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Let's Meet Harlequin Intrigue Author Joanna Wayne and a Giveaway!

Today we have the honor of welcoming Harlequin Intrigue Author, the wonderful Joanna Wayne.
 Hello Joanna, it's great to have you here!
Thanks. I’m delighted to be here. I love connecting with readers and aspiring writers.
 I started with some easy questions...

On Writing and Reading…
So, when did you start to write and how long did it take you to be published?
My first book, Deep in the Bayou, an Intrigue was published in 1994. At the time I had been attending a writing group and writing for approximately three years. It was actually the second book I had finished, though I had started several more. That was a prime learning period and I had a lot to learn.
I bet all that juggling of jobs, relationships and commitments gives you plenty of fodder for your books. What sparks your creativity?
I guess you’d have to say life sparks my creativity since I get my ideas from almost everything I do, everywhere I go, everyone I know and everything I see. I never know when it will hit, but I can just be listening to a news broadcast or sitting in a coffee shop, and I’ll see, read or overhear something that triggers a story idea. Of course, they don’t usually come full blown. Once I get the idea, I let it simmer in my mind until I’m ready to develop it.
What do you love most about being a writer?
I love working in my pajamas on cold, rainy days. I love seeing my books on the shelves. I love interacting with writer friends. But most of all, I love telling my stories and knowing that I’m connecting with a reader somewhere.
What do you like least about being a writer?
Deadlines. Sometimes I’d really like to spend more time on a particular book, but I realize that publishing is a business and they need the manuscripts on time.
Writing INTRIGUES must be different? And you’re playing with Cowboys here! Do you have a favorite locale or setting for your novels? What is it and why is it your favorite?
My cowboy books are reader favorites and since I live in Texas, I set most of my westerns in the Lone Star State. It’s good because I know the setting so well and the research grants me lots of opportunities to make short trips around our beautiful state.
I also love books set in southern Louisiana or in any small town in the south. I was born in Shreveport, Louisiana and lived for several years in New Orleans.
Which of the books you have written is your favorite?
Deep in the Bayou, which is the first book I ever sold will always have a special place in my heart. But my absolute favorite book to write was Alligator Moon. I loved the story, the settings and the characters. Hopefully, it will be released again sometime soon as I still get lots of requests for it and even second-hand copies are difficult to find.
What is your favorite recent title by another author?
Books I’ve particularly enjoyed lately are The Help, Water for Elephants, and World Without End.
What are your five all-time favorite books (with authors)?
This is really difficult as what I like at any time depends on my mood and what’s going on in my life at that particular time. But I’ll give this a try.
Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett (I love everything by Follett)
Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris.
The Thorn Birds – Colleen McCullough
Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby – Scott Fitzgerald
I love a million others as well.

What one specific piece of advice would you give a would-be writer trying to kick-start a career?
Take your writing seriously and allot a specific time for writing. If it’s the last thing you make time for, you will never finish a book.
And All About her...
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I always loved to read and frequently said that one day I wanted to write, but I’m not sure I actually believed that I would. I didn’t start writing until my children were in college.

Besides writing, what other talent would you most like to have?
I’d love to be able to sing. I can’t carry a tune, so good that I didn’t try to make a living at that.
Who is someone you admire and why?
I don’t have any one particular person in mind, but I admire our troops for the bravery they demonstrate and the sacrifices they make.
Do you have a good luck charm or superstition?
Not really. I’m very optimistic and just try to do what I think is right. So far, life has been great for me and my blessings are too numerous to count. I have a wonderful, loving husband, great children, and terrific grandkids. All currently healthy. I can’t ask for more.
What quality do you most admire in a man?
Loyalty. Loyal to his significant other, his family, and his own convictions. 
What is the one thing you've always wanted to do, but never had the courage to try?
Fly and airplane. I still may do that one day. And just maybe I’ll skydive, too.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
Before I was a writer, I was a teacher, an educational administrator and an educational diagnostician, in that order. So I’d likely do something in the educational field.
What quote or personal saying do you live by? Who said it?
I have many. One that I love is: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away.” As far as I know that’s anonymous.

