Author Spotlight: Jolina Petersheim


Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from the last Author Spotlight giveaway is SHELIA HALL! Please email info {at} suzannewoodsfisher {dot} com with your mailing address to claim your prize.

This week we are featuring Jolina Petersheim, author of The Midwife! To enter to win a copy of The Midwife, leave a comment on this post. 

What is the smartest writing advice you ever got?

pic_full_petersheim_jolinaWrite what you know!

For years upon years, my parents suggested I should write about our Mennonite heritage, but I wanted to write southern literary fiction instead. It wasn’t until after I married that I learned about a true story that I knew needed to be translated into fiction. This was my debut, The Outcast, and since I have fully embraced my heritage, I find that it is a creative outlet with no closing doors.

What was your biggest break?

Meeting my agent, Wes Yoder, by happenstance at an author reading in Nashville. We were both getting ready to leave when we struck up a conversation about our last names because we realized we were probably related through my husband’s side. He asked what I was working on and I told him about The Outcast. He asked to see what I had completed, so a month later I sent it to him. He then told me he thought the story was going places and was eager to see more. The rest, as they say, is history.

I’m inspired by…

Nature, books, music, movies, but most of all I’m inspired by people. I’m an avid people-watcher. I love to imagine their stories and the tiny details that make up their lives. I am also greatly intrigued by what motivates their behaviors, for good or for bad.

My great adventure has been . . . 

Motherhood. I’ve worked in an orphanage in Colombia (alongside the man who would, five years later, become my husband), viewed the ruins of Corinth, went hiking along the Irish coast, and almost got swept over the lowlands in Scotland, but motherhood has truly been the greatest adventure I’ve ever experienced. It demands the most of me, but it also gives the most in return. I am one blessed mama and love getting to share this journey with my husband.

The one thing I hope to discover is . . . 

Perfect time management, so that at the end of the day I feel like I’ve given my all to everyone and everything I love.

If I could go anywhere, it would be . . . 

Italy. I’m not sure what draws me in more: the exquisite scenery or the food!

If you have only . . . an hour . . . 

(And my toddler is asleep!) I love sitting in my comfy chair with a cup of tea, a piece of dark chocolate, and writing the minutes away or reading.

Describe yourself in one word:


If your house were on fire, what one thing would you save?

If my husband and child were safely outside, I would grab my laptop, which holds a majority of my pictures and my work-in-progress.

What has been your most surreal, “pinch-me-I’m-dreaming” moment so far?

Giving birth to my daughter (I was a little loopy from meds and sleep deprivation, so I felt like I was dreaming!).

What drives you to succeed?

The love of storytelling.

Best Surprise:978-1-4143-7935-7

The night my husband proposed by having lights switch on across the lake at 7 pm: WILL U MARRY ME? (Except, if I’m remembering correctly, there was no question mark. Gasp!)

Best Saturday Afternoon Read:

Anything not Curious George!

Best Forgotten Custom:

Holding hands around the dinner table and saying grace. Our daughter loves this!

Best Way to Break a Sweat:

Hiking at Burgess Falls.

Best Style Icon:

Audrey Hepburn.

Best Time-Waster:


Best Indulgence:

Double chocolate gelato

Best Advice:

“Cherish every moment with your little ones. Time goes by too fast.” This made me feel incredibly panicky as a new mom because I was so sleep-deprived and kept wanting to “cherish” having a babe-in-arms rather than taking a nap! However, these words are so true, and now – with a two-year-old – I feel like I’ve finally found the balance of enjoying every moment and yet realizing chores still need completed.


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About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.


  1. Lynn Grier says:

    Here is my entry. I have tried a few times to win your book. So here we go again. Thanks for another try.

  2. Thank you for letting me visit, Suzanne. This Q&A was so much fun! 🙂

  3. Heather Fairman says:

    I really enjoyed her first book. I’d love to read this one.

