Friday, July 12, 2013

Liz Tolsma: The Way To Face Fear


Everyone's Story welcomes best-selling author Liz Tolsma. It's been my pleasure to know Liz for several years now, but what's really exciting is watching her sparkle. She lights up upon the subject of her children and her love for storytelling. Previously on Everyone's Story Liz has shared about both of these subjects, but this week she's here to spread the buzz on her 3-book historical Women Of Courage series. One of the themes  of the series centers around how we all face fear. Please join us for Liz's insights. We'd love to know your thoughts!



Book Giveaway:
Liz is offering to one randomly chosen commenter (US only) a print edition of her novel SNOW ON THE TULIPS, the first of the Women Of Courage Series. The winner will be announced here on Friday, July 19th, between 4-6 PM EST. For convenience, please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!


Questions for Liz Tolsma:
Before your upcoming breakout novel, SNOW ON THE TULIPS, released on July 24th, you were already a contributing author of the NY Times’ Best Seller A LOG CABIN CHRISTMAS, as well as had 2 short stories published. Plus, you already are a client of a well-respected agency. To many pre-published authors, you have it made. However, were you tripped by any unexpected publishing speed bumps?

Not by too many speed bumps. What surprised me was how long it took to get published. I started writing in 2001 and my agents have sent out many, many of my stories. I didn’t produce much from 2007-2010 because we were homeschooling at that time, but that time away helped me learn and grow as a writer. Three weeks after we sent all of the kids to school, I got the contract for A Log Cabin Christmas.

SNOW ON THE TULIPS, the first book of the Women Of Courage Series, is set in the WW II era. Why do you believe we as writers, and readers, cannot let go of this time period? Did you/your agent have difficult selling a story from this time?

We can’t let go of this time period because we have so much to learn from that generation – and we don’t have much time to hear these stories direct from the sources. My life has been pretty comfortable so far. We in the U.S. don’t understand suffering. The stories these survivors have to tell have some very important lessons for my generation and my children’s generation – lessons about courage, faith, and fortitude.


I got my share of rejections on this novel, but WWII is becoming more popular. This time period is really taking off and we found a publisher willing to take the risk on a WWII novel from a rookie author.

What makes your novel different from other WW II set stories?

Basically this story isn’t about troops and doesn’t take place on a battlefield. This is a story of an ordinary woman caught in extraordinary circumstances. Snow on the Tulips is set in the Netherlands in the final weeks of the war. The hero is a member of the Dutch Resistance movement, one of the most active resistance groups in the war. This sleepy, rural province becomes a hot bed for underground work.

Did SNOW ON THE TULIPS originally present itself to you as a series or did either your agent or publisher encourage it? Would you say its more fun or more intimidating to write a series?

I had two family stories I wanted to tell, so it was natural that there would be at least two books. Since publishers like three book series, my son helped me to come up with the idea for the third. I’m enjoying writing this series. Each book could stand on it’s own, but a similar theme runs through them all.

What message would you like your readers to carry away from this novel? From this series?

The heroine of Snow on the Tulips is a frightened young woman. When trouble arrives on her doorstep in the form of a Dutch resistance worker, she can’t turn him away. Her decision forces her to face her fear and put her trust fully in the Lord. Fear is an emotion we all can relate to, and if this woman can overcome her fear in a situation like this, we can face ours.

The series is about courage in the most difficult of circumstances and trust in God to see you through trying times. No matter how bad things are, God is our ever-present help.

From the knowledge gained from your previous publications, how similar or differently are you marketing your work now?

With A Log Cabin Christmas, there were nine authors in total, so we were able to reach a very wide audience. I did some book signings and a blog tour. Now that I’m the lone author, the marketing falls squarely on my shoulders. I’m speaking and doing book signings. I found that signing at a bookstore doesn’t usually go too well. I do much better at craft fairs, so I already have two lined up for the next few months. I’m Facebooking and tweeting, gathering influencers, and using Pinterest. I have quite a following on my WWII board and I’m using that to my advantage to talk up my novel.

Are you a woman of courage?

I didn’t used to be. I’m timid and shy and easily frightened. With marketing, I’ve had to face my fears head-on. The Lord has helped me and I’m becoming more comfortable in public.

I’m also afraid of heights and I don’t care to drive too much. It’s a necessity in this day and age, but I’d rather not if I don’t have to. I wanted to attend my cousin’s wedding in Pennsylvania, but airline tickets were cost prohibitive. I thought that if the women I was writing about could do the things they did, I should be able to drive to Pennsylvania – over a high bridge in Chicago and through the mountains further east. I conquered my fear and we made it to the wedding. As I become more and more mature in my faith, my fears are easing. The Lord is near.

