Wednesday, June 01, 2016

THE ALLIANCE - Jolina Petersheim - One Free Book

Welcome, Jolina. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I have to admit that—for good or for bad—each protagonist is a glimpse into some aspect of my character and personality.

Rachel Stoltzfus is headstrong and impetuous: two traits I’ve suffered with since childhood, which have caused some minor and major snafus over the years. (Once, when I was nineteen, I wrote a scathing email about something my “friend” Randy Petersheim had done or said—can’t even remember what!—and then wrote another, calmer version, but I accidentally sent the first. It’s a miracle he still married me!)

Rhoda Mummau, the head midwife of Hopen Haus, is a picture of the person I could become if I surrendered to bitterness when faced with trials and withdrew into myself instead of continuing to open my heart to others and to God. Through writing The Midwife, I saw how essential it is to view the journey of life as beautiful, despite the unpredictable valleys and hills. God has proven Himself faithful to me over these past twenty-nine years, and I know He will continue!

Leora Ebersole’s greatest flaw is the need to control her environment. I too struggle with this need, but God—in His mercy—has shown me, particularly through my husband’s medical journey last year, that the only true peace comes from complete surrender. This surrender is how Leora is able to thrive and grow into a valiant woman, despite modern society crumbling around her at such an unprecedented rate.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
My freshman year of college, two friends and I were goofing off down at the football track (there wasn’t a whole lot to do on the weekends) when I backed my snazzy Chevy Beretta over a fire hydrant and punctured my gas tank! Campus security came by, but they didn’t know how to help. So they called the police and fire department. It seemed every law enforcement official came around—with lights blazing—to inspect my car and debate if it was going to blow up once they pulled the car up off of the hydrant. Tearfully, I had to sign a waiver declaring that I would pay for any damages to the surrounding area if my car did, indeed, explode. To top it all off, the Dean of Student Life (who happened to become my boss the next year) was there to witness the whole thing. She is 6’1’’ and I am barely 5’2’’, but I’ll never forget how comforted I was when she leaned down and gave me a hug. Come to think of it, she gave me many comforting hugs during the years I was in her employment! J

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
My father and my best friend’s father wrote music every Tuesday night from the time I was two years old until I was about fourteen. Listening to them—two carpenters—setting aside time and energy every week to create rhythm and language caused me to want to create as well. Therefore, I wasn’t even reading or writing when I began to make up stories. My mother was always very patient, listening to me ramble. This experience, coupled with a dedicated second grade teacher—who saw me struggling to read and helped me unlock that magic of story—caused me to know that I wanted to tell stories when I “grew up.” And what a joy it is!

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I enjoy stories rich with atmosphere, unusual characters, and situations that make you really think. Also, language is very important to me, since I tend to “hear” words in my head when I read them (or write them). Here are a few novels that have stood out to me over my past reading year: All the Light We Cannot See, Atonement, Far From the Madding Crowd, The Nightingale

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
At this stage of motherhood, with a four-year-old and a nineteen-month-old, I find that a simple lifestyle is best for my daughters’ growth and creativity. Because of this, my schedule is pretty simple as well. Also, I don’t have Internet access on my phone, and I enjoy this—since it allows me to really focus on my family when I’m not working. Being outside a lot (I love to garden and hike!) really helps to clear my head and rejuvenate my creativity. Add a book, and I am the happiest girl in the world!

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I use a mixture of ways. I like to look at road signs (my character Ernest Looper was a combination of a road sign and a man who used to cut our hay in Tennessee). Rachel and Leah were, of course, names chosen for their allusion to the Old Testament Rachel and Leah. Meredith and Thom Fitzpatrick were created from a gentlemen I knew years ago whose named was Meredith Thom. I also like to employ a book that my parents gave me, The David and Anna Miller Story, which traces our Mennonite lineage across the generations and provides wonderful Plain names.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’ve contemplated this one a while, and I’ll have to say that I’m proud to be a mama, though I’m not sure that “proud” is really the right word. I guess I just have an awareness that I’m in the midst of raising two precious souls, and therefore the responsibility is great. Oftentimes, I feel that I fail as a parent. (Tonight, for instance, when I tried to have a tea party with them and the girls were having meltdowns because the water wasn’t boiling fast enough, and I turned from the sink and said, “No one’s gettin’ tea!” And then I became convicted for raising my voice, made their mint tea, and knelt to hug and apologize to them.) So, yes, I fail daily, but I pray that—despite these failures—God can turn these little girls into valiant young women who use their unique giftings to glorify the kingdom. That thought makes every sleepless night, wiped nose, and crumb-strewn floor so worth it!

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Hmm, a bobcat? But maybe that’s just wishful thinking! We discovered a bobcat hit on the lane up from our house in Tennessee, and I made my husband pull over so I could take a closer look. It was absolutely majestic—with white fur between its padded paws and this fluffy, speckled belly. So, yeah, definitely no physical resemblance, but I do enjoy being outside, hiking in the woods, and I’m pretty aggressive if I have a goal in mind. (And my husband nods in agreement.)

