years. I credit her for keeping me writing and improving. She went from being my teacher to being one of my biggest fans. In 2002 while I was working at the local nursing home as a CNA I entered the State Health Care contest with a short story about a resident and in the photography contest at the same time. I won both contests that year. The nursing home board gave me a week's Writer's Work Shop at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I went from being surprised, to delighted, to very nervous. On the very first day, I realized I had come a long way already compared to many of the other students. Listening to the experts was a incredible learning experience for me and a confidence booster.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Emma's Gossamer Dreams is book 5 in the Nurse Hal series. Emma has turned seventeen. She becomes a school teacher and dates several boys. She is considered a good catch by men in the community because of her homemaking skills. Before long Emma is flustered by all the attention and finds it hard to pick just one boy. I write the stories with humor so sometimes you will be laughing out loud, and other parts you will find serious.

Just before I wrote that book I wrote book seven in my Amazing Gracie Mystery series titled Poor Defenseless Addie. That was my entry in the November 2012 NaNoWriMo contest, and by the deadline I went over the 50,000 word mark. Gracie Evans listens to gossip about a newcomer in town that no one likes. She and her friends keep an eye on him. His 92 year old mother is their friend Addie Masters. Gracie is afraid for Addie when she sees bruises on the old woman's hand. Suspecting elder abuse, Gracie wants to find a reason for the town marshal to arrest the man.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The books I write aren't mainstream enough to be best sellers. After rejection slips, I had almost given up when I read about self publishing at Create Space Self Publishing. I'd heard enough stories to know that most authors lose their publishing fees because their books don't sell. I didn't feel I had much to lose if I became an Indie author and published my own books. Create Space makes it easy, and I love creating my own covers or using a cover off the sight if it fits the story line in my book. Of course, I set up a website, Facebook, Twitter and blogs in several places to advertise my books and now thirty books later, I'm still writing books.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords increases my sales because there are so many places they sell books, and Smashwords is always coming up with other places to sell books with a whole new set of readers each time. I appreciate each new idea Mark Coker and his team comes up with to promote the books on this website like this interview.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love being creative. Sometimes I start out with an idea and while I'm working on the story line something else pops into my head that fits into the story. Now that I've written several books about the same characters I've gotten to know them fairly well. It makes it easier to come up with new stories for them. The joy comes after each book is finished and I hold it in my hand. I think WoW! I did this. As soon as I put that book down, I'm back on the computer working on the next one and eager to get it done so I can see the finished book.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are terrific. When I first started selling my Amish paperback books, I put them on Ebay at the fixed price. I sold the books around the U.S. and Canada. Since I had buyers email addresses I let them know I appreciated that they bought my book. When they finished the book I asked if they could email me how they liked the story. I was delighted by all the responses I got back. Several years later, a good many of those buyers still email me about all the books they have bought from me, and I send them signed copies. Also, I'm on Facebook with some of them. Word of mouth is a great advertising tool. It has helped me get more readers that have ereading devices now. When I go anywhere with my books and set up, I find people are always interested in hearing how I came to write books. Once I've described the books story lines, I always have a good sales day.
What are you working on next?
The next Nurse Hal Among The Amish book. Noah's Courting Buggy. Noah is just fourteen, but he has completed his 8th grade school and is ready to experience life. Hal's parents come to visit. Her husband, John Lapp, takes his father-in-law to the salebarn. On a whim, Jim Lindstrom buys a fancy red seated courting buggy to drive around while he's visiting. Hal's mother isn't happy with the purchase. She refuses to let him take the buggy home so Jim gives it to Noah. That makes Hal and John unhappy. They weren't quite ready to see Noah able to be out on his own in a courting buggy.
Who are your favorite authors?
I like Nicholas Sparks for the type of books he writes. Mark Twain has been a favorite of mine since Santa Claus brought me Tom Sawyer when I was a child. I like Agatha Christie mysteries, too. For western, I like Louie L'Amour. My parents loved westerns so that's what I read growing up. However, now I read many different authors. In my family when one of us finishes a batch of books we pass them so I always have a stack of books to read. I prefer the wholesome type books and write mine that way. I've found there is a growing audience for Christian and wholesome, rated G books.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The wheels in my brain are always turning when I'm working on a new book. Sometimes, I have trouble sleeping until I've played a scene out in my head. First thing the next morning I want to do is get on the computer and type my latest idea.

