Thursday, September 26, 2013

Autumn Bash ~ Celebrating with Jolina Petersheim!

Today's guest is Jolina Petersheim, author of The Outcast. Jolina's debut released in July not too long before mine, so we became book-release buddies on Twitter. =) She's awesome, and I'm excited to host her! Read on to learn more about Jolina and her "baby"...


Amber: Welcome to "Seasons of Humility," Jolina! What does autumn mean to you, in your writing career and in your life? Is there something you especially love about the season?

Jolina: I began writing my debut novel, The Outcast: a modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter set in an Old Order Mennonite community in Tennessee, in earnest two autumns ago. Just today, I started working on my third novel, and though the morning was still hot on the front porch, later in the evening, I could almost smell the scent of fall on the breeze, and I wondered if it had drawn me to writing like an enchantment. The chunky-knit sweaters, the tobacco barns adrift with smoke (I live in Tennessee, y’all), the pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin chai (why I am most productive from September – November), and candles make this my favorite season. I even held off marrying my mountain man husband so we could officially be married in the fall.

Amber: Love all the little things that bring you joy in this season - and too cute about being married in the fall! I think it would be a lovely time of year for a wedding. =)

Speaking of celebrations... If the hero of The Outcast was invited to a harvest party, what would be his reaction? If he decided to go, what would he wear and how might he get involved?

Jolina: The hero of The Outcast would have to be Judah King, who continues loving the Hester Prynne character, Rachel Stoltzfus, even though she thinks she cannot love him back. If he was invited to a harvest party, he would probably stay on the outskirts but keep watching everyone. I imagine this harvest party would take place after he leaves the Old Order Mennonite church at Copper Creek, so he would wear Wrangler jeans, ropers, a Carhartt jacket over a button-down shirt. I don’t think he would participate unless someone else invited him to dance.

Amber: The brooding type, perhaps? Or just a shy, thoughtful kind of guy? There is a certain appeal there. ;) I'm eager to "meet" him sometime, as I have your book on my Kindle!

As for the heroine... What is her favorite part about autumn in her hometown? 

Jolina: Rachel Stoltzfus’ favorite part about autumn in her hometown of Lancaster is Roots Market, where the vendors sell a delightful mixture of wares that celebrate the season: like pumpkin pie or apple schnitz and steaming wassail in a deep Styrofoam cup. After this, she might venture over to the New Holland horse sale and remember the days her father led the festivities like a ring master under the big top.

Amber: Nice!  Could you share a snippet from the book?


~ Excerpt from The Outcast ~ 

The women were seated beneath a maple tree whose orange-leafed branches fanned out over the yard, providing enough shade to keep both us and the leftover food from expiring beneath the rare heat of the Indian Summer sun. I tried to work on a quilt block for a while but had never really learned this typical Mennonite trade since, throughout childhood, I had always used the excuse that my fingers were not as deft as my sister’s. Giving up and setting the tangled thread in my lap, I peered out over the sun-parched field, watching the men climb up and down ladders with nails clamped between their teeth and hammers weighing down one side of their pants pockets. Sweat trickled down many of their faces and necks, darkening the backs of their blue, white, yellow, and brown collared shirts. The few men who were not soaked through were so ruddy from exertion, I feared they might collapse, which is more than just a hindrance when you are putting tin on a fifty foot roof.

Servitude did not come naturally to me, but it did to my sister. I knew what Leah would do if she could have been there. Refilling the bucket from the well, I went over to the fencerow and broke off a bundle of meadow tea that Katie Mast had uprooted from her Pennsylvania yard and planted when they moved down to Copper Creek. This I tore into sprigs and dropped into the bucket. I let the water steep in the shade until the mint had blanched from the leaves, flavoring the liquid like tea. I carried this bucket and a wooden ladle across the field. The women stopped chattering amongst themselves as I drew closer to the men, but at that time—and as Leah’s sister—I was automatically above reproach. They did not question my motivations, as then, neither did I.

