September 12, 2012

Getting to Know Author Joanne Bischof (and a Giveaway)

Today I’m so excited to have my writing buddy Joanne Bischof here. She’s one of the sweetest fellow writers I’ve met—always so encouraging—and, as it turns out, we have a lot in common. We both live in the western part of the country, we both are happily married, we both loved to read The Babysitters Club books when we were kids, and—wait for it—we’re both 1984ers. Yes, we coined that term.

Joanne inspires me with all of her accomplishments. I loved her debut novel, Be Still My Soul, and I know you will too.

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Married to her first sweetheart, Joanne 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.

Connect with her via her website, Facebook, and Twitter.
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Because Joanne totally rocks, she’s agreed to hang out here today and answer a few questions. Not only that, but she’ll be offering an advanced copy of her book (which doesn’t release until October 2) to one random commenter. See below for details.

Tell me about the first story you ever wrote, no matter how old you were! How old were you, what was it about, and what was your inspiration for it?

I was in third grade and the story was called The Brave Coyote. The teacher that year loved all things Native American. So I sat at the Hopi table (as opposed to the yellow or blue table) and loved it all. I became fascinated by history and the people who came before us, which led me to write that story.

Since that first story, how has your writing journey unfolded? Tell us about the lowest low and the highest high along the way.

Oh, the lowest low. A lot of the writing journey is waiting, disappointment, and wondering if this is ever meant to be, but I suppose of all that, my lowest low was realizing that I was so worried about it, I wasn’t listening to God and what His plan was. The doing was all mine. Coming back to a place of finding joy in the journey and learning God’s lessons along the way brought me back to that place of rest—regardless of the outcome.

The highest high was probably when I was talking representation with my agent. She already had a publisher in mind to pitch to who might be interested in my story, which is a bit off-center. That publisher just happened to be WaterBrook Multnomah. It was such a surreal moment of everything coming together at once, I could hardly believe it! They’re a division of Random House, so suddenly getting emails from people straight from Random House was one of those pinch-me-this-can’t-be-happening moments! I’m pretty sure I started jumping up and down. Being rather pregnant, this was more like a hop/shuffle, lol.

Music plays a fun role in Be Still My Soul, and I remember you play an instrument…I just can’t remember which one! What do you play and how did you come to learn it? Do you ever perform publicly?

My dad is a musician and we grew up listening to folksy music from bluegrass to hymns to jazz. I play the mandolin and for a while, took bluegrass lessons from a local man up here on our mountain. I played mostly at church on our worship team, which was wonderful. It’s sort of fun to get that bluegrassy bit into worship. The folks at church seemed to really enjoy it, which made it all the more fun.

What was the first piece of your story that was solid in your mind before you started writing it?

Oooh, this is a great question! Right off, it was Lonnie. I saw her in my head, sitting in a rocking chair beside a window, wondering if she would always be unloved. I knew her heart was turned toward a man who did not love her back. That scene and her emotion—her yearning—stuck with me and I knew there was a story there that I had to write. Ultimately, a love story.

And what an awesome story it is. I’ve often heard it said that, as writers, we add pieces of ourselves or people we know into our stories. So I’m curious: In what ways, if any, does your main character Lonnie resemble you?

Many ways. Lonnie’s father is an alcoholic and while I am blessed that my own is not, it wasn’t always that way. Alcoholism is very strong in my family and my dad was among them until I was six months old. He gave it up, wanting more for his baby girls and has never looked back. Not one drop. I have so much gratitude and admiration for him. The life it’s given me. I’ve channeled a lot of that into Gideon’s story. It’s a victory when Gideon makes that same choice for the ones he loves. A choice of triumph that will continue through the Cadence of Grace series.

I love getting to know you better. Other than faith, family/friends, and writing, what three things are you most passionate about?

I’m passionate about chocolate!  And I must confess, I’m nibbling on some right now. I also love gardening. Sowing seeds, planting flowers, I love it all. Lastly, Redemption, I know that’s sort of related to faith. But it’s at the tip top of my list. My husband was saved just over a year ago. Saved from darkness into the light and neither of us have stopped smiling since. In fact, our smiles just keep getting bigger as we grow closer to the Lord together.

