Alumni, College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Sculptor, storyteller, sailor, 1973 alumnus shares her love for the Savior

By Jan Joslin | February 22, 2024
Normandie and Michael Fischer at Beaufort Hotel in North Carolina enjoying Sunday lunch.

Normandie Fischer ’73 did not have a typical college experience, especially at the then Baptist College at Charleston. 

Fischer grew up in a family of unbelievers. She was happily pursuing a sculpting degree in Perugia, Italy, when she needed to move home (and eventually to Charleston) to help a family member. 

“I was distracted during this period of my life. I wasn’t a Christian, so it was a shock to have Bible classes at Baptist College. But He knew what I needed,” said Fischer. “Who knows what seeds were planted in my life during that time?”

As an art major, Fischer was required to complete a senior project. She chose to do a portrait sculpture of the first president, Dr. John Hamrick. Also known as a bust, the sculpture was cast in bronze, was displayed in Rivers Library for several years, and is currently in storage in the library.

After graduation, Fischer got a job as a proofreader, then a copy editor, a content editor, and a senior editor for nonfiction. She continued to create sculptures and to teach classes, and it was during this period that the Lord grabbed her by the throat.

“I came to know God through a series of miracles,” said Fischer. “I went to visit my paternal grandmother, who said, the Hound of Heaven was after me. At the time, I didn’t even know what she meant.” Fischer prayed that if God was real He would take away her stomach ulcers, which wouldn’t respond to treatment or medication. “I knew I couldn’t believe in a Lord who wasn’t still parting Red Seas,” she said. Her stomach pain vanished. “It went from excruciating pain to zero.”

Fischer said, “God has such a wonderful sense of humor. I read the Word, read it again, listened to it on tape. I was baptized in a Baptist church, and have gone to whatever church is preaching the Word, preaching truth ever since.”

Prior to and after her children were born, she continued to do portrait sculpture and teach, but three difficult sculpture clients in a row convinced her that a sculpture career wasn’t worth it. “Sculpture didn’t challenge my intellect, and my opportunities to share Jesus with clients began to dry up,” she said. 

“I no longer wanted to be in the art scene and felt the Lord opening me to fiction writing.”

Nonfiction had allowed her to write sparsely and taught her to organize logically. However, writing fiction is not sparse. “I had to learn to enlarge the writing, to bring all five senses into a scene,” said Fischer. “My years of writing poetry helped.

“In writing fiction, I never know what is going to happen next,” she said. “I start with a germ of an idea and see where it goes. I write with multiple story lines – can’t have just one! Where is the fun in that?” 

 She wrote two books of fiction, Two from Isaac’s House and From Fire into Fire which won awards but weren’t published at the time. Her first published book of fiction was Becalmed, a story based loosely on her Aunt Tadie. 

Fischer was caring for her Aunt, who had dementia. Fischer’s first husband had taken off when her son was 11 and her daughter had already left home. So when Fischer met her husband, Michael, Aunt Tadie was part of the package deal. “He married us both, and they became really good friends,” she said. 

Fischer had grown up sailing, and when she prayed she asked God for a tall, Christian sailor. “God brought me my best friend,” she said, “and we married, bought a big boat, and went sailing.” They set out with a plan to sail around the world, but they were so captured with the beauty of the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, they ended up remaining there for almost three years.

Eventually the Fischers settled in coastal North Carolina to care for Normandie’s mother who had Alzheimer’s. “Ministering to older people has been such a gift to me,” she said. She runs a prayer ministry in their church and holds several prayer sessions throughout each week and counsels women. In her prayer group she teaches, “God is; Jesus is; if we keep our focus on Him, nothing can take away our peace.”

Her son lives in North Carolina, and her daughter and two grandchildren live in New York. She also has two bonus children.

Fischer’s award-winning books are classified as Southern Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Christian, and Christian Suspense. Thus far, she has written two series, the Isaac’s House books and Carolina Coast Series, six contemporary novels set in North Carolina.

Fischer’s life has come full circle from the sculptor who did not know Jesus to a storyteller committed to sharing the truth that Jesus is the great and glorious I Am who has become our Savior.

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