Writers live these strange double lives. They want to write honestly, but they can’t always say things exactly as they are about themselves and the people they love, because it might be uncouth, or an invasion of privacy, or Too Much Information. Then people think the writer is a paragon of perfection, and stand around waiting to tell her that they feel like they know her when they actually don’t know her, and she can’t tell them that they have really inaccurate ideas about her.
But Dorcas is an author whose writing is as authentic as it is possible to be without being inappropriate. She is as witty as but not as sarcastic as Erma Bombeck, and she is gentle, without being spineless. Dorcas is one of those special people with whom I corresponded long before I actually met her. She advised me to self-publish my book instead of waiting longer for a publisher. It was the push I needed, and I’ve never regretted it. Then when she visited here in Poland and we drank tea together with her girls at her sister-in-law’s table, I saw how gentle and wise she is in real life. Happily, we still correspond now and then, (nearly always about writing) and I always feel safe and understood with her.
Now I get to promote her newest book, Tea and Trouble Brewing.
The whimsical cover illustration looks like the proverbial tempest in a teapot. I was charmed when I opened the cover and saw the table of contents, and that the five sections each had their own tea name. Oolong. Mint. Roiboos. This is going to be tasty! And it was, of course.
The way I can tell if it’s a good book or story is if it makes me laugh or cry. This book did both to me. To you I admit that I cried when Dorcas cried when their dog died. But I laughed aloud when she apologized tearfully to the fish dangling on the end of her fishing pole.
Dorcas graciously agreed to an interview with me. So here we go:
1. How did you decide on those 5 kinds of tea for the book sections?
Actually, I don’t recall. I went for variety, and some of my favorite flavors. And I love the sound of “oolong.” I considered including Kericho Gold Black Kenyan Tea but that’s not really a “kind” of tea in the same sense as green or rooibos.
Weren’t you tempted to include Lady Grey, Spiced Chai, and English Breakfast?
Well, yes. But you know, one has to stop somewhere.
2. Do you drink coffee at all, or is it always tea?
I do drink coffee on occasion. If I go out for breakfast, at church potlucks, now and then with my coffee-living children. I love iced coffee on a hot day.
3. Do you write in quietness in the middle of the night, or in the hubub of your family life?
I wish very very much that I could write in the midst of noise and action. It would make my life much easier. So my best times are early morning, late at night, and when everyone is out of the house. With my youngest being 13 years old, you’d think I’d be home alone all day. Somehow that doesn’t happen very often. And when it does, the phone rings all day. So this is an ongoing struggle for me, to find time to think and write.
4 Your stories aren’t stuffy, but full of depth. Your life experiences and your wise responses to them have given you have a lot to offer your world, but you don’t pour it out indiscriminately. What do you know now that you wish you’d have known when you were 21? (This is your chance to give free advice!)
If I could, I would go back and tell my 21-year-old self: Quit obsessing about everything, especially yourself. Most people mean well. God actually loves you. We are all sinners, so don’t let people intimidate you. You’re going to be fine. You’re as cute as you’re going to get, so enjoy it.
5. What’s the best piece of writing advice that you’ve ever received?
A tossup: Elisabeth Elliot’s “Make every word do its work,” (paraphrased) which means, cut out every unnecessary word. And “You have to write bad before you can write good,” which frees me from the paralysis of fear of beginning. I don’t know who said it. Oh, and Elizabeth Engstrom said that you don’t need to write with an agenda. Who you are and what you believe will come out inadvertently, whether you write novels or essays or advertising copy. That was freeing.
6. You have a gifted way of describing places like the Willemette Valley or Lake Victoria with crisp, simple words that help your readers see the scene. Have you ever considered travel writing?
Ooooohhh, have I considered travel writing. If I could come back and live another life, I’d be a travel writer. I love seeing a new place from the inside out, and telling about it. Going to a women’s party in Yemen and watching all those black robes get shed and those gaudily clad women come alive and party, and then writing about it, was a highlight of my writing career.
7. If time and money were no issue, where would you travel?
Australia. An island off Puget Sound. South Africa and Botswana. Eastern Europe. Ireland. Prince Edward Island. The Civil War battlefields. Jamaica. Somewhere in South America–maybe Paraguay.
8. Your dedication to Amy is beautifully worded. How many more dedications/books to your children are you aiming for? Does this look like hard work or pleasure to you?
You may note the progression of dedications: Paul. My parents. Matt. Amy. I told the children I plan to keep going and dedicate one to each of them. That looks like both pleasure and work. Getting Tea and Trouble Brewing published after numerous delays seemed to uncork something in my head, and now I have freely-flowing ideas for three or four more books.
Thanks, Dorcas, for sharing your world and words with us!
Now it’s your chance to win a free copy of Tea and Trouble Brewing! Leave a comment below to enter the drawing. Or if you can’t log in for a comment, email me at anitayoder-at-gmail-dot-com. The give-away is open for 7 days, and on Dec. 1 I’ll draw a number and send the book to the winner. All the way from Poland!
