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.

[Tweet “Get to know @Jolina_Joy and enter to win a copy of #themidwife!”]


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