A Different Kind of Fire: A Novel Paperback – November 1, 2018
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If you love historical novels about women who throw off the shackles of feminine convention, then this book is for you. In spare but sensuous prose reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy and E. Annie Proulx, Schafer brings Ruby Schmidt to life--a woman who doesn't belong in the late nineteenth century but gradually finds her place in the twentieth. You can't help but root for Ruby as she grows from Texas farm girl, to a freethinker and lover of men and women in Philadelphia, and finally into a consummate artist. This is a powerful and deeply satisfying read.--Helena Echlin, co-author of Sparked and author of Gone
"An exceptional first novel. Schafer has woven a cohesive tale from disparate elements--a stark life in the rugged countryside of 1890s Texas vs the gentility of an arts academy in the East; a traditional marriage and motherhood vs a secret and haunting sexuality. Unequivocally recommended!" Michael R. Hardesty, Author of Amazon Best Seller, The Grace of the Ginkgo
With rare artistry, Schafer paints a life both creative and cursed in A Different Kind of Fire.--Willa Blair, Award-winning Amazon and Barnes & Noble #1 bestselling author of His Highland Love, Highland Troth, Highland Seer, and ten other books
The saga of a young woman determined to follow her dream, whatever obstacles cross her path.
--MJ Fredrick, author of A Texas Kind of Love, Smitten in a Small Town, and twenty-five other books, a two-time Epic Awards winner and a four-time RWA Golden Heart finalist
Suanne Schafer's A Different Kind of Fire is a powerful story of a Gilded Age artist who brooks convention both in her art and her love. Read this book: It has both the depth of emotion of a modernist novel and the epic scope of a historical saga.--Alicia Rasley, author of The Year She Fell, an Amazon bestseller
I absolutely LOVED A Different Kind of Fire. Suanne Schafer is a passionate writer with a gift to transport the reader back to the 1800's. With her book in one hand and my iPad in the other, I learned so much about artists and their work. Ms. Schafer's words are so visual, I actually watched the story play out with every riveting page I turned. Fantastic character development. There was no stone left unturned. "A Different Kind of Fire" gets a standing ovation and five stars from me. Five stars.--Tracy Stopler, Award-winning author of The Ropes That Bind
I was amazed by Suanne Schafer's poetic and laconic turns of phrase. She has the gift of being simultaneously ornate and succinct, which is no easy task.--Joshua Mohr, Author Sirens, All This Life, Fight Song,Damascus, Termite Parade, Somethings That Meant the World to Me
Told in a rich, sensual, style, A Different Kind of Fire is a book about reconciling the irreconcilable. It is a book about boundaries: the dilemmas they place upon those would dare rise above them. The book is also a study in contrasts rather than a polemical treatise. Is Ruby a heroine or a victim?--a free spirit or a narcissist? These questions are ultimately left to the reader to decide. --James Hanna, Author of The Siege, Call Me Pomeroy, and A Second, Less Head and Other Rogue Stories.
Suanne Schafer's A Different Kind of Fire tackles the sensitive subject of bisexuality in 19th century America with grace, compassion, and empathy through fully developed characters in a story readers will cherish long after the book ends. --C.S. Fuqua, author of Walking after Midnight ~ Collected Stories
An evocative and compelling story of a Texas-bred ranch girl-to-woman straddling the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and her conflicting and sometimes illicit desires for her art, her lovers and the freedoms some women were just beginning to glimpse. Ferberesque in scope, A Different Kind of Fire harbors the twists and turns of a thriller and the braided threads of explosive affairs that cannot possibly coexist. Schafer's marvelous book exudes undiminished spirit in the face of terrible loss. --Guinotte Wise, author of Night Train, Cold Beer, winner of H. Palmer Hall Award
In her debut novel, A Different Kind of Fire, Suanne Schafer weaves a compelling tale of a young woman's struggle to become an artist. The story kept me cheering for Ruby Schmidt on every step of her journey from young love in rural Texas to art school in sophisticated 1890s Philadelphia. Ruby loses everything dear to her in the process of leaving home, training as an artist, and having love affairs with a woman and a man. Page after page one wonders how she'll overcome the high cost of following her dreams. It's easy to identify with Ruby's struggle to be true to considerable talents in spite of pregnancies and failed relationships. The book provided a fascinating glimpse of how times were different in the past and reminders that so many of life's challenges for women haven't changed that much in more than a hundred years.--Kristine Kay Mietzner, Founder and Facilitator, Women Veterans Writing Workshops, Sacramento Public Library and Veterans Connect, Sacramento, California on November 1, 2018
From the Author
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In 1891, society ruled the proper roles for men and their women. Ruby Louise was born to the wide freedom of the Texas ranchlands and compelled to paint its people and landscapes in the bold, raw colors of the West. Her passion was the paintbrush and Bismarck, a man as strong and lean as the land that set his spirit free. His passion was Ruby Louise who filled every corner of his world. Willow lived in the world of privilege and refinement required in staid Philadephia where emotion was repressed and confined to a static formula. Ruby Louise flamed Willow’s passion to a consuming blaze.
Suanne Schafer skillfully braids the story of three strong-willed people inextricably bound to each other with the vivid artistry of a Remington canvas. She will compel you to step into their world, feel the euphoria of their desire and the despair of its consequences. You, too, will experience that different kind of fire.
Top international reviews
Schafer has created a character that is really 3-dimensional and sometimes thoroughly infuriating. And still I found myself on this journey with Ruby and wanted to know where it would take us. The whole plot is a stack of triangles with Ruby always aiming to reach one of the apexes. Loved Bismark's character, really was petrified of Willow as I found her predatory. And Frank - well, he was the main part of my frustration next to Ruby's seemingly "chronic dissatisfaction".
I felt that some compressions of time and subplot left me dangling as either some things were not tied off at all or tied off too neatly, leaving me short-changed. Yet, throughout all the ups and downs, one thing was certain: I wanted to read to the end.
This was also sexy and sensual in a surprising way. I don't read historical romance at all (with the steamy covers, etc.) and this was, at the very beginning, bordering on requiring a different kind of cover. I was cautious about whether the goal was to be exploitative or going for shock value. However, it soon became clear that this was part of Ruby's story and was required because it was key to her development as a woman on the brink of emancipation and feminism. I say on the brink because I never felt she really emancipated herself...the end simply underscores and hones that point.
Without a doubt, Schafer demonstrates real talent and skill. I was immersed in the setting, the story, and the characters; they all stuck with me and made me ponder a lot - not just about the style and technique of the writer, but the subject and themes portrayed. And I love books that do that. I look forward to seeing what Schafer does in the future.