Author Interview and Giveaway – The Gold in These Hills – Joanne Bischof

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Ghost towns hold a heart-breaking air of mystery. What kind of people once populated the community? Who were the last to live there? What loneliness did they suffer? Joanne brings us the story of a young mother whose husband disappears, leaving her to fend for herself in a threadbare mining town. Welcome to the Index, Joanne!

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The Gold in These Hills

One wild and mysterious ghost town. Two second-chance love stories. And the century-old legacy that binds them together. 

Upon arriving in Kenworthy, California, mail-order bride Juniper Cohen is met by the pounding of the gold mine, an untamable landscape, and her greatest surprise of all: the kind and loving man who awaits her. But when the mine proves empty of profit, and when Juniper’s husband, John, vanishes, Juniper is left to fend for herself and her young daughter in the dwindling boomtown that is now her home.

Juniper pens letters to her husband but fears she is waiting on a ghost. Perhaps worse, rumors abound claiming the man she loves could be an outlaw. Surviving in a ghost town requires trusting the kindness of a few remaining souls, including the one who can unlock the mystery of her husband’s disappearance—and Juniper’s survival depends not only upon these friends but also the strength of heart she must fight to maintain.

Present day. Trying to escape the heartache of his failed marriage, Johnny Sutherland throws himself into raising his children and restoring a hundred-year-old abandoned farmhouse in what was once known as Kenworthy, California, in the San Jacinto Mountains. While exploring its secrets he uncovers Juniper’s letters and is moved by the handwritten accounts that bear his name—and as a love story from the past touches his own world, Johnny might discover yet that hope and resilience go hand in hand.

Joanne’s Website


Questions about Joanne’s Story

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Most definitely the real-life research! This was the first time that I got to explore the geography of a setting while writing the story and it’s all captured on video for readers to get a sense of Kenworthy and the heart behind the story.

Why did you choose the geographical location in which your book is set?

The Gold in These Hills is set about 20 minutes from my home town in California. Once I discovered that there used to be a gold mine and ghost town nearby, I quickly realized that it would be the perfect place for this story to reside. Not only is the real historical events shrouded in mystery, but because of that, the story is too.

Did you stumble upon anything in your research for this book that you thought was strange or surprising?

Yes! While researching the gold mining town of Kenworthy, California, I discovered that the reason why the boom town soon vanished, was because the mine held no gold—instead, prospectors had taken a worthless mine and salted it: loading gold dust into a shot gun and firing it off inside the mine. They found a wealthy businessman, Herold Kenworthy, who purchased the mine and eventually spent $50,000 to build the town and within five years, only made about $10. It’s a sad story for sure, and is what sparked The Gold in These Hills, as I suddenly longed to unravel the story behind all of that and dig into what motivated the characters to be a part of this historic event.


Questions about Joanne’s Reading

Who is your favorite Christian Historical heroine?

The Viking, Gudrid from Heather Day Gilbert’s God’s Daughter. It’s one of my favorite Christian historical novels. It’s a beautiful and raw novel and Gudrid is a strong and sympathetic heroine. As it centers around the Viking culture, the story is slightly more intense than the typical Christian historical novel, and yet her story and world-view are complex, as is her faith journey with Christ. I admire the struggles she faces—both internally and externally.  

What Christian Historical Novel in your To Be Read pile is begging you to make time to plop down with it right now?

Definitely Yours is the Night by Amanda Dykes. She’s a stunning writer and dear friend, and with so many people have been raving about it lately, I know I’m missing out. I can’t wait to be able to settle in and start her beautiful story.

You can check out this cool Mercantile Giveaway on Joanne’s website, but first, enter the rafflecopter below for a copy of Joanne’s book!

Joanne is giving away a paperback, US entrants only. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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