One of my favorite parts of our whirlwind trip to Nashville was meeting so many talented authors. Jolina Petersheim was a lovely, kind and gentle soul. I was so impressed with her warm smile and matching spirit. Read below for our interview and pick up a of one of her books today.
I loved the concept you used to intersect two major genres; namely the Amish/Mennonite fiction with Dystopian literature. Do you plan on a sequel or more mashups?
Unless I see some writing in the sky, The Divide is the conclusion to The Alliance series. I know it doesn’t provide all the answers, and yet I wanted my main characters, Moses and Leora, to find peace even though their future remained uncertain. Peace despite uncertainty is something I’ve personally had to learn. And, if we’re honest with ourselves, all our lives remain uncertain. But trust in our Creator and loving each other deeply—perhaps at an even deeper level because of that uncertainty—is a beautiful way to pass our days.
As for more mashups: I’ve been toying around with a new idea for a couple of years, but it’s a little over my head, so I’m giving it time to ruminate. 😊
Your major character faced a crisis of faith. I don’t want to give away the ending – but has your personal faith been through anything similar?
God has a way of deepening our faith through trails. In December 2014, my husband had emergency brain surgery for a rare, benign brain tumor. We were living in Wisconsin at the time—on a grid-tie solar-powered farm with a woodstove as our main heat source. We had a two-and-a-half-year-old and a four-month-old. Looking back, I’m honestly kind of floored that we made it, but we had friends and family who helped lessen our burdens by babysitting, bringing loads of firewood and food. I was in the middle of editing The Alliance, and Tyndale (my publisher) gave me time to allow our family to heal. Going through that crisis made me really question God’s plan for our lives. So much of my security—my stability—was stripped away. My husband is such a dependable, larger-than-life individual, and I hadn’t realized how much I relied on his strength until I suddenly became the one he had to rely on. One night—the most pivotal of my spiritual walk thus far—I stared out at the snowy darkness after everyone else had gone to bed. I looked out the window, like I was staring into the face of God, and I said, “You must meet us here; You must meet us here.” It was both plea and command. He did. He met us there. Despite having sick babies, and a sick husband, we all slept through the night for the first time since the surgery, and it was what we needed to get back on our feet.
In July of this year, an MRI showed some residual tumor in my husband’s brain. And yet, because I’ve experienced God’s faithfulness, I continue clinging to Him—beseeching Him like I had that winter night in our farmhouse: “You must meet us here; You must meet us here.”
And the beauty lies in the fact that I know He will.
Where does grace fit in your fiction – and your real life?
My characters are such broken people—Rachel, Tobias; Beth, Rhoda; Leora, Moses—because I believe that we’re all broken in one way or another since we live in a world rife with the fallibility of man. I love to take my characters on a journey (or sometimes they take me), and the grace lies in the fact that they usually find healing for their brokenness by The End. God is faithful to take me on a journey along with my characters. Each story I write explores a certain facet of my own grace-filled, stumbling walk.
Another area I’ve found grace is in motherhood. I’ve only been a mother for six years, and yet I am fiercely in love with this calling, which I believe is one of the greatest of my life. Three precious souls that I get to lead closer to God as they witness my own walk! It’s an incredibly humbling and challenging experience.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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