Joanne Bischof has done it again!
First, a litte about her newest masterpiece, Though My Heart is Torn, (Multnomah) which by the way is on my HIGHLY recommended list, and then a bonus Q&A with Joanne about what’s funny and challenging and coming next in her writer’s life.
Here’s a setup of the book:
Shy and quiet, Lonnie Sawyer has never kissed any boy, let alone the one who has mothers whispering warnings in their daughter’s ears and fathers loading shotguns. When just one kiss seals her fate, she finds herself wedded to a man who does not love her. Yet God promises that His eye is on the Sparrow and clinging to that hope, Lonnie takes one brave step in front of the other and the Lord’s blessings unfold in her life.
Handsome ladies’ man and bluegrass musician, Gideon O’Riley, has always wanted one thing–his own satisfaction. But as his heart softens towards his young bride with the strong, quiet, faith, he begins to yearn for more; longing to become the man she deserves and to better understand the God who has saved him from a life of destruction.
You don’t have to read the first installment of The Cadence of Grace series, but I believe you’ll want to! That said, do NOT expect this series to be your run-of-the-mill, lightly treading mamby pamby romance, no sir! Just because it’s set in Appalachia around the turn of the century, there’s nothing soft or sappy about it. Bischof once again had me up until the wee hours turning the pages, every chapter had me rushing to find out how the story would unfold.
And just like the first book, Be Still My Soul, this one is also exquisitely written, with beautiful and compelling details of life in the early 1900’s.
I’ve described Joanne’s writing before as some of the best out there today, and she does not disappoint.
Praise for Though My Heart is Torn:
“Fresh and memorable as an Appalachian spring, Though My Heart Is Torn is heartrending yet hopeful, romantic, and riveting. Joanne Bischof delivers a deeply drawn tale of hearts broken and mended in the light of the Lord’s healing love. Lonnie and Gideon’s story is one that stays with you long after you turn the last page. Highly recommended!”—Laura Frantz, author of The Colonel’s Lady and Love’s Reckoning
And now, here’s a fun Q&A with Joanne herself!
BEV: You colored outside the lines with your hero, Gideon’s character and situation. Were you ever unsure whether your readers would accept him?
JB: I really was. He’s such a scoundrel in the beginning of Be Still My Soul, and to ask readers if they wanted to follow his journey toward redemption was intimidating. And then I was blown away by how many readers rooted for him in the end! I think so many readers could relate to their own experience of needing a Savior, or having walked the road with someone searching for that healing that can only come in Christ.
BEV: Without giving away the major twists of the plot, I want readers to know your books are not our grandma’s historical fiction, and address a “what-if” situation that seems to have no possible satisfactory outcome. Is any of this based on something you’d heard of, or did you make it up just for the series?
JB: I’d say that I pretty much just made it up for this series and because of the rarity of it all, it really made it a challenge to write. There were days I just wanted to scrap it all and write about something easier, but then I had to remind myself that if I could just get my characters—and myself—through this challenge, the outcome would be all the more rewarding.
BEV: Your stories grab the reader by the hand and heart, and don’t let go until the final page. Do you ever feel guilty for making the journey so compelling we stay up way too late and ignore our own families so we can finish?
JB: Haha! Fun question! I have felt guilty a time or two when someone tells me that they didn’t go to bed until 1 in the morning or the laundry never got folded because they were too involved in the story. But it’s one of those moments that make me smile and I’m so thankful for all the readers out there who’ve picked up this series!
BEV: Your writer’s voice is so true to the era, how do you prepare to write historically?
JB: My real life often feels like a modern extension of what I write. Living in the mountains where I do, it’s not uncommon for people to grow their own food, or to bump into a man at the post office with dingy overalls and a long beard. It’s sort of every day for me. When I dive into my historical world, that old-fashioned setting is living right below the surface and it just feels natural to sort of pour all that onto the page.
BEV: Do you ever dream plots or scenes and use them?
JB: The only time that I can recall ever dreaming a plot and using it, was right in the beginning. I dreamt about an older couple who were feeling stretched thin with the farm work and with no living children around, the burden began to grow as the years wore on. That couple became Jebediah and Elsie Bennett from the series and I think they were just the couple that Lonnie and Gideon needed to find. Not because Jeb and Elsie needed the help so much, but more because Lonnie and Gideon had so much learning to do and this wise couple had plenty of love and wisdom to share.
BEV: What was the funniest thing that happened to you while you were writing TMHiT?
JB: You know, something funny happened just the other day! I was actually working on the third book in the series and was working on a scene of dialogue between the two main characters. Somehow I had the hero, Gideon say, “Lonnie, I’m so sorry I didn’t love you as much as I should have in the first book.”
I had to stop and laugh at that oopsie! J
BEV: HAHA!! Oh. me…ahem. I know you have several plates spinning at once, from homeschooling, to writing and marketing your books, and everything being a wife and mom entails. If you were given the day off, what do you dream about being able to do?
JB: That sounds just wonderful! I’m home a lot, so I think I would like to sight see. Visit one of the nearby country towns, or head to the coast. The thought of window shopping and just strolling around sounds heavenly.
BEV: If you could describe the Cadence of Grace in one sentence to someone who never read historical fiction, what would you tell them?
JB: The Cadence of Grace is a journey of the heart—a romance set against the backdrop of Appalachia, 1900.
BEV: That’s lovely. What’s the most exciting thing about being an author today? What’s the most frightening?
JB: The most exciting thing is being able to interact with so many readers. I love that we can get to know one another through blogs and Facebook. It’s such a joy to get to hear from them! The most frightening is probably the challenges of the industry itself. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming, but then I have to stop and remind myself that God is in control. I just need to keep doing the best I can do and He will take care of the rest.
BEV: What’s next in your satchel?
JB: Next in my satchel is another historical Appalachian romance. It’s about a school teacher and a coal miner that’s an unlikely romance story. My favorite kind! I don’t know if it will ever be published, but soon I’ll be working on that more and more.
Thanks, so much, Joanne, love having you here!!