Greetings from Sarah Sundin! Today I have the joy of interviewing an author I’ve enjoyed getting to know over the years. Not only is Liz Tolsma a gifted and bestselling historical novelist, but she’s generous and compassionate and enthusiastic. Through her novels, she’s explored various eras—and in her latest novel, she’s delving into historical romantic suspense!
Liz, please tell us about your book, The Pink Bonnet.
When Cecile Dowd’s daughter is kidnapped by Georgia Tann and the corrupt Tennessee Children’s Home Society, she must rely on Tann’s own lawyer to find out what happened to Mille. How far will they go to bring her home? Will the price be too high?
What inspired you to write this book?
Becky Germany, the editor at Barbour Publishing, put together an idea for a series based on true historical crimes. She sent a list of possible topics. When I saw this one about Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children’s Home Society and the level of corruption in the agency and in the city from 1924-1950, I was astounded.
Sounds intriguing! Why did you write this book?
As the mother to three children through adoption, I wanted to be sure that the topic of kidnapping children and selling them to the highest bidder was handled with great care. I wanted to make sure that all sides of the adoption world were touched on in the story and presented in a way that shows that adoption is not always easy or neat, but that it can be beautiful.
I love that you bring your personal passion into this novel. What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope they will see that all mothers – birth or adoptive – love their children with a fierceness that can’t be described. I want them to understand that adoption is messy and sometimes painful for the adoptees, the adoptive parents, and the biological parents, but that it is also a thing of beauty. And that we are all God’s children through adoption. What a wonderful privilege to be called His sons and daughters.
And what a wonderful theme! What was the hardest scene to write?
The hardest scene to write was the second to the last scene. I can’t really tell you why without giving away the ending of the story, but once you read it and remember that I’m an adoptive mother, you’ll understand why this was so difficult for me to write. In fact, in the original version, this scene was quite different, until my critique partners told me I couldn’t write it like that.
How do you share Christ in your writing?
I like to think that Christ is woven throughout my writing by the way the characters act, think, and speak. I show the struggles that all Christians have in their daily walks and what life is like with and without Christ. I show the pain that sin causes in our world.
What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
God’s sovereignty over events is a recurring theme in my writing. It’s so central to our lives, that there is no escaping it. When we get to the ends of our ropes, there is nothing more to do than to place your hope and trust fully in God’s perfect plan.
Why do you love writing?
I love writing because I have so many stories in my head – more than I’ll ever be able to write in my lifetime! I love going on the journey with the characters. I don’t plot much, so the story is as much of a surprise to me as it is to my readers.
Do you have an unfulfilled dream?
Yes. Top of my bucket list is to swim with the dolphins. I’ve never gotten to do that yet.
I haven’t either, but it sure sounds fun. Do you have pets and do they inspire your writing or hinder it?
We have a cat named Rocky. He’s actually my son’s cat, but he never took the cat with him when he left home. Rocky always has to be on my lap when I’m writing. In the winter, it’s great. In the summer, not so much!
What a sweet cat! Please tell us about your favorite library memory.
When I was a little girl, we would go to the library at least once a week. I would check out as many books as I possibly could. I always had a large stack with me. And I almost never had to renew the books, because I read them all before they were due.
What are your hobbies or activities or passions outside of writing?
Besides reading? I love to garden, to crochet, to kayak, to hike, and to go camping. I’d love camping more if it weren’t for the mosquitoes!
Mosquitos—argh! Liz, please tell us about your next project.
My next book is Spring of Thanksgiving. It’s a novella set in Texas in the 1880s. When a deep drought brings two ranches to the brink of bankruptcy, they fight over rights to a spring. Dell puts a plan into motion to woo Ivy Cooke and the spring. What he doesn’t count on his falling in love with her. Will the spring bring them together or tear them apart forever?
I love that! Sounds like a lovely story. Thank you for sharing with us today!
Writing for Him,