I am so thrilled today to bring you one of my very favorite authors and most encouraging writing friends, Joanna Davidson Politano! If you’ve yet to discover her beautiful work, run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore and grab yourself one of her novels. Her latest release, Finding Lady Enderly, hits stores August 20, but one of you incredibly fortunate souls will win a signed print edition of the novel!! Details at the end of the post. For now, please help me welcome Joanna to the blog!
I’m so excited to have you with us today, Joanna!
Thank you! I’m glad to be here!
What was your inspiration for Finding Lady Enderly?
It actually came about in my childhood, when a famous person I’d admired (Princess Diana) died tragically and suddenly. My mom and I watched the news story, then she leaned over and said, “I kind of wonder if she didn’t just skip town to go live on a remote island with the love of her life.” I remember wondering if she’d still be a true princess, or if she’d be the same elegant, compassionate, generous lady we’d come to know. What made her “Princess Di” anyway? If she truly did strip away all those things, the royal title, the money, the notoriety, who would she be? Are all of us simply a product of circumstances and labels, or is there something unchangeable at the core of who we are? I didn’t start out with any answers, but it was fun to think about!
How did God change you during the writing of Finding Lady Enderly? What message do you hope your readers take away from the book?
I found some surprising hope in the process of this story, and God used it to bless me in such a fatherly way. I often become discouraged with my failings, especially the ones that seem sewn into my nature. The ones that repeat, despite my best efforts. I’ve asked God to remove those things, to help me be different, to “move me along” the sanctification process in these areas. I truly believed that’s what He wanted of me regarding those sins. Yet through this heroine’s frustrations and growth, God gently made it clear that He doesn’t always remove a problematic sin area from us—but He redeems it in a way that showcases his glory. He doesn’t always choose to hide our past or remove our sin, but to shine through it so the world can better see Him, and this always begins with a heart change.
Which character in Finding Lady Enderly did you connect with most readily? Which character, if any, presented more of a challenge?
The hero was my absolute favorite, and every time he opened his mouth, his own voice came out rather than words I had put there. He was an absolute joy to be around, and I loved everything about that passionate, fiery, violin-playing man. The challenge was probably Simone, the lady’s maid. I had no idea what she was up to or why she had such mistrust of the heroine. She kept her secrets very well for a long time in the writing process.
As you look back on your journey to becoming a multi-published author, what ways do you now see that God was at work that may not have been obvious at the time? What advice would you give to your younger Writer Self?
Oh, I absolutely wasn’t ready for any of this when I started out, hoping to be published. I got years of either “no” or total silence from every submission, until God decided it was time. Then I suddenly had (on the same books) three offers from agents and three offers from publishers shortly after. God never does things by halves, so I was never left wondering who was responsible for all this! I can’t ever claim any credit. The advice I’d give my younger self is something that can be summed up in the wisdom a writing mentor later gave me: There’s a difference between writing about God, writing for God, and writing with God. Only the last one will really fulfill His purpose in a creative gifting. (That’s from Allen Arnold.) Nothing was worth publishing (or writing) until I understood this.
What does your writing routine look like, if you have one? What obstacles or challenges do you face in making time to write?
I’m a mom of young kids, so there’s always a push and pull for my time. What I’ve discovered, though, is that they are both a break from each other. When I play with my kids, I’m all in and we have a blast. When they nap, I sit at my computer which is such a physical rest. Then when they’re awake I jump back in and it’s a wonderful mental reset. It’s invigorating and relaxing for my brain. So far I’ve managed to keep writing to the times my kids are sleeping, but we’ll see how that goes as they age!
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I tap into my inner Peter Pan every day and revert to childhood fun—mud puddles, berry picking, picture drawing, imagination stretching, fort building… all that. I also love playing the piano, baking with my kids, and being outside.
If you could have coffee/tea/gratuitous amounts of carbs with any author(s), living or dead, who would you choose? What would you talk about?
Oh wow, C.S. Lewis and Dietrich Bonhoeffer come to mind first! Then I think I’d talk to L.M. Montgomery about Emily of New Moon and maybe Roald Dahl about his wild imagination.
How can we pray for you?
I always appreciate prayer for the focus of my heart. It naturally drifts toward selfish, worldly concerns, and I have to make a hard pivot back to my Father. That’s really the root of all other prayer requests I could ask for!
That’s the best prayer request any of us could ever come up with, Joanna! I’ll be praying that for you and for all of us!
As I mentioned above, Joanna is offering a signed copy of her new release, Finding Lady Enderly, to one randomly selected winner. To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post; we’ll select and notify the winner one week from today!
Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears. She freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her at website.