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Jan Drexler | 20 Questions: SOFTLY BLOWS THE BUGLE


Softly Blows the Bugle
Jan Drexler

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October 2020
On Sale: October 20, 2020
304 pages
ISBN: 0800729331
EAN: 9780800729332
Kindle: B087RT58BW
Paperback / e-Book
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Also by Jan Drexler:
Softly Blows the Bugle, October 2020
Add to review list
The Roll of the Drums, October 2019
An Amish Christmas Kitchen, September 2019
The Sound of Distant Thunder, September 2018

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1—What’s the name of your latest release? 

Softly Blows the Bugle is the third book in my Amish of Weaver’s Creek series.

2--What is it about?

When Elizabeth Kaufman received the news of her husband's death at the Battle of Vicksburg in 1863, she felt only relief. She determined that she would never be at the mercy of any man again, even if it meant she would never have a family of her own. Then Aaron Zook comes home with her brother when the war ends two years later.

Despite the severity of his injuries, Aaron resolves to move West and leave the pain of the past behind him. He never imagined that the Amish way of life his grandfather had rejected long ago would be so enticing. That, and a certain widow he can't get out of his mind.

Yet, even in a simple community, life has a way of getting complicated. Aaron soon finds that while he may have left the battlefield behind, there is another fight he must win--the one for the heart of the woman he loves. 

3--What word best describes your main character(s)? 

Elizabeth is determined, but fragile. Aaron is steadfast.

4--What makes your story relatable? 

Even though this historical novel takes place more than one hundred fifty years ago, the human experience remains the same. Aaron’s struggles to return to a normal life after his injuries and his war memories echo the same experiences of soldiers coming home today. Elizabeth’s experiences are all too common among women of all times who suffer at the hands of an abusive husband. Many of us know friends or relatives, or perhaps even ourselves, who can relate to these characters all too well.

5--Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help? 

Elizabeth confides in her sister Ruby, who we met in the second book of the series, “The Roll of the Drums.” She also receives wise advice from her mother, Lydia Weaver.

Aaron’s mentor is another new character in the community, Casper Zook. Their common last name drew these two together, but then they found they have more than just a name in common.

6--What do you love about the setting of your book? 

The 1800s, especially the time immediately after the Civil War has always fascinated me. The country had just been through a tragic time, but somehow the people came together again to form a united nation. The strength of their faith and their willingness to put their differences aside to work toward a common goal is inspiring.

And the place, Holmes County in central Ohio, is a beautiful, peaceful spot even today. The Amish communities in the area are strong and growing, and it is a favorite tourist destination. It is hard to imagine this area as it was in the nineteenth century, when stands of virgin timber still stood and vestiges of the first generation of settlers still remained as part of the landscape. Sometimes I wish I could have lived there then.

7--Are you a plotter (follow an outline) or a pantster (write by the seat of your pants)?

I am a plotter by nature, but my pantster qualities come out at times. I will spend weeks researching and plotting my novels, but my plotting only provides a road map to take me from the beginning of the story to the end. As I write, the characters take over. The challenge is to help them follow the map of the plot!

8--What is an ideal writing day for you? 

My best writing days start around ten o’clock, after I’ve walked the dogs, done the daily household chores, answered emails and spent some time on social media. I spend an hour or so taking care of any marketing tasks, like writing blog posts, updating my website, or working on my newsletter. Then I eat an early lunch, and by noon I’m back at my computer and opening my work-in-progress. I try to spend at least three hours a day either writing new words, plotting, or revising and editing.

9--Do you listen to music while you write, need total silence, or do you have the TV on?

I often find a song that becomes the theme music for the book I’m working on (the theme song for “Softly Blows the Bugle” was “Going Home” from the movie Gods and Generals). So, I listen to that while I’m preparing to work. But once I settle in to build my word count, I listen to Mozart. It keeps me focused.

10-- How do you approach research? 

