Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Shelter in the Storm by Laurel Blount, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! I’m delighted to chat with Laurel about her new book!
Title: Shelter in the Storm
Series: Johns Mill Amish Romance #1
Author: Laurel Blount
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: May 25, 2021
Genre: Christian Contemporary/Amish Romance
In this moving Amish romance, two broken hearts find hope in each other after a terrible loss.
Unspeakable tragedy strikes the Amish hamlet of Johns Mill when an unstable Englischer opens fire in the Hochstedler’s General Store. In the aftermath, and under the media’s spotlight, Joseph Hochstedler struggles to hold his shattered family together, drawing unexpected comfort from a faithful childhood friend.
Born with a serious heart defect, optimist Naomi Schrock has always longed to live a life of service. She rolls up her sleeves, determined to help Joseph cope with this terrible crisis. But dare she hope that his friendship will finally deepen into love?
As the media’s obsession with the Hochstedler shooting escalates, Joseph and Naomi find themselves caught between tradition and compromise, lingering sorrows and uncertain hopes. And in the end, two people who’ve already lost far too much must find the courage to trust their hearts one last time.
Hi dear Laurel! Welcome back to the blog!
Laurel: I love ‘em both, but I’m in a cat season of life right now! Low maintenance, but cuddly—at least when they feel like it!
Carrie: haha true – that’s why I prefer dogs. They’re almost always up for cuddling 🙂
Laurel: I’m starting to think I’m gonna have trouble with these questions—cause again, I love ‘em both. I like coffee when I’m writing and tea with my friends. Since I’m writing all.the.time. now, I’m saying coffee!
Carrie: See? Hot chocolate works for writing AND with friends. It’s the best hot beverage, in my opinion 😉
Laurel: I love music! I’ve tried to love audiobooks, too, but so far I still prefer to read the book for myself. I am enjoying podcasts, though, so hey, baby steps.
Carrie: I want to love audiobooks – and podcasts – but so far I just can’t. Bring on the music!
Laurel: Again, I really do love them both, but there’s just something about the ocean! I love walking on the beach, hearing the sound of the waves, and the smell of that salty air.
Carrie: I do love watching & listening to the ocean!
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Laurel: Imagination is definitely my super power! I can imagine something so vividly that it feels incredibly real to me. Like all superpowers, I have to be careful to use this one for good—all us overthinkers know that imagination can be a double-edged sword! But when I channel this gift into my writing, oh, it’s so much fun!
Carrie: It’s a powerful superpower for writers – and readers! But yes, it must be used for good 🙂
Q: Who is your favorite book character from childhood?
Laurel: Oh, that’s an easy one! It would have to be “Anne with an ‘e’ of Green Gables!” I met Anne when a girl sitting behind me at school had the book on her desk. I finished my work early, read the first few pages and was hooked for life. Before Anne, Ramona Quimby was my all time favorite book character. Apparently, I love to read about girls with big imaginations!
Carrie: Two of my faves too!
Q: If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?
Laurel: This is the best question ever! It really made me think. I believe Joseph and Naomi would regard me with a mixture of affection and exasperation. “For an Englischer, Laurel keeps very Amish hours—she was always up and working with us before dawn, and she hardly ever took a day off. She caused us an awful lot of trouble—and sometimes when we wouldn’t go along with her plans, she got frustrated and said very unkind things. On the positive side, we think she truly loves us—she spent an awful lot of time fussing over us, trying to make us shine. And she did give us an amazing happily ever after. So there’s that!”
Carrie: aww yay! I’m so glad you loved the question – and I love your answer, especially the HEA part 🙂
Q: Did you have the whole plot outlined before you started writing Shelter in the Storm, or did you let the characters dictate what came next?
Laurel: Both! I outline my plots before I start writing. It’s fun—like mapping out a trip ahead of time. And then—I always go off-roading. Always. I plotted out Shelter in the Storm very carefully, but then as Joseph and Naomi’s characters grew stronger, the sassy things began telling me what they would and wouldn’t do! And—boom—there went my plan! I love when that happens, though—the best stories are the ones where the characters spring to life and take charge.
Carrie: going off-roading – haha! Awesome description! And i adore sassy characters, but I’m sorry for the trouble they caused you lol
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from Shelter in the Storm?
Laurel: That with God on our side we are more resilient than we ever thought we could be—and we have every reason to hope and be joyful. In this story, the Hochstedler siblings are hit hard by the deaths of their parents. But against the backdrop of that tragedy, this family’s courage, faith, and forgiveness shine extra brightly—and the love that Joseph and Naomi discover together is all the sweeter and more precious because of the difficulties they’ve faced. I think we all need some encouragement right now—and I hope Shelter in the Storm reminds us that—no matter what life throws at us—love never fails.
Carrie: amen & 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.
Laurel: Shelter in the Storm is the first book of a four book series for Berkley/Penguin Random House. The second book, Strength in the Storm is already completed, has a gorgeous cover and is up for preorder! Yay! I’m currently hard at work on book three. I also have a new Love Inspired book, Lost and Found Faith, coming out this September!
Thanks so much for having me, Carrie! This has been tons of fun!
Carrie: It’s always fun chatting with you, Laurel!
(1) winner will receive an Amish Meets Amazon prize package including a silver Shelter in the Storm bookmark, a hand-knitted dishcloth, a package of Amish church mints, and a $25 Amazon gift card!
Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight May 24, 2021 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on May 31, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.
This giveaway is hosted by JustRead, not RimSP
Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
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What about you? What makes you want to read Shelter in the Storm by Laurel Blount?