I would love to. 
Right now I have a series out titled The Sons of Troy Ledger. The premise of the story is that Troy Ledger, a young, struggling Texas rancher, went to jail eighteen years ago for the brutal murder of his wife. As the series opens, Troy has just been released from prison on a technicality. His five sons were all under the age of thirteen when their mother was killed and were scattered among their late mother’s family members. They were indoctrinated in the belief that their father was guilty. Each of the five books focuses on one of the sons and his return the Willow Creek Ranch. Each book has its own romance and mystery, all related to the past and all leading Troy Ledger closer to finding the real killer of a wife he loved with all his heart.
AK COWBOY is the March release. It is the third book in the series, but you can read it without having read the others. Tyler Ledger, the youngest of the Ledger sons is the hero of this book. He’s a soldier, home from Afghanistan on leave when he decides to visit the old family ranch. He has his own tormenting secrets of the past to deal with and is pretty sure the old way of life holds nothing for him. But before the reaches the gate to the ranch, he runs into Julie Gillispie and the fun, romance and excitement are off and running. Sexual tension and suspense run high in this fast—paced story of old murders, bitter memories and a love that is too strong to be denied.
Troy Ledger was unsure of Julie Gillispie’s motives for being at his family’s Texas ranch as he was of the reception he’d receive when he came face-to-face with his estranged father. Still, he agreed to help the enticing reporter solve a murder if she agreed to stay out of trouble. Julie was on a mission, and she wasn’t going to be sidetracked by romantic entanglements—even if Tyler was proving more irresistible by the minute. But with his leave of absence over soon, the soldier’s time in Texas was coming to an end…and Julie’s world with it, if they didn’t find the killer before she became the next victim.

To finish up, do you have any advice/handy tips/craft skills you'd like to share with unpublished authors?
One of the most difficult things about writing for Intrigue is that the romance and suspense must both be an integral part of the story. As one builds, so must the other and every escalation leads the reader closer to the climax of danger and love.
For example, AK COWBOY opens in Julie Gillispies’s point of view. As you can see in the following short excerpt, Julie already senses she could be in danger.

Julie Gillispie checked her rearview mirror. There was no sign of the black car that she’d feared might be following her when she’d pulled onto this two-lane blacktop road a few miles back. The driver of the other car must have turned off on one of the dirt roads. Probably just a rancher rushing home to his cattle.
            Paranoia was a bitch.
            But New Orleans was behind her now and she was off and running on a new case, icy cold, but one that she was dead set on solving.
As you can see, suspense is introduced in the opening paragraph.
And when we meet Tyler, we also get a glimpse into problems waiting for him and also into his personality.
            Smooth but damp surface. Enough curves to keep it interesting. And no land mines or snipers ready to sabotage him around the next turn. Roads in the Texas Hill Country were definitely a welcome change from the mountainous Taliban-infected area of Afghanistan Tyler had left three days ago.
            That didn’t, however, eliminate the chance that he was about to encounter a fiery explosion just miles ahead. Tyler was on the verge of crashing head-on with his volatile past.
Notice that we hit the ground running as far as suspense is concerned. In spite of this, there must be some fireworks when the hero and heroine meet.  Julie is run off the road by a driver in a pickup truck concentrating, as she was, on the lavish bluebonnets growing on the edge of the roadway. Her car breaks through a fence and she sees a few longhorn cattle heading her way. She jumps up on the hood of her car and jerks off her belt to use it like a whip to try to frighten away what she believes are dangerous bulls.  Another excerpt follows.
            Tyler burst into laughter in spite of his mood and slowed to enjoy the view as he pulled onto the shoulder. He came to a stop a few feet from a ditched car and the hottest, whip-cracking hood ornament he’d ever seen.
            Now he was talking vacation.
From this point on, each new development brings Julie closer to coming face-to-face with the killer and increases the sexual tension between Tyler and Julie while the situation keeps them apart.
There are not two stores, one of suspense and one of romance, but rather one story that couldn’t exist without the other.
I’ve listed below just a few of the entanglements that carry the story while creating tension.

  1. Julie is on her way to see Troy Ledger when she meets Tyler. She is investigating a murder that took place in a neighboring county just months before Tyler’s mother was murdered. Tyler immediately assumes she’s trying to pin that murder on his father. Even she knows that there is that possibility—if he’s guilty.
  2. Julie’s receives a threat telling her to get out of town and keep her nose out of the cold case.
  3. Troy Ledger invites Julie to stay at the ranch.
  4. Tyler thinks she should leave, but feels duty bound to protect her when she doesn’t.
  5. Tyler learns that Julie has lied about her status as an investigative reporter.
  6. As they spend time together, the attraction grows even though Julie’s investigation is causing additional tension between Troy and his father.
  7. A warning is left on Julie’s car that proves the killer is still around and targeting Julie.
  8. Tyler’s leave time is growing short. He’s angry with Julie that she’s putting her life in danger for a case that has been unsolved for so many years.
  9. As the danger draws imminent, Tyler and Julie are unable to fight the attraction. They make love even though they know the romance has nowhere to go.
As you can see, everything that happens has an effect on the mystery and the romance right up to the climax.
Hope this helps all you aspiring writers out there working hard to get published.
Thank you, Joanna, for this tips to adding sexual, emotional and suspensful tension to our writing.
I’ve learnt that you use to teach CREATIVE WRITING CLASSES, so please tell us all aspiring writers, what type of classes you used to take and where?
I don’t have any writing classes scheduled at the present time, but I have taught on-line classes for various organizations.  Before moving to Texas, I taught creative writing classes at the University of New Orleans Metropolitan College. Many of my students went on to be published, which makes me very proud.

