Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Interview with 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.

Liz, it’s great to have you at Novel PASTimes today. Could you share with us some of the surprises you’ve encountered along the road to publishing?

Thanks for having me. It’s great to be here! The first thing that surprised me was how long it took me to get published. When I started, I thought it would happen in a year or two. It took ten years. We homeschooled along the way and adopted an older child with special needs, so there were times when the words were few and far between, but I kept at it and it finally happened.

I was also surprised at how encouraging and supportive the Christian fiction community is. You would think there would be competition among us, but there isn’t. I found out how many people cheered me along the way.

Please tell us something about your latest novel, Snow on the Tulips. It has an intriguing cover!

Snow on the Tulips is the story of Cornelia de Vries, a Dutch war widow who just wants to survive the war in peace and quiet and not sustain any more losses. Gerrit Laninga is a Dutch Resistance worker who is arrested by the Germans and lined up to be executed. By the grace of God, he survives and Cornelia’s brother, Johan, who is supposed to be in hiding, discovers him and brings him to Cornelia. Her Christian faith won’t allow her to turn him away. Her decision tests her courage and her faith to the breaking point. And when her heart begins to melt and she finds herself falling in love with Gerrit, she must face her biggest fear of all.

Snow on the Tulips is set in Netherlands during the Nazi occupation. What drew you to write about this time period and the location of your story?

This is the compilation of two family stories that my father brought back with him when he visited the Netherlands when I was young. Even then, the story fascinated me and I knew it needed to be told. My cousin found a wounded Dutch Resistance worker who had survived his own execution and brought him to my aunt’s house. She hid him until the end of the war – a mere five days later. I took this idea and fictionalized it, changing some of the details but keeping the kernel of the story.

Have you found that similar themes throughout your writing? Why?  Or why not?

One theme that I run into time and time again as I write is that God is sovereign and he is in control of everything. To me, that is very comforting and why I think the theme continues to crop up. To know that God is cradling you in his hand, and nothing that happens is a surprise to Him, gives me strength to face whatever is in front of me.

What drew you to writing historical novels?

More tomorrow from author, 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!


Kathleen Rouser said...

So glad you were able to take the time for an interview
with us. I have some interesting family stories, but I
wish my parents had shared more stories with us. I'm
not sure that I have one which is a favorite.

Kathleen Rouser said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elaine Stock said...

Great interview! My favorite family story is: when my father's family immigrated years ago from Poland/Russia, one of the daughters was sent back to Europe because she was a deaf-mute and they were prevented from entering the USA because they thought it was a horrid ailment that might be contagious. I've always wondered what happened to her... if she sadly saw the inside of a Nazi concentration camp.


karenk said...

a wonderful posting/interview...my mom & dad were both born in the USA...and both grew up in Europe...returned to the USA as their teen years

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Kathleen Rouser said...

Thanks for stopping by, Elaine and Karen, and
for sharing about your favorite family stories. :)

bonton said...

One of my favorite family stories, is of my grandfather learning to smoke at the age of 4 - when he would take his grandmother's corncob pipe to the fireplace, light it with a live coal, then take a couple of draws to get it started.


Anonymous said...

One of my favorite stories was when we moved from a small Texas town to the City of Houston so my daddy could work in the shipyard. My mom would sometimes cook dinner for 5 or 6 servicemen from the USO whom my sisters had met. A good homemade meal before going back to camp again. No bickering among the citizens then. Even the women made boxes to send overseas and sewed for them and some even worked along side the men in places like the shipyard. The people pulled together for the good of our nation. My oldest brother was in that war and cousins and lots of friends, who two of them became my brother-in-laws later.Some of the friends didn't make it back. But it was a time when we all were proud to be Americans. We were a family of 10. Would love to win this book by Liz Tolsma. It sounds very interesting. MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

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