I am delighted today to welcome author Jennifer Deibel to the blog to chat about her debut novel, A Dance in Donegal!
Jennifer Deibel is a middle school teacher whose work has appeared on (in)courage, on The Better Mom, in Missions Mosaic magazine, and others. With firsthand immersive experience abroad, Jennifer writes stories that help redefine home through the lens of culture, history, and family. After nearly a decade of living in Ireland and Austria, she now lives in Arizona with her husband and their three children. You can find her online at www.thisgalsjourney.com.
A DANCE IN DONEGAL
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Romance
RELEASE DATE: February 2, 2021
All of her life, Irish-American Moira Doherty has relished her mother’s descriptions of Ireland. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira decides to fulfill her mother’s wish that she become the teacher in Ballymann, her home village in Donegal, Ireland.
After an arduous voyage, Moira arrives to a new home and a new job in an ancient country. Though a few locals offer a warm welcome, others are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about Moira’s mother are unspoken in her presence but threaten to derail everything she’s journeyed to Ballymann to do. Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of friends–and the strength of Sean, an unsettlingly handsome thatcher who keeps popping up unannounced–as she seeks to navigate a life she’d never dreamed of . . . but perhaps was meant to live.
Jennifer Deibel’s debut novel delights the senses, bringing to life the sights, sounds, smells, and language of a lush country and a colorful people. Historical romance fans will embrace her with open arms.
Hi Jennifer! Welcome to the blog & Happy Release Day on your debut novel!!
Jennifer: Winter! Having grown up in the Arizona desert, I’m so tired of heat and sun!
Carrie: I’m always so happy to find another fan of winter 🙂
Jennifer: Both! I’m totally addicted to coffee, but sometimes, nothing can soothe the soul like a properly brewed cuppa Lyons Gold Blend Tea!
Carrie: That’s one of the reasons I wish I liked tea – it sounds so comforting!
Jennifer: Over! It’s God’s way.
Jennifer: Print, for sure! I just love the feel and scent of it. The weight of it in my hand. But, I wish I loved eBooks more because they are certainly easier to carry! lol
Carrie: I have come to love ebooks for convenience of reading, carrying, and less strain on my eyes (because I can enlarge the font like nobody’s business) but I still love having print books filling my house 🙂
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Jennifer: Oh goodness…I’d have to stay after nearly 10 years living overseas, my weird superpower would be learning to navigate a grocery store in a foreign language. It’s astounding how similar yet different grocery stores can be! And even though it can be overwhelming, it’s an adventure that we always enjoyed—and one is always certain to discover a new favorite treat in the process! A close second would be deciphering nearly illegible child and middle school handwriting!
Carrie: I can’t imagine navigating a grocery store in a foreign language – that is definitely a superpower! (And so is deciphering nearly illegible child handwriting lol)
Q: Which books are ‘on your nightstand’?
Jennifer: I currently have several books on my nightstand, all in a varying array of “read-ness.” I typically am a one-book-at-a-time girl, but The Year That Shall Not Be Named has brought out the reading A.D.D. in me! So, I currently have my Bible, my journal, The Apothecary’s Daughter by Julie Klassen, It Happened at Christmas by Christen Krumm, and The Sowing Season by Katie Powner.
Carrie: hahaha The Year That Shall Not Be Named did a number on reading habits!
Q: If I sneaked a peek in your purse right now (which I would never do, I promise!), what would it tell me about you?
Jennifer: I’d like to say you’d discover that I’m a highly sophisticated and organized woman. The truth is, however, you will see that I’m very much a creature of habit (don’t ask how long that one unused Band-Aid has been in there), and that I’m an obsessive receipt hoarder. I just know I’ll need that Walgreens receipt from six years ago at some point so, no, you may not throw it out, please and thank you. You may also discover that I am slightly addicted to chapsticks and lip-gloss.
Carrie: Hey – those six-year-old receipts may be the key to saving the world one day… you never know 😉
Q: What surprised you about your book or your characters as you wrote A Dance in Donegal?
Jennifer: I think I was most surprised by which characters moved me most. I would’ve never have guessed it, but my favorite character (are authors allowed to have favorites?) is a secondary character who loves everyone they come in contact with just as they are—but also too much to allow them to stay as they are. He came out of nowhere and swept me away with his wit, humor, and wisdom. This story would not be the same without him, and he took me by complete surprise!
Carrie: I ADORE secondary characters like that!
Q: Did you have the whole plot outlined before you started writing, or did you let the characters dictate what came next?
Jennifer: I sure thought I did when I started out! But writing A Dance in Donegal was a journey and labor of love that God brought me through over the course of a decade. And through that time, He changed the story. He changed me. So, while one part of the overarching story has remained the same from day 1, there are myriad little subplots and mysteries that I never saw coming—and they’re my favorite parts!
Carrie: that’s beautiful – He is so sweet, isn’t He?
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from A Dance in Donegal?
Jennifer: My biggest prayer for this book is that readers would walk away encouraged in their own faith—whether they’ve followed Jesus for ages, or are still trying to decide if He is for them. We are all called to different things—to different paths of obedience. And each step of obedience comes with consequences. I pray readers are emboldened and encouraged to obey whatever God is leading them to do, no matter the consequences. And that they would see their life has greater impact on the world around them than they ever dared to dream.
Carrie: Amen. ♥
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Jennifer: Thank you so much for having me! I have had an absolute blast! Just before A Dance in Donegal released, I submitted the manuscript for my second book that is set to release from Revell in Spring 2022. I’m so excited about this story! It’s set in Galway, Ireland in 1920, and surrounds the legend of the famed Claddagh ring and explores themes of culture, love, prejudice, and purpose.
Revell is offering a print copy of A Dance in Donegal to THREE of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read A Dance in Donegal by Jennifer Deibel?