However, my life is not just as an author. My husband and I have lived on the same acreage for over twenty years. While we both worked, my moments at the computer were hard to come by, but now we are both retired and loving our time in the country. We've always had sheep, goats and chickens to take care of and well as a large garden. An acre and a half hayfield is at the front of our property so three times a summer we make hay to feed the livestock. I love flowers and have many bushes and beds to weed. The garden thrives under my husband's green thumb. I can and freeze the vegetables and the fruit from our orchard; apples, pears, cherries, peaches and plums.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first book I wrote was Open A Window-Alzheimer's Caregiver Handbook. It still sells well today. I was a Certified Nurse Aide at the local nursing home for many years, working with patients that had Alzheimer's. Then my father was dianosed with the disease. Caring for people with the disease taught me so much about Alzheimers that family members of patients were always asking me questions. The nursing home administrator called me the facility's Alzheimer's expert. So I wrote a guide book for caregivers so they understood how to take care of people that were losing their minds. I took the manuscript pages in book form to a local printer and had them printed up and stapled together. Later when I published my own books I published Open A Window. You can find that ebook on Smashwords.
Published 2013-09-13.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Christmas With Hover Hill
By
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 53,450. Language: English. Published: March 22, 2014. Category: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Elizabeth didn't care about Christmas, and this one was going to be much worse. Her brother says he has a business trip. He gives her his gift early. An obnoxious man robot Scott says does housework. Elizabeth finds out a former boyfriend, Steven, and her brother programmed the robot to brainwash her to take Steven back. Elizabeth decides to run away and take Hover Hill with her.
The Courting Buggy - Nurse Hal Among The Amish
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Series: Nurse Hal Among The Amish, Book 6. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 72,270. Language: English. Published: January 2, 2014. Category: Fiction » Women's fiction » General
Peter Rogies, has Alzheimer's. Aunt Tootie takes a liking to Peter. They end up on Lover's Lane in Jim's courting buggy. The next time the couple go for a walk they get lost in a timber in the dark. It would be just a matter of time before they succumb to the elements.What else will Tootie do to complicate Hal's Amish way of life. Lots of things and not all of them in The Courting Buggy.
Leona's Christmas Bucket List-At A Winter's Pace
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Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 49,880. Language: English. Published: March 17, 2013. Category: Fiction » Christian » General
Leona Krebsbach found out just before Thanksgiving that she didn't have long to live. She took charge like she always did. She bought a small spiral notepad and title it Christmas Bucket List. On each page of that notepad, Leona listed something that she needed to get done while she still had time. Details like her funeral headed the list. She didn't want to leave anything for her daughters.
Poor Defenseless Addie-Amazing Gracie Mystery Series
By
Series: Amazing Gracie Mysteries, Book 7. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 55,300. Language: English. Published: March 3, 2013. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Though Gracie Evans is tired of listening to all the town gossips, she begins to worry when they talk about a stranger in town. The man is living with Gracie's 92 years old friend, Addie Masters. The women at Moser Mansion suspect elder abuse. Beloved Pearlbee is ill and needs their attention. They fear by the time they check on poor defenseless Addie again she will be dead.
Small Feet's Many Moon Journey - Stringbean Hooper Western
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Series: Stringbean Hooper Westerns, Book 2. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 63,350. Language: English. Published: January 27, 2013. Category: Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier
Stringbean Hooper and his wife, Theo, think a journey across country will be their honeymoon. They have no idea what they are getting themselves into. Stringbean gets them lost in Indian territory and upsets the Indians. The couple escape a flood, a mad bear, spend the night in a run down cabin with a woman crazy with prairie fever and more.
The Dark Wind Howls Over Mary - Stringbean Hooper Western
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Series: Stringbean Hooper Westerns, Book 1. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 65,500. Language: English. Published: January 27, 2013. Category: Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier
Sheriff Stringbean Hooper's description for sheriff is relaxing while he watches the town out his office window with his feet on his desk. All that changes when Doc Strummer's wife disappears. Hooper finds himself in the middle of a crime and a family feud between cattle baron, Mac Sullivan, and Dr. Strummer. Hooper's only backups are a nervous pig farmer and a woman rancher set on marrying him.
Ella Mayfield's Pawpaw Militia-A Civil War Saga in Vernon County, Mo.
