Today, I’m featuring Joanne Bischof, author of Be Still My Soul. She lives in the mountains of Southern California where she keeps busy making messes with their home-schooled children. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, writing, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life. Be Still My Soul is her first novel.
She is offering a free book to a fortunate winner so make sure to leave your email address in a comment below. We have to have ten comments to constitute a contest. Continental US only.
Joanne, introduce yourself to our readers.
Thank you for having me, Sherri! I love writing, reading and anything that has to do with Christian Fiction. I’m always up to something. Whether it involves dirt or glue or flour, my poor husband finds messes everywhere I go. My children love it and they’re always up for an adventure.
I remember those days with young homeschooled children! Tell us three more things about you that would surprise readers.
I’m a TOTAL Lord of the Rings nerd fan. I am insanely afraid of the dark. I know sign language (when I practice).
What is your favorite genre to read now?
I absolutely love Christian fiction. I read historicals, suspense and contemporaries…as long as it’s got a little romance 😉
As a child or teenager, did you ever dream of being an author?
I did. Ever since reading Laura Ingalls Wilder, and realizing that this imaginative little girl grew up to write books, I knew that’s what I wanted to do too! It was such a blessing to have my parents be so supportive of my dreams. I wrote my first official story in 3rd grade and my mom had me write it out in my best cursive and took me down to the copier. We made copies and bound it in little notebooks for my teacher and family. I was thrilled!
That’s a precious memory to have! What’s your biggest obstacle as a writer?
My biggest obstacle is probably finding the time to write. With three little kids who are homeschooled, I write a lot when my family is asleep, whether it be nap time or night time. But every time I hit “The End,” it’s amazing how God seems to have multiplied my time.
I always found writing when the kids were young hard as well but so rewarding in the end. What are you working on right now? Right now, I’m putting some final polishes on the second book in the series, Though My Heart is Torn. I’ve submitted the third manuscript to my editors so I’m nervous and excited to see what they think!
What inspired you to write the featured book? The idea for Be Still My Soul sort of began with a love of bluegrass and folk music. I play the mandolin and love the sounds and songs that came from the Appalachian region. It got me thinking about the people who wrote the lyrics and melodies to this beautiful music and I wanted to know what their lives were like. From that research, Lonnie and Gideon’s story was born.
Here’s the blurb about the book:
Gideon only ever cared about himself.
Now that Lonnie is his wife, will he ever be worthy of her heart?
Night’s chill tickled her skin. Lonnie pressed her hands together and glanced up. He was even more handsome up close. Having grown up the shy, awkward daughter of Joel Sawyer, she’d hardly spoken to any boy, let alone the one who had mothers whispering warnings in their daughter’s ears and fathers loading shotguns.
Pretty Lonnie Sawyer is shy and innocent, used to fading into the background within her family, and among the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian hills. Though her family is poor and her father abusive, she clings to a quiet faith. But when handsome ladies’ man and bluegrass musician Gideon O’Riley steals a kiss, that one action seals her fate.
Her father forces her into a hasty marriage with Gideon—a man she barely knows and does not love. Equally frustrated and confused by his new responsibilities, Gideon yearns for a fresh start, forcing Lonnie on an arduous journey away from her home in Rocky Knob.
Her distant groom can’t seem to surrender his rage at the injustice of the forced matrimony or give Lonnie any claim in his life. What will it take for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie’s God, and discover a hope that can heal their two fractured hearts?
How do you choose names for your characters?
I love researching old fashioned names. For the Cadence of Grace series, I searched for names that were particularly Appalachian, so readers will see them sprinkled throughout the book. I love really unique names. It’s one of my favorite parts about writing.
Do you put yourself into your main character, or do you find yourself borrowing from family or friends as your characters develop?
I’m a pretty shy person, so it was easy to get into my heroine, Lonnie’s, head. She and I have a lot in common. For Gideon, he’s cocky, outgoing and passionate and it was fun to live in his character. He and I are so different, that I had a blast writing him.
Are you a plotter, a pantster, or somewhere in between, and can you elaborate on your answer?
I’m most definitely in the middle. I love to get organized with my writing notebooks, character costume sheets and scene outlines, but I also love to let the scene take me where it wants to. Some of my favorite scenes were totally spur of the moment.
What are your favorite themes to write about? Redemption. It fills me with such joy to know that God redeems. Even the worst of sinners, can reach out and be renewed. There is such power in the cross. Such a need. And it’s there for the taking.
Do you have a favorite scripture? If so, why is it your favorite? I have a few favorites. One I’ll share here is actually the verse that is the theme for the Cadence of Grace Series. It’s from 1 Peter 5:10 “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” This verse is such an amazing reminder that life is a journey. It’s an ebb and flow with twists and turns, but God is there, doing His work in us and for us, every step of the way, and the ultimate destination is one of growth and rest.
I love that verse! Such a great reminder.
You can find Joanne on the Internet at these sites:
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/joannebischof
Be Still My Soul on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/joannebischof/appalachian-romance/