Please welcome one of my online friends, Joanna Waugh!
Widowed in her late forties, Joanna Waugh retired from her job installing electric meters to read and write Regency romance full-time. (Unlike the heroines she writes about, Joanna’s choices weren't limited to governess or street walker when it came to keeping a roof over her family's head!) She lives a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan and the Indiana dunes. Her debut novel, BLIND FORTUNE, released in trade paperback from Cerridwen Press in February.
Joanna and I had a chance to sit down with a cup of cyber-coffee recently and talk about things. Help yourself to a cup, put up your feet and join us. As always when I have a guest, my words will be in bold, Joanna will be speaking italics today!
Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Emily. And congratulations on the recent release of Vexing the Viscount. I love the tagline – “you only vex the one you love.” My kind of book!
My pleasure, Joanna and thanks for your kind words about my VISCOUNT. Like my heroine Daisy, I loved vexing my viscount hero. Tell me, what do you love most about your hero?
I’m a fan of stories that start out with the main characters disliking each other, then wind up falling in love. I adore a flawed hero redeemed in the end by his love for the heroine. In the opening of BLIND FORTUNE, Lord Granville is rude and arrogant. The fellow nods off on the couch during a morning call on his prospective bride, for heaven’s sake! Not the behavior of a proper Regency gentleman. Neither is Granville’s response very gentlemanly when Lady Fortuna says she intends to do everything in her power to prevent him from marrying her young cousin. Despite her blindness, Fortuna sees the marquess for what he really is—self-serving and emotionless. As for Granville, he’s never been challenged so directly by a woman before! He thinks Lady Fortuna is a termagant in need of a lesson. But the real lesson is for him—and it’s about love.
Writers come from so many different backgrounds and I have to admit, you are the first I've ever met who installed electric meters! I so admire people who are clever with their hands. Who inspired you to start writing?
As a youngster, I loved biographies of early Americans--George Washington, Louisa May Alcott, Stephen Decatur. But it was Disney’s Swamp Fox television series that prodding me into writing historical romance. I taught myself to type so I could pen my first book, The British Are Coming! It was about an American girl falling in love with a British soldier during the Revolutionary War. Unfortunately, I never finished it. Right in the middle, I got sidetracked by the Beatles.
I don’t know what ever happened to that book. When my folks moved, it probably was tossed into the trash along with the rest of the flotsam and jetsam.
One short story from that time did survive, however. During my Beatles craze I had a British pen pal. We corresponded all through high school, then lost track of one another in our early twenties. A few years ago, Roger found me on the Internet and we started emailing. Back when we used to correspond by snail mail, I’d written a short story for him. Turns out, he’d kept it all these years! I was thrilled when he emailed me a scanned copy. It was fascinating to discover glimpses of the adult writer I would become in the wordy prose of my teenage self.
What fun! Reminds me of the time I cast myself and 3 of my girlfriends in a MONKEES episode. (Wasn't Davy Jones just the cutest thing?) That was probably my first novella, actually, scrawled on a yellow legal pad. Think I was all of 9. Back to adult fiction. What was the hardest part of Blind Fortune to write?
As the title suggests Lady Fortuna is sightless, which meant I couldn’t use visual cues in her point of view. Not an easy thing to do; it was so darned easy to slip up. Thank heaven for my crit group! They would catch me out every time.
Looking back, I see now that BLIND FORTUNE was another milestone along the road of my evolution as a writer. And not just because it’s my first published book, which certainly is important! BLIND FORTUNE taught me to think about every word I put to paper.
Fascinating and an interesting exercise in using your other senses. Just for fun, what's your favorite place/thing/person in the world?
I love to walk the Lake Michigan shore as the sun sets over the Chicago skyline to the west. I was born and have lived my whole life within the shadow of the Indiana dunes. I’ve always felt tied to the lake by an invisible umbilical cord. When I spend too much time away, it tugs me back.