To buy your own copy , go to Amazon to pay by credit card. To pay by check, send $15 to Dorcas Smucker, 31148 Substation Drive, Harrisburg, OR 97446. . Dorcas is doing a promotion and is selling her 4 books for $40, shipping included.
56 thoughts on “Book Giveaway: Tea and Trouble Brewing”
Just to say, Yes! Dorcas writes with a candor uninhibited that refreshes both soul and mind with laughter and a cozy ease of familiarity, as if you’d just stepped into her family’s world for a day. =)
Anita – I love your honesty when you write posts. I’d love a free book, but mostly I’d love time to sit with you & chat… & meet Dorcas one day 😉
I love Dorcas’ advice to her 21-year-old self. 😀
“You have to write the bad before the good.” What a thought!! Thanks for sharing!
I would love to have this book and save you the shipping:)
You know, I have never actually read one of Dorcas Smucker´s books. But with the teeny tiny bits and pieces that come my way through book reviews, I find it certain that she must be a kindred spirit. It seems as if she has found a way to bring community and open friendship to those who are longing for more of those things. I would love to read her book and share it with those around me who long for the same refreshment of that communtiy and a friend who gives courage to weary hearts.
I’ve been reading Dorcas’ Blog site most of the time for a couple years, but I’ve not gotten one of her books yet. Hm-m. Maybe I need to get one. I really appreciate her openness about life as it really is. Life includes some very messy situations, and Dorcas doesn’t shy from writing about them. Oh, surely she has a life that isn’t completely for the public, and that is respected.
I love reading your posts too! Would love to meet you someday, though I’m not a huge travel fan like you obviously are!
I’ve never read any of Dorcas’ books but have heard such good things about them. Would love to read this one 🙂
Anita, It amazes me how many different perspectives you blog hosts have on Dorcas’ writing, all of them unique and fascinating. I love reading Dorcas’ blog posts and her books, and I hope to win this book. –Linda
Thoroughly enjoyed this post. And now I’m thirsty for a cup of tea.
I enjoy reading your posts ,Anita! Dorcas’ book sounds lovely and i expect to get my hands on one sometime and enjoy it with a cup of tea.
Sounds like an interesting book!
Much of what Dorcas writes could come from this household as well. I would love a copy of this book!
Hi, Anita! I enjoyed your review of Dorcas’ book, and have bookmarked your site.
(btw, we have met–about 35? yrs. ago, in your A.Ruth’s classroom at UCS in IN. You and I share Hochstetler g.grandparents.)
That sip of tea e-r-r-r book sets me to salivating!
I love Dorcas’s writings. The fact that a lot of the people she writes about are friends and relatives gives them an added interest for me, but I know I would love her even if they were all strangers!
Some day when I’m grown up, I’m going to travel all over the world and revel in the beauty of sights, and smells, and love wherever it can be found. And I am going to write about it with spice and depth and vividness. =)
Like you. And Dorcas.
There are a lot of other things I’m “going to do” too. . . . There are many reasons I long for the new earth where I’ll have “all the time in the world” and be unhampered by current earthly brokenness.
I enjoy following ‘Life in The Shoe’ and would love to win Dorcas’ new book!
I love Dorcas’ books and I can’t wait to read the newest one! I’d love to win it!!
I totally agree with you about Dorcas’s writing style, and that’s what I like about it. She’s totally honest without being offensive and she always makes me laugh. I love reading her blog, but don’t own any of her books, so this blog tour and the chances to win are great!
Dorcas has some good advice for her 21 year old self! Traveling and writing… sounds like a good life I think!
I was privileged to meet Dorcas this summer and I would love to win her book! Amy
Anita, I just love reading your posts! Some day I would love to meet you (maybe I need to come visit)
I really enjoyed reading your interview.. That advice to her 21 year old self is good for a 45 year old person too! [for sure won’t be getting cuter!]
I’ve enjoyed the writings of Dorcas over the years, and keep hoping to own any or all of her books one day. Mostly, I’d like to sit in an airport reading one when she passes by, so I could make one of her dreams come true. 🙂
Sounds like a book I can connect with. I like those kinds of books. They help me realize I’m human after all.
I need to get busy now, but I’m thinking I might have just found a new blog to keep up with. I really enjoyed your post and would like to go peruse some of your other posts.
Thank you, Anita, for this thoughtful interview. I’m following the tour, which, I have discovered, is a great introduction to some good blogs. 🙂 I think I’ll bookmark yours.
Good interview questions! I would love to win the new book.
I have read every one of Dorcas’s books thus far and intend to continue doing so ! As a mom of eight I can relate to many of her “mom musings ” and find her candid wisdom coupled with humor very refreshing .
I follow your blog and Dorcas’. I have never read one of her books, but would love to.
Oh, I’d love to have her book, and since the drawing is on my birthday it’d be like a birthday present. 🙂 I like your book reviews, Anita; keep them coming.
