Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Author Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Jake Smith, Part 2

Interview with Jake smith, Part 2

After reading Wish, there was so much I wanted to ask - hence a two-part interview with Jake Smith. Be sure to read Part 1 of this interview if you haven't already, and leave a comment on both posts for a double entry in the drawing. Now back to Jake . . .

Q:  What are three "fun" or "unique" things about you?

        Oh, wow… My greatest sports accomplishment was in high school when, as a freshman shortstop, I was part of the team that won the state championship and my brother, a senior, played second base. We grew up turning double-plays in the front yard with ground balls our dad would throw us; and to actually play at the varsity level with him, turn double-plays, and then win a state championship was pretty special.
        Both my wife and I have two degrees each in wildlife sciences, and we spend a lot of time outdoors hunting and fishing — my thesis project for my undergraduate degree involved putting radio telemetry collars on sharp-tailed grouse and then following them around in the middle of the night (as in, 2 a.m. – 4 a.m.). That’s when I heard my first wolf howl (this was in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula). We even worked a prescribed burn on a jack pine forest that year, and I remember standing next to a 30-40-foot high jack pine tree and watching it go up in flames in about five seconds; the heat wave almost blasted me over.
        And finally, I can’t raise one eyebrow. Seems everyone else in my family can. It drives me crazy.

Q:  What are some novels/novelists that you enjoy reading in your spare time?

Spare time? With three kids? Ha! Seriously, when I do get a chance to read, I actually like reading some of the great young adult adventure stories available to kids right now, or, more accurately, talking to my children about what they are reading. Right now, I’m reading some excellent nonfiction accounts as research for the second novel I’d like to write. But for enjoyment, anything from Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit) to Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games) to Dan Walsh (The Discovery) to Garth Stein (The Art of Racing in the Rain). Actually, Stein and I share an agent in Jeff Kleinman.

Q:  How would you encourage someone not interested in sports or who feels your story would be depressing to give Wish a try?

First, although Wish does involve baseball, it’s not really about baseball. Even my agent doesn’t like baseball! But he felt drawn to it because the family aspect spoke very powerfully to him. And I won’t kid you — it can be difficult to read. But the unfortunate reality is that so many families are dealing with something difficult such as cancer or other diseases… but they’re not just dealing with the difficulties. They’re also dealing with the hopes and dreams and wishes of all families. And hopes and dreams and wishes are always filled with a lot of inspiration, encouragement, and moments that make your heart soar.

Q:  What feedback or responses to your novel have touched you the most?

        Two things. I gave a talk recently at a bookstore in Michigan, and it was done in partnership with doctors from a nearby children’s hospital. They brought along one of their parent advocates, someone who had dealt with cancer in his young son (and successfully, too). He “welcomed me to the extended family” of those who have dealt with pediatric cancer. That was a tremendous honor.
        And then, I have both received letters and saw in reviews in places such as Amazon in which someone said they closed the cover on the book and joined the National Marrow Donor Registry at because of the story. That was always the ultimate goal of the book, to write a story that would motivate people to join the registry and maybe save someone’s life. That’s been a pretty significant “wow” moment for me.

Q:  What words of hope or encouragement would you give to parents of a child diagnosed with a serious illness?

Wow, that’s really a difficult question, as parents who have to fight alongside their child against a serious illness are some of the strongest people I know. I suppose I would tell them, very simply, that they are not in that fight alone.

Q:  After such a powerful debut novel, I have to ask what ideas for future novels you might have planned.

I’m working on developing one that, hopefully, is equally inspiring, family-centric, emotional, and — as Tyndale House likes to call Wish — “fiction with a mission.”

Q:  How can we support, encourage, and pray for you, Jake?

The greatest encouragement would be to spread the word about Wish because, as is already happening, it just might motivate someone to join the bone marrow registry. So many people are in need of a bone marrow match, and if we can keep the conversation about Wish going, recommending the book to friends, etc., maybe, just maybe, it will wind up with someone who is encouraged to make a difference and will, in fact, be called to be that life-saving match for someone.