As for my favorite person…Without a doubt it has to be my late husband, Gary. He was a great storyteller in his own right. No doubt due to those excellent Waugh genes, which my son also inherited. I loved Gary’s sense of humor. At a party once, he and a friend got into a “joke off.” They traded themed stories back and forth--one of them would tell a joke about a dog and the other would counter--until they exhausted each other’s repertoire. Then they started another topic. We poor spectators laughed until the tears ran down our cheeks.
When Gary lost his eyesight to diabetes, he could have turned bitter. No one would have blamed him. Instead, he worked hard to make others comfortable in his company. And he succeeded. When people met Gary, they often were shocked to learn he couldn’t see. BLIND FORTUNE is a testament to his intrepid spirit.
And a beautiful testament, too. Thanks so much for sharing him with us.
I understand you're going to the Romantic Times Convention this year, as I am. Tell me, do you do the whole fairy thing? If so, describe your costume.
(laughing) No fairy costume for me! If I was to dress up, it would have to be as a fairy godmother. I will be attending the fairy ball, however. Last year was my first Romantic Times Convention and I had a fantastic time! I met loads of wonderful people and hope to meet many more next week. And to encourage folks to introduce themselves, I’m holding a contest just for RT attendees.
Drop by my table at the book signing on Saturday, April 25th and register to win a set of custom-made jewelry. No book purchase is necessary. The winner will be notified by email on Monday, April 27th. To see a photo of the jewelry, go to http://www.joannawaugh.com/Reviews___Promo.html
Sounds like a great way to make some new friends, Joanna! Here's a blurb of BLIND FORTUNE.
When what a lady hears isn’t always the truth, she must learn to see with her heart and trust the rest to…
by Joanna Waugh
They say love is blind, but Lady Fortuna Morley doesn’t believe it. Sightless since birth, she can think of only one reason a gentleman would wed her—for the dowry and three thousand pounds a year her father will provide. She’s in London the spring of 1814 to help launch her younger cousin into society, but prefers living quietly in country with her music. The last thing Fortuna wishes is to cross swords with the arrogant Marquess of Granville.
Charles Lowden, Lord Granville, has decided to take a wife. The bride he’s chosen is thirteen years his junior, but meets all criteria. What he won’t abide is interference from the girl’s impertinent cousin, the outspoken and opinionated Lady Fortuna Morley. The woman is determined to thwart the match. Charles is just as determined to charm Fortuna out of her disdain for him.
What neither expects in this battle of wills is to fall in love.
Here are some other ways to connect with Joanna on the web:
Read excerpts from BLIND FORTUNE, on my website
Purchase the book at:
Be sure to friend me on Myspace
Follow my blog about British customs and traditions at www.joannawaugh.blogspot.com
And last but not least, join my yahoo group
And for my blog readers, Joanna has a special treat!
Leave a comment today and your name goes into a hat for an autographed copy of BLIND FORTUNE. I’ll post the winner tomorrow in the comments section of this article. Be sure to check back!
Thanks again for having me, Emily! See you all at RT!
Thank you, Joanna. I look forward to seeing you in Orlando next week. Well, you heard the woman. Leave a comment or question for a chance to win! Enjoy!
I love the fact that Blind Fortune is a testament to Joanna Waugh's late husband & his intrepid spirit, that's just beautiful. Sounds like a book I'd enjoy reading!
Emily I loved the Monkees as a teen, that brought back memories LOL.
Joanna! I will most certainly stop by and visit you at RT! How exciting for you to have your debut book out! I had tears in my eyes reading your interview with Emily :), your story is very inspiring to many others out there!
Are you working on any new projects at this time? And are they also going to be Historicals?
Thanks! And as always, Hi Emily!!
Hi Joanna, I love the "sound" of your prose. The quality of the language helps transports me to the Regency. I think it's important that a historical sound historical.
Diana/Emily, I doubt you remember me, but we met at the NEC-RWA conference last month. I'm one of your gushing fans!