What is your favorite food?
On Tuesdays, I go to a local café to write and have lunch, and I really enjoy their chicken curry salad with stone-baked pita bread. But maybe that’s just my favorite food at the moment because I enjoy getting out without a diaper bag! J

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
At this stage of life, I would have to say that trying to write with two young children (and their evolving needs) is my greatest challenge. Because I am determined not to allow my career to interfere with motherhood, I work for two hours before they are awake and for two hours during “quiet time” in the afternoons, though I’ve found that “quiet time” is not always quiet! As deadlines draw near, I have to cut out more time than this (mostly at night, when everyone is asleep = zombie mama!). But thanks to my supportive husband, and to a wonderful babysitter who watches my girls a few hours on Tuesdays, it works!

Tell us about the featured book.
When Leora Ebersole sees the small plane crash in her Old Order Mennonite community, she has no idea it’s a foreshadowing of things to come. When the young pilot, Moses Hughes, regains consciousness, they realize his instruments were destroyed by the same power outage that killed the electricity at the community store, where Englischers are stranded with dead cell phones and cars that won’t start.

Moses offers a sobering theory, but no one can know how drastically life is about to change. With the only self-sustaining food supply in the region, the Pacifist community is forced to forge an alliance with the handful of stranded Englischers in an effort to protect not only the food but their very lives.

In the weeks that follow, Leora, Moses, and the community will be tested as never before, requiring them to make decisions they never thought possible. Whom will they help and whom will they turn away? When the community receives news of a new threat, everyone must decide how far they’re willing to go to protect their beliefs and way of life.

Please give us the first page of the book. (First Chapter)

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Jolina, for sharing this new book with us. It sounds interesting. I'm eager to read it.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
The Alliance -
The Alliance - Amazon
The Alliance - Kindle

For those leaving a comment: When leaving a comment, please tell us why you would find this an interesting read.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Melanie Backus said...

I have been looking forward to this book. I think Jolina is an outstanding writer and I wish her the best. I would love The Alliance!
Thank you for a great interview, Lena.

Melanie Backus, TX

Anonymous said...

I find this book fascinating and one I would love to read because its not your typical Mennonite story. It sounds like it has threads of Survivor with faith built in. Such an out of the norm read so its very intrguing to me.
marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
Maryann in NY

Jolina Petersheim said...

Thank you, Melanie! Such a joy to see you here! I'm looking forward to sharing my book with you!


Jolina Petersheim said...

Thank you, Maryann! This story is very dear to me, and one that I hope you enjoy!

Mary Preston said...

A lovely interview.

Mary P


Jackie Smith said...

Can't wait to read this one!!! Thanks for the giveaway.
Jackie Smith in GA

Brenda Arrington said...

I so enjoyed the interview. The book sounds amazing. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.
Brenda in VA

Becky said...

Wow! Another new author to me! The first chapter is intriguing, and definitely makes me want to read books by this author. A great interview, and I can't imagine finding enough time to write with children at home. The bobcat story was fun!

Connie Porter Saunders said...

I have read several great reviews of this book and I'm really looking forward to reading it.
Connie from KY

Jolina Petersheim said...

Hi, Mary! Greetings to you in Australia! I hope you enjoy the story! :D

Jolina Petersheim said...

Hi, Jackie in Georgia! Thank you for stopping by! Hope you enjoy the book!

Jolina Petersheim said...

Hi, Becky! So nice to meet you here! Glad you enjoyed my bobcat story. ;)

Jolina Petersheim said...

Thank you, Connie! Your support means so much!

Library Lady said...

I can't wait to read this book, if the inside of it is as good as the outside.
Janet E.

Anonymous said...

I am excited to read this book. It sounds very good.
Angie C.

Jackie Tessnair said...

I am looking forward to reading this book...sounds very interesting.Jackie T.jackie_tessnair(at)yahoo(dot)com from N.C.

Linda Kish said...

This sounds very interesting. I'd love to read it.

Linda in CA

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

kam110476 said...

Hi Jolina and Lena! I have to stay, books of simple, Mennonite, & Amish life have never really struck up much interest in me, but The Alliance sounds fascinating! Would love to win a copy (and suggest my local library purchase a copy)!
Kristen in OK

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway SC.

Jolina Petersheim said...

Thank you, Library Lady! I hope you enjoy!

Wonderful, Angie C.! Can't wait to share these characters with you!

Jackie!! What a joy to see you here! :)

Nice to meet you, Linda!

Kristen, The Alliance is very different! I hope you enjoy!

Hi, Sharon! Best wishes!

Unknown said...

I would love to win a copy of The Alliance so I don't have to wait my turn at the library. This book sounds very good.
KayLee from NY

Jolina Petersheim said...

Thank you, KayLee! I'm eager to share! :)

Karen G. said...

This book really sounds interesting and I'm really looking for to getting my hands on a copy. This is definitely on my to read wish list.

Karen G., NY