Thanks for sharing your insights about writing and some fun facts about your life, Joanna, it's been enlightening having you here.
Thank you for having me here! 
There are cool contests going on at Joanna Wayne’s website every month. So what are you all waiting for? Hop on to her website and fill out the contest form.  And she loves hearing from readers so you can always email her. And you can also connect with her on her Facebook Page.
And Friends, Joanna has decided to do a hot cowboy BOOK GIVEAWAY! to one lucky commenter, who after commenting here drop in on Joanna Wayne Facebook Page and posts on her wall!  How simple is that?


  1. Great interview! Pajamas. Rainy days. Loyalty. Skydiving. All things I love. Well, skydiving is something on my wish list.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  2. Loved the interview, Joanna! I have all the books in the SONS series and am really enjoying them. Now, if only I can finish up enough of my own work to read the March release today.... :)

  3. Thank you, Nas, for another fabulous and interesting interview. I really admire writers who can plot intrigue and mystery. I'm at the 'well life is story enough' stage LOL! However - there's a newly discovered horror voice in me! Great interview.

  4. Hello!

    @The Word Crafter, Skydiving is also one of the thinks on my list to do things as well as Bunjee Jumping!

    @Jana DeLeon, the Sons Of Troy Ledger is a fantastic series. I love the fact that although it's a series but all these hot cowboy books can be read as stand alone as well!

    @Margo, come-on girl, take advantage of the tips these successful multi-published authors so kindly share with us! Joanna's lesson in How To Add Tension is fantastic!

  5. And The Word Crafter, Jana DeLeon, and Margo, please make sure you drop in on Joanna's Facebook page(link above)to post on her wall for a chance to win one of her hot cowboy book!

  6. Great interview Nas. Good to meet you Joanna. You like a lot of the same books as I. Your writing routine sounds very organised which I guess it has to be at your level. I loved the sound of your books esp the one out of print.


  7. Hi Denise,

    Welcome and thanks for checking out Joanna's interview! Glad you liked reading about her.

  8. Really enjoyed this interview. I have found another new author to add to my reading pile.

  9. Hi Regina,

    You'll never forget Joanna Wayne again if you just read one of her Intrigue book!

  10. Hi Nas!
    Thanks for bringing us such interesting interviews! (And for my book cover on your side bar!!!)

    Hi Joanna!
    Great interveiw! Thanks for the tips. For me, I roll out of bed at 7:15 a.m., put my daughter on the bus and am at the computer by 7:45. I stay in my P.J.s writing until 12:30 p.m. My editor is located in England so 12:30 my time is quitting time by her. Then I get in the shower. When I'm on deadline I work late into the night, too. I've always loved the flexibility of working from home!

  11. Hello Wendy,

    Your debut M&B Medical release "When One Night Isn't Enough" sounds like a super hot read!

    And it seems you enoy your schedule, okay, I'm officially jealous of yours and Joanna Wayne's writing schedules!

  12. Loved the interview. Can't wait to read her books. Thanks for introducing me to her books. :)

  13. Hi Robyn,

    Great that you loved Joanna Wayne's interview!

    Friends, do drop by Joanna's FB page. Her Author page is in need of some love!

    You do have to drop in on Joanna Wayne Facebook Page and post on her wall for this giveaway!

    If you're not on FB, please tell us in the comments!

  14. Great job again, Nas! Your interviews are so thorough and professional. Do you have a background in journalism?

    Thanks for the tips and examples of the racheting up of suspense in AK-Cowboy, Joanna. It's so helpful to be able to link theory and practice.

  15. Great interview, and thanks for the tips! I write historical romance, not suspense, but I think the tips for building suspense are useful for any story!

  16. Hi LP,

    Thanks for your lovely comment. No, not journalism but I do have a degree in Management/Marketing.

    Hello Deniz, I think also learning to build tension works for any story. Thanks for coming by.

  17. Another great interview! Thanks Nas!

  18. It has been interesting to read about Joanna's life and writing journey. Though I'd love to write full time, I often wonder if I have the discipline to get all my projects on schedule every time.

  19. Wonderful interview! Thanks for the writing tips and examples, Joanna!

  20. Great interview. And the book sounds great. Thanks Joanna!


  21. Excellent interview. I admire loyalty in men too. My current WIP features a protagonist who is loyal.
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium, Special .99 through April 30

  22. Hi Nas!
    Don't be jealous of our schedules. I've worked from home for years, way before I'd even thought about writing a book. And I can tell you this, your work is always sitting there, waiting for you. Morning. Noon. Night. So many times I think: I could play monopoly with my family, but I really should be writing. If American Idol's not on I think: There's nothing on TV I want to watch. I really should be writing. When I'm on the computer blogging or tweeting I think: I really should be writing.

