Thursday, November 8, 2012

Q and A with Author Joanne Bischof

Please welcome our wonderfully fabulous guest, Author and friend, Mrs. Joanne Bischof! (The crowd goes wild! I can't hear!! The applause sounds like stampeding buffalo--as if any anyone now knows what that sounds like, lol). 

Joanne, thank you for joining me on my blog, and taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer my prying questions! I appreciate you! Joanne is debut author who just released her novel, Be Still My Soul--a fabulous study worthy must read! Click here to read the rave review!

Without further a due, welcome Mrs. Bischof!

1: When did you begin writing, and what do you love most about being an Author?
I began writing when I was little. The first story I can remember was one I wrote in third grade. I was in love with the written word. The best part about it was that my parents really encouraged me in that area. If it was my passion, they were just as excited about it. I love writing. I love creating characters and getting to know them—their passions, fears and their struggles and hopes. My favorite thing about being an author is connecting with people. I love to talk books and characters and whenever I get a note from a reader who was touched or blessed by one of my stories—it’s one of the greatest moments. And it’s never about me…I’m so glad that I write stories about God’s love. I think that is something people can get excited about.

2: Can you give a little insight on your journey to publication? How did it all start? What was the process?
 It was when I had the three books that make up the Cadence of Grace series finished that I first began querying agents. I queried over a dozen, and while many passed, a few of them hitched their door open, wanting to see more. One of those agents was Sandra Bishop with MacGregor Literary. I sent her the manuscript. I heard back that she liked what she had read and had an editor in mind. It was one of those pinch me moments. We worked on my proposal, submitted it and then waited.
As the proposal went further down the line, passing through the different levels of consideration, I got more and more nervous and more and more excited! I spent a lot of time praying and talking with God—the waiting wasn’t easy, a year to be exact, but He was with me the whole time, teaching me lessons about patience and faith that I wouldn’t have learned any other way. The manuscript headed to pub board which is where the BIG decision happens. The editorial team gets together with sales, marketing, and top decision makers and they basically negotiate over your proposal. I remember the day it went. I was SO nervous the whole day. A while later, I got the call from my agent. That year of waiting ended with a 3-book contract from WaterBrook Multnomah. It was an incredible moment.

3: How has becoming an Author changed your life? Your faith?
Probably the biggest way it’s changed my life is that it’s brought me out of my shell. I’m a super shy person and being an author has changed that. And I’m so glad! I realize now how much of life could have passed me by if I’d always been too shy to step out of my comfort zone. I love interacting with readers, chatting books and characters and just getting to know them as people. I think this has impacted my faith in the same way. It’s made me little bit braver and a little bit bolder. All for the sake of spreading the word about who God is and what He can do.

4: What inspired you to write Be Still My Soul?
As the idea for Be Still My Soul 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 a good happy ending (and a good romance) so this couple provided a few additional challenges for me!

5: Many Authors use personal experiences in their writing. With that said, are there any instances in Be Still My Soul in which you can relate to personally?
Most definitely. Like Lonnie, the biggest one is probably being married to a man who had little regard for God. It was a difficult time in my life but God was with us each step of the way and I am so INCREDIBLY excited to say that just over a year ago, my husband accepted the Lord as his Savior and has never looked back. It’s been an amazing time of growing closer to the Lord together as a family and I know now that God uses the trials in our lives to make us stronger and draw us closer to Him.

6: Readers will LOVE Be Still My Soul—I know I can speak for them! When they read it, and love it, what message do you hope they receive from this captivating novel?
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)

7: Tell us a little about yourself!
·         Favorite hobbies: Gardening, cooking and baking, music and singing (but the last time I sang in the car, my kids started howling. Maybe I’ll stick to my other hobbies) ;)
·         Describe your “best day ever:” Probably one of my best days was just recently. It was the day Be Still My Soul released, but it was ALSO our anniversary. My husband and I had a plan to go to the bookstores and see the book on shelves…but it wasn’t in stock yet. I was kind of sad and my hubby, being the guy that he is, decided he would spend the rest of the day making me laugh. We had so much fun!
·         Dessert you find impossible to say no to: Chocolate. Any kind of chocolate. Especially if it’s combined with cheesecake. I’m a goner.
·         Dream vacation: I would absolutely love to go to Scotland. I’ve had the joy of touring England, Ireland and Wales on a 10 day trip and absolutely love that part of the world. Scotland is on the top of my bucket list and I would love to bring my husband.
·         Three most important things in your life, in order of top priority: God, my family and afternoons spent writing while listening to good music and eating chocolate. (I just snuck in 5 didn’t I?) J

8: What advice would you give aspiring authors?
The good news is, you don’t have to have a degree in English or Literature to become a writer. As a stay at home mommy who never went to college, there are some things that have helped me on my journey: being part of a critique group, going to conferences, and reading great fiction have helped me in my writing.
Also, above all else, enjoy the journey. Often times, the path to publication is not an easy one. 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.

9: Can the world of novels expect to be hearing from you again soon? Would you be so kind as give hints as to what we can expect?
There is more to come! Starting this spring with Though My Heart is Torn and then the third book in the Cadence of Grace series will arrive next fall. All three books follow Lonnie and Gideon and their love story. Let’s see….a hint ;) Here is an excerpt from the upcoming book, Though My Heart is Torn. It’s a scene between our hero and heroine:

Clearing his throat, he voiced her name. It fell from his lips like sweet honey. Would he ever have a reason to say her name again? Perhaps he would have to whisper it in the silent places of his heart to keep himself from losing his mind. They continued walking and Gideon waited until he had her attention. He longed for her forgiveness, but that seemed selfish. He focused instead on bringing her peace.

10: Any parting thoughts, comments, etc. you would like to add for your viewers?
I just want to thank your readers for being here and for the opportunity to get to meet them. Each new name and face is a blessing to me! And I really want to add what a joy it has been to get to know you, Hannah. Your fun review of Be Still My Soul stole my attention that day and it’s been so fun to get to know you ever since. Praying for your family and your precious soldier overseas!


  1. This conversation was such fun to read, and I have to say how much I like your site, Hannah, so pretty. God bless!

  2. What a fun interview, ladies! Hannah, I share your love for this book and can't wait to read book 2. Thanks for posting! :)