A Modern Day Fairy Tale

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Shelter in the Storm Blog Tour: Author Interview + Giveaway

 

Shelter in the Storm JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Shelter in the Storm by Laurel Blount, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Shelter in the Storm
Title: Shelter in the Storm 
Series: Johns Mill Amish Romance #1 
Author: Laurel Blount 
Publisher: Berkley Books 
Release Date: May 25, 2021 
Genre: Christian Contemporary/Amish Romance 

In this moving Amish romance, two broken hearts find hope in each other after a terrible loss.

Unspeakable tragedy strikes the Amish hamlet of Johns Mill when an unstable Englischer opens fire in the Hochstedler's General Store. In the aftermath, and under the media's spotlight, Joseph Hochstedler struggles to hold his shattered family together, drawing unexpected comfort from a faithful childhood friend. 

Born with a serious heart defect, optimist Naomi Schrock has always longed to live a life of service. She rolls up her sleeves, determined to help Joseph cope with this terrible crisis. But dare she hope that his friendship will finally deepen into love? 

As the media's obsession with the Hochstedler shooting escalates, Joseph and Naomi find themselves caught between tradition and compromise, lingering sorrows and uncertain hopes. And in the end, two people who've already lost far too much must find the courage to trust their hearts one last time.

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Laurel Blount

Carol award-winning author Laurel Blount writes captivating romances full of grit and grace—with characters who’ll walk right off the page and into your heart. She lives on a farm in Georgia with her husband, their four fabulous kids, and an assortment of ridiculously spoiled animals. Connect with her at www.laurelblountbooks.com

CONNECT WITH LAUREL: Website | Facebook Twitter | Instagram



Welcome Laurel! Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and allow my readers a chance to get to know you and your newest book Shelter in the Storm.

I am delighted to be here! I love A Modern Day Fairy Tale, and I’m so happy to be visiting with you again! 

I usually start these interviews with five random facts about YOU, but since you’ve been here before, can you share five random facts about this book or the Johns Mill Amish Romance series as a whole?

Sure!

1. This series is set in a fictional Amish community in the mountains of Tennessee. 
2. The four siblings in the story face adversity in very different ways—and it was so interesting to watch this unfold as I wrote! 
3. I did my best to create genuine, authentic characters—such as a cantankerous uncle and an Amish woman who can’t make a decent pickle. I love realistic characters!  
4. As I wrote I asked my ex-Amish friend a lot of questions—and some made her laugh out loud! (Like when I asked her if Amish sweethearts ever steal a kiss. She laughed—and said, of course!) 
5. I learned many interesting bits of trivia—like, for instance, that in my friend’s community, you could only have a certain length of kitchen counter. More than the standard was considered ‘worldly.’ And that the straight pins she used to hold her dresses together sometimes worked loose and pricked her—she said she missed some things about being Amish, but not that!


Shelter in the Storm is your first Amish fiction. What drew you to that genre? 

I have always been fascinated by the Plain lifestyle. Long before I considered writing Amish fiction, I read it—and I also read tons of nonfiction books about the Amish. I loved trying out Amish recipes, too! 

I have many back-to-basics hobbies—I have a big vegetable garden, and I can and preserve our produce each year. I love to bake homemade breads. I even milked a Jersey cow for years and made fresh butter and cheese! Now, that was an adventure!  While that certainly doesn’t make me Amish, it did give me a keen appreciation for the sheer amount of work that their ‘simple’ lifestyle entails.
I also love the quiet practicality of their faith—how it shapes their daily lives. I love the sense of community and family, their willingness to work hard and to help each other. All of these factors drew me to this genre.


What type of research went into creating this type of story and staying true to the Amish way of life?

In addition to my extensive reading research, I have a friend who left her Amish community as an adult, along with her husband and their children. She very kindly answered many of my questions—she found some of them very funny! My critique partner, author Amy Grochowski, lived and worked among the Amish for years, and she also was able to weigh in on various details. 


What was the most challenging part of bringing this story to life?

I think the biggest challenge was staying true to the people and the community I was trying to portray. I did my best to make my characters as authentic as possible—not just in the clothes they wore or in their daily activities, but also in their thinking. Every event in the story had to be filtered to the reader through an Amish perspective. I wanted to depict this life and this faith as accurately and respectfully as I could, while also weaving in the fairy-tale worthy romance blooming between Joseph and Naomi. It was definitely challenging, but also a lot of fun!


In our last interview, you shared your very busy schedule balancing writing with farm life and homeschooling. What advice would you offer those who dream about writing but feel like they just do not have enough time? 

Oh, yes—that can definitely be a challenge!  I think the answer is to do what you can. There’s a saying that I love: “Little and often make much.” If you do a little writing as often as you can, it really does add up! 

Personally, I get up very early because I’m a morning person, and that’s when I do most of my writing. I’m blessed that I am able to stay home and set my own schedule, but many of my writing friends work full time jobs and squeeze in their writing whenever they can. It can definitely be done!


Can you tell us a little bit more about Shelter in the Storm

I’d love to! Here’s a little teaser:

Unspeakable tragedy strikes the Amish hamlet of Johns Mill when an unstable Englischer opens fire in the Hochstedler’s General Store. In the aftermath, and under the media’s spotlight, Joseph Hochstedler struggles to hold his shattered family together, drawing unexpected comfort from a faithful childhood friend.

Born with a serious heart defect, cheerful optimist Naomi Schrock has always longed to live a life of service. She rolls up her sleeves, determined to help Joseph cope with this crisis. But will this long-standing friendship finally deepen into love?

As the media’s obsession with the Hochstedler shooting escalates, Joseph and Naomi find themselves caught between tradition and compromise, lingering sorrows, and uncertain hopes. And in the end, two people who’ve already lost far too much must find the courage to trust their hearts one more time.


What do you hope readers will take away from the book? 

I hope they will close this book with a renewed sense of hope and optimism. Storms came to the Hochstedler family—as they do to us all—but faith and love came shining through. And somehow, that makes it sweeter, doesn’t it? When good triumphs over adversity, we all stand up and cheer! That feeling of joy is what I hope readers get from Shelter in the Storm.


Thank you again for taking the time to answer these questions. Before you go, are there any other projects you are currently working on that you can share?

I’d love to share what I’m working on! Shelter in the Storm is the first of the Johns Mill Amish series. There are four books in the series—one for each of the Hochstedler siblings. The second book Strength in the Storm is already complete, and I’m hard at work now on the book three.  I also write for Love Inspired, and my next book for them Lost and Found Faith comes out in late August of this year!

Thank you so much for having me! I’ve had so much fun!


(1) winner will receive an Amish Meets Amazon prize package including a silver Shelter in the Storm bookmark, a hand-knitted dishcloth, a package of Amish church mints, and a $25 Amazon gift card!

Shelter in the Storm JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight May 24, 2021 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on May 31, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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14 Comments

  1. I enjoyed reading the interview with Laurel. The story sounds gripping, and I think the cover really draws the reader into the story.

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  2. I'm definitely reading this soon! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Nice cover.
    Marion

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  4. Love the cover Can't wait to read this!

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  5. This sounds like a really good read. Beautiful cover!

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  6. This sounds really good! Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Sounds like an interesting story.

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  8. Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the contest. 

    ReplyDelete

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