Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day Two with Author Liz Tolsma

Liz Tolsma resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband, their son, and their two daughters. All of their children have been adopted internationally and one has special needs. Her novella, Under His Wings, appeared in the New York Times bestselling collection, A Log Cabin Christmas. Her novel, Snow on the Tulips, released in August of 2013. She enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family.

Welcome back today, Liz. What drew you to writing historical novels?

Plain and simply, my love for history. I love the stories, I love the fashion, I love the settings, I love the drama. History is stories.

If you’re anything like I am, one favorite book is hard to pick! Do you have two or three top picks among the historical genre that you would care to recommend?

You’re asking the impossible! Anything by Sarah Sundin. She probably thinks I’m stalking her because I’m such a big fan. Tracie Peterson was my first “author crush”, so I’d take any of her historicals as well. And I love Kim Vogel Sawyer, too. I had the privilege of working on a project with her years ago. It never saw publication, but I love her work. There – I didn’t pick books but authors. Even that was hard!

What do you consider the best resources for historical research?

Whenever I can get my hands on personal accounts, I prefer them. Diaries and journals are the best, because they are written at the time of the event. They contain the most immediate thoughts and emotions and the most reliable historical material. Memories can fade and dim with time and aren’t quite as reliable, but I still take memoires over most other sources.

What or who inspired you to write inspirational fiction? How does that keep you plodding ahead with your writing each day?

My fifth grade teacher praised my creative writing and that sparked my desire to become an author. I think of her and of my family and how I want to make them proud of me. That keeps me going and keeps me wanting to be my best.

What helps you maintain productivity as a writer? And what do you find most challenging about the business of being an author?

I turn the Internet off until I’ve met my daily writing goal – usually between 2000 and 2500 words. That way, I don’t have interesting emails coming in or Facebook posts or tweets. Nothing is there to disturb me, but I have that reward waiting for me at the end. I wouldn’t be able to write as much as I do if I didn’t do that.

Juggling deadlines is one of the most challenging things for me. I am not a multi-tasker. I prefer to work on one book at a time, but when you have a three-book contract, you end up promoting one, editing the second and writing the third – all at the same time. That has been difficult for me and I’m still trying to figure out how to do it.

Do you feel you are more of a character driven or plot driven writer? How do you think it comes across in your writing?

Having written WWII historicals, I think I’m rather plot driven, though I’m working hard on my characterizations. I create characters and put them in situations, then sit back and see what happens to them along the way. Yes, that makes me a seat-of-the-pants writer. That’s what’s so fun about it.

Would you like to share about what you are working on now?

I’ve just finished editing the second book, Daisies Are Forever, which releases in May. It begins in East Prussia in February 1945 and traces the flight of a German-American woman ahead of the advancing, marauding Russian troops. Along the way, she collects a rag-tag group of people including an escaped British POW. They arrive in Berlin, but the constant air raids and the arrival of the Russians mean they are never truly safe.  In her attempts to redeem herself from her past mistakes, will she jeopardize everyone she loves?

And, back to that juggling, I’m eleven chapters into book three which is set at the Santo Tomas Internment Camp in Manila during the war. Over 3700 Westerners were sent to this camp and lived there for over 3 years. By the end, starvation and disease became real problems. Most of the internees were Americans.

Do you have any last words of wisdom to share with aspiring authors?

Keep plugging away. Learn the craft and continue to hone it. You never know what God’s timing will be for you, but it will be perfect.

Thank you, Liz, for joining us at Novel PASTimes. It has been a privilege to interview you.
Other ways to follow Liz Tolsma:


Please leave a comment by answering the question Liz is asking below
for a chance to win her novel, Snow on the Tulips. This week's
drawing will be for readers in the U.S. only.

Here’s your Novel PASTimes’ question of the week to answer for the drawing:

What is your favorite family story?
To be entered in this week’s drawings, please do the following:
1) Answer the question.

2) Leave your email addy in the form of name[at]domain[dot]com.

3) Leave your answer in the comments before 8:30 a.m. ET. Thank you!


Merry said...

A family story I loved from my Dad was about his brothers hanging their sister out the window so she wouldn't tell on them for smoking. Can you imagine? :)
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Susan P said...

Good interview! A favorite family story? would have to be the teenage pranks my dad and his buddies would do to our little country town here. They are famous for them! Not that that is a good thing. LOL
lattebooks at hotmail dot com

Veronica Leigh said...

Great answers!

My favorite family story? I have many favorites, but I'll stick with just one. When we were little girls, we were helping Dad decorate the Christmas tree. The lights were tangled and to unravel them, he unrolled them out on the floor. "Now girls, whatever you do, be careful. Do not step on the lights." He instructed us.

CRUNCH! His big size twelve landed on a string of lights.

We shrieked with laughter and told everyone and their brother what he did. He never could live that down.

karenk said...

i'm the only grand daughter....w/ 10 boy cousins.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Kathleen Rouser said...

Thank you, Merry, Susan, Veronica and Karen
for sharing your favorite family stories. They're
fun to read!

Anonymous said...

Hello, guess the one that stands out most that my husband told that happened back in his youth on a Halloween night. Back in the 30s. It was a small town and there were outhouses. The older boys would turn them over on Halloween. Well, this time they decided to put a rope around one and tow it down somewhere different, but forgot to check that it was empty. Well, it wasn't for the old man who lived there had just made a trip to the outhouse. So you can imagine when they started pulling it and bouncing him around. Finally someone heard him holler and untied the rope and sped away. He was as mad as a Hornet but never found out who the culprits were. Not good thing but still had to laugh. My story was when I was about 9 yrs. old or so and we moved into town for the first time and had a indoors toilet and electric light that you could pull a string and turn on the light. I thought we had moved into a castle.
Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com