Married to her first sweetheart, Joanne Bischof 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.
1: Have you always wanted to be a writer? When did you first begin to write?
I first realized I wanted to be a writer when I was little. 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. I wrote my first official story in 3rd grade. 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. It was such a blessing to have my parents be so supportive of my dreams and I will be forever grateful.
2: What inspired you to write a book about marriage?
As the idea took seed, it unfolded to be a love story between two mismatched people—a marriage between a shy, innocent girl with a strong faith, and a cocky, confident bluegrass musician who hasn’t given God much thought. By throwing them together in a shotgun wedding, I wondered how their story would unfold. Could true love rise from the ashes of broken hopes? This was the question I asked myself as Lonnie and Gideon’s journey began. I love to write about redemption and of course, I love a good happy ending, so the challenge to go from the beginning of the story, to the end was a big one and a great adventure as a writer.
3: Can you tell us a few things about what you have learned while doing writing this book?
One of the greatest things I’ve learned is thinking outside myself and really getting to know different types of people. Writing my character, Lonnie, wasn’t too difficult. We share a lot of the same characteristics, so she was like listening to a kindred spirit. On the other hand, writing Gideon was a new experience all together. But surprisingly, it was quite fun to get to write from his point of view. He’s cocky and confident and keeps God at arm’s length, certain redemption wasn’t meant for him. Working through Gideon’s character, from his sins and struggles, to his hopes and fears, was one of my favorite parts of working on the book.
4. What would you like your readers to take away after reading Be Still My Soul?
When faced with a difficult situation God is always ready and waiting to be our strength. I hope that readers will take away a peace that God works in all situations. The scripture I’ve based the series around is 1 Peter 5:10, and I chose it because it’s a great reminder that we are never alone on this journey called life. Through the ups and downs, God is there and His mighty plan is at hand.
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. (1 Peter 5:10)
5. What piece of advice would you give aspiring writers?
There are so many key elements to developing the craft of writing. Joining critique groups, going to conferences, studying craft books and reading great fiction are all great ways to hone those writing skills.
And above all else, enjoy the journey. I’ve been on this road for years and I know many others have as well. I’ve learned more during this process than I ever expected. At times it was easy to get discouraged and just when I felt maybe nothing was going to ever happen, God carried me through a valuable lesson because His timing is perfect.
Thank you so much for having me! For you readers out there, I would love to connect! I blog once a week at www.joannebischof.com on faith, writing and country living, and would love to chit chat with you on Facebook where we do lots of fun giveaways!