Friday, January 22, 2010

My Friend Joan - Interview and Giveaway

Today we're welcoming Joan, writing as J. M. Hochstetler, to talk about Wind of the Spirit, the third book in The American Patriot Series.

Joan has offered to give away a signed copy of Wind of the Spirit to one lucky reader, so leave your comment between now and next Thursday for a chance to win!


About Wind of the Spirit

Elizabeth Howard’s assignment to gain crucial intelligence for General Washington leads her into the very maw of war at the Battle of Brooklyn Heights, where disaster threatens to end the American rebellion. Yet her heart is fixed on Jonathan Carleton, whose whereabouts remain unknown more than a year after he disappeared into the wilderness. Carleton, now the Shawnee war chief White Eagle, is caught in a bitter war of his own. As unseen forces gather to destroy him, he leads the fight against white settlers encroaching on Shawnee lands—while battling the longing for Elizabeth that will not give him peace. Can her love bridge the miles that separate them—and the savage bonds that threaten to tear him forever from her arms?

About Joan

J. M. Hochstetler writes stories that always involve some element of the past and of finding home. Born in central Indiana, the daughter of Mennonite farmers, she graduated from Indiana University a degree in Germanic languages. She was an editor with Abingdon Press for twelve years and has published four novels. Daughter of Liberty (2004), Native Son(2005), and Wind of the Spirit (March 2009), the first three books of the critically acclaimed American Patriot Series, are set during the American Revolution. One Holy Night, a retelling of the Christmas story set in modern times, is the 2009 Christian Small Publishers Fiction Book of the Year and a finalist for the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Long Contemporary Book of the Year.

Hochstetler is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Christian Authors Network, Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, Nashville Christian Writers Association, and Historical Novels Society. She and her husband live near Nashville, Tennessee.


What's your latest book?

My latest book is Wind of the Spirit, book 3 of the American Patriot series, which is the only comprehensive historical fiction series about the American Revolution. It was released by Sheaf House in March 2009.

What's your favorite part of the story?

I really love the scene where Elizabeth and Jonathan finally come face to face after more than a year apart, and do so in the midst of a situation that puts both of them in great danger. But I especially like the chapter where Elizabeth is adopted into the Shawnee tribe, which is both touching, sensual, and funny, and then the marriage scene that follows—though I won’t reveal which characters get married! You’ll have to read it to find that out. But the Lord really gave me some deep insights into the beauty and passion of the love that binds one man and one woman together for all their lives.

Ah, I'm such a sucker for passion and love! What was the hardest part to write?

The Battle of Long Island. By necessity I’ve become pretty expert at writing battle scenes since I had to cover the battles of Lexington and Concord, and then the Battle of Bunker Hill in the previous volumes. But this one had a particularly long, involved battle line with hot spots developing at different times and places, and I only had one of my characters to work with since Carleton was away among the Indians. I had to chart the action out, and then figure out how to get Elizabeth from one end of the battlefield to the other in a believable way. Choreographing battle scenes so they’re realistic and intense is very hard, but thoroughly involving. This one turned out to be pretty exciting, and I’ve gotten great feedback on how well it flows, which has been quite gratifying.

I bet! That sounds very intense, which of course makes it awesome when people comment on it. What do you hope your readers will get out of the story?

A greater understanding of and a renewed appreciation for the great sacrifices our Founding generation made to secure the precious legacy of freedom we enjoy today. And a hair-raising, edge of your seat, thrilling ride with a hot romance that will leave them breathless.

What's your favorite genre to write? To read?

For both, historical fiction, absolutely!

Mm, big surprise. ;-) What are you reading right now—and what do you want to read next?

I’m in the middle of research for book 4 of my series, Crucible of War,so currently I’m reading The Winter Soldiersby Richard M. Ketchum and Washington’s Crossing David Hackett Fischer—both really excellent reads, by the way. ’m hoarding Leaving Carolinaby my MTCW buddy Tamara Leigh to enjoy as soon as I’ve taken all the notes I need from those two. While I’m actively researching one of my historicals, reading something totally different helps to recharge my brain, and Tammy’s stories are always a really fun break.

Oh yes, I love Tamara's books. What would your dream office look like—and what does your REAL writing environment look like?

It would be big, and there would be a large U shaped desk, with one wall reserved for bookcases housing all my research books and another lined with file cabinets. And everything would always be impeccably tidy with a place for everything and everything in its place. Um . . . needless to say, I have a small office where everything is crammed in and a lot of files and books end up piled on the floor because every available inch of space on my desk is covered.

Yeah, I have a kitchen table. =) Is there any one thing or reference you keep handy when writing? Anything you kept around for this particular book?

Maps. I can’t function without detailed maps. I’m a map-a-holic. If it’s a fictional location, I draw a map so I can keep track of the lay of the land.

Are there any people (family, writing group, editors) who you rely on when writing?