  4. love to have this

  5. I loved “The Outcast” and can hardly wait to read “The Midwife”! Thank you for the chance to win this book!


  6. Madelyn says:

    I would love to read this book! (:

  7. Anne Rightler says:

    Would love to win this book. I often thought about being a midwife, a half a lifetime ago 🙂

    • I have thought about becoming a midwife, too. Or at least a doula (assistant to the midwife). However, it might have to be after my own babies are grown! 🙂

  8. Lynne Blake says:

    Love to read Amish books ! Would love to read this one

  9. Donna Bayar Repsher says:

    We still hold hands around the table and say grace–it’s a custom that I wish was more popular–simple thankfulness.

    Would love to win this book. It sound excellent.

  10. Cris-Annette says:

    I enjoyed this interview, so interesting. And you are so right about enjoying your children while they are young… the time does fly by way too quickly. My children are still relatively young, but I look at them and wonder where did their baby years go? The two oldest 9 and 7… it seems like I blinked and their baby years were done and over. My youngest, 4, I have been able to enjoy his baby years longer; perhaps because I have been able to spend more one on one time with him, with the two older ones at school. My advice to young Mom’s if you have children close together, take those moments to spend all the time you can with them, because the time will pass way too quickly.

    I love the premise of your book. For myself, I honestly don’t think I could ever give up a baby that I carried, but the story sounds so intriguing. One that I would have a hard time putting down, once I picked up and started reading. Can’t wait to read it. Would love to win a copy, but if I don’t… well, I certainly will be purchasing a copy. 🙂

    God Bless.

  11. Kelly says:

    I’d love to read this new book! I really enjoyed reading about how you met your agent. It’s amazing to see how God works!

    • It is, Kelly! And I had just given up my writing dream to pursue motherhood right before I met my agent. God’s timing is perfect, just sometimes not our own!

  12. Ronda Ferry says:

    Enjoyed the interview hope to read this book soon.

  13. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for the chance to win!!!

  14. Janice Clark says:

    I would love to win this book.. Always looking for new authors .. LOVE reading about Amish and Mennonite life styles.. As I actually live in a Mennonite community… 🙂

  15. Loved getting to know more about you, Jolina!
    I totally enjoyed the Outcast – {mennonite heritage for me as well} – so a certain amount of personal understanding in the reading.
    I’m glad you’re pursuing your call and dreams..
    and wishing Every cont’d success be yours !

  16. Bobbe Hadley says:

    I really enjoyed reading you interview Jolina and hope you continue with your talent as an author. Your book sounds like a wonderful summer read.

  17. angela chesnut says:

    would love to win.

  18. Teresa Sheroke says:

    I want to read this book bad!! Would love to win!

  19. Christina says:

    I love reading new books! This one looks like a fun read!!

  20. Connie VanderZwaag Kiers says:

    I hope I can qualify for this contest, being a Canadian. I’ve read Jolina’s The Outcast and loved it. Would love to read another one of her books. Please enter my name. Thanks

  21. Tina says:

    Loved your wedding proposal. That sounds very romantic and unique. Thanks for the giveaway. I love reading Amish novels.


  22. Connie Saunders says:

    I am like Lynn Grier: I have tried several times to win my own copy and I am going to try once again. I have been fascinated with the reviews and interviews and I appreciate this giveaway.

  23. Susan Quintman says:

    I would love to win! Sounds like a good read!

  24. Jill Copeland says:

    This book looks great! I always enjoy experiencing new authors. Count me in!

  25. I would like to read this new book, and better yet would be to win a free copy! Thank you for the opportunity to enter this contest.

  26. valerie monschien laux says:

    love to win

  27. Such a nice interview. I would like that double chocolate ~ sounds good. Please enter me in the drawing for The Midwife. Thanks. Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

  28. mary ellen ashenfelder says:

    I enjoy these interviews and getting to know a little more about my favorite authors. Please accept my entry in this giveaway. Thank you 🙂

  29. Linda says:

    I don’t think I’ve read your books. But here’s a good place to start…this one looks like winner! Would be delighted to win it! Thanks for the offer!

  30. DebB says:

    I enjoyed the interview – thank you for the opportunity to win your book!

  31. Marilyn Williams says:

    Love to read and love to find new authors to keep my list of books growing! This book sounds very interesting! Thank you for the chance to win this book!

