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Monday, October 16, 2017

Author Interview + Giveaway - Joanna Davidson Politano

Mind


About the Book
When Aurelie Harcourt's father dies in debtor's prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet house guest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father's unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother's disappearance--and perhaps even her father's death.

Author Joanna Davidson Politano's stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.



Welcome!


Welcome to Bookworm Mama, Joanna! I am so honored to have you here today!

Joanna: I’m so happy to be part of the Bookworm Mama blog!

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?
Joanna: I can clearly remember sitting with my dad and brother in a big comfy chair as he made up fabulous stories about leprechauns, crabs, and interesting settings. I remember my mom reading me books with animation and enthusiasm. So I suppose I’d say that stories were always a part of me. I soaked up story lines from Scripture, from random conversations, anywhere I could find them. My imagination took off from there.

Leprechauns and crabs! Ahhh I love it! 

When did you KNOW that you wanted to be an author?
Joanna: Birth? Ok, maybe not that early. I think I was always informed I’d be an author, so it was in the back of my head forever, even though I had other careers along the way. I still have a little wallet-sized photo somewhere of my kindergarten teacher, who addressed it to Joanna “the authoress.” I never saw myself as a novelist, though, until I heard the story of my great grandparents and became enamored. I sat down one day and just wrote out a scene in my head because I couldn’t not write it, and the entire story just kept pouring out on page after page until it was done. After that book I decided I liked writing fiction!

Story! Some of us just can't escape it. It is a part of our soul.

Emily Of New Moon - "If it's in you to climb you must -- there are those who must lift their eyes to the hills -- they can't breathe properly in the valleys.”What literary character is most like you? Why?
Joanna: Probably a combination of Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Alice had a tendency to depart from reality and have wild adventures. Peter pan delighted in childhood and everything it entailed. The character most like me in all of literature, though, is probably L.M. Montgomery’s creation Emily of New Moon. I recognize in her the same obsession with words and stories, the imagination that is able to coexist with reality and common sense, making her a dreamer AND a doer.

Peter Pan is one of my favorites! I have yet to meet Emily. But she sounds fabulous!


Can you share a behind the scenes fact about Lady Jayne Disappears?

Joanna: I had zero intention of publishing this book. It was meant to be my “practice” novel that would allow me to explore all the pieces of a book I liked and pick and choose what I would use in the “real” books I wrote. I allowed my imagination and heart free reign and used it as an open conversation with God and a fun distraction as I started out as a stay-at-home mom.

Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor...You WHAT?!?!?!?! Well, I am so glad God didn't let you follow through with that haha!





William Logsdail - St. Paul’s and Ludgate Hill (c. 1884).What type of research was involved for Lady Jayne Disappears?

Joanna: Most of my research on the Victorian era came from simply reading loads of books that were written in that time frame. The characters, their reactions, where they lived and worked all came to life in the stories written by people who lived among them. I did read a few nonfiction books by modern writers describing the time period, but I found the novels written during the Victorian era itself more immersive in the culture. I read a great deal of serial fiction, since that’s a theme in my novel, and thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of research. I also soaked up lots of modern nonfiction about the printing and consumption of serial novels, from printing presses to audience reactions.

Oh that is an excellent perspective! I think this is fascinating!

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
Joanna: Daphne Du Maurier was a master of shadowy, engrossing stories that keep your imagination working overtime long after you finish a book. I loved that approach to mystery, and always attempt to incorporate at least a small hint of that in mine. I enjoy the vibrant, gritty characters Dickens created, turns of phrase from Martha Grimes and the depth of the Bronte sisters. I also deeply love the lyrical writing that sweeps me away by authors like Kristy Cambron, Joanne Bischof, and Lori Benton.

Ahhh! Some of my favorites! Contemporary and classic! 💜 Lady and the Lionheart is an ALL time favorite!!!

