Interview: Joanne Bischof

Favorite place to write:

One of my favorite places to write is in my upstairs bedroom. There are a bunch of windows so the sun is always streaming in there, and with our home set within the woods of a Southern California mountain range, there are trees all around which makes it feel like being in a treehouse!

Go-to writing snack or drink:

My favorite go-to drink these days is usually Kombucha. There is a yummy apple flavor that I love, and sometimes I mix it with sparkling apple juice to make a cidery-bubbly drink that’s one of my new faves!

Something you must do or have to write:

Having music playing from my writing mix, and having my story Pinterest board open is typically a must for me. Both help set the mood and tone of the project I’m working on, and depending on what songs I select, or what images I choose to keep nearby, both really help to define the scene, and get the words flowing!

Hard copy, e-reader, audio book:

I adore having books in hand only because my eyes and fingers get tired with having to be on my cell phone (and sadly, I don’t have a Kindle!). So when it’s a paperback, I’m all set, and audiobooks are just as much of a favorite. I adore having a great book read by a talented narrator . . . it just seems to bring everything to life!

Favorite part of writing Daughters of Northern Shores:

My favorite part of writing this novel was getting to visit beloved characters again. To pick up where their lives left off in Sons of Blackbird Mountain, and to revisit that setting, and these vivid personalities again, was so incredibly special. It was just like coming home.

Hardest part of writing Daughters of Northern Shores:

The hardest part was definitely working on Haakon’s scenes when he is at sea. Writing about life aboard a tall ship in the 1800’s, and about the various tasks needed to be done, as well as describing the different ports was all a great challenge. A lot of this had to do with his voyage being on a timeline that I was trying to accurately portray within the novel. It had me checking winds, currents, and distances between various ports to make sure that he always got to the right place at the right time in an accurate and believable way within the story!

What is next?

Currently I have a few top-secret projects in the works, including fiction and non-fiction! As I type away on those—leaning in on God’s provision for the words and direction—I’m excited to see what might be coming next. All the books-in-progress are dear to my heart and I hope that for whichever one lands on the docket next, that it will be an encouragement to readers!

About the Story:

Sequel to the critically-acclaimed Sons of Blackbird Mountain

Aven Norgaard understands courage. Orphaned within an Irish workhouse, then widowed at just nineteen, she voyaged to America where she was wooed and wed by Thor Norgaard, a Deaf man in rural Appalachia. That the Lord saw her along the winding journey and that Aven now carries Thor’s child are blessings beyond measure. Yet while Thor holds her heart, it is his younger brother and rival who haunts her memories. Haakon—whose selfish choices shattered her trust in him.

Having fled the farm after trying to take Aven as his own, Haakon sails on the North Atlantic ice trade where his soul is plagued with regrets that distance cannot heal. Not even the beautiful Norwegian woman he’s pursued can ease the torment. When the winds bear him home after four years away, Haakon finds the family on the brink of tragedy. A decades-old feud with the neighboring farm has wrenched them into the fiercest confrontation on Blackbird Mountain since the Civil War. Haakon’s cunning and strength hold the power to seal many fates, including Thor’s which is already at stake through a grave illness brought to him as the first prick of warfare.

Now Haakon faces the hardest choice of his life. One that shapes a battlefield where pride must be broken enough to be restored, and where a prodigal son may finally know the healing peace of surrender and the boundless gift of forgiveness. And when it comes to the woman he left behind in Norway, he just might discover that while his heart belongs to a daughter of the north, she’s been awaiting him on shores more distant than the land he’s fighting for.

Connect with Joanne through her website, Facebook, and Instagram.

Interview + Giveaway: Rachel Hauck

When you walk into a bookstore, you make a beeline for what section?

I never beeline. I shop, look at the book tables, the what’s new shelf, the recommended shelf until I work my way back to the “Religious” section to see if any of my books are there.

Favorite place to write: My very lovely office.

Go-to writing snack or drink: Sparkling water. I try not to eat while writing. That’s a very bad habit.

Favorite (doesn’t that word just make you cringe?) writer resource:

My brain is my favorite resource. I also get a lot of inspiration and fresh angles on a story in the prayer room at church, in the bath tub or at the gym. Otherwise I call my handy-dandy writing partner, Susan May Warren.

