Thursday, June 18, 2015

Love is in the Air: Author interview with Liz Tolsma

Super excited to introduce today's featured author Liz Tolsma! :) Liz loves writing historical romances. She experienced detours on her way to making her dreams come true but now she's working as an author and she has more than two books in her repertoire!

Now here's the exciting part for you--Liz will give away one paperback copy of her featured book, Remember the Lilies! You can enter by leaving a comment and your e-mail address toward the end of this post and by filling out the Rafflecopter widget.

I hope you will enjoy getting to know Liz via the author interview below.

Enjoy! :)

*Words by Alexis in bold, words from Liz not in bold

Alexis: Remember the Lilies is quite the captivating title for a book! Tell us about it.

Liz: Remember the Lilies is set in Manila during WWII. The Japanese interned almost 4,000 Westerners at Santo Tomas University for 37 months. In my book, Rand and Irene are two of the internees who must face starvation, cruel treatment, and espionage in order to survive.

Who or what inspired you to write Remember the Lilies

I was inspired by the 4,000 real men and women who survived those terrible days with grace and even humor.

Who is your heroine in this book? Describe her looks, style and personality. 

Irene Reynolds is a missionary’s niece who grew up in the Filipino jungle. She is beautiful and blonde and a Jean Harlow kind of way, but dresses plainly and doesn’t use much make-up. She doesn’t realize how pretty she is. She’s sweet and humble, though she does have quite a stubborn streak.

Who is your hero? What makes him interesting? What makes him different? What makes him fall in love (I’m guessing with your heroine)? 

Before the war, Rand Sterling was a jet-setting ladies’ man who owned two very successful night clubs in Manila. He’s daring. He falls in love with Irene because she’s so different from the socialites he’s used to associating with. Her quiet faith impresses him.

Why did you choose the Philippines for the setting of your book? 

My son, a U.S. Marine, has always loved the Pacific Theater of WWII. When I needed a 3rd idea for this series, he suggested that one be set there. As soon as he said that, I knew what story to use for the book.

What do you want your readers to treasure most about Remember the Lilies

The theme of the book is forgiveness. I want them to know that no matter what has happened in their lives, God offers them forgiveness.

What is the most beautiful part of the writing and publishing process for you? 

I love creating the stories and watching them come alive.

What is the most challenging aspect of being a writer? Why? 

Just finding the time to sit down and write! I have two children still living at home, a husband, and a very busy life. Some days there just aren’t enough hours for all that needs to be accomplished.

Why did you choose writing for a career? Or do you have a day job? Explain. 

It’s what I always wanted to do. My life took many detours along the way, and I do have a part-time job, but I decided that I needed to pursue my dream before I regretted not taking the chance.

Describe your writing space. What makes it unique or special to you? 

 It varies from day to day. Sometimes, I write at a small desk in my bedroom, or on my front porch, or in the family room recliner, or even in the car or at my daughter’s therapy session. Just wherever and whenever I have the chance.

What is your go-to food or drink when on deadline? 


Are you working on your next book? If yes, what can you tell us about it? 

Yes. This series follows a trio of American women journalists in Europe during WWII. The first book is about a reporter in England during the London Blitz.

What is your favorite feature of springtime? 

The lack of snow ;) And I love to watch my garden come back to life.

Give us a glimpse of your personal life. Are you married with kids? What’s your favorite memory with your family? How do you spend your free time? 

I’m married to my high school sweetheart. We have a grown son and two daughters. All of my children were adopted internationally. The youngest has a variety of special needs. I have so many fond memories with my family, especially of the days each of our children joined our family. We love to be outdoors – camping, gardening, kayaking, hiking, snowshoeing.

If you could live anywhere in the world for at least once year and write about it, where would you go and why? 

I’d love to go back to Vietnam (we were there in 1995). It’s so special to us because we adopted our son there. The people were so kind and welcoming to us, so eager to please us, yet my heart breaks for that land which is so dark spiritually. I’d love to work to spread the gospel there.

Thanks for the interview, Liz! Now please leave a question for my readers to answer so they can enter your book giveaway contest.

Liz's question: If you had to give up one creature comfort for a year, which one would it be?

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Author bio:
Liz Tolsma has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband, their son, and their two daughters. Add a dog and a cat to that mix and there's always something going on at their house. 

She's spent time teaching second grade, writing advertising for a real estate company, and working as a church secretary, but she always dreamed of becoming an author. 

When not busy putting words to paper, she enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping with her family.
Blurb for Remember the Lilies:

How will two very different people find love—and survive the impossible circumstances of war?

In 1941 Rand Sterling was a wealthy, womanizing club owner and an American of note among ex-pats and locals alike. Now two years later, Rand is just another civilian prisoner of war—one whose planned escape from the Santo Tomas Internment Camp could put him and others in grave danger.

Irene Reynolds grew up as a missionary kid in the Philippine jungle. Now she works for the paranoid Japanese authorities, delivering censored messages to the other American prisoners in Santo Tomas.

When Irene’s negligence leads to Rand’s failed escape attempt, Rand is sent to the torture chambers of Fort Santiago—and Irene suffers under the weight of her guilt. Yet when she crosses paths with Rand again after his unexpected return to the camp, something more than mere survival draws the unlikely pair together.

As life in Manila becomes more and more desperate, and another threatening letter finds its way from Irene’s hands to Rand’s, the reluctant couple struggles to find a way to stay alive... and to keep their growing feelings for each other from compromising the safety of everyone around them.
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  1. Mmmmm, what creature comfort could I give up for a year? Hard question indeed. I may be able to do without central air/heat.

    1. That would be tough for me. Without central heat, our pipes would freeze (and so would we!) And I don't do hot weather very well!

  2. I could probably give up by bed (as long as I could keep by recliner.) I loved this book and would love to win a print copy.

  3. This is a really tough question! I've just spent some time without AC, with some temps near 100, so I really don't want to repeat that (just had a new AC unit installed so the house is slowly cooling). Running water is so nice too (showers and flush toilets especially). Maybe I could give up my extra freezer? I don't know, guess I'm a wimp who is thoroughly used to our modern conveniences.

    1. I'm right there with you, Pam! Wimp, princess, call me what you will. I like creature comforts - every single one of them.

  4. I can give up the A/C and oil to heat our home. We haven't bought oil for heating in two years but you do need to heat your home so you don't freeze to death. So, we are heating our home with a woodstove. It's still cold in parts of the house, 47 to 52 degrees in the mornings until we start the woodstove again.

    1. We heat our cabin with wood, so I know what you're talking about when it's so cold in the house in the morning. We do have to get at least one tank of propane for the year because we aren't up there all the time. Have to keep those pipes from freezing!

  5. Creature comfort? I've given up sugar before - for over a year. I would be served well if I did it again! Love hearing your stories, Liz! So excited how God has led you on your journey!

    1. While giving up sugar would be hard to do, I agree that it might be an idea worth exploring!

  6. We don't have central air, and sometimes that can be a challenge, but I could give that up rather easily. :)


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