What hidden talents do you have?
Joanna: Well I’m not sure if this is a talent or a weakness, but I bake without measuring anything and play the piano without music. I don’t know how to do either one any other way! I dearly love to bake anything sweet, and I’ve come to know if things are right by its consistency, taste, or appearance. Usually you have to be really specific with baking, but I fail at that method so I just wing it. Same with the piano—I will stumble along by reading music, but if I can just hear a song in my head, it’ll flow out onto the keys much more naturally. I suppose that has informed the way I write, too.

OK! Now THIS is definitely a talent! Both things...I am beyond impressed. I am too OCD to wing it with baking haha. And I am awful at reading music notes, but chords I can do just fine.


What are you reading right now? What made you pick it up? 
Joanna: I’m currently reading The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner. What made me pick it up? Well first, I met the author because we’re releasing our debuts from the same publisher on the same day and became friends. Secondly, we discovered our books have a lot in common, like author heroines and first person writing. But mostly, this book just grabbed me. From the first witty line this book pulled me along a hugely entertaining journey. I have laughed out loud so many times and underlined more places than I can count. This book has been a delight!

YAY! Bethany just visited me on the blog last week!  I can't wait to start this one!!!

One day, I will die. And fingers crossed I go to heaven, because this... This would be it.
Pinterest
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Joanna: I’m very much a write-as-you-go kind of girl, so I often find myself stuck. To unstick myself, I wander down to my personal library, which my husband claims is far too large, and begin reading snippets of different books. If I’m stuck on an opening line, I’ll go down the row and read all the opening lines of all the books in sight. If I’m stuck on a certain description or transition, I’ll grab a book that did something similar very well and study how it was done. So my library sees a lot of use. Not only do I read my books, but I study and return to them many times. I also underline and take notes in the margins of all my novels. I love to dissect writing and movies all the time.

OK...This is the second time you mentioned writing in books...I can NOT bring myself to mark up my books...dag ear, notes? No can do! I do have a dozen page markers and highlights (for Kindle) in almost every book I read though haha! And no library can be too large.

What writing advice do you have for pre-published authors?
Joanna: Honestly, the best advice I can offer you from my own experience is to stop trying. First, figure out how to connect with God in your daily life, then you’ll have him joining you when you write. Your book will take you on a journey with God in which he’s leading you somewhere and growing you as a person… and that amazing journey will spill onto the page without you even realizing it. Second, trying hard to write what you’re “supposed” to write won’t get you very far. Write for fun—a few practice scenes or a whole practice book. Think of every element you love in the most delicious book and include all of that. Write as if no one will ever read it but God. Forget about what’s trending, what’s expected, what makes good literature and just have a blast writing. Then you will find readers who have a blast reading it.

I LOVE THIS! Be who YOU are called to be and write what YOU are called to write. A million times YES!

Before we go can you tell us about your current WIP?
Joanna: Next up is another Victorian era novel from Revell (releasing summer of 2018) called A Rumored Fortune. It features a well-to-do heroine whose father has hidden his vast fortune somewhere on his vineyard estate—and then died suddenly without telling anyone where he put it. She and her mother are suddenly the poorest wealthy family in all of England. The heroine works together with their blunt and rugged vineyard manager to locate her father’s money while debts pile up, unpaid workers strike, and family members show up to “grieve” with the family in the house that contains the missing fortune. The love story in this book is loosely based on my own with my husband, to whom I refused a second date. Readers will also get a little inside view of cultivating vineyards and the spiritual implications of this work.

Thank you so much for joining us today Joanna! I ADORE Lady Jayne Disappears and I can not wait to get my hands on A Rumored Fortune!

Joanna: Thank you so much for having me on your blog! It was a pleasure to be here.


About the Author

Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her debut novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, released October 3 from Revell. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com.


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Giveaway

Joanna has graciously provided a print copy of Lady Jayne Disappears. Please see Policies and Disclosures for full rules. US addresses only please. Giveaway will run 10/16-10/23 12:00am Pacific Time. Please enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Void where prohibited. a Rafflecopter giveaway
Many thanks to Canva for providing an AMAZING program for me to design all these beautiful graphics. Book covers, publisher/tour logos, and author pictures not owned by me. All other graphics created by Bookworm Mama with public domain photos on Canva unless stated otherwise. 