What book is currently on your nightstand?

Sold On Monday.

Hard copy, e-reader, audio book:

I like e-books. Paper books collect and I don’t know what to do with them!

What was the inspiration behind The Memory House?

The House On Memory Lane was the original title and the spark of an idea. What about a house full of memories? I wasn’t where the story would go from there but I took a unique approach and think it turned out well.

Favorite part of writing The Memory House:

The End. LOL. Seriously, writing is grueling so I love when I finally, finally get to the end. I also loved Bruno’s scenes with the young football player.

Hardest part of writing The Memory House:

As with any story, weaving it together. Getting the threads lined up, the characterization right.  It’s a lot of work but I do love it.

Image Credit: Pinterest

If The Memory House was turned into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

Timeless star Matt Lanter would be Bruno. Or even Don. Not sure about the heroines. I’ll let the producers envision it.

What is next?

I’m finishing a book called The 5th Avenue Story Society about five unlikely people sharing their life story in an old New York City library.

About the Story:

Embracing the future means remembering the past . . .

When Beck Holiday lost her father in the North Tower on 9/11, she also lost her memories of him. Eighteen years later, she’s a tough New York City cop burdened with a damaging secret, suspended for misconduct, and struggling to get her life in order. Meanwhile a mysterious letter arrives informing her she’s inherited a house along Florida’s northern coast, and what she discovers there will change her life forever. Matters of the heart only become more complicated when she runs into handsome Bruno Endicott, a driven sports agent who fondly recalls the connection they shared as teenagers. But Beck doesn’t remember that, either.

Decades earlier, widow Everleigh Applegate lives a steady, uneventful life with her widowed mother after a tornado ripped through Waco, Texas, and destroyed her new, young married life. When she runs into old high school friend Don Callahan, she begins to yearn for change. Yet no matter how much she longs to love again, she is hindered by a secret she can never share.

Fifty years separate the women but through the power of love and miracle of faith, they each find healing in a beautiful Victorian known affectionately as The Memory House.

Giveaway:

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Connect with Rachel through her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Interview: Mesu Andrews

When you walk into a bookstore, you make a beeline for what section?

Cards. I know I’m supposed to say books, and that’s my second stop, but I LOVE cards! Birthday cards, Thinking-of-You cards, Anniversary cards—I just love reading them. Weirdo, I know.

Favorite place to write:

The Outer Banks. For the past couple of years, about five writer friends and I have taken a one-week getaway to rent a house on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. We write ALL DAY and sometimes late into the night, but we always take time to watch the sunset together. We pray for each other through the year and keep in touch about our current projects. It’s been a huge blessing in sort of a lonely profession.

Go-to writing snack or drink:

Coffee, protein bars, and smoothies. It’s what I live on.

What does your writing nook look like?

I have about 3 places in my house that I write. The one pictured is my recliner in the living room. I’m balancing a bowl of Ramen (another staple in my diet) on one leg, my Bible on the arm of the chair, and my laptop on…well, on my lap. Got my slippers on and my head in the story. Because I sometimes write for sometimes 12-14 hours a day (when on deadline), my writing spots all involve cushions and comfort. My other favorites are the back-porch swing and my recliner in the loft of our log cabin. My desk is used mainly to stack junk mail.

Something you must do or have to write:

Coffee—with sugar-free hazelnut creamer.

Favorite (doesn’t that word just make you cringe?) writer resource:

If you mean “writer resource” as in a book on the craft of writing, my new favorite is Don Maass’s The Emotional Craft of Fiction. I couldn’t have written the difficult cast of characters in Isaiah’s Legacy (King Manasseh and others) without it. If you mean resource for the biblical research, that’s MUCH easier: LOGOS Bible software. Hands down THE best investment I’ve ever made.

What book is currently on your nightstand?

Jerusalem’s Queen by Angela Hunt and Heaven by Randy Alcorn

Hard copy, e-reader, audio book:

Audiobook these days since I have so little time to read for pleasure. When I do have time, I like switching between paper and e-reader.

What was the inspiration behind Of Fire and Lions?