Readers can also keep in touch with me via Twitter, Facebook, and Website/Blog.



To enter the drawing for Wish, simply answer the following question and leave your e-mail in a safe format. If you're willing, it's also helpful to share about this giveaway on Facebook.

Question + E-mail:
Do you enjoy sports - either as a participant or just watching a favorite team?

Please "like" my Facebook page, ThePowerofWordsBookReviews, if you haven't already. And new followers of this blog are always welcome!

  • E-mail required, one entry per person. Odds of winning are based on number of entries.
  • Contest ends at midnight on Sunday, July 13. No purchase necessary.Winner will be chosen by and contacted by e-mail by Tuesday, July 15. Respond within 48 hours of notification or another winner will be chosen.Eligibility: US and Canadian addresses, 18 and older


  1. No, I'm not a sports enthusiast - I had numerous freak accidents when playing sports while in school leaving me with no desire for them afterwards, although I was on a volleyball team briefly. I was totally immersed as a spectator when my youngest son was involved in every sports imaginable during his school years, but now seldom watch sports other than figure skating and some events of the olympics. That being said - I would love to read "Wish" because of the family aspect, having had cancer twice - I can relate to it in some aspects, and because I enjoy reading emotional books.


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    1. Bonnie, we have even more in common, because I love to watch figure skating! No sports ability or desire here, though.

      With your past experience with cancer, you will definitely enjoy and be moved by this book.

  2. I actually wanted to play volleyball in high school, but did not get the opportunity because we lived in the country and my Dad worked two jobs and so there was no one who could come and pick me up after practice - Mom was making supper and Dad was wanting supper before he started his second job. I did like tetherball, although there were no sports teams for that - but I enjoyed that and it was good exercise!

    I prefer to watch sports when there is someone I know playing, but if it is a hockey game - I love to watch it whether I know anyone or not.

    I think this book sounds great! There are a lot of people dealing with difficult issues - my father was diagnosed with lung cancer 1.5 years ago and we are still dealing with new tumors popping up. My mother is starting to show signs of Alzheimer's and so between the two issues it does have quite an impact on those closest to them and can be very difficult to deal with.

    Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of this book Carole and for the interview with Jake about his book!

    Blessings to you and Jake,


    1. Other than watching figure skating, the only sport I've ever been interested in was Ga. Tech football - and that's probably because when I was growing up, my dad was given tickets to Tech home games because of his job with the Dept. of Transportation. But my daughter is a missionary in Germany and has encouraged me to watch the World Cup, which I've loved. Sure hope Germany wins on Sunday!

      Like Bonnie, you have personal experience that will make this book even more meaningful for you. Thanks for your encouragement, Lori.

  3. Soccer is my sport of choice to watch. As far as enjoying sports.... well thats another story, but I did play on a volley ball team in high school for a year and also with my church. That would be my favorite one to play. Baseball is way to sloooowwww for my taste. My grandson loves it though. Glad you dont have to be a fan to read the book :-)

    As always, I am following your blog in all places possible.

    God bless you, Carole, and Jake as he continues to write fiction with a mission! Those are the best kind! The ones even though maybe hard to read - relate to reality!

    amylsmith at bledsoe dot net

    1. Amy, you are so funny - and such a sweetheart! I have no talent for sports and only took PhysEd in high school as long as it was required. I am an enthusiastic fan of figure skating, however!

      Interesting that you mentioned soccer. As I told Lori above, my missionary daughter in Germany has strongly urged me to keep up with Germany in the World Cup, and I've actually enjoyed it. Especially looking at the team members and their coach. LOL!

      I enjoy the entertainment value of Christian fiction as much as anyone, but it's the books that also challenge and motivate that I especially like. You will definitely enjoy Jake's book.

  4. I am not a huge sports fan but I do have to say that my husband enjoys watching his football team so much that some of that enthusiasm is catching on! kosterbind (at) gmail (dot) com

  5. the only sports I enjoy watching are the Green Bay