Congratulations to the winner of the Author Spotlight giveaway of Thin Ice, Aerykah Harwell. Please email info {at} suzannewoodsfisher {dot} com to claim your prize.

Welcome Jan Drexler, author of Hannah’s Choice, to Author Spotlight! Keep reading to find out how you can enter to win a copy.

Drexler_JanIntroduce us to you as an author: When did you get bit with the writing bug? How would you describe your writing style?

I’ve always had the story-telling bug, but it took a long time for it to transform into the writing bug. While I was raising and homeschooling our four children, I often tried to write down the stories swirling in my head, but the answer was always, “Not yet.” Finally, when my youngest sons were nearing graduation, it was like God said, “Now.” I haven’t looked back.

I would describe my writing style as story-telling. When I sit down at my computer, I imagine my readers listening as I spin a tale about these characters in my head.

Tell us about your new release:

Hannah’s Choice is about the Yoder family, who live along the banks of the Conestoga Creek in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. In 1842, this corner of the Amish settlement is peaceful and serene, yet problems lurk beneath the placid façade. Hannah strives to be the one person who can bind the threads of her family together in spite of her father’s worries, her mother’s depression, and her sister’s rebellious ways. But her world threatens to unravel.

When two young men seek her hand in marriage – one offering the home she craves and the other promising the adventure of following God’s call west – Hannah must make a choice. Will she stay true to the faith of her family or defy her father and abandon her community?

How can readers connect with you online?

Readers can find me on my website, www.JanDrexler.com, and on Facebook.

I’m also on a fun blog with five other authors, www.YankeeBelleCafe.blogspot.com, where we share our favorite recipes and lives away from the computer.

Anything new for you on the book horizon?

Hannah’s Choice is the first book in a trilogy from Revell. Mattie’s Pledge will be coming out in September 2016, followed by Naomi’s Hope in June 2017.

After you started writing seriously, how long was it before you were published?

I started writing seriously in January 2011. My first book was published by Love Inspired Historical in May 2013. In the writing world, that’s lightning speed!

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well?

Actually, I’ve never learned to like coffee, so for me it’s a strong cup of tea. But I do wake up the “little grey cells” by spending some time doing “brain games” on sites like Lumosity.com. Then I read what I wrote the day before to get back into my story and I start writing.

Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing?

I usually spend the first part of my writing day (an hour or so) on social media, chatting with people on Facebook or blogs, but by mid-morning, I settle in to work. I spend about three hours a day actually writing. The rest of my day is spent researching and reading.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first-draft reader?

The biggest help in my journey to publication has been the wonderful group of ladies at www.Seekerville.net. Their blog is a great place for beginning writers to hang out and learn the craft.

Do you prefer reading physical books or e-readers?

Even though I own a Kindle, I prefer reading physical books. The Kindle is convenient for traveling, but I rarely read books on it at home.

Why do you write?

I write because I have to. Even with a writing contract waiting to be fulfilled, I’m constantly brain-storming new story ideas. I only wish writing was a faster process for me!

What book have you reread the most?

The Bible. I read through it every year. The next runner-up is the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkein.

Best author moment? Worst author moment?Hannah's Choice-Book Cover

My best author moment was when I was able to tell my mom I had my first contract. She suffered from Alzheimer’s for ten years before she passed away in 2014. By 2012 she was mostly non-verbal and communication with her was difficult, but when I told her I had sold my story, she looked me in the eyes and squeezed my hand. For anyone who has experienced that tragic disease with a family member, you know that was the same as shouting from the rooftops.

Right this moment, what does your office look like?

Oh, don’t ask! When I’m working on a book, the corner of the family room where my desk is located becomes a disaster area!

What’s your favorite writing snack?

Chocolate. What else is there?

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?

I think I might be a bit unusual in this – my least favorite part of being a writer is writing that first draft of a book. I find all sorts of ways to procrastinate! But on the other hand, my favorite part is revising a story, and that can’t happen until I get that first draft done. So I plow through the work of the first draft to get to the fun part of writing.

What advice would you give to new writers?

Read. Read as much as you can, as widely as you can, and as deeply as you can. Read inside your genre and outside your genre. Read popular fiction, classical literature, and non-fiction. You can only write well when you’ve read well, so set aside time in your work day for reading.

[Tweet “You can only write well when you’ve read well. @JanDrexler #amwriting”]

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