  32. Roberta McGowan says:

    I have worked in labor and delivery for 14 years. I love Amish novels and would really lve to read this book. I am moving to Tennessee and would be so thrilled to make some Amish and Mennonite friends. I would really be thrilled to meet a midwife that helps the Amish -Mennonite communities

  33. Joy says:

    Love reading about Midwifery and love Jolina’s books!

  34. Linda Landreth says:

    Owww, would love to read this one!

  35. Mary Mishler says:

    Looks good!!! Would love to read this!!

  36. Mary Mishler says:

    Looks good ! Would enjoy reading this book!

  37. Juanita Cook says:

    Thanks for a chance at winning this book. Beautiful cover and I would to win and read it.

  38. Cindy Pye says:

    I love “meeting” another Amish writer! I’m looking forward to reading your book whether I win it or buy it. I agree wholeheartedly about enjoying children while you can. Now that mine are grown, I sometimes think of things I wish I had done or shared with them and surely in all that time I could have. When you’re in the act of living and it is full you realize the things that didn’t happened are OK, because you did all you could and they grew up well and blessed.

  39. Oh Jolina–Curious George has been a staple in our home! Love that little monkey. Thanks for sharing your life with my readers–interesting to read about your time in Columbia, meeting your future honey, and what motherhood means to you! Warmly, Suzanne

    • Thank you, Suzanne! My toddler loves EVERYTHING Curious George! It’s quite cute, but so nice to have a break to read a story that I also enjoy. 😉 Thank you, also, for letting me visit here with your dear readers. What an honor and a joy! Blessings to you and upon your words!


  40. Nikki Painter says:

    I can’t wait to read The Midwife and would love to win a copy!!

  41. Hello Jolina. I’m real glad to meet another author. And, I love the Amish and Mennonite stories. I enjoyed reading about how you met your husband, and your Agent. That was neat. I know what you mean about those babies growing so fast. I had my first just before my 17th birthday. And, all I wanted to do was to hold her. But I had my house to tend and a husband to cook for, so you know how that goes, and with each new baby less individual time. I have 4 and already in their 50’s and 60’s . Can’t believe it. Unreal, believe me. I also have 2 step-children in this age bracket. So, in all, I have 12 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. Now I see how fast the time is going with them. But, I thank GOD for every one of them, and every minute. Speaking of holding hands around the dinner table. Now days too many families don’t even have family dinners, and if they do too many allow the phones, etc at the table. In my family growing up, that’s one of the things I remember most. Our family meals. When family being together and enjoyed hearing about what had happened and what anyone wanted to tell. Times have sure changed. Would love to win your book. Thanks to Suzanne for inviting you and the chance to win. Maxie Anderson

    • Hello, Maxie! Thank you for sharing your life with us–sounds like it’s been a hard-working, fulfilled journey. What a privilege that you shared with us! Blessings to you!

  42. Donna says:

    Would love to win your new book!

  43. Connie R. says:

    Loved this interview and would love to win this book!

  44. Valerie says:

    I love finding new authors! Especially when they are recommended by an author I love!!

  45. Renee says:

    Great interview! Looking forward to reading this book whether I win or not.

  46. Shirley Beesmer says:

    I can’t wait to read The Midwife. I really enjoyed the interview and all that we learned through it. Thanks for being so open with us!

  47. Please enter me in this giveaway. Thanks!

  48. Amazing issues here. I am very glad to look your article. Thanks a lot and
    I am looking ahead to touch you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?

  49. Shirley Lemmon says:

    I love your books and would love to win this one! Living in Northwest Ohio with Amish neighbors in our area, I love to read books based on their lives.

  50. Debbie Hazelton says:

    Would love to win this book. I so enjoy reading books dealing with the Amish and Mennonite. I love visiting their communities also. God Bless and keep writing.

  51. Please enter me to win this book. I love all the books about the Amish. I am so thankful for God’s wisdom and direction in my life.