The members of my local writers group, Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, are a terrific sounding board, plus our meetings are devoted to learning the craft and improving our mastery. I can’t say enough about how helpful and encouraging this group has been.

What writing goal have you set for yourself that would be the hardest (or unlikeliest) but most rewarding to achieve?

To finish up this series before the end of this decade. Because of the research involved, it’s taking me about 2 years to write each volume, and I’m projecting a total of 7 to 8 volumes to cover the Revolution in the depth it deserves. Including Crucible of War,that leaves at least 4 more to write. Running Sheaf House complicates that too, so I don’t know . . . but my fans are going to kill me if I don’t finally get my storm-tossed lovers together! Considering the cliffhanger Crucible ends on, though, they just might kill me anyway . . . !

Wow, that's such a commitment to story! I can well imagine the journey that's taking you on and the dedication. Do you remember where you were when you got your first or most important call about a book contract?

I sure do! I’d just gotten in to my office at The United Methodist Publishing House, where I worked as an editor, and there was a message from the publisher. I had a really hard time not jumping up and down and screaming my head off, but it would have caused considerable consternation among my co-workers, who knew me as a very calm, collected person, so I restrained myself.

What are you writing right now?

I’m working on Crucible of War. volume is going to cover the very end of 1776, and then pretty much all of 1777, from the battles of Trenton and Princeton through the Battle of Saratoga, but it’s also going to go more deeply into the political situation. And of course, there’s lots of delicious romantic tension between Elizabeth and Jonathan, not to mention between several of the secondary characters as well.

Any upcoming releases we should keep our eye out for?

Sheaf House may release new, updated editions of Daughter of Libertyand Native Son, 1 and 2, sometime in 2011. I’m not yet sure whether we’ll be able to squeeze them in before Crucible of Warreleases in Fall 2011. One alternative is to bring them all out together. The new editions release in Kindle format in January 2010, however, so readers who want the electronic version will be able to get them in advance.

Is there another author who has greatly influenced your writing?

That would probably be a toss-up between Charlotte Bronte, Betty Smith, Elizabeth Goudge, Rafael Sabatini, James Hilton, and W. Dale Cramer. That covers a pretty wide range of genres and styles, but when it comes to telling a story, they’re my heroes.


Thanks so much for talking with us, Joan! Readers, you can check out her website and blog for more info about Joan and her books.

You can purchase it from Amazon.

Again, leave a comment with contact info below for a chance to win!

Giveaway ends 1/28/10. Void where prohibited.


  1. Oooh, Joan, I am excited about what you are hoping to write in the future. I'm glad Roseanna offered us this interview with you. I really enjoyed getting to know more about you and your work.

  2. Wonderful interview, Roseanna! I am a big fan of Jonathon Carleton, er, Joan Hochstettler.
    : )
    And I love Elizabeth, too! I enjoy your writing for its depth and insight into each character, and it goes without saying that the history is stellar. I live very near where General Sullivan staged his campaign against the Iroquois, so the history is all around me. I am a Civil War buff, but I am rapidly learning and loving the American Revolution, too. After reading the first two, I am ashamed to admit I have not yet read this one. Would LOVE a copy of Wind of the Spirit.

  3. I've been wanting to read this one. The concept of a white man becoming a Native American war chief sounds fascinating. I'd love a chance to win.

    dinasleiman (at) gmail (dot) com

  4. Sign me up please! =)

    Michelle V

  5. First off, Roseanna, thank you so much for offering to do an interview! I'm delighted to have the chance to talk with you and your readers.

    Hi, Debra! It's good to meet you here. Warning--the ending of book 4, Crucible of War, is going to be diabolical. lol! I hope you enjoy the series as much as I'm enjoying writing it. I'm having a blast!

    Kathleen, um...yes, I must say I'm a big fan of Jonathan too! I'm loving getting deeper into his psyche--he keeps surprising me. And Elizabeth too, of course. I certainly want them to be worthy of each other, and she has depths of her own. Man, I wish I were as adventurous as she is!!

    Dina, I'm loving the Native American component of this story. It's an aspect of the Revolution that hasn't been explored very much in AR fiction, and it's endlessly fascinating. Talk about internal conflict for Jonathan, who stands between the native and the white world! There are a lot of elements there that will keep me writing for a long time.

    Hi, Michelle! I'm so glad you entered the drawing. It's great to meet you!


  6. I enjoyed this interview...thanks for the opportunity to read this book...sounds fabulous.


  7. I would love to win this book, thanks for the chance. :)


  8. I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks.

  9. The book looks great!

  10. Nice interview. It sounds like an interesting book. Count me in!


  11. What a fantastic plot!! I can't wait to read it!
    Great interview!
    kristengjohnson [at] gmail [dot] com

  12. Please enter me. I've read some of Hochstetler's other books. I'd love to win this one.

    ABreding4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  13. New author....would love to read this one!
    Please enter me. Thanks!!!