30 March 2011

Interview with Joan M. Hochstetler

is the author of The American Patriot series, three books set in Revolutionary War-era America. She is also author of One Holy Night. Joan has several historical blogs, also, that she hosts (americanpatriotseries.blogspot.com is the one I post on the most frequently. The others are languishing!).
I met Joan through ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), a national group. I also got to know her better through Colonial American Christian Writers, an online group I founded last year for authors of colonial-era, and slightly beyond, American books or works-in-progress. The most fun I have had with her, however, was when I was invited to join a Dutch novella writing team with Joan, who wrote the first section. I am so happy she agreed to my interview.

Joan, welcome to Overcoming Through Time.
Thank you so much for inviting me to join you! I’m so pleased we met, and I’m hoping that we’ll get to work together on our novellas.

Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your character’s has had to get past?
Going through a divorce, and then my parents’ death a few years later were both equally painful. My parents died within hours of each other after a very bad car wreck back in 2002. We buried them on the same day, which was incredibly difficult. But God’s grace was so evident through that whole experience, not only in holding me up through the days when they were in the hospital, and then their deaths and the funeral, but in reconciling me and my oldest and youngest daughters.Their father and I divorced in 1994, while they were still teenagers, and although my middle daughter chose to maintain a close and loving relationship with both me and her father, the other two rejected me completely. I didn’t believe I’d ever have a relationship with them again, and that completely broke my heart. But my parents’ death softened their hearts as they began to realize that they wouldn’t always have their parents with them.
As a result of my parents’ death, my daughters reestablished a relationship with me—in time for me to become a part of my youngest 2 grandchildren’s lives. Now whenever I go through painful situations, I’m reminded that God can use even the most difficult circumstances for a good purpose and for His glory.

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
My life verse is Isaiah 6:8: Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
That verse struck me powerfully when I was a child and with the faith of a child, I committed to following wherever the Lord would lead. That decision has guided me all my life. I haven’t always been faithful, but it’s the goal I constantly strive toward. With God’s help I strive every day to live according to His calling.

Are any of your books available in audio format? Are any available as e-books with audio capability? Large print? (Thank you – we offer this information to our readers with difficulty reading books in regular print format.)

My books are all available on both Kindle and Nook. I don’t have a Kindle, but I’ve been told they do have audio capabilities. I’d love to have my books available in audiobook format someday.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
That our nation was founded on biblical values and principles. It’s become popular today to believe that our Founders were Deists or even unbelievers, but that couldn’t be more mistaken. The great majority of those involved in the Revolution were professing believers in Jesus Christ, including Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and they believed that no nation could long endure unless the citizens were taught and chose to uphold the great moral principles of Christianity.
I also want to convey a sense of how faithfully God leads his people through history. And I want readers to know about and value the great sacrifices those who have gone before us made to ensure our freedom. Our Founders were giants—men and women who acted heroically in spite of flaws and limitations. They weren’t perfect by any means, but they accomplished miracles. When I see the direction our country is going in today, I’m afraid the heritage they bequeathed to us is being lost, and I want to do everything I can to prevent that.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
In doing the research for book 4 of the American Patriot Series, the thing that has touched me the most is the incredible hardships and sacrifices our founding generation suffered to establish our great nation. Crucible of War starts off with the Battle of Trenton. What Washington and his army endured in crossing the Delaware through massive ice floes, and then riding miles to fight the Hessians through a brutal nor’easter, is almost beyond belief. Several men even froze to death on the way. The more I study this period, the more impressed I am by the conviction and fortitude of our founding generation, and the more committed I am to ensuring that their sacrifices are never forgotten.

Thank you,Joan, for agreeing to answer these questions. Leave it to a psychologist to ask such deeply personal questions. I cannot imagine how awful it must have been to lose your parents like that. And to have gone through divorce and mending your family again.  Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!
Thanks so much, Carrie! I hope one of these days we’ll have a chance to meet face to face.
Native Son (American Patriot Series, Book 2)Leave a comment or question for a chance to win a copy of a (gently used!) book from J.M. Hochstetler.  Thank you Joan for sharing with us. Oh, and I believe Joan is very happily remarried as she has shared with me how happy she is when her husband gets back from being on the road!


  1. Hello, ladies! Thank you for a great interview! I am delighted to know that there will be at least four more books in The American Patriot series. I own the first three books, and they are on my keeper shelf : )

    I can't imagine anything more hurtful for a mother than being rejected by her own children. I am so glad that you and your daughters reconciled, and now you also have a relationship with your grandchildren! I wish you much happiness and continued success : )

    US Resident, GFC Follower, Subscriber

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  2. Now I get to be on the other end.:) My heart really went out to Joan when I read about her losing both of her parents at the same time. I just lost my mother and that has been difficult enough. I have never had the pleasure of reading The American Patriot Series and would love to read Native Son; the cover is awesome! Must these be read in order or can they be read as stand alone novels? God bless~


  3. I just searched the series and since they have the same characters in each book, I brilliantly assumed they must be read in succession. lol


  4. Wonderful interview, Carrie and Joan, in which I learned some more interesting, heartfelt things about Joan. Please exempt me from the drawing as I have all of her books. I'm so thrilled she's working on the next in this series as it's really a spectacular one, so well researched and riveting. I think Joan should go on tour with Dr. Lillback, author of Sacred Fire, as they have the same vision. I heard him speak last week and it was so moving! He is an amazing historian like Joan who is preserving and defending the faith and values of our nation's founders. Anyway, bless you for this. I appreciate Joan's honesty. Life is hard but God is faithful.