I’d always thought the story of Daniel would be a FANTASTIC book, but my preliminary research said he and his three friends (Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego) were likely made eunuchs when they were taken to Babylon (2 Kings 20:18). When the idea of Daniel’s story wouldn’t go away, I dug deeper into the Hebrew word used for eunuch and found out it could also mean chief official—as it did when describing Potiphar in Genesis 37:36. Daniel suddenly became the most eligible bachelor in my next novel!

Favorite part of writing Of Fire and Lions:

Re-discovering the God of miracles. Re-awakening to the awe and wonder that Daniel’s God is my God and still holds that same power!

Hardest part of writing Of Fire and Lions:

Deadlines. 2018 was an exceptionally difficult year. I allowed myself to become overcommitted, and my deadlines for OFL fell right around the time our eldest daughter was due with twins! I finished my line edits at her house the night after the babies were born! Very tough to concentrate, but the book is dedicated to those precious grand babies, and y’all will find two sets of twins in the story. LOL! I had twins on the brain that whole year!

If Of Fire and Lions was turned into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

If any of my books NEEDS to be a movie, it’s OFL! We’ve got the three guys walking around in the fiery furnace with God (Dan. 3), Nebuchadnezzar turning into a beast (Dan. 4), and Daniel in the lions’ den (Dan. 6). Action packed! The lead role? Ryan Gosling. Strong, silent type that when he smiles…it really means something.

What is next?

Isaiah’s Legacy, the sequel to Isaiah’s Daughter releases in March 2020—the same time as a reader tour to Israel that my hubby and I are hosting! Isaiah’s Legacy continues the story of Queen Hephzibah, and in this book we meet her son, King Manasseh—the wickedest king in all of Israel/Judah’s history. Traveling to Israel around the 2020 release will give us the chance to actually see many of the locations mentioned in Isaiah’s Legacy as well as locations from my other novels. Registration for the trip begins soon after Of Fire and Lion releases. Readers can visit my website for more details.

What else would you like readers to know?

My hubby and I will soon be moving from our log cabin to an in-law suite in our younger daughter’s basement. It’s a huge life change but one that we’re all looking forward to. Our older daughter’s in-laws live in their basement, so we’re realistic about the joys and challenges. We raised our two daughters in a town surrounded by Amish farms. Our girls attended public school with Amish children whose home life included their grandparents in a “dawdi haus” built onto the main house or right beside it. We’ve always loved the concept of multi-generational living. I’ve never been interested in writing Amish fiction (since we know too many real stories), but we’re trying to implement some of that healthy simplicity that makes those stories so appealing.

About the Story:

Survival. A Hebrew girl first tasted it when she escaped death nearly seventy years ago as the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem and took their finest as captives. She thought she’d perfected in the many years amongst the Magoi and the idol worshippers, pretending with all the others in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Now, as Daniel’s wife and a septuagenarian matriarch, Belili thinks she’s safe and she can live out her days in Babylon without fear–until the night Daniel is escorted to Belshazzar’s palace to interpret mysterious handwriting on a wall. The Persian Army invades, and Bellili’s tightly-wound secrets unfurl with the arrival of the conquering army. What will the reign of Darius mean for Daniel, a man who prays to Yahweh alone?

Ultimately, Yahweh’s sovereign hand guides Jerusalem’s captives, and the frightened Hebrew girl is transformed into a confident woman, who realizes her need of the God who conquers both fire and lions.

Connect with Mesu through her *website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Instagram.

*You can order free bookmarks, download Bible studies or group discussion questions from her website.

Interview: Cassidy Carter

When you walk into a bookstore, you make a beeline for what section? Romance, of course! But I’m a very avid reader with varied tastes; I like most fiction, mysteries, nonfiction, comics and graphic novels, everything. There’s a Zane Grey audiobook in my car right now.

Favorite place to write: My own desk. I’ve tried to write on my laptop outside, but there are too many distractions outside of my office.

Go-to writing snack or drink: I must have something salty and a dirty chai latte. I’ve been trying to avoid junk food lately, so my beloved Doritos have been replaced by a veggie plate and Greek yogurt blue cheese. But I still have the chai.

What does your writing nook look like? Oh gosh, it’s like a small cave. Really. My desk is flanked on the left, right, and above by bookshelves, and they are full of books. If I type too hard, I might create an avalanche. If it’s been a few days since y’all have heard from me, send help. I’m under the books.

