Joanne is a fellow Astraea Press author and has a new release out called Mr. Shipley's Governess. This book has been published by Mustard Seed Marketing.
Sophie Baird is looking for a way to escape the painful reality of her parents' deaths. Unable to live in their home any longer, she takes a job as a live-in tutor to Anastasia Shipley to remove herself from her painful memories and the feeling that God has abandoned her. Anastasia has an illness that has prevented her from ever attending school and makes her father, Sebastian, over protective. When Sophie first meets Sebastian, she cannot deny the intense attraction she feels toward him. When an unexpected romance begins between them, she starts to rebuild her relationship with God, with the help of a certain little girl.
Joanne has answered some of my questions so here's the interview:
What is the best thing for you about being a writer?
To see my book published and out there for readers to enjoy. The best thing is when I’ve heard from a reader who truly enjoyed my book and was touched by the story.
What is the hardest thing for you about being a writer?
The hardest thing is letting go of my book once it’s completed and has gone through the editing process. I hope that it’s the best that I can do and am always thinking maybe I could’ve written it even better. Maybe I’m too much of a perfectionist and don’t know when to let go.
What genre/s do you write and what genre is your latest release?
I have three books published. One is a fictional biography, based on events that occurred during my childhood. The second one is a romantic suspense novel and my new release is an inspirational romance novel.
What essential things have you learned about writing in the last year?
That even if I’ve stopped writing for a while due to busyness at work or life pressures, once I come back to writing, I feel at home. It’s what I want to do and need to do.
Who is your favourite heroine from your books and why?
That would be Gwen from Bella Lucia. She is dealing with infertility issues and learning to trust God through her pain. She fought through with determination and found hope in her future. This was a very personal story for me to write.
Tell us three quirky or interesting things about yourself.
1) I tend to over-analyze many things.
2) My sister and I used to do puppet shows for the kid’s ministry at our church and many of our “performances” were impromptu. We liked to think of ourselves as the “wing it” girls.
3) I’m very persistent, like a dog with a bone, and have been known to stay up through the night into the early hours of the morning to write and work on edits. One time when I was on a deadline, I worked on edits from Sunday night straight through to Monday morning at 7 am. Then I went to bed and crashed and was confused about what day it was for the rest of the week.
What rituals do you use to help you focus or get the words down on the page e.g. music or a snack?
Music inspires me when I’m writing. I like to listen to instrumental music on Pandora from Jim Brickman or Kenny G…anything inspirational like that.
What book would you like to work on next?
I’m working on a romantic suspense novel next but I’ve always wanted to try my hand at writing historical romance and also fantasy. Hopefully one of these days, I’ll take up those challenges.
You can buy Mr. Shipley's Governess here: Amazon
Here's an excerpt from the book:
Sebastian’s head bobbed forward as he started nodding off to sleep in the corner of the drawing room. A noise in the hall startled him. Squinting and rubbing his eyes, he heard Sophie enter the room and slide open the drapes on the French doors. She kept the lights off and as he became more alert, he understood why. The glow of the moonlight shone into the room. It was a breathtaking site, even for him. Remaining hidden, he wanted to determine what restlessness brought her downstairs at midnight. She shut the door to the room and then sat at the piano. Her fingers moved skillfully over the keys. Her melancholy song filled the room and it seemed to match the mood of the pale moonlight and surreal feel of the room. Sebastian felt guilty for intruding on Sophie’s intense performance, yet her private agony intrigued him.
His heart constricted for a moment with memories of his wife, Katherine, and the sweet melodies she used to play. She had hardly ever played any melancholy songs. Sebastian listened to Sophie and the sad strains of music engulfed the room. He sensed her pain, as if she put her whole broken heart into the song. Leaning his head back, he closed his eyes and relaxed his body. As Sophie continued playing he started to drift off to sleep again. His arm slid down the side of the divan, knocking a book off the table to the right. The noise brought him out of his light sleep and obviously startled Sophie. She stopped playing.
He stood up. “Don’t worry. It’s me, Sebastian.”
Sebastian heard the mixture of anxiety and surprise in her voice. He figured she feared his reaction to her intrusion on Katherine’s piano. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“How long were you in here?”
“Since before you came in.”
“Why didn’t you make yourself known?”
Sebastian hesitated answering. She made a good point. It was rude of him not to make his presence known to her. For selfish reasons, he’d remained quiet. “I don’t know. I guess I wanted to stay and hear you play.”
“I know we’ve already talked about this, but are you sure you’re not angry with me for playing the piano?”
“No. I’ve missed hearing the music.” He made his way across the room toward the piano. “Though, if I can be honest, your songs are very melancholic. Do you ever play happy songs?”
She tilted her head back. “I do. I’ve been teaching Anastasia happier songs. I…”
Sebastian touched her arm and grinned. “Lighten up, Sophie. I’m teasing.”
“Understood.” She quickly moved her arm away. He wished she wasn’t so skittish around him. “Maybe we should go to bed now.” As soon as the words escaped, Sophie’s eyes opened wide and her hand covered her mouth. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean, you know, I meant separately. Okay, insert foot in mouth.” Obviously embarrassed, she started walking away.
“Actually sounds like a good idea.” Trying to keep a straight face, he watched her spin around with a stunned expression. He held her gaze a moment longer than necessary than burst into laughter. “I’m kidding and only trying to make you feel better.”
“Oh. I honestly didn’t mean anything by that comment.”
She bid him good night and hurried out of the room. Sebastian watched her flee in a flurry of silken robe and nightgown and couldn’t keep himself from smiling. His mind flitted back to Sophie’s reaction to his touch. The split second contact even affected him. With a sigh, he turned back to the piano and ran his hands gently over the keys, glad to see the beautiful instrument in use again. Standing there for a few moments, he finally decided he should make his way upstairs to his room for some much needed sleep—although, after their midnight encounter, he didn’t think he’d fall asleep anytime soon.