Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Interview with Patricia Harman - Author of Once a Midwife and #Giveaway

About the Book

Welcome back to Hope River in New York Times bestselling author Patricia Harman’s newest novel as midwife Patience Hester, along with her family and friends, face the challenges of the home front during World War II.

The women of Hope River trust midwife Patience Hester, whose skill in delivering babies is known for miles around. But though the Great Depression is behind them, troubles are not, for Europe is at war…and it can only be a matter of time before the U.S. enters the fray.

And while some are eager to join the fight, Patience’s husband, Daniel, is not. Daniel is a patriot—but he saw too much bloodshed during the First World War, and has vowed never to take up arms again.

His stance leaves Patience and their four children vulnerable—to the neighbors who might judge them, and to the government, who imprison Daniel for his beliefs.

Patience must support their family and fight for her husband’s release despite her own misgivings. And with need greater than ever, she must also keep her practice running during this tumultuous time…relying on generous friends, like Bitsy, who has returned to Hope River, stalwart neighbors, and her own indomitable strength to see them all through.

The Interview

How did you get started in midwifery? What drew you to that line of work?

I always felt that having a baby was more of a natural event than a medical event.  I wanted to have my babies naturally and after I had my first one I began teaching childbirth classes.  This was back in the commune days, (for more about that read my memoir,  Arms Wide Open: A Midwife’s Journey ).  As a Lamaze teacher, I made a final home visit to one of my couples one March.  During the evening, a snow storm came up and we couldn’t get home.  Around midnight, the woman went in to labor and I had to deliver the baby. It was so beautiful and peaceful that I was hooked and soon became the person to call if you wanted a homebirth.  (a few years later I went back to school and became a nurse-midwife with a masters degree so that I could be of help to more people) 

What about your experience as a midwife led you to write about midwives? 

The first book I wrote,  The Blue Cotton Gown, a midwife’s memoir , was about my patients and the stories they told me in the privacy of the exam room.  It was also about my personal life and what it was like working with my OB/Gyn husband, Tom.   I wrote the book to honor the courage of the ordinary woman, but it turned out to also be an honest look at a midwife’s life.  After that, I knew I had a niche.  People are interested in midwives and they are great protagonists, brave, strong, gentle and kind. 

Can you tell us a little about the setting of your books? Why focus on Appalachia?   

I have lived in West Virginia for almost forty years.  The people and the mountains are the backdrop of my life.  Before we came here, I lived many other places, (California, Oregon, Washington, Connecticut, Minnesota, Ohio) and I could set my stories there, but I write what is familiar to me.  (We do have a cottage on an island in the Ontario waters of Lake Erie, though, and one of my contemporary novels is set on a similar fictional island in Canada,  The Runaway Midwife .)  

Readers have seen Patience, in  The Hope River Series , go through so much. Is this latest book the end of her story or is there more on the way?  

I’m working on another book about Patience and her African-American midwife partner, Bitsy, as we speak.  This new book, is set in 1956, just before the Civil Rights Movement started in the U.S.A.   

How has becoming a bestselling author influenced your writing journey? 

When I started writing, I did it just for fun and to be creative.  When my books became popular and I began getting letters from fans telling me how much they meant to them I knew I was reaching people in a meaningful way and felt I had a mission to teach about community, loving one another, accepting diversity, and not losing hope.  The best review I ever got was only a few sentences.  It said, “I loved your book. It made me laugh. It made me cry.  I was inspired.”  How great is that?  

Besides your connection as midwife, do you and Patience share any other qualities?  

I tried to make Patience different from me.  She is small, with wire rim glasses and long dark hair.  I’m tall, lots older and have short silver hair, but basically she reacts as I react.  She hates injustice.  Wants peace.  Loves flowers and babies and will defend with her life her children or any vulnerable person. 

What has been the most surprising thing in your transition from midwife to author?

The writing part of being an author is creative and fun.  I didn’t know when I started that part of being an author, a necessary part, is promoting your books.  I love talking to people and writing blogs is fun, but traveling takes a lot of time and then I don’t get to write as much.  

A lot of people say having a book is like having a baby. As a midwife, mother, and author, how do you relate to that saying?

I have thought that exact thing many times.  Writing a book, for me, is a 2 year pregnancy.  Then at the end it’s like transition in labor.  You just WANT IT TO BE OVER and you grunt it out.  YAY!  Only guess what?  Your work is not over.  You now have to take care of the book, diaper it…feed it…burp it…and love it.  

PATRICIA HARMAN has spent over 30 years caring for women as a midwife, first as a lay-midwife, delivering babies in cabins and on communal farms in West Virginia, and later as a nurse-midwife on the faculty of Ohio State University, Case Western Reserve University, and West Virginia University. She lives near Morgantown, West Virginia, has three sons, and is the author of two acclaimed memoirs. Her first novel, “The Midwife of Hope River,” was successful around the world. “Once a Midwife” is the fourth book in the Hope River Series. For more information, please visit www.patriciaharman.com 

The Giveaway 

One lucky winner is going to receive a copy of Once a Midwife. To enter, just fill in the Giveaway Tools form below. This giveaway will end on  11/8/2018  Open to the US only. The winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to reply. Thanks again to the sponsor for offering this fantastic prize.


  1. I would like to read this because it sounds really good!

  2. I love books about another time in history