Something you must do or have to write: Music. Spotify is my life when I’m writing.

Favorite (doesn’t that word just make you cringe?) writer resource: This is such a great question. First, of course, is Merriam-Webster. I’m always looking up words. I’m a word nerd. Additionally, I’ve read a lot of books on the craft of writing, and I’ve listened to a lot of talks on the subject. I think I’ve taken bits and pieces of them all. But, honestly, you are your own best writer’s resource. By that, I mean that no craft or industry book is going to give you absolutely everything you need to sit down and write perfectly. I see a lot of writers get bogged down in this or that book method, this “right” way to plot vs. that “right” way to plot. To my mind, the best way is the way that gets that first draft done. You can improve, but not if you are too scared to get it wrong that you never try. You already have everything you need to write; it’s in you. If you’re a reader, you’re the only resource you need to get started.

What book is currently on your nightstand? Firefly: Big Damn Hero by James Lovegrove. It’s a novel that’s set in Joss Whedon’s Firefly world. I’m a huge nerd in general.

Hard copy, e-reader, audio book: Depends. I like hard copies for certain things (very loved books, vintage books), e-books for others (when I must have a book right away), and audiobooks for road trips.

What was the inspiration behind Love on Location? Fun fact: It was originally going to be a book about saving a family-owned factory, but the setting just wasn’t fun enough. It needed to be set somewhere the reader could really escape to. I grew up in a very rural small town, traipsing through the woods all summer and going to 4-H camp. It was an idyllic place. Now, my family and I love to visit Flagstaff and Williams, Arizona, to camp, hike, and just enjoy the small-town settings. Both are great getaways from everyday life. So Love on Location started with a setting and grew from there. The romance between best friends was kind of an offshoot of the same concept; we have so many regular worries and stresses, so many distractions, that we get caught up in the day-to-day, and we don’t take time to slow down and consider things—like a chance for love that might be staring us in the face.

Favorite part of writing Love on Location: Plotting it out as though it were a Hallmark movie. Oh, and adding in fun touches like Wyatt’s love of old movies and the angsty teen show that Delaney’s daughter watches, Lovestruck High.

Hardest part of writing Love on Location: Figuring out how to wrap it up. I won’t give it away, but I wanted to leave the story on a positive note, despite the hijinks that happen throughout the book.

If Love on Location was turned into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

Image Credit: Pinterest

Image Credit: Pinterest

 

 

I have deep feelings about this. Andrew Walker is Wyatt, and Sarah Lancaster is Delaney.

 

 

 

What is next? I don’t know! I have so many things in the works. I would love to continue the story of the Cabins in the Pines with a few sequel ideas I have for future books. And I’d also love to write a cozy mystery series. We’ll see what the future has in store.

What else would you like readers to know? I would like to say thank you! Thank you, Eli, for having me, and thank you to all of my readers. Every author says it, but it’s deeply true—without readers, I wouldn’t be here.

About the Story:

Maybe what they needed most was there all along…

Delaney Phillips, a divorced mom, works for her longtime best friend Wyatt Andrews at Cabins in the Pines. Wyatt inherited the rustic resort from his father, and both he and Delaney have made countless happy memories there. After a highway bypass leaves it a little too off the beaten path, they’ll do just about anything to keep it open.

At Delaney’s urging, Wyatt auditions for a reality TV program that helps businesses in trouble. The show’s glamorous host arrives with her camera crew, turning the place upside down in hilarious and alarming ways.

But Delaney doesn’t like the woman’s new plans for the business…or her designs on Wyatt. Because even though Delaney’s known him since the first grade, she’s slowly but purely falling in love with him. Can she help him see the cabins—and their relationship—in a different light?

Connect with Cassidy through her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Interview: Jocelyn Green

When you walk into a bookstore, you make a beeline for what section?

When I walk into a bookstore, my beeline is pretty slow because I have to stop and see what’s on all those tables of new releases, best sellers, and $5 paperbacks. From there I visit the Christian fiction section, which is fun since I know so many of the authors represented on those shelves. Then I hang out in the history section and look for new story ideas.

Favorite place to write: My local tea shop. I try to get there on a regular basis, but usually I write from my home office which is a close second, because at home I get to wear flannel pants and light a candle and play music.