Research is my favorite part of writing historicals. I start with a general look at the time period, then I find books that focus in on the people or the time, their occupations, daily lives, etc. While I’m writing I will often come across a detail I need to learn more about, so I’ll go to YouTube to find a video on the subject. I’ve learned about everything from harness making to cooking over an open fire to driving a spring wagon.

11--What is your publishing journey story? 

I started writing for publication almost ten years ago, in the fall of 2010. My younger children were nearing the end of their homeschooling years and I started pursuing my dream of being an author. My first book, The Prodigal Son Returns, was published in 2013 by Love Inspired. Softly Blows the Bugle is my thirteenth book.

12--Do you have critique partners/writing groups you want to give a shout-out to? 

The ladies of Seekerville are my “writing peeps” and also my greatest encouragers. The blog exists to encourage writers and readers. Our first love is helping aspiring authors on their road to publication.

13--What are the most frustrating things about being an author? 

Time. There is never enough of it! I tend to get lost in my story world when I write, and before I know it the afternoon is gone and it’s time for somebody (me!) to fix supper.

14--What’s your favorite scent?

That’s a hard one. Chocolate. Cinnamon. New books. Sun-baked pine needles.

15--What movie will you watch no matter what if it’s on TV?

“It’s a Wonderful Life.” I watch it at least once during every Christmas season. 

16--Do you like breakfast, lunch, or dinner best?

Breakfast is my favorite. I like so many different breakfast foods, from fried eggs to smoothies. It’s different every day. 

17--What’s one thing you wish you knew more about? 

Music. I love to play the piano, but I quit taking lessons when I was too young to know better.

18--What’s the silliest thing you’ve recently done?

Adopted two puppies within six months of each other. Jack is a corgi and Sam is a border collie, both herding breeds and both high energy, but so much fun. It’s how we stay young!

19--What can readers expect from you next? 

With no deadlines pending, I’m taking the time to work on a few different projects. I have some contemporary Amish stories that I’m working on, and a romance series set on a ranch in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I’m also working on a cozy mystery series, and that has been a lot of fun. Readers will need to stay tuned through my website or social media to see what’s coming next.

20--How can readers reach you?

My website is www.JanDrexler.com. I also have a newsletter that readers can subscribe to through the link on my website.

On Facebook, I’m at https://www.facebook.com/JanDrexlerAuthor

And readers can also follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6583749.Jan_Drexler

and Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jan-drexler.

I’m also part of two group blogs, with fresh content several times a week.

You’ll find me blogging on Seekerville on the third Monday of every month: https://seekerville.blogspot.com/

and at the Yankee Belle Café every Monday:

https://yankeebellecafe.blogspot.com/

SOFTLY BLOWS THE BUGLE by Jan Drexler

Softly Blows the Bugle

When Elizabeth Kaufman received the news of her husband's death at the Battle of Vicksburg in 1863, she felt only relief. She determined that she would never be at the mercy of any man again, even if it meant she would never have a family of her own. Then Aaron Zook comes home with her brother when the war ends two years later.

Despite the severity of his injuries, Aaron resolves to move West and leave the pain of the past behind him. He never imagined that the Amish way of life his grandfather had rejected long ago would be so enticing. That, and a certain widow he can't get out of his mind.

Yet, even in a simple community, life has a way of getting complicated. Aaron soon finds that while he may have left the battlefield behind, there is another fight he must win--the one for the heart of the woman he loves.
Welcome back to the Amish community at Weaver's Creek, where the bonds of family and faith bind up the brokenhearted.

Amish [Revell, On Sale: October 20, 2020, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780800729332 / eISBN: 9780800739232]

About Jan Drexler

Jan Drexler

Jan Drexler brings a unique understanding of Amish traditions and beliefs to her writing. Her ancestors were among the first Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1700s, and their experiences are the inspiration for her stories. Jan lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband of thirty-five years, where she enjoys hiking in the Hills and spending time with their expanding family.

Journey to Pleasant Prairie | The Amish of Weaver's Creek

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