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Jolina Petersheim – An Author You Should Know

I rarely do this. You know it. I know it. (Lately, I rarely post anything on the blog, I’m so busy with the writing of the next book and raising a family.) But sometimes I come across someone who truly, TRULY impresses me as a person and a writer. Jolina Petersheim has done both these things and I know that you will love her and her work as I do. This sassy little sprite of a girl stole my heart last year at Nashville’s Southern Festival of Books. She is swift and sure and her debut novel will knock your socks off. I’m letting you in on this a little early, ahead of her release date. (Tyndale House Publishers, June 21, 2013 Click on this link to see her page there) You can thank me later.

Here’s the description:


Raised in an Old Order Mennonite community, Rachel Stoltzfus is a strong-willed single woman, content living apart from mainstream society until whispers stir the moment her belly swells with new life. Refusing to repent and name the partner in her sin, Rachel feels the wrath of the religious sect as she is shunned by those she loves most. She is eventually coerced into leaving by her brother-in-law, the bishop.

But secrets run deep in this cloistered community, and the bishop is hiding some of his own, threatening his conscience and his very soul. When the life of Rachel’s baby is at stake, however, choices must be made that will bring the darkness to light, forever changing the lives of those who call Copper Creek home.

A bonnet book, you say? Seriously? Oh, yes, I answer, cocking my eyebrow knowingly. Just wait and see…


Oh, OH! Here! See the trailer!


AND…if that’s not enough for you, here’s a teasing guest post from Jolina the Fine, herself. (Did I mention you NEED to read her blog? Because it’s fabulous.) And I BET before you finish reading this piece, you are already ordering The Outcast.

The Seed for Story

“A writer is a reader driven to emulation.” ~Paul Bellow

One of the girls who lived with us for a summer said that my family should host our own reality TV show. But I think we should write a book.

My father has floppy black hair needled with silver and hazel eyes that glow green when he tells a story, which he must accentuate with explosive hand motions, facial expressions, and colorful descriptions that keep his listeners enthralled.

My mother’s stories aren’t full of much action, but she is very introspective and curious: a combination that constantly spots stories and characters hidden among her interactions with customers who visit her quaint Miller’s Amish Country Store.

Launched from a genetic pool such as this, it is really no wonder that I fell in love with storytelling before I could even read. We didn’t have a TV for a majority of my childhood, so I passed time until my older brother returned from school by sitting on the front steps outside our cedar-sided home, sucking on my pastel candy necklace, and concocting elaborate stories about my day that I did not yet know were actually fibs.

Once I learned to write, I scribbled these “fibs” on notebook paper and stuffed them in an evening purse that I had ruined when I cut out the silk lining to hide a fuschia smear of dress-up lipstick. Then I dug a hole in the backyard with a child’s garden spade, tossed in the purse containing my stories, and buried it like a seed that I hoped would sprout into a creative beanstalk (Jack and the Beanstalk was one of my favorite tales at the time).

My family moved. The forgotten fibs moldered in their satin coffin, but the stories did not stop. My fat scrawl filled pages of diaries that I believed could not be tampered with because of a tiny gold lock that, looking back, I’m sure my brother picked.

And I read even more than I wrote: Little House on the Prairie, The Boxcar Children, American Girl, Baby-Sitter’s Club, Nancy Drew and Mandie mysteries. . . .

At night, my mother would tuck the covers tight around me and read, like a bedtime story, a chapter from one of her inspirational novels penned by her favorite author, Janette Oke. When I couldn’t stand the cliffhanger at the end of Chapter 10 (were the romantic love interests actually related?), I tiptoed across the carpet in my parents’ bedroom and snatched the paperback from the nightstand.

Back in my room, aided with a flashlight that blazed beneath the tented quilt, I read the climatic ending with my heart skittering. Then I calmly started at the page number where my mother had left off—satisfied that I knew the hero and heroine weren’t related and therefore their unending love could actually work out.

Eighteen years later, I can see that my love for story was like that “seed” of fibs I tucked in a purse and planted in the ground. Listening to my father tell tall-tales around the supper table planted in me the cadence of language and how the pace quickens as the tension mounts.

Because of my mother’s eye, I can spot characters amid the garden of mundane interactions and draw out their story with a subtle question that is really a writer’s cattle prod.

And now, before bedtime, I set my young daughter on my lap—breathing in her scent of warm cotton and strawberries—and read a story to her. And sometimes she flips through the board pages with her dimpled hands like she is overeager to understand the end.

Cuddling her close, I imagine that perhaps, through sharing my seed for story, another crop of young storytellers might be sown.

SEE! See! What did I tell you? You can find THE OUTCAST anywhere books are sold. Or click on the links here to find it on Amazon.

Jolina Petersheim holds degrees in English and Communication Arts from the University of the Cumberlands. Though The Outcast is her first novel, her writing has been featured in venues as varied as radio programs, nonfiction books, and numerous online and print publications. Her blog is syndicated with The Tennessean’s “On Nashville” blog roll, as well as featured on other creative writing sites. Jolina and her husband share the same unique Amish and Mennonite heritage that originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but now live in the mountains of Tennessee with their young daughter. Follow Jolina and her blog at





Wife. Mom. Storyteller. Creative. Georgia Author of the Year 2013. Amazon Bestseller.

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