Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Joanne Bischof {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Joanne...

A Carol Award and three-time Christy Award-finalist, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She was honored to receive the SDCWG Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon Writer’s conference. That same year, her historical novella, This Quiet Sky, broke precedent as the first self-released title to final for the Christy Awards. To Get to You, her 2015 release, was the second. Joanne’s 2016 novel, The Lady and the Lionheart, received an extraordinary 5 Star TOP PICK! from Romantic Times Book Reviews and she’s pretty sure it’s Charlie’s fault. She is represented by Sandra Bishop of Transatlantic Literary Agency.

Connect with Joanne...

Instagram: @masonjarbooks

Get to know Joanne...

Emilie here: I am so honored to have Joanne on the blog today! I've got her book sitting on my nightstand and it's coming up in my review line up soon (and I cannot wait!). She has been such an encouragement to me and I am so glad I get to "share her" with you all! You'll see tons of pictures of her new release The Lady and the Lionheart on my Instagram too because this book is soooo photogenic!

You and Writing 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and writing...

When people find out that I homeschool three children, they often ask how I have time to write. The easy answer is that I really don’t! But with a little bit of creative scheduling, the help of some wonderful loved ones, and a love of late-night writing sessions, I’ve been blessed to be able to do both. I write stories to speak into the broken places of this world and to dig out the beauty that is our hope in Christ. The way he changes us, encourages us, and walks with us…each and every step of the way.

Emilie here: Ah yes! Late night writing - I'm a fan as well. And amen, friend. What a fantastic reason to write!

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book...

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
There’s a reason that Charlie Lionheart shows up on page two of the novel. It was all I could do to even wait *that* long. ;) Once readers meet him, they’ll know why it was best not to wait there. He’s the heart and soul of The Lady and the Lionheart in a way that guides every page along, touches every life within the novel, including the readers. He is hands down my favorite character not just in this book, but to date. He’s both charming and mysterious, but running deeper through that are Christ-like qualities that truly propel both the story and his life. It’s a heroism that gives hope to Ella, the heroine in the surface-level story (a romance within the Victorian-era circus), and underneath that lives an allegory depicting the love that Christ has for his bride, the church.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
I think the take-away really lies within the epigraph: “Permanent may be the scars that we bear, but there is a love that makes all things new.” (tweet this) We all have scars in some form or another. Some may be physical and others may be internal. Both Ella and Charlie bear scars in a different way and it’s been incredible to receive notes and letters from readers who have shared with me their own life scars and how by watching the way Charlie guides Ella toward hope and peace, they felt the same unfolding of freedom. As an author, there is no greater gift than that.

What's the most random thing you had to Google for the story?
Probably when the electric tattoo needle was invented! It was invented at the exact time of this book and plays a key role in the story beginning with the words of Carpe Diem tattooed onto the side of Charlie’s hand. This was an enormous taboo during the Victorian-era so a lot of research and study went into the history and culture of tattooing then. I found it absolutely fascinating.

Emilie here: *Considers her next tattoo* hehe!

What made you choose the setting for the book?
What made this experience extra fun was that the setting chose itself. I knew very little about the circus, had never been to the circus, and was rather turned off by the entire notion of going there. But what kept circling my mind as this idea took root, were the vintage, black and white photographs I’d seen over time of the historic circus. There was something so evocative about them. And in a way, heartrending. It made me want to dig in my heels, and turn around and face this notion that had never quite sat well with me. The people that lived these lives…the animals that called this place home…it was their stories that I suddenly wanted to tell, and what fell away were the walls I had built up against the circus, and suddenly, I was stepping inside with my whole heart, eager to discover the tales to be told. Now, it holds a very, very special place in my heart.

Emilie here: Have I mentioned recently how much I LOVE the idea of the circus? Because I do lol! And I'm not even sure why...

What does your writing process look like?
My writing process is really laid back and organic. I come at it with very little planning and organization. A few visual inspirations, a favorite playlist trickling from the speakers, a heart-full of characters and the story they have to tell…and I dive right in. Sometimes this way of writing gets me into a little bit of a trouble, but for the most part, I let the story evolve as freely as it wants to. I think that’s why I’m most drawn to writing character-driven fiction. It sort of feels like people-watching at its most fun. I can see the characters in my mind and I never plan out their personalities. I simply try to pay close attention to who they are and what shapes them as the story progresses and find that it works wonderfully for me. It also means that I hold a HIGH level of respect for authors who do plan and plot more extensively than I do. Some of my favorite fiction is written this way and I think that’s one thing that makes reading so special—all the unique experiences and methods that are out there to be enjoyed.

Emilie here: Love your process! I feel like I do something similar and always feel like maybe I should plan more...but that takes the fun out of it for me! 
Thank you so much for this lovely interview and I am so excited to offer my readers a chance to win a copy of your lovely book. Enter below friends and help spread the news about this fantastic book! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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