Welcome, Joan. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
The main thing for me is to finish the rest of my series on the American Revolution. That's my priority right now. There are still 3 volumes left to go, so it's going to consume probably the next 6 or 7 years.
I have a number of other projects I want to get to as soon as I can: an epic medieval tragedy, the fictionalized story of my Hochstetler ancestors, a spy-thriller, and a few other stories that are only plot summaries at the moment. So it looks like I'm going to be writing until my hands, eyes, and brain give out!
Tell us a little about your family.
I'm the daughter of Mennonite farmers, and my parents are both with the Lord now. I have one brother, who's a librarian, and I have 3 grown daughters. My husband, Jay, is a retired United Methodist pastor, and he also has 3 grown daughters. Between us we have 13 grandchildren and 2 step granchildren ranging from preschool to mid-twenties in age, so there's always something going on. We're pretty blessed and we're proud of every one of them!
Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
It really has. Fiction is my main love, but because I'm writing a long historical series on the American Revolution, I read a lot of nonfiction on the period for my research. I also intentionally try steer away from fiction set during the Revolution because I want to keep my plots and characters fresh and not inadvertantly pick up ideas from another author.
I used to read a lot of contemporary fiction too. But the more I immerse myself in history, the more I find myself reaching for a historical novel rather than a contemporary.
What are you working on right now?
I'm finishing the edit on book 4 of my American Patriot Series, Crucible of War, which covers 1777. Then I'm going to dive right into book 5, Valley of the Shadow, which mostly takes place in 1778. As soon as possible, I also want to get back to a novel I've been working on for several years, a fictional treatment of the lives of my Hochstetler ancestors, who came to this country in 1738, settled in
Pennsylvania, and were attacked by Indians
in 1757 during the French and Indian War. There's a lot of documentation
available, surprisingly enough, and I'm trying to do justice to their story.
What outside interests do you have?
I love to garden and do crafts, such as scrapbooking. I also love to decorate my home—add, subtract, move things around, repaint, and so on. What woman doesn't? I find playing around with design software and creating blogs, websites, and short video trailers a blast too. I can tie up hours, if not days, doing those kinds of projects. Then I discovered Pinterest a couple of months ago, and it's kind of sucked me in. When my brain is tired, adding to my boards is a lovely way to relax!
How do you choose your settings for each book?
The settings kind of choose me. Certain eras seem to call my name, and I find myself drawn into the lives of people of the time. That's been true for my American Patriot Series. Since I want to have my caracters right in the midst of the action, the setting becomes wherever the action is the most exciting.
My novel on the Hochstetler family is set in
Pennsylvania where they
lived, of course. But I've also set some of my other works in progress where
specific details of time and place fit the storyline the best. Most of the
time, the story and characters tell you where they want to be.
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
I'd love to spend time with Patrick Henry. I admire him immensely. He was not only a great patriot, extremely intelligent, personable, and very well versed in the law and politics of the day, but also a staunch Christian. And he was personally involved in the very beginnings of the Revolution. Spending an evening picking his brain would be my kind of heaven!
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
How hard it would be to market and promote myself and my work. You think you know what you're getting yourself into when you step into this business, but until you're face to face with the reality, you really don't have a clue!
For me, writing is the easy, fun part. But what's the point of it if nobody reads your stories? So that means getting the word out, which is a whole lot of work.
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
I've been attending a church for a few months where the pastor's focus is Christian formation, being formed in the image of Christ, and I'm finding that I've been thirsty for this kind of teaching for a long time. He's been preaching through the Gospel of John for more than 2 years, and the cumulative effect of that intense focus is life changing.
The Lord is teaching me what it truly means to be a servant—not to serve others, which is self centered, but to truly BE a servant like Christ was, which is other centered. I fail at that so often, but that's the way I want to live my life.
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Keep learning and growing as a writer. Write amazing stories. Keep your eyes on the Lord and make Him the focus and priority of your work.
Tell us about the featured book.
Brigadier General Jonathan Carleton has pledged his allegiance to the newly elected commander of the rebel force, General George Washington. But his heart belongs to fiery Elizabeth Howard, who charms British officers by day and by night delivers their secrets to the Sons of Liberty. Their plans to marry are put on hold, however, when
orders Carleton to undertake a perilous journey deep into Indian territory,
continues to spy on the British. Within weeks, she learns that far out in the
wilderness Carleton has been captured by the Seneca. Despite all attempts to
find him, his fate remains shrouded in mystery.
Forced to abandon
British General William Howe prepares to unleash an overwhelming invasion force
against Washington’s badly outmatched army at New York City. At the
same time, reports begin to filter back from the western frontiers that a new Shawnee war chief named White Eagle is leading devastating
raids against both British and American outposts in . Ohio Territory
Please give us the first page of the book.
“No chance to get away to see Beth tonight either, I take it,” Major Charles Andrews ventured.
“We’ll undoubtedly be tied up with the generals until late.”
Andrews pulled his mount alongside Carleton’s. “I thought you’d break away yesterday when we stopped at
to meet with the Provincial Congress.”
Carleton shook his head in frustration. “The General insisted I attend him. But I mean to see Beth tonight, even if it’s past midnight before we get there.”
Washington has kept you on a short
rein ever since we met him in New
“All to your credit, Charles. If you hadn’t felt obliged to share every minute detail of my arrest and imminent hanging, we’d have been in Roxbury days ago.”
“It’s a good thing the General is being cautious,” Andrews countered. “If Isaiah hadn’t been on the alert on the road to
York, Gage’s agents would have us aboard ship to England by now, trussed up like a
covey of Christmas geese.”
“And thank you for contributing a report on that little incident too,” Carleton returned sourly. “You managed to persuade
Washington that the price Gage has put on my
head—and on yours—will prove too tempting for someone whose need for cold coin
is greater than his allegiance to the cause of liberty.”
Andrews returned a grin. “I’m a small fish. It’s you Gage wants. Considering the reward he’s offering, he obviously means to exact revenge for his humiliation at your hands. After all, you did pluck him clean of all the intelligence the Committee of Safety could have hoped for—while nestled sweetly in the general’s bosom.”
Carleton’s face clouded. “That’s what I despise about this. I should never have allowed myself to be persuaded to take on such a dishonorable role.”
“But spying in time of war is an ancient and necessary profession¾even a biblical one. Don’t forget the twelve Hebrews who spied out the
for Moses.” land
“Yes, and because they listened to the ten who had no faith instead of the two who trusted God, the children of Israel wandered in the desert for the next forty years,” Carleton responded with a short laugh. “May our country not be so unfortunate.”
With each step, the horses’ hooves plopped deep into the muddy road. The day was hot and humid following an early morning rain, and thunderclouds were again building overhead. At ground level, the rising wind stirred the trees that shouldered each other along the road’s edge and drove patches of shadow and sun across the low, wooded hills four miles from
“I hate to admit it, but in this beastly heat and humidity these buckskins are not as comfortable as our new uniforms would have been. And it occurs to me—too late, as usual—that we’d make a better impression on Ward and his staff in full regalia than in Indian dress.”
Andrews surveyed Carleton’s leather hunting shirt, leggings, and moccasins that matched his own. “I’m surprised to hear you say it,” he retorted with a smile. “I’ve not observed that you’re often overly concerned about making an impression, favorable or not.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I have both a personal and a series website: www.jmhochstetler.com and www.theamericanpatriotseries.com And I have a blog devoted to the series: http://americanpatriotseries.blogspot.com .
It's always a pleasure to have you drop by my blog, Joan.
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Native Son (The American Patriot Series, Book 2) - paperback
Native Son (The American Patriot Series) - Kindle
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