That’s unbelievably awesome, Joanne! Do you have a question you’d like to ask my readers?

Fun! You know, I so enjoyed your last question that I’d love to pass it along to readers. What three things are they passionate about?

*Giveaway Details: One random commenter will be chosen to receive a free advanced copy of Joanne’s book. Please leave an answer to the question above and your email address in the comments. Extra entries for tweeting and posting to Facebook (just let me know you did so!). Only U.S. residents are eligible for the giveaway. Giveaway open until Sunday at 5 p.m. (PST).

Gideon only ever cared about himself. Now that Lonnie is his wife, will he ever be worthy of her heart?

Publishers Weekly heralds Be Still My Soul “A gem…”

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?

40 comments:

  1. Great interview, ladies! I loved Joanne's book too! 1984'ers. Snort and spew coffee! LOL

    I'm passionate about teaching God's Word, writing, and coffee with decadent creamer! (and my family but isn't that a given...and 4 things?)

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    1. Yes! Everyone can assume that family/friends, God/faith, and writing are a given, if they want! :P

      And glad to make you laugh. Hehe.

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    2. Jessica, as usual you crack me up!

      Yay for God's word, writing and decadent coffee creamer! I've never liked coffee and my husband is converting me. I think it's the creamer I'm in love with :)

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  2. Awesome interview. I read Joanne's book in a day--that's how much I loved it. :)

    Can I assume that God and family are a given on my list of things I'm passionate about. (Jess did it, so I can too, right?) That assumption in place, my three things are storytelling, old movies and humor. :) (I know, I know, people everywhere are shocked a certain Jets QB didn't make the list...)

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    1. Melissa, you do humor so well. I can totally see it :) And hooray for old movies. I think we all just need to get together and have a movie night!

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    2. I love old movies...Cary Grant movies are my fave! Wait, that's what you're thinking of when you think old, right?

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    3. Yes, Cary Grant is my favorite!! And yes, that's what I mean when I say old. I always laugh when people call 1980s movies "old." I mean black and white classics. :) Ooh, Linds, when I come out there next year, we should watch a Cary Grant movie.

      And Joanne, yes, we should have a big movie night. Complete with chocolate and pizza. :)

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  3. Joanne and Lindsay, both of you make my heart happy! I love your passion for God and for writing. I was born in 1980 - so I have a few years on you two. :)

    What is it with writers and chocolate? I only ask because I've been a chocolate nut for YEARS! I've always said, if it's not chocolate, it's not worth it - I had no idea that my love for chocolate was directly related to my love of writing. Who knew?!?!

    Outside of my faith, my family and my writing, I'm most passionate about history (especially local history), my community and connecting people. I'm all about relationships and I love that aha moment when two people connect on a heart level (especially when it's me and someone else!).

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    1. Gabrielle, seeing you pop up always makes MY heart happy! I think we need a little 80's baby group hug, don't ya think? Or maybe we should all do the running man... ;)

      Is there anything better than chocolate?! I confess I've had 3 dove squares today already and it's only 1 o'clock :D

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    2. Yay for 80s-born peeps! And you know what's funny? I was never into chocolate--my mom almost disowned me as a child--but in the last 5 years or so, I've developed more of a taste for it. Especially dark chocolate. Yum.

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  4. I'm another who enjoyed Joanne's book. It's a refreshingly real look at life and love in a story that moved me.

    Other than faith, family, and writing, I'm passionate about romance, history, and friendships.

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    1. Kelik thank you so much. It means a ton to me when I hear how Be Still My Soul was a refreshing read to you. That is always one of my hopes!

      romance, history, friendships...I see a love for all of those things in your writing and your blog!

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    2. I'm not surprised in the least that you're passionate about those things, Keli. You do them all so well! :)

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  5. Oh goodness. I suppose you could say that I'm passionate about being an authentic blogger.
    Does that make sense?
    I feel so strongly about making sure that what I share on my blog is a true representation of my life, my family and my awesome God.
    No pretenses!
    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Lu, so nice to meet you! I think that's a wonderful thing to be passionate about. Making sure that you represent your life, family, and God in a true way. Bravo! I will have to hop over and check it out :)

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    2. That's such a great thing to be passionate about. I really value others who are genuine and honest in their faith. It's refreshing!

