(This interview is part of my 4 Questions Project, where I get the chance to chat with authors and tell stories of people, life, and adventure. Be sure to check out previous interviews here!)
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of reading Jolina Petersheim’s debut novel The Outcast, as it was nominated for the INSPYs. I became an instant fan after that book – it’s incredible. She recently released her sophomore novel The Midwife and I can’t wait to read it! Anyway, I’m super excited she joined in 4 Questions so all of you fine readers can get to know her more (and read her books!)
Jolina Petersheim is the award-winning author of The Midwife and The Outcast, which Library Journal gave a starred review and named one of the best books of 2013. The Outcast also became an ECPA, CBA, and Amazon bestseller, and was featured in Huffington Post’s Fall Picks, World Magazine’s Notable Books, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and The Tennessean. Jolina and her husband’s unique Amish and Mennonite heritage originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. They now live in the mountains of Tennessee with their young daughters. Whenever she’s not busy chasing her toddler or tending her newborn, Jolina is hard at work on her next novel. Visit her at jolinapetersheim.com.
1. What is something about your life right now that you would have never imagined 5 years ago?
Five years ago, my husband and I purchased a piece of land in a valley in Tennessee where we imagined we’d spend the rest of our days. However, now that we’ve built a house and lived here for three years, we’ve decided that we’re at a pivotal point in our lives when we should make drastic changes, while our children our still malleable and young. Therefore, right now we’ve got totes and boxes stacked in corners, and my countertops and cupboards are about as clutter-free as they’re ever going to get. At the end of the month, we’re moving to a quaint solar-powered farm in the Driftless Region of Wisconsin (yes, right before winter hits!). Believe me, I never imagined this transition five years ago!
2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
When I was nineteen, one of my dearest friends had a heart attack. Instead of going to see her in the hospital, I traveled fourteen hours to Pennsylvania to attend a wedding with my boyfriend and his family. Soon after we arrived, I received the phone call that my friend had died. I was beyond shocked; I was at the point in my life where I felt invincible and therefore believed everyone around me was invincible as well. Oftentimes, I cannot process life or death by sitting still, so I started walking. My boyfriend followed me. We walked together down to pond, and I cried while sitting on the dock. He didn’t say anything, but when I looked over, he was crying, too. It was one of the hardest and most beautiful moments of my life. And though I regret not getting to see my friend one last time, I know that God turned that hardship around for good, and through her death, I was able to see the beautiful soul of the person—my future husband—who was sitting beside me.
3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
Though I didn’t know it at the time, the day I got married was one of the happiest of my life. I was honestly very terrified to join my life to another’s because I struggled to relinquish my control (I still struggle). But I felt God telling me that this was the person he had for me, and I had to surrender and trust him. I am so glad I did—six years later, I can honestly say that marrying my husband was the best decision I ever made, and I love him more as our life journey continues to unfold.
4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
More often than not, the moments you will later hold the closest aren’t the ones that are necessarily “easy.” For instance, some of the memories dearest to my heart are of us newlyweds living in an apartment adjacent to our grocery store, working side by side in said grocery store, building our house together, the nights of sleep deprivation during our firstborn’s first year, burying our miscarried baby on our land, holding our second little girl less than a year later, and now—packing up to transition to another part of the nation. Life isn’t easy, but looking back – and sometimes even while you’re living it – you can tell that life is, indeed, good.
Thank you so much Jolina for stopping by and sharing with us! I loved hearing a bit more about you :). Readers – if you haven’t picked up one of her books, you must!