The Inside Scoop! Jan Drexler and a giveaway

Jan Drexler



The Inside Scoop!

Jan Drexler

and her Amish novel

Hannah’s Choice




I grew up in… Kalamazoo, Michigan. It was a great city to be a kid in back in the sixties and seventies. We could ride the bus downtown to the library or a movie, or I could ride my bike for miles on country roads. Kalamazoo is also only forty miles from Lake Michigan, so I spent many summer days there. There’s nothing like watching the sunset over the Lake!

I was inspired to write my first published novel by…  At the time I started writing my first novel (The Prodigal Son Returns), I had read many Amish novels that took place in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and Holmes County, Ohio. But each Amish community has its own personality, and I wanted to help readers become familiar with Indiana’s Amish Country.

The books that have most influenced my life are… The Bible, of course. Elisabeth Elliott’s books have also had a great influence on my life as a Christian wife and mother.

My biggest challenge when writing is… getting the first draft done! It takes great discipline for me to stay at my computer until I have my daily word count done. Once I get to the end, though, I love the revision and editing processes.

One of my favourite authors is… J.R.R. Tolkien. His “Lord of the Rings” remains my favourite story even more than forty years after I first read the trilogy. He was an author with superb command of the English language, and I often read and re-read his descriptions to try to understand how he wrote so well.

If I wasn’t a writer, I would be… before I started writing I was a homeschool mom. I loved teaching my children and I miss doing it. So if I wasn’t a writer, I think I would be working somewhere with homeschoolers, either mentoring other moms or writing curriculum.

The superhero talent I would love to have is… I would love to be able to eavesdrop on conversations from across a room. I have an insatiable curiosity about people and their lives. I guess that’s one reason why I enjoy making up characters for my books.

Hannah's ChoiceHannah’s Choice

Hannah Yoder loves her quiet life on the banks of the Conestoga Creek.

In 1842, this corner of Lancaster County is settled and peaceful–yet problems lurk beneath the placid façade. Hannah’s father worries about the spread of liberal ideas from their Mennonite and Brethren neighbors. And Hannah blames herself for a tragedy that struck their home nine years ago. She strives to be the one person who can bind the threads of her family together in spite of her mother’s ongoing depression and her sister’s rejection of their family. But her world is threatening to unravel.

My latest novel can be described by these 5 adjectives… tender, bittersweet, encouraging, poignant, hopeful.

My main character is… Hannah Yoder is eighteen years old, medium height and build, with light brown hair and brown eyes. Her family experienced a tragedy nine years before the story starts with the loss of the three youngest children in a diphtheria outbreak. Hannah feels responsible for their deaths, and her greatest motivation is her desire to bring her family back together – to capture the joy and closeness they felt before the little ones died.

My main character resembles… my grandmother. Even though she knew tragedy and heartache, she was a strong woman and did whatever was necessary to provide for her family during the depression of the 1930’s.

A previously unknown fact about this novel is… Liesbet, Hannah’s wayward sister, is based on a real person. And no, I’m not going to say who it is!

My story’s spiritual theme is… trust in God’s plan. Proverbs 3: 5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

While writing this novel I learned… the lingering grief of past losses that are deep within me. As I wrote about how each of the family members dealt with the loss of the little ones nine years earlier, I explored every aspect of my own experiences and relived them. It was a healing experience, but very draining.

The title was chosen by… I suggested three or four titles to Revell’s marketing team, and they chose this one. I’m glad they did, because it was my favourite on the list!

As an author, the hardest scenes for me to write are… The hardest scenes for me to write are the transitions that are necessary between the scenes with a lot of action or change in the characters. Those transition scenes are low-key and provide an emotional rest for the reader, but it’s hard for me to keep them from being boring.

The story I’m currently working on is… the third book in the Journey to Pleasant Prairie series. This story is due out in June 2017, and I hope it will provide a satisfying end to the trilogy.

You may not know this about me, but I… Like most writers, I’m an introvert. I enjoy being with family and friends, but there comes a point when I crave my alone time. That’s when I’ll close the door on the world and bury myself in a book.

If I could be a character in any novel, I would want to be… Laura Ingalls from the Little House books – an everlasting childhood.

Thanks Jan!

Relz Reviewz Extras
Visit Jan’s website
Buy at Amazon: Hannah’s Choice or Koorong

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18 Responses to The Inside Scoop! Jan Drexler and a giveaway

  1. Fun to get these peeks into Jan Drexler and her writing! I’m a huge fan of Tolkien’s stories, too, Jan, and have read the books again and again. Just finished watching every last extended-edition extra on the 3rd Hobbit movie, Battle of the Five Armies, and ready to start over with the whole 6-movie set!

    • Hi Myra! It’s good to see you here :)

      The extended edition of Battle of the Five Armies is available? I’m behind the times!

      • Yes! I think it’s been out a couple of months. We have always waited for the extended editions to buy them on DVD. We’re as fascinated with the behind-the-scenes stuff as the actual movies. It’s just incredible how they have brought those wonderful stories and characters to life on the screen!

  2. Just saw the giveaway question. I guess the aspect of Amish life that most appeals to me is the sense of a community that cares for one another.

  3. Great blog! I’m glad I found you! I think what strikes me the most about the Amish community is that their isn’t a sense of individualism like you find in most neighborhoods. I love that everyone works together and has their own unique talents that they bring to the table in helping one another. I am awestruck by their faith too!

  4. I have always been intrigued by the Amish lifestyle and enjoy reading fiction books about them. I agree with many of the comments that it is the sense of community that appeals to me.

  5. I like that it is simple, and that family is very important to them..

  6. The aspect of Amish life that appeals to me most is the fact that they take care of their family, no matter what age they are.

  7. Loved this interview! Proverbs 3:5-6 is my lifetime verse. I chose it while attending Christian School so many years ago. Jan, I taught first grade and then took time off to homeschool my children. Like you, I miss those days.

    They fact that appeals to me the most about the Amish is their dedication to their community.

    Thank you for this giveaway.

  8. I also admire their commitment to God, family and community.
    I enjoyed learning about you and look forward to reading your books. Thank you for giveaway.

  9. I like how the Amish distance themselves from the modern world.

  10. There simple life style and how they try to distance themselves from the modern world.

  11. Several aspects appeal to me about the Amish lifestyle. The simplicity, sense of community, family ties and their simple faith! I think we can learn a whole lot from them! I admire how they take care of one another and their elderly members. Families stick together in times of crisis and community comes together to help too. A lot of good qualities I wished I could see more of in our English world!

  12. I think what I admire most about the Amish way of life is their commitment to family and community.

  13. I love their trust in God, love of family and community and their view and practice of forgiveness.

  14. I admire the simplicity of their lives.

  15. I love the simplicity of it; not easy, but simple. :)

  16. I just saw Jan’s bio on another page and started searching. It’s almost a bio of my life! I grew up not too far from Kalamazoo. Then my husband and I moved to Lancaster County, PA, for almost two years. Then we moved to South Dakota! We’re on the eastern side, though. I’m waving to you, Jan, from over by Sioux Falls! Lol

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