I met Joanna Waugh about a year ago when I joined a local writing group. Immediately, I was impressed with the woman and her work. As president of our group, Joanna was able to delegate tasks and keep us on track, all while helping us improve our manuscripts.
As an asthmatic child, I spent a lot of time alone, reading and fantasizing. Writing my own stories was a natural outgrowth of this situation. By junior high, I was writing romances. My first historical was about the doomed romance between an American girl and a British officer during the Revolution. In adulthood, I switched to nonfiction. Mostly political stuff. I did feature articles for specialty magazines and newspapers. Then I woke up one morning ten years ago with a full-blown novel in my head and it was back to romantic fiction.
What do you write (genre)?
I write Regency-set historical romance but I’m also interested in the Revolutionary War. Next to the late 1700 and early 1800 time period, I find the Edwardian Era most fascinating. The turn of the twentieth century was a time of great social and scientific transition. Technology was advancing rapidly, yet the social structure hadn’t changed much in a hundred years. Women were starting to demand the right to vote and seeking better treatment in a male dominated world. As a child of the sixties, I can identify with that.
How long were you writing before you sold?
Ten years. But it was three years from the time I finished BLIND FORTUNE until Cerridwen Press offered me a contract.
Tell us about your first sale, “the call” and the first book you sold?
My favorite hero and heroine are Fortuna and Charles from BLIND FORTUNE. I love Fortuna’s feisty vulnerability and Charles’s tender strength. And the way he starts out so unlikable yet redeems himself in the end.
I retired five years ago so I could write full-time. A typical day for me begins around 8AM with a pot of coffee and my email. I spend an hour going through it and updating my website Myspace, Facebook and blog pages. Then I get down to the business of writing. I generally work through until late afternoon before calling it a day.
Where do you get your ideas?
Most of them develop out of my research. As those who are familiar with my website and blog know, I love learning about the Regency period. I often run across tidbits of information that turn into ideas for a book. There are half a dozen folders on my shelf with outlines for future stories.
Do you plan out your books? Do you plot ahead of time?
Ah, the old pantster verses plotter question. I’m definitely a plotter. I have to know the whole story before I begin. The action in the middle might be a bit fuzzy, but the beginning and the end are full-blown before I start writing. And I write linearly; no jumping around. Before I can move on, the chapter I’m working on has to be clean and ready for submission.
Who are you favorite authors/favorite books?
There are so many! But I will say Mary Balogh’s Silent Melody was the impetus behind BLIND FORTUNE. Her heroine—Lady Emily—is a deaf mute. I found it fascinating the way she wrote Emmy’s point of view without auditory cues. I decided to try my hand at writing a blind heroine without visual cues.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I read, read, read! If I like an author, I buy their entire backlist. (Hoorah for the Internet!) As a result, I have a rather extensive library.
When my nose isn’t buried in a book, I get together with writer friends and attend conferences. And visit my son in Arizona. I collect Russian nesting dolls and antique nautical prints. I love to roam antique shops where I always discover something new and fascinating about life in the past.
What advice can you give aspiring writers?
DO IT NOW. Had I known how difficult the road to publication was, I would have started a lot sooner. My advice is – don’t put your writing on hold; don’t let life get in the way. And never, never, never give up! Believe in your abilities. It’s vital when those rejection letters start coming in.
Give us your first line (or a favorite line) from your current work in progress and/or a blurb?
Right now I’m working on a Regency paranormal set on the border of Scotland in 1816. Home from the war, my hero accidentally releases the 6th century spirit of a pagan king from a well in which it has been trapped for twelve hundred years. The spirit follows him home and begins wreaking havoc. The hero and heroine must overcome their differences and work together to banish it. In the process, they rediscover the love they’d lost two years before.
Where can we find you on the web (website, blog, facebook)?
Check out my resources for Regency readers and writers at
Wow. I love out of the box books and would love to win that gift card!
Great interview. Thanks Lori and Joanna for sharing.
Joanna, that’s a great story behind your sale! Good for Cerridwen for buying your book. In many cases, I see ebooks that are well written, but they’re too out of the box for print pubs to take a chance on. It’s too bad.