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Christy Award Celebration - Interview with Carrie Schmidt


Today I am honored to have the delightful Carrie Schmidt (of Reading is My Superpower) visiting with us! Carrie is here to talk about the upcoming Art of Writing conference and Christy Awards. She and author Cynthia Ruchti are co-teaching a session for authors called “The Artful Dodger: Defense Against Discouragement” and she’s sharing with us the inside scoop on what she’s noticed while putting in (more than) many hours as a reader of Christian fiction.

Carrie is one of my very dearest friends. I am SO very glad (and beyond blessed) that the Lord brought us together when He did. Many tears, laughs, hugs (yes, in person), and books later...And I am honored to call her not only my bookish friend, but family! 💜


Picture the writer who most needs to hear what you have to say in your session…then describe that person to me.
CARRIE: After talking to authors daily for the last two years, I’ve heard so many of the same refrains of woe on repeat. The author who needs to be in our session is anyone who has ever stared at a blank page or a page full of words and questioned his/her talent, purpose, or self-worth. Discouragement is par for the course in any creative pursuit (including blogging, for that matter). As creators who are plugged in to THE Creator, we don’t have to allow our discouragement to linger or, worse, to paralyze us. Anyone who has ever Christian-appropriately cursed that cursor (I mean, let’s be real) or wondered what in the world gives them the right to write, needs to be in our session!

Any reminders that you think writers should keep taped to their desks/laptops?
CARRIE: When my husband and I first started out on our journey of teaching the Bible to local Internationals, we were trained in the art of “storying.” One phrase from that training planted a flag in my heart that I believe applies just as much to authors as it does to oral storytellers: “Trust the Story.” If I could say one thing to any Christian author, it would be exactly that. Trust the story. The one that God has put on your heart to write. The one that won’t let go of you, no matter how often you try to hush it. Trust the story and keep THE Story in mind as you write yours. Someone out there needs to read it.

What’s your favorite part about joining in a gathering of a group of Christian writers? 
CARRIE: A group of Christian writers? Yes please. These are “my people.” These are the writers who have inspired me, encouraged me, stepped on my toes, made me laugh, made me cry, made me swoon (ahem). Serving alongside them in any capacity feels like home.

We’d love to see you at the upcoming Art of Writing Conference and Christy Awards! You can find out more about the event below, or if you’re already convinced, you can register here.

About the Art of Writing Conference
The Art of Writing is designed to bring Christian creatives and publishing curators together for a half day of intensive seminars that celebrate the creative life, provide practical tips for overcoming challenges in a rapidly-changing industry, and answer questions authors are asking.

The speakers represent a wide range of roles and areas of expertise. Andrew Peterson, young adult writer and founder of the Rabbit Room, will give advice on how to create and benefit from a vibrant creative community, while Wheaton College professor Theon Hill, Ph.D. will present a survey of the obstacles and opportunities of diversity in Christian fiction. Authors will receive encouragement for the ups and downs of the writing life from blogger Carrie Schmidt and author, agent, and ACFW public relations liaison Cynthia Ruchti. Finally, a panel of representatives from major ECPA publishers will share insider information on where the genre has been, where it’s going, and the exciting changes they see in today’s market for writers. Learn more about the speakers and sessions here.

About the Christy Awards
The Christy Award™ is designed to nurture and encourage creativity and quality in the writing and publishing of fiction written from a Christian worldview and showcase the diversity of genres. The award is named for Catherine Marshall’s enduring bestselling novel, Christy, published in 1967 and inspiring a continuing book series and a CBS television series starring Kellie Martin. The novel will be re-released in 2017 in a 50th anniversary legacy edition by Gilead Publishing in partnership with Kregel Publications.

Hosted by award-winning author and radio host Chris Fabry, this year’s celebration gala dinner will feature New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury as well as musician and writer Andrew Peterson. You can view the finalist list here.