    It never goes away...unless of course I actually write and finish the darn book and/or revisions. Which I should probably get back to!

  23. Hi Wendy, In a way it's a good thing that we can work from home and care for the family at the same time. And do the housework...get distracted...on..and on...LOL!

    @Nancy, hi, and thanks for checking out Joanna's interview. Loyalty in men is priceless. Can we really, really find a man who is 100% loyal?

    @Christi, Hello! And welcome!

    @Rula, Hi, thanks for coming by!

    @JL Campbell, Hello, I've heard of writers who have deadlines for two or more different projects around the same time! Whew! I also ask myself, can we ever manage it like that?

    @Lacey Hi, Welcome my friend!

  24. So good to hear from all of you. I have no idea what's going on with my Facebook page, but we can choose a book winner from those who leave comments on this blog. I have Fridy deadline, so I'll have to check on Facebook after this book is finished.

    Yes, working from home is great, except that Wenty said, there's no getting away from it. And it's really hard to keep to a writing schedule when you have all the distractions of home. Still, I'd hate to give up my home office.

    Thinking about tension, I have to say that the first thing you have to do is develop characters your readers care about. If they don't care what happens to the characters, then nothing in the plot can maintain the suspense.

  25. Great interview! I agree with Joanna about working in pajamas :D And I agree with her about Ken Follett. PILLARS was one of my favorite books, and I recently saw the whole series on Netflix. It was amazing to see a favorite book on the screen.

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Hi Joanna,

    You are very warmly welcomed here! We all enjoy learning from published authors such as you.

    For some reason your FB page wall is not accepting comments. Only one person managed to post so far. But good, that you clarified that the winner can be from this group. And all the best with your deadline.

    @Julie, Hello,

    I also came across some books which were turned into movies, Nicholas Sparks, A Walk To Remember, recently a Miley Cyrus, The Last Song, The Notebook, but you need tissues throughout! The one I enjoyed was Jeffery Deavers book and the movie had Angelina Jolie and Denzel Washington.

  28. Great interview, Nas and Joanna :) Ooh, Ken Follett, yes! I loved Jackdaws and Eye of the Needle. I also love your title, Alligator Moon. How wonderfully evocative.

  29. Great interview Nas!

    Joanna, I must say I'm already hooked. The series sounds enticing! I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for these books!

  30. Hello Serenity and Donna!

    Thanks for coming by! All the best in the giveaway!

    Friends, M&B Intrigues- if a hero is a cowboy- it doesn't mean it's a western type book, with guns blazing and call to duels!

    No, it is a romantic story amid thrill and danger where the hero happens to ba a hardworking but hot and sexy cowboy!

  31. You had me at cowboy! And I love how most writers still adore GONE WITH THE WIND as a fave book. Lovely interview!

  32. Great interview! It was fun getting to know more about Joanna. Can't wait to read some of her books :)

  33. Wow, great interview. I love the selection of fav books

  34. Really great interview...Thank you for introducing me to a new author....

  35. Hello friends,

    @Liz Fichera, Thanks for your lovely comment. I hope you like Joanna's Intrigue cowboys!

    @Michelle Merrill, thanks for coming by and checking out HM&B Intrigue Author Joanna Wayne's interview. You'll definitely enjoy her books!

    @Lynda, She does have a great selection of her favourite books, doesn't she?

    @Savannah, you welcome, I hope you check out some of Joanna's books and enjoy!

  36. Hey, Nas!
    A degree in management/marketing. I can so totally see that side of you. You're everywhere sharing links, helping us techno-idiots, promoting, networking. Thank you for sharing your expertise!

  37. Hello Wendy!

    Now you reached the root, and dug out my secret!

  38. Nice to meet you Joanna! I'm also a huge fan of The Thorn Birds. I think I've read it twenty times!

    Good luck on your career (actually, looks like you don't need much luck--it's going so well!)

  39. Hi Lydia,

    Thanks for coming in and checking out Joanna's interview!

  40. Great interview, ladies!

    There is nothing better than working in your PJs on a cold rainy day!

  41. Hi Talli,

    Agreed, working from home has it's advantages but there are disadvantages as well, such as distractions in the form of family and life in general!

  42. Now the time has come to announce the winner of this giveaway! Joanna contacted me to let you know that picked out the name of ...drum roll.....


    Congratulations Robyn!

    Send me an email with your address.

  43. Woo-hoo! *happy dance* Thanks ladies. (^_^)