Joanna, I see you all over the place. I think we might belong to some of the same groups. Your premise sounds wonderful.
the cover is very cool
congrats on all the success and accloates on you r book
Joanna, your website is a goldmine! I love the pages of expressions and cant, and the links are fantastic, and numerous. 🙂 I spent way too much time there just playing – so many interesting places to go. The factoid and article pages are very cool, and I can see referring to your craft page whenever I need that perfect body language cue. It’s wonderful that you took the time to put all of that up on your website to share with other writers (and readers). I didn’t have time to get to your blog, but I will.
Loved all the excerpts especially the one where Fortuna is lying on the piano. Very sensual. Great premise, and I can’t wait to read the book.
Beautiful music, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, and I loved listening to your playlist. Growing up, I drove my family crazy with Fur Elise – I never got tired of playing it. 😀
Very enjoyable interview, Lori and Joanna. Glad I made it by today!
Hi Cindi and Edie! Thanks for stopping by.
You are absolutely right about BLIND FORTUNE being “out of the box.” Although Lady Fortuna’s blindness is a major component of the story, it’s not the whole story but rather the impetus behind the misunderstandings that occur between Fortuna and Lord Granville.
Hi Renee! Good to see you again. And Lara — I’m glad you like my website. LOL I just commented on your blog about body language cues. My blog is about British customs and holidays so it’s rather static. I have only a few posted (mostly about Christmas) but there are more on my Myspace page. I’m slowly migrating over to blogspot.
I’m glad you like the Moonlight Sonata I use as my theme music. It’s from the book. The music room love scene you read is the one that won Midnight Seductions’ 2008 Endless Romance Contest.
Thanks for stopping by ladies!
Blind Fortune has become one of my favorite books. Jo’s one of the nicest hostesses I’ve ‘met’ on the internet.
I see we definitely have something else in common when we find a new-to-me author. I, too, search until I get the backlist. Shopping on-line is awesome, isn’t it?
Look forward to the new book. Love the Scotland setting!
Thanks for stopping by, Claudia! It’s great to see you here.
Claudia’s reference to my hostessing is in regard to my Yahoo newsletter group, which I failed to mention in the interview. If you are a friend, fan or just love to read/write Regency romances, this Yahoo group is for you! Through it, I keep you informed about my upcoming releases and contests, as well as my interviews, chats and reviews. I also x-post my blog about British customs holidays, and make announcements about new items of interest I’ve added to my website.
We also discuss books and share interesting tidbits of historical information. Members can post their own book covers to the photo section of the list, and include links to their websites, blogs, etc… On Mondays, everyone is free to promote and post excerpts as long as they follow the guidelines set forth in the welcome letter.
To join, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Joanna_Waugh_Newsletter/
Joanna, I enjoyed reading your interview. Thanks for telling us about Blind Fortune and your first sale. Your current work in progress sounds very interesting. It sounds like a great premise for a book. Plus, I love paranormals set in historical settings.
I wish you tons of success in your writing career.
Joanna, Blind Fortune sounds great! Do you know if Cerridwen Press is going to allow it to be put in the Kindle store? I sure hope so! Although I did not get asthma until I was 18, I have always loved to read and now when my asthma is bad in the crazy weather we get in NC I loved curl up with some great books and read all day and Blind Fortune will be one of them for me in the future as well as Lori’s book Wild Heart. Thanks for the great interview to both of you. Janean
Hi Joanna, nice interview.
I agree with you I would have started sooner. All those years that passed by when I could have been working toward publication, lost forever.
But we can’t look back, we have to look forward.
Thanks for stopping by Raven. I look forward to Lori’s Wild at Heart as well, Janean. Can’t wait for it to come out!
Hi Linda! Is Lady of the Stars going to paperback any time soon?
With regard to Cerridwen Press books in Kindle format. At this time, they aren’t directly available but CP does provide information on how their ebooks can be converted to Kindle format. Just go to http://www.jasminejade.com/t-allaboutebooks.aspx
I want to thank everyone for stopping by today. A special thanks to Lori for asking me to blog here today. You’re the greatest Lor! And good luck with Wild Heart! I can’t wait for it to hit the book stores!!
Fascinating interview! I admire her dedication.
Great interview! Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m going to check out your website now!
If you missed the post above, the winners of the gift cards are
Email me your addresses!