It was my pleasure to recently connect with Wisconsin author, Naomi Munch. I love meeting authors, especially ones from my home state. We set up an author interview, and I read one of Naomi’s most recent books, The Black Rose. Below is my review, a bit about Naomi, and the interview.
My Review: The Black Rose
Twin sisters, Corianne and Jesilyn Beaumont, look alike but inwardly are vastly different. Envious of her sister, Jesilyn schemes to steal the affections of Cori’s beau, Clay. With such a betrayal heavy between them, Jesi runs away.
In a northern Wisconsin town riddled with men used to rough living, broke and desperate Jesi considers selling the only thing she has left—her self-respect. But her path crosses with Paul Winter, a man of God who ministers to the local lumberjacks. He and his sister, Marie take Jesi under their wing.
Cori lets go of the man who once held her feelings. Her eyes open to a young man, Jamie, acquainted with her family. The two grow closer, and Cori begins to wonder if what her sister had meant for harm might actually turn out for good.
Will the growing friendship between Paul and Jesi bloom into something more? Will Cori set aside her bitterness toward Jesi to embrace a healthy future for herself with Jamie? Will the sisters forgive each other and be a family once more?
Christian romance and historical fiction readers will be caught up in the sisters’ saga and eagerly anticipate their final chapters. Musch strings readers along with just the right balance of tension and resolution to create a picturesque, romantic story, filled with faith and second chances.
I enjoyed reading a book set in my home state of Wisconsin, in an area I’m familiar with. I gladly recommend The Black Rose and would be happy to read more of Musch’s books.
About Naomi in her own words:
I am author/writer, Naomi Musch. I was born and raised in central Wisconsin but have made my home for many years in Wisconsin’s pristine north woods, where my husband Jeff and I live as epically as God allows near our five young adults and passel of grand-children. Amidst it, I write about imperfect people who are finding hope and faith to overcome their struggles, whether the story venue is rich in American history or along more contemporary lines.
In between my novels I’ve worked as an editor for a small press, a staff writer for an EPA award-winning newspaper, a ghost writer, and I’ve published dozens of magazine and internet articles for the encouragement of homeschooling families and young writers. I currently belong to the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Lake Superior Writers. I meet weekly with my local writers’ group the Upper St. Croix Writers. (Come join us sometime!)
Besides writing, my biggest joys are loving on my grandchildren, encouraging homeschoolers and young writers, gardening, camping, taking walks in the woods, and fellowshipping with friends. If you’re a grandparent too, you might enjoy some encouragement from my grandparenting page.
Interview with Naomi:
- Which author has inspired you the most?
Oh, goodness…there have been so many. As writers, our voices are formed by a conglomeration of what we’ve read, who we are, and what we believe. I think, possibly, Bodie Thoene had the most profound effect on me in my early years as to what I’d hoped for my writing to become. I went on to be influenced by everyone from Charles Dickens and Agatha Christie to Francine Rivers, Laura Frantz, and most recently Joanne Bischof.
- What first prompted you to write fiction?
I’ve been writing fiction since I was ten years old. I knew then that I wanted to be an author someday.
- Why did you choose to write in the genre of Christian Historical Romance?
I’ve always leaned toward a romantic thread, however I discovered just a few years ago that most of my books would be called “historical” rather than “historical romance”. I’ve had to learn how to make the romance the main drive in the story, and even still it often isn’t. From my angle, when I’m writing, I’m being driven along by themes and plot, and then the characters come to life.
- How did your publishing journey begin?
I sought traditional publishing for a long time, procrastinating when I should have submitted more aggressively, and then coming up against the need for an agent to get into bigger houses. In 2010 I decided to jump on the e-book bandwagon and submitted to a small, respectable press with only the promise of an e-book and no paperback. Times changed, and that press eventually started publishing in paperback. They published eight of my novels. When that press closed their doors eight years later, I started reissuing those books independently under the banner of Long Lake Books. Also in 2010, I wrote a novella called Heart Not Taken as part of an online challenge and because I needed something I could finish and gain closure on while I worked on my longer work. When I was through, I really liked the story and submitted it to Black Lyon Publishing and they published it. Since then, I’ve published traditionally with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas/Smitten, gained an agent, signed two more contracts, and continue to explore my path as a hybrid author (someone who is both traditionally and independently published).
- What advice would you give other authors seeking to publish their work?
Study the craft, and keep studying the craft, especially making sure you understand story structure. As to trends and styles, they change. Keep learning. When your book is finished and self-edited a few times, don’t rush to publication unless your story has been thoroughly edited by an experienced editor. When you start submitting, learn the rules, keep them, and be persistent. Don’t quit.
- When writing, what do you find the most challenging? The most rewarding?
Beginnings are the hardest for me. Finding my way into a story and knowing that this is the hook—the place where it should start. The most rewarding is feeling that I accomplished the spiritual and emotional purposes for the book, and then hearing back from readers that they loved the story or read it a while ago and are still thinking about it.
- What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not busy writing?
I love hanging out with my family. I have seventeen grandchildren, and we are a busy bunch! I also love gardening, camping, reading, and watching old movies.
- What are you working on now?
I have several irons in the fire. I have two books releasing in 2022. One is a novel with Smitten/LPC (a sequel to my Selah and Book of the Year finalist, Mist O’er the Voyageur). The second is a novella called Not for Love in Barbour’s Lumberjacks and Ladies collection. They’re only releasing a month apart, but thankfully the editing calendar is spread out.
Meanwhile 1) my agent is shopping a 1920s Wisconsin Northwoods novel, 2) I’m editing a WWI novel, and 3) I’m about midway into a WWII home-front novel. The bummer is that I have two other story ideas I can’t wait to get into, but I have to finish these first.
- What do you want readers to take away from your books?
A riveting emotional experience and a look at God’s Grace that will touch them in a deep way.
- What ten adjectives would you use to describe yourself?
Tired! Lol! It seems like that’s been the case lately. Intentional Grandma, wife, friend, writer, homeschool advocate, content, outdoorsy, purposeful, and opinionated (she says sheepishly).
Here’s where you can connect with Naomi online. Newsletter subscribers get a free short story. Coming in March, subscribers will receive a free novelette as well.
Website & newsletter: https://naomimusch.com/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Naomi-Musch/e/B00727J758
Thanks so much, Naomi for interviewing with me! I enjoyed learning more about you. Many blessings on your year ahead as an author, wife, mom, and grandma. 🙂
Dear Follower, Thank you for reading.
Do you enjoy reading books set in your home state? If so, tell me about one. Happy Reading, J