~ End of Excerpt ~

Amber: A very intriguing and mood-setting glimpse into the story. Thank you for sharing with us today, Jolina!



Jolina is giving away a paperback copy of The Outcast! Here are the rules:
  • Leave a comment with your e-mail address (required). Have you ever read The Scarlet Letter? What do you think of this introduction to the hero and heroine of this retelling? 
  • This drawing is open to U.S. residents only.
  • One winner will be randomly drawn using the List Randomizer on, and will be announced on this blog on Saturday, September 28th.
Tomorrow's guest is Jessica Dotta, and we'll be chatting about Born of Persuasion!


Juju at Tales of said...

I love this book! Now I love it even more knowing Jolina was drawn to writing in on the enchanting hint of fall.

Good luck all!

(not an entry)

Amy C said...

This novel sounds fascinating! I have not read The Scarlet Letter. I downloaded it on my Kindle but haven't got around yo it yet.
Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

Jolina Petersheim said...

Thanks for this, Amber, and for stopping by, ladies! :)

Jackie McNutt said...

I have read The Scarlet Letter, but it has been at least 20 years ago. I can't remember a lot of it but from reading your introduction to your characters I gather that Judah King has issues with his past that keeps him from moving forward with what he wants in life. Also Rachel is trying to forgive her past but doesn't fit in with what the community would expect from her, so she stays on the outside waiting for their judgment.
I really look forward to reading your remake, as your introduction make them memorable and I want to see how this story unfolds.

Heidi said...

I read the Scarlet Letter in high school for an English class so we dissected the themes and characters quite a bit. It will be interesting to read this book since I love Amish romance too! Thanks for sharing the interview!


Britney Adams said...

What a lovely interview! I loved reading of the things that bring joy to Jolina during the autumn season. THE OUTCAST is a wonderful book and I eagerly await the release of THE MIDWIFE!

texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

Amber Stokes said...

Happy Thursday, everyone! :) Thanks for stopping by!

Juju: I was so excited to hear that you loved the book! I got it when it was $1.99 for Kindle, and I'm looking forward to reading it sometime. :) Thanks for dropping in to read the interview!

Amy: It's an interesting story... We read it in my 19th Century American Literature class in college, and I'm definitely curious to see how Jolina retold it! :)

Jolina: Of course! My pleasure, Twitter book-release buddy. :)

Jackie, Heidi, and Britney: Thank you for sharing your thoughts on The Scarlet Letter and The Outcast! :)


Barbara Thompson said...

I read The Scarlet Letter in a high school English class which has been many years ago. Reading the excerpt has me hooked on the book. The hero and heroine read as great characters, but in the excerpt the heroine has intrigued me. Looking forward to reading this book. Thank you for the opportunity to enter a giveaway and please enter my name.
Barbara Thompson

bonton said...

Enjoyed your interview, Jolina! Love Amish/Mennonite stories -enjoyed the intro, sounds like some mystery in the book, & would love to read it!

Thanks, Jolina & Amber for the giveaway opportunity!


Melanie Backus said...

Good afternoon, Amber! What a great interview. I, like Jolina, chose to marry in the fall. October is my favorite month and the 24th is my favorite day. The crispness of the air and the beautiful colors....I get excited just thinking about it. Jolina. Is a wonderful writer. Thank you for spotlighting her.

Melanie Backus said...

Oops! Forgot my email....... melback @ cebridge dot net

Cindi A said...

I read the Scarlet Letter many years ago and can't remember a lot about it.
I'd love to read The Outcast


Melody said...

I haven't read the book though am familiar with the story. Her introduction to us made them very real human beings along with us realizing they're standing on the outside looking in.

missionwife AT hotmail DOT com

Library Lady said...

I love the cover of your book! I read "The Scarlet Letter" in high school many years ago.
Thanks for entering me in the giveaway.
Janet E.

Amber Stokes said...

Sounds like The Scarlet Letter is a slightly familiar tale for many...and fall is a favorite season for many, too. :) Thank you all for your entries and feedback! Winner will be announced soon!