Greetings, readers! I've a mountain of a interview for you this week. I'm particularly excited to have one of my new favorite authors on the Diamond Mine, Joanne Bischof! Sons of Blackbird Mountain is one of the best books I've read in recent years, and now, she has a sequel, squee! Daughters of the Nouthern Shores.
PT: Hello, Joanne. So nice to have you on the Diamond Mine. Let's start with the usual. What made you chose to become a writer?
JB: After writing a short story in the 3rd grade, my mom and teacher really encouraged me that they were proud of me. It was such a boost to my little 3rd grade heart that I stuck with it and kept writing. I am so thankful for the way they bolstered me and made me feel like they believed in me. I really think it made a difference, and it often reminds me to do the same with my children and what they enjoy creating.
PT: The readers would love to know more about you. Where did you grow up and what were some of your favorite memories of your childhood?
JB: I grew up in sunny Southern California – where I still call home. I have so many fond memories of swimming in the pool in the summer, eating fresh oranges out of our orange trees, and of beach days or bike rides. It was a fun place to grow up!
PT: Fresh oranges? That would be so tasty! So, expand a bit and tell us which genre(s) you write in and why?
JB: I’ve written in a few genres, including some YA and a little contemporary, but for the most part, I write historical romance. That’s the genre of my heart!
PT: Ahhh. Historical romance. You can't go wrong with that. Now, you set your books in the Appalachian Mountains but didn't actually visit there until later. When you visited there, what elements did you see that you might not have visualized as you wrote your books that might be included in future books?
JB: Ooh, great question. While I knew the mountains there were much more lush, I was surprised that they were a little lower than the ones in California. The mountain I live on has a peak of about 10,000 feet, so I think I always imagine mountains being really tall. But now, having been able to drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway with my mom, I have a much deeper appreciation for the unique setting and vistas. Its gorgeous country, and the people there are just as special. We met kindness and true hospitality every step of the way – which is also something a little different than California. As much as I enjoy my home state, there’s just something about Virginia and the surroundings states. People aren’t in as much of a hurry there and I love that.
PT: Oh my! That's a mountain indeed. Why did you choose Norwegian as a heritage for the Sons of Blackbird Mountain?
JB: I knew that I wanted to have a sailing and ice-cutting theme woven into the story at a later point, so that sparked the family to have a Norwegian heritage from the start. It was sort of a surprise way to go about it, but I am so thankful to have been able to learn more about the beautiful heritage.
PT: How did you settle on the names of your Norwegian characters?
JB: As I envision each character, I have them try on a few names for size. It’s how the names for the characters Thor, Jorgan and Haakon came about. They just sort of stuck! Also, Thor (or Thorald) is such a large man, that I knew he needed a name that really captured that. I couldn’t think of anything more fitting!
PT: And will there be a third book in the series of Blackbird Mountains?
JB: At this time, we just have the two books in the series, but I have a novella releasing later this fall that will circle back to some of the side characters, and will have a little cameo of Haakon as well.
PT: What is your favorite place/location to write?
JB: I write mostly at home, so tend to move around from room to room and my favorite cozy spots. There’s also a local coffee shop that has $2.50 Mocha Mondays (along with homemade whipped cream!) so when I’m in town there, I try and stop in and write for a few hours.
PT: So let's climb up to a few things outside of the writing world. Would you consider yourself a crafty person and what other things have you put your hands to?
JB: I’ve always loved crafting and have been making messes for as long as I can remember. Now my kiddos enjoy doing the same so we are always in supply with tape, markers, hot glue, fabric, and wood. They love creating things big and small, so it’s been fun to watch their creativity blossom.
PT: Name 5 things fast about Joanne Bischof that have nothing to do with writing.
JB: I love baking, partner dancing (swing and waltz), and I tend to get lost easily. Let’s see, that’s three so I’ll add that I enjoy the beauty of the landscape—trees, the sky, sunsets—and also going to the beach!
PT: I'm dying to know, as I know my readers are too, what book is next?
JB: I am really excited about cooking up an all new historical romance, but the next stories are still a secret :) It’s my hope to be able to share about them with readers soon, and always post bookish news my website, Instagram, and also on Facebook.
PT: Thanks so much for jaunting with us today! You can visit Joanne's website and keep step with her at https://joannebischof.com/. And if you want a great historical romance (or two!) to add to your TBR, click here, and you can browse Joanne's titles.
I am giving away one copy of Joanne Bischof's Sons of Blackbird Mountain to one lucky person who leaves a comment and an email! Wahoo! So don't miss out of that. And thanks for joining us here at the Diamond Mine, where we showcase the best in Christian Fiction.