Every author is important, but I admit that I always feel “extra blessed” to help support Christian fiction authors and share their work.
Maybe that’s because of my “roots” in Christian fiction and it having a huge impact on me in high school or just because it’s a wonderful genre that leaves me thankful that there are stories that openly point to Christ. Or maybe it’s both.
Either way, I am so blessed to be chatting with author Joanna Alonzo! Her novel, The One Who Rocked Away, releases today and excited to celebrate it by chatting with her!
Come join in! <3
About the Book
If she loses herself loving him, is it love at all?
Growing up with Nolan, Serene had witnessed the rise and fall of his faith. When his talent shot them both to fame, Serene’s love for him made her stay. However, as he drifted further from the faith and pulled her along with him, Serene had to ask herself if he was worth losing it all. “Love others as you love yourself.” Could she truly love Nolan if she didn’t know who she was anymore?
He gained it all to lose it all, so he can find his way back to love.
Nolan Stone was born for the stage. Judged and rejected by the church, the only reason he had to keep the faith was Serene. When she abandoned him, his faith went with her. When circumstances intertwined their lives back together, was he using God to get to her? Or was God using her to get to him?
– Hi Joanna! I’m SO excited to be chatting with you! For those who don’t know you, can you share three words to describe yourself?
I still can’t quite believe that this is happening. As an introvert, interviews make me blush so hard, but thank you so much for this chat! Hmm… Three words. I’d like to say “Authentic. Brave. Creative.” because that’s what I aspire to be, but I’d go with 1. Broken. 2. Beloved 3. Beautiful – I think those three words in order summarizes my past, my present, and my future.
– Aww! I feel like what you want to aspire to be IS you too, sweet friend! You are a beautiful person inside and out. <3 I know you have been living in Israel, and I can’t imagine how amazing of an experience that is! What has it been like living there? Have you had any story ideas inspired by you living there?
It’s crazy! If you want conflict and tension — necessary to move a plot forward — Israel has it by the bucketloads. It’s a life-changing experience to get to live here for almost two years already. I know it’s not something a lot of people experience, so I’m grateful to God that He allowed me to experience it. After having lived as a “watchman on the walls of Jerusalem”, I definitely can see my experiences here finding its way into my stories, so yes! Israel has definitely been an abundant source of inspiration. (Trivia: I actually considered writing a modern-day retelling of Aladdin with a Jewish and Arab romance, but realized I wasn’t ready for that kind of controversy — nor do I fully understand the complexities of the conflict to go there!)
– Yes, I could only imagine! Makes me so happy for you and a little in shock that you’ve been there two years! 😮 On your website, you mention you love a good conversation. That made me happy because I do too! 🙂 What’s a special conversation you had recently?
Gah! I love our chats! I do! Always a pleasure to converse with like-minded friends whose heart beats for nations. Hmm… Special conversation. I had a meaningful one recently about the role of Christian therapists in helping Christians through trauma in a way that glorifies God. My faith walk has brought me to a place where God has been revealing sources of trauma in my life and how to deal with that. I’ve started seeing a Christian therapist lately, and it has given me so much hope that I’m on the road to not only healing, but wholeness in Christ. Is that an overshare? I’m not a great fan of small talk. If you want to have a conversation with me, we have to go heart-level deep, mind-engaging high, soul-exploring long, or spirit-stirring wide.
– Amen! Soooo thankful for you! And I LOVE that! Definitely not an overshare and thankful for you sharing! So so so excited for you and the road you’re on (even though I know it can be hard)! Speaking of conversations, I know I recently had a special one with you about a powerful scene in your latest release, The One Who Rocked Away. 😉 Happy Release Day! 🙂 I am super pumped this story is in the world! Did or do you have any special release day plans?
I have to stop blushing at some point. (laughs) Uhm, honestly? No? The book’s release is on February 20, 2020. I picked it because it’s 2.20.2020, and I’ve had a fascination for repeating numbers lately, but I actually have zero idea what I’m going to do on that day. Other than try not to throw up out of sheer panic. With so much of my hopes and dreams involved in every book, it’s always scary-exciting to put a new book out there. Not sure I’ll ever get used to it.
– Many hugs! I am so blessed this story is out in the word as Serene and Nolan’s story is very compelling! I found them both to be relatable (and as I shared with you in our special conversation, I cried LOL). Since a large part of the story revolves around music, I was curious as to how large a role music plays in your life. Do you sing? Do you play an instrument?
I’ve been told that I have a good singing voice enough to actually believe it. Not a professional by any means (nor will I ever be), but music plays a huge role in my relationship with God and even how I got to know Him better as a teenager. I could still remember how CCM impacted my life as a high schooler listening to DC Talk, Point of Grace, Avalon, Krystal Meyers, etc. I know how to play guitar and keyboard enough to be able to worship God in my personal prayer times and not have to sing acapella. I’m also going to start to learn playing the harp tomorrow!
– I totally remember reading their magazine years ago and reading articles about those singers/bands! Wow! I haven’t listened to Krystal Meyers in years! Brings good memories back! Eeeepp! You are learning how to play the harp?! SO cool! I’ve heard on numerous occasions that most authors can’t choose a favorite, BUT I wonder who you would want to hang out with for a day. Who’s the lucky character to hang out with? What would you guys do?
Yikes! Hanging out with Nolan and Serene would give me so much anxiety! They’re too artistically talented, I wouldn’t know what to say to them. I’ll just stare and gawk. Serene will probably try to get me out of my shell though. Not sure if she’ll succeed. I can definitely see myself hanging out with Nova though. Nolan’s older sister. We would go to a coffee shop and write and if we hit a block, we’ll talk about everything and anything.
– Aww! I think you guys could have a lot of fun if you did! Though I could understand this! <3 For my last question, what’s next in this series? Will we see any cameos of Serene and Nolan at all?
The One Who Rocked Away is book 1 of The Prodigal Ones Collection. Book 2 is The One Who Danced Away, and it follows the story of Max and Jenna as they — like Nolan and Serene — navigate life, faith, and love and find their way back home to the Father. Yes! Nolan and Serene will definitely make appearances. The lives of the characters in the four books in the collection are far too intertwined for them not to show up!
– YES! Much excitement over here! I know I already preordered The One Who Danced Away! Thanks so much for chatting with me, Joanna!
Thank me? Thank YOU! It was such a pleasure.
About the Author
Joanna Alonzo is a walking paradox. She is a beautiful, albeit messy, mixture of thought and emotion, expressed in the form of hopefully readable – and relatable – stories. She is a kingdom kid, who looks forward to being a writer and storyteller even when she reaches heaven. She is passionate about the unreached, about those who have yet to know the Love she found in the arms of the Almighty. She is intrigued by the world and its people, who day by day, continue to convince her that God is the greatest Storyteller of all.