My Hope Is Found, Cadence of Grace Series #3My Hope Is Found, Cadence of Grace Series #3
Joanne Bischof
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Newly married to his loving bride, Lonnie, Gideon discovers devastating news; he is still legally married to another. His heart is broken but he knows he must journey back through the Blue Ridge mountains to straighten out his plight.

Meanwhile, Lonnie feels that she has lost Gideon forever, so she tries to move on. She is courted by the handsome Scotsman, Toby McKee, which eventually leads to their betrothal...and then Gideon returns.

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Christy Award-finalist and author of Be Still My Soul and Though My Heart is Torn, Joanne Bischof has a deep passion for Appalachian culture and writing stories that shine light on God’s grace and goodness. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, folk music, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life. Interview with Joanne Bischoff

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a stay at home, homeschooling mom and we come from a little mountain community in Southern California. I love spending my days with the kids, but it also makes finding time to write a bit of an adventure! I’m the artsy type, so we typically go from one adventure to the other and it usually involves something in the kitchen or with paper or glue. I’m so blessed to get to spend my days in the place that I love, doing what I love and being married to my hubby and best friend.

How did you start writing Christian fiction?

I always knew that I wanted to be a writer and it was about the time that I had read and loved Lauraine Snellings, Red River of the Northseries, that I knew that I wanted to be a Christian fiction writer. And now that I’m a published author, I always want to write books for God’s glory.

What inspired your interest in writing the My Hope is Found?

My Hope is Found is the third book in the Cadence of Grace series and in many ways, it’s the big finale to where Be Still My Soul and Though My Heart is Torn, took readers in the first two books in the series. The book really encompasses the idea of the Savior we have in Christ, if we but seek Him.

How did you come up with the concept for The Cadence of Grace series?

I think the idea for the series really stemmed from wanting to show hope even in the most dire of circumstances. I think many of us can look back on life to a time when there were no easy answers. That moment of being stuck between a rock and a hard place, and faced with the question: can God save me from even this? The answer is always that He can. It might not come in the form that we would envision or plan, but in God’s grace, He truly does have the perfect plan for our lives.

How much of the My Hope is Found is factual?

A bit differently than the first two books in the series, My Hope is Found took readers and myself on a bit of a road trip to the city of Stuart. Researching the city and the courthouse, as well as the judge I really sought to have it displayed as factually as possible. A small handful of locals pitched in to answer my questions and share their own insights and I am so thankful!

How closely is the My Hope is Found based on your life experiences?

The common thread that I see in the book that most closely relates to my own life story is that of redemption and salvation. I had the joy of being alongside my husband during the season of his life when he truly knew that he needed a Lord and Savior. That’s an experience I’ll never forget and one I’m so thankful for. There’s something so beautiful about it—this piece of humanity that ties us to Christ. Illustrating that through this piece of fiction was such a special experience.

Were you raised in the Appalachian area? Do you have family in the Appalachian region?

I was not, but we do have some family and friends in the area. I fell in love with the region as I began the research for Be Still My Soul and at that point, I’d been living in the mountains for a few years. The more I read of the people and the culture and the more I experienced mountain life through the day to day, the more Appalachia became my writing home.



How long did the My Hope is Found take you to complete?

I think this one took me about a year. I also did some rewriting during the editing process and made some changes during a five week period that really made the story what it is today. I’m always so thankful for being able to work with such great editors that push me to be a better writer! And thankful for family and friends who are so willing to pitch in with the kids and such so that I can carve out those few extra hours.

Do you have a favorite character in the Cadence of Grace series? Why?

My favorite character in the series is definitely Gideon O’Riley. He’s the hero in the story, but in a big way, he begins the story almost as one of the villains. He’s not a good guy in the start and it’s a great journey he goes on over the course of the three books. It’s one that I hope will illustrate what God can do in the heart of any person and that no one is too far from His mighty reach.

How much research did My Hope is Found take?

This one took the most research in terms of moving into a new region all together, the city of Stuart. There were some legality issues that I had to go digging for which were quite complicated and hard to unearth for the time period. It made it a daunting task at times, but also, one that made for that feeling of triumph when the story finally all came together. I know God was with me each step of the way and I am so very thankful.

What was the most interesting tidbit that you learned while writing the My Hope is Found?

The most interesting tidbit had to be learning about grafting trees. In Be Still My Soul, Gideon spent some time at an apple farm and it’s not until the third book that we see that experience surface again. It was one of the most fun parts of this book to research and infuse into the story. As Gideon begins work on an orchard of his very own, I learned more about trees than I thought I would!

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?

I think there are a handful of challenges to being an author. One is balance—finding the time to write, while also wanting to devote those precious hours and days to our family. With three little kids at home that I homeschool it’s often a challenge, but keeping as much of my time devoted to them has its rich rewards. And the writing somehow always gets done!

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

I absolutely love connecting with readers. I think of the readers out there with each scene I write and it’s my constant hope that these stories might be an encouragement to them.

And then I love writing itself. Spending that time crafting and creating a story that can illustrate lessons and promises from God’s word is something that feels like a gift each day to me. I’m so blessed to be able to do what I do.

What is your writing style? (Do you outline? Write “by-the-seat-of-your-pants? Or somewhere in-between?)

I’m a bit in between. I like to have an idea of where the story is going to go, but I like it to be loosely woven together so that the story can take on its own shape as I write. While I try to plan out the big elements and twists, I never know how things are going to come together and facing the unknown makes it all a bit of an adventure.

Do your characters begin to take on a life of their own as you write?

Most definitely. I always plan out their personality and what makes them who they are… and even then, I find that I don’t really know them until I begin their story. I love getting to know characters. As I begin to see who they are and why, I find the writing really starts to flow.



What other new projects do you have on the horizon?

Right now I have a little cookbook coming out this fall. It’s called Heartfelt Recipes: a cookbooklet inspired by the Cadence of Grace Series and it’s going to have about 10 recipes plus a bonus fiction read that’s a twist on one of the chapters from Be Still My Soul. It’s been so fun to work on and my family has had even more fun eating all the test recipes!

What message would you like your readers to take from the My Hope is Found?

What I really want readers to take away from this story is that though it may tug at your heart, it doesn’t mean it won’t be worth it. I think often times the happily-ever-after is all the more richer—purer, sweeter—if we had found ourselves looking out from the darkness and wondering how sweet the light might taste and if one day we might see it again. Though all hope may seem lost and though weeping may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning.

What is your greatest achievement?

I definitely believe it’s our three children. I look at them each day and am amazed that God blessed us with them. As much as I love writing and weaving tales, I know that my most important job will always be taking care of their hearts and teaching them about God and wisdom and kindness. When I see those fruits of the spirit come out in their day-to-day activities, it’s the greatest thing I could ever hope for.

What is your goal or mission as a writer?

My goal is to tell stories that challenge our hearts to take a closer look at the human spirit and to see God’s redemption and commandments played out… always through a love story that not only draws two people closer together, but closer to Christ.

What do you do to get away from it all?

To get away from it all, I love being out in the country. Going for hikes or visiting the local apple orchards is my idea of the perfect day with my family. And when I need some quiet time to catch up or get a little farther along in the story, my mom or mother in law will take the children for the day and then, it’s a cozy spot to write and a cup of tea for me!



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