Hi Teddyree! Thanks for stopping by. I too laughed when Emily mentioned the Monkeys. I used to watch their show!
I look forward to meeting you at RT, Jane! It should be a lot of fun. I'm currently at work on a Regency paranormal and I have no intention of abandoning historicals--ever. I might move to the Edwardian period at some point in the future but, for now, I'm emersed in the Regency.
Welcome Linda! Thanks for your kind words. Your praise is especially appreciated since I'm a fan of your own writing. I thoroughly enjoyed Lady of the Stars. Thanks for stopping by.
Hmm. I meant immersed, the opposite of emersed. Don't you just love language???
Hi Joanna, I love the interview and the blurb on Blind Fortune. It sounds like a great read. Sometimes one can see clearer with the heart than with the eyes. Best, Tamsyn
What a great interview, Emily!! I was a Monkees fanatic when I was little, and yes, Davy Jones was so dreamy! :)
Joanna, I am so anxious now to get my hands on a copy of Blind Fortune! What an amazing challenge it must have been to write a POV without the use of sight! I've no doubt this will be a wonderful read!
Your story is inspiring and tear-inducing, for sure! Thank you for sharing your journey with us!
This book looks facinating to me, and I am dying to get my hands on a copy...I am always looking for books in the historical romance section that read outside of the "norm", so many times I find myself halfway through a book, and think, geez, this book is so similar to the last 3 I read! LOL
I can tell THIS book will have that "special something" that will set it apart from other books in it's genre! I aplaud you!!! :)
Thanks, Tamsyn. I absolutely agree. I'm a firm believer in following your heart.
Hi Jerrica! We recently met on Facebook. It's great you dropped by. Congratulations on the publication of The Perfect Kiss at Second Wind Publishing. It's always a pleasure to meet a fellow Regency author.
Hi Peggy! You're right -- BLIND FORTUNE is out of the norm. Enough so that my agent, Roberta Brown, wasn't able to sell it to NY. Editors flat out told her readers wouldn't be interested in a blind heroine. Not unless Lady Fortuna regained her sight before the end of the book. So I submitted it to Cerridwen Press and they snapped it up.
The book has received wonderful reviews (check own the "Reviews & Promo" page on my website)so I guess I did something right!
It isn't available yet at Barnes & Noble but Amazon.com has it for 22% off the cover price. But you never know. You might win a copy today! Your name, along with everyone else, is going into the hat.
Thanks for the interview and wow, Blind Fortune really sounds like a great and interestingly different read! And I'm kind of glad for the heroine that hot men can usually be distinguished by smell...
Thanks, Joanna, and may you have great sales!
Sounds like a fascinating read. I'll be sure to look for it at RT on Saturday... I will be helping promote a friends book, but will find your table!
You'd be a Fairy Godmother? So sweet...I'm going as the Fairy Dogmother...
Hi Nynke! Yes, every good romance writers knows all the senses must be engaged. Poor Lady Fortuna, though. I can imagine how inured she must have become to the wondrous smells of the Regency.
I look forward to meeting you at RT, 2nd Chance! Be sure to stop by and register for my jewelry giveaway. It's a one-of-a-kind necklace, bracelet and earrings a friend of mine made. I'll have the set on display at my signing table.
My husband and his family use to live in Chicago (Crete, Hammond) before they all migrated down to Ohio to give me a migraine *cheeky grin*
To read about your late husband did bring tears in my eyes, and love how you sort of immortalized his spirit in your novel!
Great interview. I've had Blind Fortune on my to be bought and read list.
My best friend and I wrote a book while in high school. My character was Simon LeBon from Duran Duran and hers was Rick Springfield. I have no clue what happened to it. We went through four sprial notebooks.
I also loved the Monkee's. In fact, in the late 80's, I saw them in concert. They were great.
Well, Joanna, you're having quite a party here! Thanks for holding down the fort while I was writing this morning.
Teddy--As a kid, I decorated my room in Early Davy Jones!
