Liz will give away a print copy of Rails to Love (U.S. Residents only). To enter to win leave a comment and an e-mail address below.
Hi Liz, first, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m passionate about my writing and telling people’s stories. I’m passionate about my editing and serving young writers by helping them to get their careers going. I’m passionate about my family, which includes my husband and our three children. I’m passionate about adoption, which is how our children came to be ours. I’m passionate about gardening, walking, and camping with my family.
Thanks for sharing with us. Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is World’s Greatest Love in the Rails to Love collection. It just released last week. All of the stories in there have trains as an integral part of them. Mine is set on the Ringling Brothers circus train in 1896. It was a ton of fun to write – and research. All of the stops in the book are the actually places the circus was on those dates. And a good number of the of incidents really did happen.
How exciting for your readers, especially the history buffs. Where do you get ideas for your books?
I get ideas from all over the place, frequently from things I read. I’ll see something in a newspaper or magazine or online, and it will spark a story idea.
How do you get to know your characters?
I spend a good bit of time with my characters before I get going on the actual writing. I put together a character chart with everything from appearance and family background to favorite sayings and quirks.
What themes do you write about?
One theme that keeps cropping up in my writing is the sovereignty of God. Whether the book is about fear or trust or redemption, it all seems to come back to that one issue.
What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
I like to do most of my writing in the morning. I’m at my best then, and it gives me the rest of the day to edit and do housework. I have a small desk in my bedroom, but I’ve been having problems with my back, so lately I’ve been writing on the couch in the family room with a heating pad on my back.
Oh, I’m sorry. I hope your back will get better soon. Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
A true pantser. While I get to know my characters and the beginning and ending, I love the pure writing process. For me, I see the story in my mind’s eye. When I write, I’m just recording what I see and hear.
Does your faith affect your writing? How?
My faith is like the rest of my life – it affects everything. There is no way I can compartmentalize it. I hope it flows naturally. And, this has surprised me, but my writing challenges my own faith. As I write about these issues, it makes me look at my life and faith and oftentimes, I’m convicted.
Do you put yourself in your books?
I don’t think you can write without putting a little bit of yourself in your books. They say to write about what you know, and I know me! Even when I write a character that is very different from myself, some of me slips in there.
What are you working on right now?
Right now, I’m working on the second book in my new WWII series. The first book, The Melody of the Soul, is schedule to release in April. The second book is set in Poland during the war. What many people don’t know is that Hitler hated the Poles almost as much as the Jews. He sent many of them to work camps, where conditions were deplorable. In fact, as many Polish Christians died as did Polish Jews.
It’s good you’re shedding light on that. What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
Ha! Ha! Sometimes I wish I believed in reincarnation, because there are so many things I’d like to do in my life. Being a dolphin trainer fascinates me. So does being a travel agent. Don’t laugh – they get to travel a lot! And I love putting vacations together for my friends.
I could go with the dolphin trainer. LOL. Introduce us to the main character in your new book. (the one we’re featuring this time).
The heroine in World’s Greatest Love is the wardrobe mistress for the Ringling Brothers circus. She’s in charge of all of the costumes. She’s brand new to the circus, coming from Boston, and wants to earn enough money to take care of her poor, immigrant family. The hero is the trainmaster. He’s responsible for loading and unloading the train and making sure everything is running on time. He grew up in the circus.
It sounds fascinating. I love circus stories.
Circus costume designer Ellen Meyers rides the rails from city to city with the troupe, but when mystery and suspicion fall on her, can her newfound love with trainmaster Will Jorgenson and their faith in God survive?
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Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels and prairie romance novellas. The Rails to Love collection released in October 2016. The Matchmaker Brides collection releases in February 2017, and her next WWII novel, The Melody of the Soul, is scheduled to release in April 2017. She has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband and their two daughters. Her son proudly serves as a U.S. Marine. They adopted all of their children internationally, and one has special needs. When not busy putting words to paper, she enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family. Please visit her blog, The Story behind the Story, at www.liztolsma.com. She is also a regular contributor to the Pencildancer blog and the Midwest Almanac blog.
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