In her newest novel, All Manner of Things, Susie Finkbeiner invites readers into the hearts and home of the Jacobson family during a time in which the chaos of the outside world has shaken their lives and their community in ways they never imagined.
😃Deb here and I'm so happy to host Author Susie Finkbeiner for this release!
Susie, have you thought about any ways that you might promote the book to an audience in their 60s and 70s that might be new for you? As a baby boomer, the sixties are very nostalgic for me, much like a beloved setting in place, they are a setting in time many will be familiar with.
Honestly, this has been such a rich experience for me, and I hope it's been a sweet exercise in nostalgia for them. Promoting is just icing on the cake.
Deb: What is something from that era that you wish was still around? Susie: Goodness! How long do you have for this conversation?
I suppose if I were to choose one thing, it would be the music. While I know I can click on an app on my phone and have instant access to Simon and Garfunkel and The Supremes, it's just not the same as experiencing such a thing when it was brand new. I often imagine what it must have been like to hear Aretha Franklin's powerful voice for the very first time or to watch John, Paul, George, and Ringo's premier performance on Ed Sullivan in their suits and ties. The music of the 60s was so innovative, different, and shocking. The advantage of being a novelist is finding ways to let myself live in eras other than mine.
Deb: How can readers connect with you?
Susie: One of the very best things about this writing life is meeting readers! I’d love to connect with you at my website (susiefinkbeiner.com), Facebook (@SusieFinkbeiner), Twitter (@SusieFinkbeiner) or my personal favorite, Instagram (@susie_finkbeiner).
MORE ABOUT ALL MANNER OF THINGS:
Bestselling Author Offers Emotional Wartime Tale of Restoration and Hope
“Susie Finkbeiner never fails to transport her readers through time and space, welcoming us into worlds we never want to leave.”—Julie Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author
When Annie Jacobson’s brother Mike enlists as a medic in the Army in 1967, he sends Annie a letter with the address of their long-estranged father, Frank Jacobson. Mike instructs Annie to contact their father if anything should happen to him in Vietnam.
When Frank’s father dies, Annie reaches out to her father, who returns home to face the tragedy. Frank’s return adds an extra measure of complication to an already tense time. As they work toward healing and pray fervently for Mike’s safety overseas, the Jacobsons must find a way to pull together as a family, regardless of past hurts. They grapple with the tension of holding both hope and grief in the same hand, even as they learn to turn to the One who binds the wounds of the brokenhearted.
Award-winning author Jocelyn Green states, “Susie Finkbeiner evokes a mood, an ambience, a tide of emotions just below the surface of the printed page.” This is never more true than in All Manner of Things. Readers will fall deeply in love with the endearing Jacboson family as they join them on their tumultuous journey.
Susie Finkbeiner’s book, All Manner of Things, took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions. It pulled me right back into my growing up years. I was roughly the same age as the heroine Annie Jacobson during the 1960s and remember well the less complicated times, as well as the angst of the Vietnam War. I knew men (boys, really) who were being drafted and others who were enlisting because their draft numbers were at the top of the list. I knew men who died while serving their countries—ones who I had been going to high school and college with not that long before.
Finkbeiner is a master at taking a slice of history and making it come alive on the page. Her knowledge of the subject matter is evident on every page, and her writing is emotional and honest. The characters are multi-layered and realistic, and I could easily relate to them. Powerful themes of the importance of family, pushing through our fears, and keeping on when the way is hard, add an inspirational dimension to the story.
I thought the addition of letters written to and from different characters in the story was a stroke of genius. They gave an extra insight into the thoughts of the different people. This novel occupies a special place in my heart and will definitely be in my top reads of the year. It’s one for the keeper shelf! Warning: you might want to keep a box of tissue handy while reading this book!
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher/NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
"Sometimes he feels so far, as if to never reach us. We call for him, we beg him to come . . . Then we see his power on display and remember, he has gone nowhere."
Annie Jacobson has experienced a lot of "leaving" during her eighteen years. First, her father and now her older brother. Volunteering for service to his country, Mike Jacobson begins a journey that is guaranteed to send him towards the very epicenter of the Vietnam War. In the meantime, back at home, Annie's world tilts dangerously to the side when her estranged father rejoins what remains of his family, re-opening old wounds in a manner that displays both hope and heartache.
Using letters to form conversations that otherwise might never have been spoken, this family digs deep to believe that in the end, "all will be well". It's a story that practically begs to be told, and this author proves herself to be the perfect story teller.
"Live today and then tomorrow, and then the next day . . . . . Don't duck and cover."
*I received a digital copy of this book from Net Galley as well as a print copy from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy All Manner of Things at Amazon
Buy All Manner of Things at Christianbook.com
**Susie's publicist also provided other questions:
Barbour: There are a number of lessons that can be learned from your novel. Can you expand on a couple of these lessons?
Susie: When I was a kid, I was stunned when my mom told me about the “Duck and Cover” drills they’d practice in school in case of nuclear attack. Now, a mother myself, I am stunned that my children have their own version, called “Lock Down” drills. It would be so easy for me to “duck and cover” or “lock down” emotionally, just thinking of the threats of danger in this world.
However, shutting down and shutting my eyes would keep me from experiencing and witnessing all the beauty this world affords. I could possibly miss so much of God’s glory if I hide away, fearing what could happen.
Mike encourages Annie not to duck and cover but instead to keep her eyes open. After I wrote that scene, I sat back in my chair, knowing that I was being encouraged by the Spirit to stop allowing fear to blind me. Is the world scary? Sure. Do horrible things happen? Of course. But if we hide under our arms, eyes squeezed shut, we’ll miss so much good that God has for us.
Jesus offers us an abundant life. It sure would be a shame if we missed out because we were hiding.
Barbour: All Manner of Things offers a message of hope. Can you expand upon how this theme is portrayed in your book?
Susie: I’ve realized recently that my novels hinge on hope. I believe the reason for this is my absolute reliance on the hope I have in Christ. I couldn’t go a single day without it.
In All Manner of Things hope is a lifeline during an uncertain time. Not only is the nation in a complex and deadly military conflict, but the Jacobsons find themselves sending one of their own to serve in the midst of the danger. As I imagined Gloria dropping Mike off before he “ships off”, I considered how a mother does such a thing.
Hope is the only way. Because she has hope that she will see him again. And that hope becomes greater than fear.
Ultimately, it’s hope that keeps us going even in the middle of the worst times. Hope that tomorrow could be better than today, that God can be taken at his word, and that we have more to live for that stretches beyond this current existence. It’s the hope of the space Christ is preparing for us in heaven that keeps us breathing and serving and loving.