Liz's Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Meet best-seller author, Liz Tolsma, on Everyone’s Story. (Tweet This)


SNOW ON THE TULIPS by Liz Tolsma: No matter how bad things are, God is our ever-present help. (Tweet This)

Win Liz Tolsma’s WWII-set novel SNOW ON THE TULIPS, Book 1 of the Women of Courage series. (Tweet This)

Author's Bio:

New York Times best-selling author Liz Tolsma is currently a stay-at-home mom and part-time church secretary. Her novella Under His Wings released in September 2011, in Barbour Publishing’s novella collection A Log Cabin Christmas. Daisies Last Forever is the second in the three book series Women of Courage. When not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, gardening and snowshoeing. She makes her home next to a cornfield in Wisconsin with her husband, Doug, and their three children, all adopted internationally.

26 comments:

  1. AnonymousJuly 12, 2013

    Another author I need to get acquainted with. I would love to win a copy of her book. thank you for the give-away.

    Ann Ellison
    abilene_nana@yahoo.com

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    1. Ann, just saw your comment on FB... thanks for visiting with Liz. She's a lovely woman with a powerful story.

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, Ann! Hope you enjoy the book.

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  2. Loved meeting Liz, and her series sounds wonderful. I have a driving story to share. I don't like high bridges, either, but I volunteered to drive 13 teenagers to a camp in the Ozarks...and had to cross the Memphis-Arkansas bridge. It's not the highest, but it's narrow. I yelled and told the kids I was scared of bridges, and I was going to close my eyes until we got across. Their screams were enough to keep my eyes open.

    I would love to win a copy of Liz's book!
    pat at ptbradley dot com

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    1. Pat, that's one funny-scary story! Glad you all came through that adventure okay.

      Me--snakes & spiders don't bother me, but forget bears! Monkeys unnerve me too--I think I'd been traumatized by too many Planet of the Ape movies when I was younger. Seriously.

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    2. Thanks for visiting, Pat. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one in the world with a driving-over-bridges phobia! Glad you were able to get safely across.

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  3. These all look scrumptious! Thanks for the introduction.

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    1. Karla, thanks so much for your visit to Everyone's Story this evening ♡ Liz's themes & focus certainly grab my attention and I'm glad they caught yours too. Do check back later for her reply.

      Hope to see you again.

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    2. Thanks, Karla, for the nice note. I hope you enjoy the book and the rest of the series!

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  4. Thank you for the post and letting us get to know Liz a bit better! SNOW ON TULIPS sounds like a wonderful book, one that lets us know how many blessings we have in our lives!

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    1. Good-morning, Sue. We are all so human & tend to forget how our lives are blessed when caught up in the thick of life. That's why I'm glad novels are written by authors like Liz to remind us & encourage us that God is holding our hands as we walk through each day.

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    2. As I did my research, I was stunned by how these people, living under constant fear, still trusted in the Lord and counted His blessings to them. Hope you enjoy the book!

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  5. Liz has focused on an almost universal issue - facing fear. I'd love to read her book. Please enter me.

    susanjreinhardt AT gmail DOT com

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    1. Thanks so much for your visit & Tweet, Susan. You're definitely entered for the Giveaway :)

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    2. Fear is something all of us deal with at one time or another in our life. The characters in my book displayed amazing courage in the most difficult of circumstances. I hope you enjoy the book!

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  6. I can hardly wait for the release of Liz's book!!!

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    1. Sabrina, thanks for the blessing of your visit today. I love your excitement. Do check back later for Liz's response.

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  7. Elaine,
    Thanks for sharing this interview with Liz. I don't like heights and don't like driving long distances so now I feel better - knowing I'm not the only one :)

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    1. Cynthia, it's always wonderful to see you here ♡ Thanks for sharing your fears. Good thing that we all are in His hands.

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    2. We could start a little club of those who don't like heights or driving over bridges ;)
      Hope you enjoy the book!

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  8. Hi Elaine, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
    http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

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    1. A warm welcome to Everyone's Story, Chris. I appreciate your sweet words and interest in this blog. Thanks too for the Follow. When home from work later I will check out your blog!

      Glad you were introduced to this fab author, Liz!!

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  9. Thanks for this interesting post, ladies. The book looks great. WWII is one of my favorite eras for books & movies. Please include me in the giveaway & thanks for your generosity!

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    1. A big hello to you, Renee. I love learning something new about my friends :) Thanks for the visit. Hope you're staying cool in this awful heat.

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  10. Heartfelt thanks, Liz, for guesting on Everyone's Story this past week. You've received numerous international viewer hits and so many dear people Tweeted about you... I'm sure SNOW ON THE TULIPS will sell very well and I wish you the best. And thanks so much for the lovely Book Giveaway.

    The winner of Liz's SNOW ON THE TULIPS is Renee. Yea, Renee! Both Liz and I will contact you directly to make plans for getting the book to you.

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