Jane--I agree. Joanna's DH must have been a special fellow and her past has undoubtedly given BLIND FORTUNE the ring of truth.
Linda--Of course, I remember you! I never forget a fan, gushing or not!
Tamsyn--Thanks for stopping by!
Jerrica--Don't you think part of Davy's charm was that he was only 5'2"? Barely taller than we were!
Peggy--I'm always on the lookout for characters on the edge of the human experience, like Joanna's heroine. I'm also looking forward to Jennifer Ashley's THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE because her hero has Asperger's Syndrome in a time when they had no idea what to name it.
Nynke--So true! Hot guys do smell good. I hate to let my DH leave the house in the morning smelling of soap and fresh aftershave.
Maureen--I can't wait to see you as the Fairy Dogmother (for dyslexic heroines, no doubt!)I have yet to figure out how to pack wings for RT.
Raonaid--I'd love to know how to pronounce your name!
Daun Ann--Fan lit has been around a while, hasn't it? What fun!
Raonaid -- your folks lived in my neck of the woods! Hammond is only 30 miles away and Crete is about 40. Small world, ain't it?
Yeah, Gary deserved to be immortalized. I know I'll never forget him! I had lunch yesterday with a friend who lost her husband last year. We both agreed there was no sense looking for replacements since we already had the best!
Oops. Just realized I misspelled the Monkees in my previous post. Sorry 'bout that. Freudian slip? It used to be a bone of contention among Monkee fans -- the spelling.
I like you and your friend's choice of heroes Daun Ann -- LeBon (I LOVE Duran Duran!) and Rick Springfield. I approve! In junior high, I co-authored some stories about Rocky and Bullwinkle with a friend. Forgot all about it until you mentioned coauthoring. Wish I had those stories now as well. I remember how much fun we had writing Boris and Natasia!
Hi Emily! No problem holding down the fort. We're having a great time today!
Criminey! It's Boris and Natasha, not Natasia. I can't speel worth a hoot today.
Enjoyed reading the comments.
I am always looking for new authors to read. This book sounds so good that I have added it to my TBR list.
Sweet idea for a book, Joanna! I'll definitely pick up a copy, and a love supporting fellow Hoosier authors :-) Maybe I can get a chance to meet you next year at RT. Didn't have enough cash to go this year. :-)
I just love the books where there is nothing that works for the hero and heroine from the beginning, except that attraction they can't deny. This one sounds great! Joanna, you have a way with words that transports a person to the Regency era. Thanks for all the great writing!
I am an avid romance reader, easily reading 4+ novels a week, and could read a novel in about 3-4 hours easily, if not for housework, hubby, and my 5 kiddies LOL
Shame on the publishers in NY!!! I LOVE your heroine! I had actually thought of a novel w/ a blind hero, but alas, I cannot seem to put all my ideas onto paper!
Sometimes I go a while w/out reading or switch genres simply because of the repetitive nature of romance novels, even though they are my favorite!::shrug::
I have a few book ideas and can even word scenes, but I can never actually find a starting place "on paper", do have any suggestions, Joanna or Emily?? It would be most appreciated! :)
Anywho, wether i win or not, I'll be seriously trying to get that book...I have an amazon account for my book addiction! Heh
Sandy! Nice of you to stop by! How's the weather in Indy? It's cold and overcast here. This time last year I was mowing grass. I think I mentioned before I'll be at Lori Foster's weekend near Cincinnati in June. You should come if you can! I'd love to meet you.
Jeanette -- it's great to hear from you. Thanks for the compliment about my Regency voice.
Peggy -- the best advice I ever got about where and how to start a novel is this -- begin where everything changes for the hero and heroine. BLIND FORTUNE opens at the moment Lady Fortuna and Lord Granville meet. Right away his arrogant lordship insults her and Fortuna makes up her mind he's not the husband for her cousin. The rest of the story is about bringing these opposite poles together for a happily-ever-after.