This book would be given a good home on my shelf! And your book is a wonderful read, not only for singles,but also for moms like me.
Fun interview, Anita… blessings!
What a great idea, Anita! I love her writing (and yours ;). It’d be lovely to own one of her books.
I also enjoy Dorcas’ books! It was great to hear of her new one.
I’m 22, but I think Dorcas’ wise advice to herself at 21 still applies to me. I enjoy Dorcas’ writing so much– she’s a lady with a true heart, and her words reflect that. Your writing is the same way, Anita. It has that indefinable quality that shows up whenever I meet a woman who has authentically wrestled with the mess and glory of life and found Jesus’ goodness in it. Thank you for walking the way ahead of me. I find courage to keep hoping!
I was glad I stopped to read this post! Thank you for sharing, Anita and Dorcas! The advice to 21-year old self made me laugh out loud because it is so true, and I so needed to hear it right now at 27! I will have to acquaint myself with Dorcas and her writings. Thanks for the introduction. 🙂 God’s grace and many blessings to you and Regina there in Poland! with love, Jenna S. from CA 🙂
I really would love a chance to win this book. Dorcas is just a great writer. I love how she pulls you into her stories until you can hardly help but laugh or cry along with her. And if I would win, it would save you on postage. =)
Hoping to read her new book soon. Enjoyed your interview / review with her!
Today has a sore throat; please “pass the tea”. If Tea and Trouble Brewing are like her other books it would be the tonic I need!
Anita, I have to say it, your post is my favorite so far on the “Blog Tour!” You are the only one who has mentioned that the section headings are tea names, a whimsical detail that IS charming! I love your description of her in the second paragraph and that you interviewed her! I heard Dorcas speak on writing one time. She gave advice similar to her response in #5 and I’ve used it ever since! Like you, I also judge a good story (or movie) by whether it makes me laugh or cry! There’s a double reason I’d love to win your draw; to get a copy of “Tea & Trouble…” and to get a stamp from Poland for my collection! 🙂 Blessings! ~Susan H
Would love to win this book! I always enjoy reading Dorcas’ blog. 🙂
Thanks for giving me an opportunity to win a copy of this book. I have heard Dorcas speak before and have read all of her other books. I loved the fact that you did an interview. It is always good to have a bit of insight into an author’s life before reading their book!
I would love to win this book, of course! I enjoy Dorcas and your writings and was glad to discover that we share a love of travel and people and colorful cultures around the world.
Dorcas’ new book sounds delightful. Thanks for the opportunity for a glimpse into her life as well as a chance at getting a gift copy of the book! Blessings to you & Regina in your work!
I enjoyed the interview with Dorcas on your blog. I love her honesty in writing and am happy to have a chance at winning a copy of her latest book.
ahh so nice of you to offer a book of Dorcas’s. I as well would love to be a nomination as well to this book, but not for myself for my Mother. Who writes as well and who throughly enjoys reading Dorcas’s blogs ect. She has requested to receive this for Christmas this year but with my very limited income do not see a high chance of buying one. so it would highly delight 2 people to receive 1. Thanks for allowing me the priviledge to be a part of this. And i wish the winner well and happy reading.
Wow…I just found your blog…you may not remember me but I was one of your girls when you were dean 5th term many years ago! My name….Dorcas Nissley Siegrist.I’ve read Dorcas’ other books but have not yet gotten ahold of the new one! Blessings to you!!!
I’m excited! I hadn’t known, until reading your post this morning, that Dorcas Smucker has another book published. I’ve been a fan of hers, and if I wasn’t in far-away Belize where all new books need to be special ordered and delivered, I’d be tempted to find the closest bookstore and buy my own copy today! 🙂 The interview was well-done. Thanks, Anita!
Oh, oh, I loved the interview. I’m also enjoying the book so if you draw my number, draw another one for someone else. Although I’d love to receive a package from you in the mail. 😉 Both of you have a gift with words. Thanks for using it to bless us and many others.
So pleased to have found your blog, I’m sitting here getting over a horrible bout of norovirus and find not only a great new blog to read 🙂 but a chance to win one of Dorcas Smucker’s books, things are definitely on the up! And should I win, you won’t have to post quite so far, I live in the UK 🙂
–Love the advice to a 21 year old, it applies to us all no matter how old we are. –Love Dorcas’ writing and love your writing too, and most of all I love you! MOM XXOO
Dorcas Smucker is one sweet writer of delicious words. I wonder if she’d teach a writing course… I enjoyed the interview, especially where she mentioned her head had filled up with more book material! Yayee for us!
Just came by here and noted with mixed amusement and chagrin the high number of commenters on this post… this post offering something free… in comparision to the number of comments on a typical post that is well written and thoughtful. Some Mennonites we are, huh?? always looking for that cheap deal and coming out of the woodwork to snatch the prize as it passes by. Yeah well, maybe that could be the rant, er, I mean the topic of another blogpost.
Looks like an interesting book and one I would enjoy.