  5. A wonderful interview indeed! What a blessing.

  6. Virginia, I think this just testifies to God's healing power in Joan's life. She is a living example of what the Word says about being bruised but not crushed, and sustained by God's grace. You are so right about that being hurtful. I am so glad our God is bigger than that and can bring healing.

  7. Diana, yes, read in succession. I am feeling a little guilty about the questions I have in my interview. But on the other hand, that is what the heart of this blog is about - overcoming through time, with God's help. And these testimonies give witness to that. Blessings!

  8. Thanks so much, Laura and Carla, you lovely Colonial Ladies. So good to see you here. Ooooh, Laura, that sounds great. Glad you got to do that! Blessings to both of you!

  9. Carrie, don't feel guilty about your questions. Apparently Joan didn't feel uncomfortable or she wouldn't have shared her heart. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony according to the Bible. When people overcome adversity and tell others about it, it gives hope and encouragement that our Lord is bigger than anything we have to go through. Joan's sharing with us reinforces the fact that He is a restorer of every aspect of our lives, and she is a living testimony to that!

    Diana Flowers

  10. Joan is indeed a very special person in many ways. Her name (Joan Marie) is the same as my mothers' (she died 13 years ago) so whenever I hear the name Joan it's with fondness. :P

  11. Joan is one of those exceptional historical fiction writers that readers of the genre crave. If you haven't read her series, you're missing out.

  12. Sorry, didn't mean to preach! Just trying to encourage you. I told my hubs last night...it sounds like I'm preaching here! LOL

  13. Michelle, you were so fortunate to have enjoyed having a grandmother. Joan is my lovely MIL's name. Rita, yes, this is a must-read series for us Colonial addicts. So glad I could just download the last as a Kindle version because I NOW HAVE A KINDLE. YAY!!! So much easier to read on those.

  14. Joan, this interview brought back fond memories of driving around TN with you last fall. We talked about so much!

    I've read the entire series so far too, so don't enter me in the drawing. Would love to see someone new to the series win Joan's book.

    I first met Joan on line after reading Daughter of Liberty. Then, having started Native Son, one day while going about my housework I caught myself praying for the characters. I was that caught up in the story! So I promptly found an email for Joan and wrote to tell her what I did. That was the start of a friendship that's blessed me ever since.

    Thanks for hosting Joan, Carrie.

  15. While I've always enjoyed the Revolutionary War era and the people who lived at that time that birthed a nation, I've become even more fascinated with it lately. Thanks for the chance to win this book.

    twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

  16. Carrie, you are right--I am very happily remarried, which is another evidence of God's grace and mercy. He led me to a very good place. :-)

    Virginia, thank you so much for your good wishes, and I'm so glad you're enjoying the series!

  17. Diana, actually the books don't have to be read in sequence--I've had responses from readers who started with Native Son on Wind of the Spirit, and in fact I included a synopsis of both previous books in Wind of the Spirit. I also try to weave in enough backstory so the story makes sense if you come into it in the middle.

    That said, as the author I obviously would like readers to start at the beginning and follow my characters all the way through as I conceived it. There are continuing threads that arc through the entire series that might be lost if you read it out of sequence.

  18. Pegg, thanks for posting. Me and the other gals over at Colonial American Christian Fiction writers love hearing that!

    Lori, isn't it wonderful when God gives us these kindred spirits to walk alongside us in our writing journey, to encourage us? I have several friends like that, too. I truly enjoyed working with Joan on submitting a Dutch colonial novella to Barbour. She is a darling!

    Joan, I could tell in your emails how important your DH was. Especially when you got so excited when he had come home from the road! Hugs! And thanks again for sharing!

  19. Laura, what a compliment! I've read a review of Sacred Fire and found it quite intriguing, so now I definitely need to get a copy!

    The questions Carrie asked were hard, but I am glad I chose to be transparent. All of us go through difficult experiences at times, and when we're honest about our own hurts and the healing God accomplished in our lives, then we're allowing God to work that same healing in the hearts of others. I've learned that God's grace and mercy are so much greater than the pain we suffer. And looking back from the other side of those experiences, I see how He sustained me and blessed me far beyond my deserving.

  20. Amen from me too, Diana! I couldn't have said it better.

    Michelle, I've been just so blessed to know I have your mother's name. We have a special bond, don't we? :-)

    Rita, thank you so much for your very kind words! You bless me and all of us on the loop!

  21. Carrie, I'm so envious of your Kindle!! I know you're enjoying it, and one of these days....!

  22. Lori, I'll always be thankful that you took the time to e-mail me. It was the start of a friendship that I cherish. Loved our time together last fall and just wish it could have been longer! Now I've got to get out to Medford!

  23. Oh, Pegg, if I can encourage you to delve into the Revolution, I'll be blessed! Can you tell I'm passionate about it? lol!

    Carrie, I am praying that we'll actually get a contract so we can complete our novellas. I would just love to continue working with you and the rest of the group to finish these up. We really came up with some great story lines!

  24. I'm looking forward to more of Joan's books...and just signed on to the colonial site, so whether I am fortunate to win the drawing or not, I will enjoy discussing the colonial era with you ladies. Thanks for the opportunity!

  25. Congratulations to Pat! I have your email address!

  26. I'm really fascinated by the Amish and love to read fiction about them. Please enter me in the drawing.


  27. Wow, sounds like a good, thought-provoking read! I'll need to keep this one in mind!
    ~Cecelia Dowdy~


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