Go-to writing snack or drink: Tea, from said local tea shop. Favorite flavors are: Fireside Spice, Masala Chai, Honey Almond, Pineapple Mango, Cream Earl Grey, Cinnamon Toast… I could go on!

What does your writing nook look like?

I’m so fortunate that we’ve turned a spare bedroom upstairs into an office for me. Along one wall I have a loveseat for anyone (cats or humans) who wants to pop in and talk. Opposite that is my U-shaped desk where I do most of my writing. I have two monitors, so I can have my research documents open on one of them, and write in the other. Framed handprints and poems from my kids decorate my desktop.

Something you must do or have to write:

During the cold months, my office gets really cold, and even a space heater, a sweater and a blanket over my lap are not quite enough. In order to write up there, I must have tea and my knit fingerless gloves, too. Optional but ideal would be a small burning candle and at least one cat to keep me company.

Favorite (doesn’t that word just make you cringe?) writer resource:

Oh I have all kinds of “writer’s guide” books and books on the craft of writing. But my favorite resource is simply other wonderful works of fiction. I learn something every time I read good books.

What book is currently on your nightstand?

Haha! My stack of books on my nightstand grew so out of control that I purchased a small bookcase at a garage sale to have in the nook next to my nightstand. So I have a LOT of books waiting for me to read them. Just to name a few: A Cry from the Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks, The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin, I’ll Watch the Moon by Ann Tatlock (this will be a re-read), The Edge of Over There by Shawn Smucker, Price of Privilege by Jessica Dotta, A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette. . . There are more! And this doesn’t even include anything on my Kindle.

Hard copy, e-reader, audio book:

Hard copy during the day, e-reader for bedtime or when waiting in line at the post office, audiobook while doing housework.

What was the inspiration behind Between Two Shores?

My main character, Catherine Stands-Apart is half French and half Mohawk, and runs a trading post from Montreal that trades between New England and New France. My inspiration for her is based on the real Mohawk and French women who were ahead of their New England counterparts in terms of owning and operating businesses in a world still dominated by men.

In addition to my research about Mohawk women who served as fur traders between Montreal and Albany, Catherine’s character is loosely inspired by the character of Rick from the classic movie Casablanca. Both Catherine and Rick tried remaining neutral during war, both have former loves reappear in their lives, and both are forced to choose a side.

Favorite part of writing Between Two Shores:

I loved going really deep into Catherine’s character and writing everything from her point of view. That was a first for me—all my previous novels have had two or more perspectives represented up until this one. Or, if you count it as part of the writing process, my absolute favorite part was my trip to Montreal and Quebec City to do research.

Hardest part of writing Between Two Shores:

There were a couple of scenes in particular that were really difficult to write because of the emotional havoc they caused my characters. But I had to take the story to those hard places in order to illustrate the power of forgiveness, self-sacrifice, and redemption.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

If Between Two Shores was turned into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

I have always thought of Catherine as being “played” by Canadian actress Melanie McLaren, of French and Ojibwe heritage. I never found a perfect pick to play Samuel Crane.

What is next?

I just turned in the next novel to my editors at Bethany House. We’ll be working on rewrites soon! This novel is set in Chicago in 1871, and my characters survive the Great Fire and must rebuild their lives after losing everything. It’s scheduled to release in February 2020.

What else would you like readers to know?  

I should mention that Between Two Shores is not a romance novel and does not conform to that genre’s conventions. It’s straight historical fiction, and while there is a lot of love and heart and deep emotion in it, it’s more about family dynamics and one woman’s quest to find a place of belonging between cultures and empires at war.

About the Story:

The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval would rather remain neutral in a world tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the Seven Years’ War against her wishes when her British ex-fiancé, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel claims he has information that could help end the war, and he asks Catherine to help him escape.

Peace appeals to Catherine, even if helping the man who broke her heart does not. But New France is starving, and she and her loved ones may not survive another winter of conflict-induced famine. When the dangers of war arrive on her doorstep, Catherine and Samuel flee by river toward the epicenter of the battle between England and France. She and Samuel may impact history, but she fears the ultimate cost will be higher than she can bear.

Connect with Jocelyn through her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.