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Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 85,580. Language: English. Published: January 27, 2013. Category: Fiction » Historical » USA
Strong willed and independent, Ella Mayfield wanted to keep her widowed mother and siblings safe during the border war between Missouri and Kansas and the Civil War or die trying. Invasions into Vernon County Mo. by Union soldiers stationed at Ft. Scott, Kansas and Kansas Jayhawkers forced Ella to join a militia band dubbed Pawpaw Militia. Her exploits were legendary as woman bushwhacker.
Tread Lightly Sibby - Serbina Ellen Monroe Story
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Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 65,760. Language: English. Published: January 27, 2013. Category: Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier
Serbina Ellen Monroe had high hopes when the Civil War ended.Her husband, Brice,came home from the war wounded, but he'd fully recovered. His gristmill and sawmill were busy. Suddenly, Sibby finds her world shattered. Two horse theives were hung. Brice was accused. He decides to flee Texas Co. Mo. and send for his family later, leaving Sibby alone to defend him and take care of her family.
Emma's Gossamer Dreams-Nurse Hal Among The Amish-Book 5
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Series: Nurse Hal Among The Amish, Book 5. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 75,190. Language: English. Published: January 10, 2013. Category: Fiction » Christian » Amish & Mennonite
Welcome to the Lapp farm near Wickenburg, Iowa. Come to visit and bring your sense of humor. Emma Lapp has been offered the teacher's job, but she dreams about the same fate that happens to all teenage Amish girls, marriage and a large family. Her dreams change when several single Amish men compete for her attentions. That turns her dreams to troubled nightmares.
Open A Window- Alzheimer's Caregiver Handbook
By
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 32,490. Language: English. Published: March 3, 2012. Category: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / Alzheimer’s & dementia
Million of people have Alzheimer's disease and millions more are going to have AD. That means millions of caregivers need to know how to cope with this disease. Fay Risner's book gives caregivers in the home and health fields insight about why people act the way they do and how to handle different situations. Risner's experience comes from years as a CNA and ten years of taking care of her father.
Locked Rock, Iowa's Hatchet Murders-book 6-Amazing Gracie Mystery Series
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Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 57,510. Language: English. Published: March 3, 2012. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
Gracie Evans becomes a women's activist in Locked Rock, Iowa. She talks to women's bible group into joining Carry A. Nation's fight for prohibition. The women march with their hatchets to Main Street to bust up the saloon. Gracie and two others are jailed and given community service. That isn't enough for one spiteful person that hacks to death Ida Frank's family.
Locked Rock, Iowa's Hatchet Murders-book 6-Amazing Gracie Mystery Series
By
Series: Amazing Gracie Mysteries, Book 6. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 57,510. Language: English. Published: March 3, 2012. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
Gracie Evans becomes a women's activist in Locked Rock, Iowa. She talks to women's bible group into joining Carry A. Nation's fight for prohibition. The women march with their hatchets to Main Street to bust up the saloon. Gracie and two others are jailed and given community service. That isn't enough for one spiteful person that hacks to death Ida Frank's family.
Moser Mansion's Ghosts-book 5-Amazing Gracie Mystery Series
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Series: Amazing Gracie Mysteries, Book 5. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 50,080. Language: English. Published: March 3, 2012. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
Moser Mansion has become a spooky place. Libby Hook sees ghosts wandering around with her in the night. With everyone on edge, Gracie Evans blames the hauntings on the contractor that is trying to buy the mansion so he can turn it into a hotel. The residents would have to find new homes. The only one who knows what is going on is the talking parrot, Turkeyneck. He's mad at Gracie so he won't talk.
The Chance Of A Sparrow-book 4-Amazing Gracie Mystery Series
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Series: Amazing Gracie Mysteries, Book 4. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 55,700. Language: English. Published: March 3, 2012. Category: Fiction » Historical » USA
Gracie Evans is tired of living in the Mansion Rest Home. She's homesick for her farm Three Oaks and wants to turn back time. She has developed the worse case of spring fever that you have ever saw. She wishes to go home and gets her wish. The renter asks her to farm set. Between a murder, roaming Indians and someone taking a shot at her Gracie decides she should be careful what she wishes for.
The County Seat Killer -book 3-Amazing Gracie Mystery Series
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Series: Amazing Gracie Mysteries, Book 3. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 56,230. Language: English. Published: March 3, 2012. Category: Fiction » Historical » USA
The Moser Mansion women have been summoned to appear at the county seat to testify against former neighbor, Mavis Jordan, at her murder trial. The county seat turns into a deadly place for Gracie Evans when a mysterious man stalks her with the intention of killing her before she can testify. She wishes she'd hadn't had to come to the trial.