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  7. I can't wait to read it. I do have the book so don't enter me in the giveaway.

    I thumbed through the first few pages and I was hooked. Looks good!

    I love when we see those first pieces of our story in our mind...

    Sorry typo above - my bad.

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    1. Loree, I'm so glad that you won that copy of Be Still My Soul and that the first few pages had you hooked! Just between you and me (and everyone else, lol) I blush over those first few pages. I'm such a quiet, gentle person and that Gideon O'Riley causes all sorts of trouble in that book, hehe :)

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    2. It's a great read, Loree! You won't be able to put it down. :)

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  8. I'm passionate about God, my babies, and my art.

    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi Amy! I just love seeing you here. Your babies are beautiful. I always enjoy their sweet faces on your profile picture. And I didn't know you were an artist! I'd love to hear more.

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    2. Oh, how neat that you're an artist. Thanks so much for stopping by today. :)

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  9. I shared via twitter.

    https://twitter.com/AmyBooksy/status/245927209431355392

    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you! I'll count you twice in the drawing.

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  10. Ladies!!!!!

    Uncle Rico would be proud - especially since he gets to keep his '82....

    Joanne - can't wait to meet you in person! Woo-hoo! I lived many years with my beloved husband who was not saved and who was consumed by his alcoholism. The Lord has redeemed him, his life and our marriage - and He protected our children from the worst of those years. Lonnie's story resonates in us. You'll get to meet him, too, next month. It's a beautiful part of Kevin's testimony.

    Lindsay - what a wonderful interview - love your questions.

    I have a special person in mind who I'd LOVE to share this book with - I'm keeping my own copy!- so I'd be thrilled at a chance to win one!

    beckydwriter(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Becky!! Uncle Rico...yes! Secret shame: I love Napoleon Dynamite. It's one of the best movies. I know it's so dumb but I'm just a sucker for that love story, they are so cute and awkward. :)

      I am so excited to see you next month. Can't wait to meet you in person and your family. I have been so blessed and encouraged by your testimony and the testimony that is your marriage. We have some talking to do, girl. I'm hoping we can get together one day over coffee.

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    2. Bahaha, Uncle Rico.

      I've got you down for the drawing. How neat if you won and got to share Joanne's story with your friend.

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  11. Oops - didn't answer your question!

    1 - I'm lumping the obvious 3 together in one because I don't know how to separate them: God, my husband, my children.

    2 - Writing (of course!) and reading (Okay - I lumped those two together, too, but how do you separate them???)

    3 - Restoration. The Lord is the GREAT RESTORER and I love when He uses me to that end. I love it.

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    1. "The Lord is the Great Restorer" Love that!! <3 HE IS.

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    2. I agree...you just can't separate writing and reading. :)

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  12. Hi Lindsay! I've had so much fun reading everyone's comments. Thank you so much for letting me hang out today! Hugs!

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    1. Thank YOU for being my guest, Joanne! It's been so fun having you here.

      And to answer your question, the three things I'm most passionate about other than God, family/friends, and writing...

      singing/worship
      reading
      ICE CREAM!! :P

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  13. I am passionate about reading, listening to music, and watching movies! My email is shopgirl152nykiki@yahoo.com. I also tweeted and facebooked this!

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    1. Veronica, listening to music is one of my favorite things, too! I almost always have it on and for some reason, often have it on when I'm writing. It's like my little sidekick. So excited to see your picture pop up on my facebook page. I'm looking forward to getting to know you better!

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    2. I love all the things you mentioned, Veronica. Thanks so much for visiting. I've entered you three times into the drawing.

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  14. Congratulations on your debut novel, Joanne! I love the premise of Be Still My Soul, and I enjoyed hearing your journey to publication. What am I passionate about?
    God's lavish grace
    My family & friends (I can turn this into one thing by saying "relationships")
    My writing

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  15. Lovely, Beth! It's been such a pleasure to get to connect with you and I loved, loved, loved, "Wish you were here." One of my new favorites!

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  16. Great interview, Lindsay and Joanne! Don't enter me b/c I've already ready Joanne's wonderful book. Enjoyed it so much I'm interviewing her on my blog pretty soon! I loved the mountain setting, which Joanne got just right.

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