Thanks, Joanna...I will take that advice and see if I can get something actually written on paper! LOL ;D
Ok, that's embarrassing. I mispelled two of my guests names, so I decided to start over.
Joye--Thanks for popping by!
Sandra--Did you hear that RT will be in Ohio next year? Maybe that will be close enough for you.
Nettiekay--Being transported. That's exactly what I look for in a book, too.
Peggy--Nora Roberts always says she can fix a bad page, but she can't fix a blank one. I echo Joanna's advice. Start writing and sort it out later.
Ooooo! I didn't know RT will be in Ohio next year, Emily. I wasn't planning to go but I may have to rethink that if it's within driving distance. Might have to strong arm some of the ladies in my writing group.
Congratulations Joanna on getting your first novel published.
Joanna your story is truly inspiring.
I loved the excerpt of Blind Fortune, it sounds like a wonderful Regency read. I saw that you mentioned working on a Regency Paranormal, that is awesome. Do you have future release date for it?
I hope you have a great time at RT :)!
Hi Kate! Hi Pam! Thanks for stopping by.
I'm still working on the Regency paranormal. Roberta Brown has been shopping it around NY but everything there is in such an upheaval, what with all the cutbacks. Yet according to the news, romance book sales are up. So we're hopeful.
Your having to be careful not to have your blind character "see" reminds me of a mistake in a book I once read. The author had the heroine dressed in pajamas and a gown at the same time and on the same page! I emailed the author about the fact and she said that nobody had caught that mistake when editing...obviously. But it was good for a laugh.
Gosh, I wish I could go the the convention! Not possible, though.
You are so right, Gladys. Even with professionals, sometimes mistakes still make it through the editing process. I'm forever doing word searches in my manuscripts to make sure I have the right eye and hair color, etc...
Too bad you can't make it to RT, LuAnn. It's going to be a great time! But thanks for dropping by my interview today.
I want to remind everyone to check back tomorrow to learn who won the autographed copy of BLIND FORTUNE.
So many people have read this and said it was great! Online reviews are overwhelmingly positive and I'm excited to read it! :)
(rachie2004 AT YAHOO.com)
My favourite thing about "BLIND fortune" is your use of music as a connection between the heroine and hero, AND making it believable thta they both were more than competent players. Thank you for that! It is so great to find something like that in a book I was going to be reading anyway, it's the "hot fudge on the white chocolate-raspberry swirl ice cream" feeling!!
Although I am dying of curiousity: HOW did you get into installing electric meters in the first place?!?
Anyway, thanks for the chance to win your book!
Emily - Raonaid is pronounced Reun-eetch. It's scots gaelic for "Rachel" my birth name. It's sort of like my art, writing, artsy and internet alias name.
I found it when I was a teen and browsing through a How to speak gaelic book. I copied the name, never bothered to see it's pronouncation. Then later I I found the pronunciation. It's been with me ever since.
Joanna! Awesome! Before the in laws moved down to Ohio, the hubs and I use to go up in your neck of the woods to visit. I got to see Lake Michigan. It was awesome but I was content in my slow pace area.
When my husband started losing his sight, I knew I had to become the breadwinner in the family. I'd already been working as a clerk for the local gas and electric utility company. When a five-year apprenticeship as an electric meter installer came up for bid, I asked Gary if he thought I could do it. He told me to go for it! Not only did I have to learn electrical theory, they had to train me how to use a screw driver! In addition, right in the middle I got pregnant with my son. Eventually, however, I became the first woman at the company to ever qualify as a journey electric meter. installer.
Congratulations RachieG! You are the winner of the autographed copy of BLIND FORTUNE! I'll be contacting you via email about mailing instructions.
I want to thank everyone for stopping by yesterday and talking with me. I had a great time! Thanks again for inviting me, Emily!!!
Thanks for visiting, Joanna! I'm fascinated by your story BLIND FORTUNE.
And thank you to everyone for dropping by. If you're going to RT, I hope we get a chance to connect. If you're not, maybe we'll get together next year!
Hugs all around!
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