Specious Nephew-book 2- Amazing Gracie Mysteries
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Series: Amazing Gracie Mysteries, Book 2. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 52,580. Language: English. Published: March 3, 2012. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Gracie Evans isn't happy with all the excitement at the Moser Mansion for Women Rest Home in Locked Rock, Iowa. Molly Moser, owner of the mansion, is marrying the butter and egg man in the back yard. The residents can bring a relative to escort them to the wedding. Melinda Applegate puts a notice in a newspaper column to find some kin. A stranger shows up claiming to be her long lost nephew.
As Her Name Is So Is Redbird-book 4-Nurse Hal Among The Amish
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Series: Nurse Hal Among The Amish, Book 4. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 64,360. Language: English. Published: February 25, 2012. Category: Fiction » Christian » Amish & Mennonite
If spring is a season of rebirth and love, Hallie Lapp's farm, at first glance, seems to be the place to be. What she didn't see coming after the birth of her daughter, Redbird, was an abandoned baby dropped off in her buggy as part of the Safe Haven law. She couldn't imagine a runaway girl, Annie Hosteller, showing up on her doorstep or being invaded by Hosteller men to capture Annie.
Hal's Worldly Temptations - book 3 - Nurse Hal Among The Amish
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Series: Nurse Hal Among The Amish, Book 3. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 69,610. Language: English. Published: April 23, 2011. Category: Fiction » Christian » Amish & Mennonite
In this third book of the Nurse Hal Series, John Lapp an Amish farmer and Nurse Hallie Lindstrom get married. After a beautiful wedding ceremony, Hal's problems begin when she refuses to give up her car and cell phone. She's in trouble with the church. Is she going to be sent away before she has a chance to get used to Amish life?
Neighbor Watchers-book 1 -Amazing Gracie Mystery Series
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Series: Amazing Gracie Mysteries, Book 1. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 63,000. Language: English. Published: January 15, 2011. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
Book 1 is about Gracie Evan's retirement to Locked Rock, Iowa. She moves into a retirement home and finds she's bored. She and another woman tear holes in vines on the front porch so they can spy on the neighbors. Seems like harmless snooping until they see the killer of a woman across the street. Gracie is scared she and the other residents will be killed next since they know who the murderer is.
Hello Alzheimer's Good Bye Dad-A Daughter's Journal
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Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 307,210. Language: English. Published: January 15, 2011. Category: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / Alzheimer’s & dementia
Alzheimer's disease is on the rise. This true story is told by the author as taken from a journal she kept. It's the struggle of her father and the family for the ten years Bill Bullock suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Caregiving tips have been added to make this book educational. The author was a CNA in long term care with two awards given for Aide of the year and professional caregiver.
Christmas Traditions-An Amish Love Story
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Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 60,370. Language: English. Published: January 15, 2011. Category: Fiction » Christian » Amish & Mennonite
Levi Yoder threatens to make this Margaret Goodman's last visit to keep her away from his son Luke. A terrifying fire sets a girl's dress on fire at the school program, Margaret struggles to save a girl from an icy creek and a Yoder cow nearly kills her. Forced to nurse Margaret, Levi rethinks his buried feelings for this woman he once loved. Will this couple ever resolve their problems?
The Rainbow's End-book 2-Nurse Hal Among The Amish
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Series: Nurse Hal Among The Amish, Book 2. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 59,000. Language: English. Published: January 15, 2011. Category: Fiction » Christian » Amish & Mennonite
Nurse Hallie Lindstrom is learning about the Amish way of life. The more she knows the less certain she is that she will be able to make a life long commitment to Amish farmer John Lapp. To give up her English way of life is one thing, but when she thinks about giving up her car and cell phone she gets cold feet. Will she make the right decision about the rest of her life?
A Promise Is A Promise-book 1-Nurse Hal Among The Amish
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Series: Nurse Hal Among The Amish, Book 1. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 133,580. Language: English. Published: January 15, 2011. Category: Fiction » Christian » Amish & Mennonite
Home Health Nurse Hallie Lindstrom becomes involved with an Amish widower when she accepts him for a client. She would like to be a part of John Lapp's family, but John and his three children have a secret that keeps them apart from their Amish Community and they refuse to tell Nurse Hal what it is. Does she want to get deeper involved if she doesn't know what the Lapp family is hiding?