Saturday, April 9, 2016

Interview and giveaway with Amish fiction author Jo Ann Brown!

I've known Jo Ann Brown since the beginning of my career. A mentor and close friend, I'm beyond excited to be hosting her on our blog! One of the most interesting facts about Jo is that she has over 5,000 research books shelved in her office library. Jo Ann will be giving away a copy of An Amish Match. So be sure to leave a comment and email address for chance to win.
Jo Ann Brown has been creating characters and stories for as long as she can remember. Her first stories were populated with her friends and sisters. She wrote her first novel in high school, and it happily resides in the very back of her file cabinet. Fast forward through college, serving in the US Army as a quartermaster officer, getting married, and increasing her blessings with three children...and Jo Ann sold her first book in 1987. Since it was published in 1988, she has sold over 100 titles and has become a best-selling and award-winning author. Romantic Times called her “a truly talented author.” She currently writes Amish romances for Love Inspired as Jo Ann Brown. She has always lived on the east coast, but now resides in Nevada with her husband and a very chubby cat.

Tracey: You have published over one hundred novels, can you tell us what keeps you motivated? What is your writing day like?
JoAnn: What keeps me motivated are the new characters that pop into my head. Their stories are so intriguing to me that I want to share them with my readers. My writing day starts very late in the day. I write in the afternoon until I stop to fix supper. After spending the evening with my husband, I go back to work around 10:30. I usually write until about 1-2 am. Later if I'm on deadline. I like writing at that late hour when the phone doesn't ring, and the world is quiet.

Tracey: How have your Christian beliefs carried over to your stories and how does this influence your character and plot development?
Jo Ann: My characters and I share a belief that God is there to walk with us through our good times and the darker ones. My characters often discover that they need to hand over their problems to God...sometimes sooner, but often later.

Tracey: Can you tell us a bit about the region of the country your Amish books are set in, and how the setting plays into your books?
Jo Ann:  My Amish Hearts series from Love Inspired is set in Paradise Springs, Pennsylvania, in the heart of Lancaster County. Approximately where the real village of Paradise is set. Because of that my characters wear Amish clothing and live their lives in the style of the eastern Lancaster Amish.  They are surrounded by shopping centers and tourists, and they make the choice to remain separate from the world in spite of those incursions.

Tracey: What is your favorite thing about writing books set in the Amish world?
Jo Ann: This one is easy! I grew up on a small farm, slightly bigger than the average Amish farm in Lancaster county. The farm life that my characters know isn't that different from my childhood. Yes, we had a phone in the house, but it was a party line with five other families on it. When I read about Amish families sharing a phone shanty, it reminds me of that party line. Like Amish youngsters, we learned to play with our neighbors, no matter their age. 

Tracey: Could you ever see yourself living the Amish lifestyle?
Jo Ann: I love the fantasy of farm life, but I'm too attached to my computer and watching The Big Bang Theory to live an Amish life.

Tracey: I know you and your husband love to travel. What is your favorite place to visit?
Jo Ann: We love to visit Lindisfarne in the north of England. It's also called Holy Island, and it's connected to the mainland by a causeway that's open at low tide twice a day. It was here that the Vikings first invaded Britain. When the causeway is closed and only the locals and a few tourists are around, its' so much fun to enjoy the natural beauty and the sound of seals on a nearby island.

Tracey: What's next for Jo Ann Brown?
Jo Ann: May is release date for An Amish Match. That will be followed in September by His Amish  Sweetheart. Finally in November, Amish Christmas Blessings will be released with two novellas, one by Marta Perry and the other A Christmas to Remember, by me.

An Amish Match-Harlequin Love Inspired May 2016
A Convenient Wedding
With a baby on the way, a toddler son to care for and a run-down farm, Amish widow Rebekah Burkholder is worried for her family's future. So when a kind, hardworking Amish widower with three children proposes marriage for sensible reasons, Rebekah accepts. She'll oversee Joshua Stoltzfus's household, be a loving mother to his children and try to reach his rebellious teenager. Joshua will make a wonderful father to her young son and the little one soon to be born. But as Rebekah unexpectedly falls for her new husband, dare she hope that Joshua will reopen his heart to love, too?

 Buy links:
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Amazon Kindle:


Deanne Patterson said...

Wow,over 5,000 research books. How exciting! I love nonfiction historical books. Jo Ann Brown is a new to me author but I know I would enjoy reading her new book. I am currently reading an Amish book now and enjoying it. Thank you for the giveaway chance.

Trixi said...

100 novels published is quite a feat, congrats on that! I love both Amish fiction & Love Inspired so this book is already on my want-to-read list :-) Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

Jo Ann Brown said...

Thanks, Trixi, for having my book on your want-to-read list! So glad you stopped by and left a comment.

And Deanne, thanks for commenting, too. I joke with my husband that his best workout is helping me carry my books each time we've moved. I don't think he agrees


Elaine Shorb said...

I enjoy reading your Amish books. I have "An Amish Match" on my Wish List. Sounds like a wonderful story.
And, by the way, I live about an hour from Lancaster County Amish Country. I visit there often. So, I especially enjoy reading books set in Lancaster County.
Thank you for your inspiring stories. Keep up the great work!

Just Commonly said...

Wow! Thanks for introducing me to another new author! And I love Amish fiction.
Jo Ann, I would love to visit Holy Island too! Thanks for the chance!


Anonymous said...

Renee Blare shared this post with our fellowship called Heart"wings" - a women's fellowship. Tracey, I love your interview with Jo Ann and feel as if I know you both by having enjoyed reading it. Jo Ann your books are definitely going on my TBR list as you are a new author to me. I appreciate this chance to win and read your book. If I do not win, I will be bringing you into my Kindle library in any event. Joyce * Heart"wings" joyce1510(d0t)jrg(at)gmail(d0t0com

Ann Ellison said...

Haven't read any of her books but would love to. I really enjoyed the interview. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this one. lacy1942(at)gmail(dot)com

Tracey Lyons said...

Hi. You gals are leaving really lovely comments for Jo! And I wanted to mention she's on west coast time, and I know she doesn't get to correspondence until later in the day. I'm sure she'll be dropping by later!

Jo Ann Brown said...

And Tracey is right! The comments are lovely. I have my dad visiting, and he goes back to the east coast tomorrow, so I've been spending the day with him watching to see if we get another thunderstorm here in the desert!

Elaine, I loved visiting Lancaster County when I lived in West Chester, PA. We had our favorite farmstands where we'd go to get pies and cookies. I'm still craving the molasses cookies I had when we were there last year. And I'd take any excuse to visit the quilt shops to see all the beautiful work.

Annie, my husband and I hope to get back to Holy Island next year or the year after. We spent a morning there picking up sea glass along the shore and watching all the birds...and, of course, the seals. So idyllic! But it's cooooooold there in the winter, the locals tell us. We believe them because we were wearing winter coats in May as the winds cut through the marshes!

Joyce and Ann, thanks for stopping by and leaving a message to say hi! It's so nice to meet all of you here. I love having a chance to "meet" readers, especially those who enjoy Amish stories as much as I do.