Tour Schedule

Monday, October 9: Top Ten Writing Industry Issues at Seekerville
Tuesday, October 10: Give Us Your Best Questions at By the Book
Wednesday, October 11: Interview with Dr. Theon Hill at Reading is My Superpower
Thursday, October 12: Celebrating the Christy Awards…With a Giveaway! at Bethany House Fiction
Friday, October 13: Quiz: Pick Your Gala Dress at Dani Pettrey’s blog
Saturday, October 14: Eight Reasons to Come to The Art of Writing at The Power of Words
Sunday, October 15: Interview with Carrie Schmidt at Bookworm Mama
Monday, October 16: Interview with Cynthia Ruchti at Just Commonly
Tuesday, October 17: Christy Nominee Bingo and Giveaway at Faithfully Bookish
Wednesday, October 18: The Unofficial Readers’ Choice Cover Awards at Singing Librarian Books

Friday, October 13, 2017

First Line Friday - An Inconvenient Beauty

Happy Friday!!!

Today we are hosting Kristi Ann Hunter over on Hoarding Books for First Line Friday! She is also giving away her fabulous new book over there. So after you comment your first line here, head over to enter to win.

I LOVED this book! You can check out my review here

An Inconvenient Beauty
Prologue
Eton College, Berkshire, England, 1797
The line between boy and man was never murkier than when a father died too soon, leaving his son to walk through the foibles of youth while shouldering the responsibilities of adulthood.

The Hawthorne House Series


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Lady Jayne Disappears - Joanna Davidson Politano

My Rating
"Fiction is truth...in a pretty wrapping." (More info)

About the Book
When Aurelie Harcourt's father dies in debtor's prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet house guest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father's unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother's disappearance--and perhaps even her father's death.

Author Joanna Davidson Politano's stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.
Why you should read this book in 10 words or less              Author with a secret identity. Unsolved disappearance. Victorian. Debtor's prison.
My Thoughts






"Author with a secret identity." (No, not Joanna*) I think I could just leave it at that and call it a day. But in all seriousness, a bookish person reading a book about a bookish person (several really), who is secretly an author....throw in a dashing hero, an unsolved disappearance, and characters who you love and love to hate and it's the epitome of every bookworm's fantasy.

*At least I don't THINK Joanna has a secret identity....hmmm....I wonder....

Lady Jayne Disappears explores a part of history that is not touched on much by modern day authors. Debtor's prison. Charles Dickens wrote extensively about the poor in his time, but his contemporaries failed to believe the truth of his words. Joanna brings to light again the horrors that people had to face on a daily basis. It is heartbreaking and eye opening to witness.

Set in Victorian England, this story will suck you in and hold you under its spell.  Even after the final words are read, the heart of the book will stay with you. God did not create you to conform to the people around you. He has called you to stand as the only YOU there is. So relish in that freedom and be yourself! 

While there is so much more about this book that i could say, I shall leave you with the wise words of Nathaniel Droll, "A good book will enable you to both lose yourself and find yourself."


Promo Graphic not owned by Bookworm Mama
I received a complimentary copy of Lady Jayne Disappears. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.


Read the First Line HERE!

Come back Monday for an exciting interview with Joanna & a special GIVEAWAY!!!



About the Author

Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her debut novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, released October 3 from Revell. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods and shares stories that move her at www.jdpstories.com.


Many thanks to Canva for providing an AMAZING program for me to design all these beautiful graphics. Book covers, publisher/tour logos, and author pictures not owned by me. All other graphics created by Bookworm Mama with public domain photos on Canva unless stated otherwise. 



Monday, October 9, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - Cover Love - Autumn Edition



Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by the fabulous group over on The Broke and the Bookish. Today's theme is AUTUMN COVERS!!! *sigh* This really is my favorite time of year! The covers I picked this week make me think of fall...color, feel, setting...you name it...If it felt like fall, I added it! There are a couple that may not have the oranges and reds in the cover itself...but it screams "YOU MUST READ ME IN THE AUTUMN" (and not JUST because it releases in the Autumn). Click the photos to find out more about each of the books.

Which one is YOUR favorite?



Review coming TOMORROW!!!