  52. Dawna Peters says:

    I want to thank you greatly for sharing your story. And letting us know about your book. I am looking forward to reading it. I haven’t read but a few mennonite stories and I have read I think almost all the amish books out I too love my alone time when it is quiet and calm and I can curl up in my chair with my blanket and a cup of tea and get lost in the current book I am reading. My children are all grown and I always remember some special time with them each. My son is 38 and I remember when he would have a hard time sleeping and I put on puff the magic dragon and he would go to sleep. My daughter who is 36 would always have to have her hair done and her makeup on when she left the house and still And my youngest daughter who is 34 would be in her play pen and my son had made a hole in the side so he could crawl in and give her her bottle so she would be quiet. Yeah she still talks a mile a and I have two grandsons who are 12 and 9. they still love our traditions of watching a movie and having popcorn on friday nights. And sometimes it was pizza. And Saturday nights was game night. They grow up so fast. Children and grandchildren alike. They are truly a blessed gift from God. Thanks again for sharing with us and hope I get to read your book. Good Luck with writing the next one.

    • Hello, Dawna, thank you for taking the time to share about your sweet children. You sound like you were and are such a caring, attentive mother. The world needs more people like you!

      • Dawna Peters says:

        Thanks Jolina for your wonderful comment. I got your book the Outcast and loved it. Just finished it yesterday thru our Erie County Library in Erie, PA. I loved learning more about the Mennonites. I was so torn for Rachael and her son. Then Ida Mae was so great a character. Thanks ever so much for the enjoyable reading times I had reading your book. I am looking forward to hunting down the next book. Thanks ever so much for sharing your story here with us all.

  53. Linda McFarland says:

    Loved the Q&A and getting to know you better Jolina. Would love to win, thanks for the opportunity! Linda

  54. Cindy Goar says:

    Every time I read more about and the book, the more I want to read this book! I have been trying to win it but will probably be heading to the store to buy it soon for one of my summer reads.

  55. hope moyer says:

    I would really love to win this book! it looks really interesting

  56. Colleen says:

    Being in the military, I had each of my four children in different cities and types of facilities – my best experiences were with the midwives!

  57. Phyllis Kemp says:

    You are a new author to me, and I would like to win your book to become acquainted with you. Thank you for your drawing.

  58. Vicki Marney says:

    I would love to win this book–I love anything about midwives. I actually thought about becoming one (LONG time ago!), and the last 4 of my 5 kids were born with midwives–at home. Now they are all grown and I have 7 grandchildren…so far.
    My tip for enjoying those baby stages is to space your children out, if you are able to–3 yrs apart seems like a good distance to me, because the older child is getting out of the baby-stage by then. Closer together & the older one has to ‘grow up’ faster, because of the new one. JMHO…
    Anyway, thanks for sharing your life with us & please add me to your giveaway. Thanks,

    • Hi, Vicki! We’re actually expecting another little girl in September, so our little ones will be 30 months apart–pretty close to three years. I want to give birth at home, but my husband is a little nervous about it since we live so far from the hospital. Maybe next time! 😉

  59. karenk says:

    thanks for the chance to read jolina’s latest novel 🙂

  60. Cheryl Allen says:

    I have been collecting Amish Fiction since 1992 and love them all. I am so anxious to The Midwife. When I first started buying Amish books there was a limited amount of authors but now it seems to be growing. I just learned of you and want to get to read some of your books. I am so very interested in getting in contact with others who love and have a collection of fiction books. That would be way too cool. So anyone who is ready this post please drop me a line and maybe we can talk about what we have in common. God bless you all.

  61. Sierra Faith says:

    I have been wanting to read Jolina’s books for awhile!!

  62. Thanks, Sierra; you have a beautiful name!

  63. How great to write from your own heritage. My mother was brought up in German Mennonite Brethren minister’s home. They did their Sunday School lessons in German and of course spoke it all the time. Unfortunately, she did not pass any of that on to us. My dad was a Baptist pastor though so we learned many other things.
    Thank you for this giveaway opportunity!

  64. Sandy Guilbeaux says:

    Would so love to read your book. I am on a disabled limited income and hard to buy extras like books. I go to the library. Love to win your book.
    Thank You fr all of your hard work.

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