Please welcome JoAnna Grace, author of Divine Judgment.
Kim Mullican: Welcome JoAnna. Tell us why you enjoy writing romance.
JoAnna: Hey Kim! Thanks so much for having me! Why romance? Why not? Love is the one thing most of us search for from childhood. I tell people all the time that I’m a total sap. I adore a good love story, be it films or books or real life. One of my favorite things to ask people is how they met their special someone. I get some of the best stories- and a few weird ones.
Kim Mullican: Do you write in any subgenre?
JOANNA: My main concentration is paranormal but I have published a sweet contemporary called The Roles We Play. I have a couple different contemporary series in the works. My daughters are begging me to write a children’s book so they can show it off to their friends. (They can’t do that with my current works!) One of the greatest things about indie publishing is the abundance of options. I don’t have to fit a mold.
KM: What is the heat level (if any) of your books?
JOANNA: My writing style tends to be sexy, but not erotic. I like my readers to blush a bit! Ryse and Dante, the heroes of Divine Judgment, are definitely sigh-worthy. It’s a double romance book because both men are seeking their women in different ways.
KM: Tell us about you. Do you have any passions other than writing?
JOANNA: I love to sing. It takes a healthy amount of alcohol to get me to sing in public, but crank up the radio, pop open a wine bottle and you might just get lucky;) I love to go camping. I get renewed traveling and being outdoors, riding ATVs, jet skis, and the occasional hunting trip.
Kim Mullican: Could you tell us the most interesting/different childhood experience that you had?
JOANNA: I feel like I should be on the couch for this question. “Well, doctor…” My childhood was full of imaginary friends. Even as a kid I made up stories about talking animals, unicorns, and hidden passages in castles. I’ve always lived in the country and one of my favorite things to do was to play in the clover patches. They would get so tall that my brothers and I could make paths and “rooms” through the pastures of clover. It was pretty cool. Just proves I’ve always nurtured fantasies in my head.
Kim Mullican: You had a very interesting relative/person who strongly influenced you? Who was that and why was he/she so important?
JOANNA: I don’t believe in chance encounters. I’m a big believer that there is purpose in all things- good or bad. So while I can’t say that one specific person has influenced me, I can say that I’ve been abundantly blessed with both positive and negative influences. I look for lessons in every friendship, in every conversation, and in every experience. There are people who have pinged by bat-crap-crazy-ometer and I keep my distance! Then there are those who are fountains of wisdom and truth and these are the people who I surround myself with. I find inspiration everywhere I can.
(And I have a slight problem with authority, so if you tell me I can’t do something, I will try to prove you wrong!)
Kim Mullican: I know that you have very unique hobby. Please tell us about it.
JOANNA: There’s a possibility I was an architect in another life. I love to design houses and buildings. My favorite part of being a real estate agent was getting to see the design and structure of the houses I showed. I could spend hours looking at floor plans, interior design pictures on Pinterest, and sketching out the homes of my characters. I’m big about having the homes of my characters match their personalities. Yes, I realize this puts me into a whole new level of nerd…but I’m cool with that.
Kim Mullican: There was a place from your past that you’ll always remember. How do the memories of it influence your life/writing?
JOANNA: Lake Catherine near Hot Springs. We used to take trips up there all the time and that place holds precious memories for me. Not only that, but it’s beautiful. It’s the setting of one of my novels, a contemporary that is waiting for my attention.
Are most of your works available or do you have what a drawer or closet of “not quite there” work? Do you think any of those old projects will see the light of day?
JOANNA: I wasted a lot of time in my twenties trying to find a “more sensible and stable career”, as my mom put it. But I always wrote. I would come home from my j.o.b.s (it really is a four letter word) and to relax and unwind, I’d write. So I have years and years worth of novels that will all eventually be polished and published. Last time I did inventory I have over thirty novels at various stages. Some are completed and waiting their turn, some are five page outlines of books that will one day get my full attention. So, yeah, I’m in this for the long haul!
Kim Mullican: What is your writing “system” like, and how has it evolved over the course of your career?
JOANNA: My writing style consists of grand chaos. LOL. Usually my mornings consist of brainless tasks like cleaning house and Facebook because I’m SO not a morning person. As soon as I put my toddler down for naptime, it’s balls-to-the-walls work! I have a treadmill desk so I can walk and write at the same time. My afternoons are usually kid/husband-centric so I pick back up writing after bedtime.
I’m a very visual person, so I like to have pictures of my characters, their homes, their vehicles, various settings or other important props. These pictures are usually in front of me while I write. There’s usually a scent associated with my stories. Avery’s scent was from body wash I fell in love with. So when I get stumped writing her, I often showered and sniffed the body wash until my brain kicks it. It’s weird, but it works and I always smell spectacular. I also have a 4’X6’ dry-erase board in my office so that I can visualize timelines, and plotting points. Color-coded sticky notes and colored pens are my friends.
I usually plot as I go, because if I have too much structure before I write, the characters feel stifled. I made the mistake of trying to plot every single scene of Divine Judgment before I wrote it and it took me a long time to realize that system kills my creativity. Now, my characters get a starting point and an ending point. Everything else in between is organic and dictated by the characters. In other words, I listen to the voices in my head.
Kim Mullican: Do you have beta readers in your family or circle of friends, or do you trust your own instincts before you publish your works?
JOANNA: I have four betas, they get to see my hot mess drafts. One is my mother, one is my best friend, one is an avid reader and fan, and one is a grammatical Nazi. All of these people can be brutally honest with me (and have been). I know that if they say something sucks or something works, it’s because they want the story to be a success. I trust them explicitly. Other writers make great critique partners; I have a couple. But I’ve learned to be careful about listening to people who would change my story lines because that’s not how they would write it. To which I reply, “Of course it’s not, that’s what makes it mine!”
Kim Mullican: Do you think of yourself as a particular type of writer and how do you think that influences the decisions you make about your stories/novels?
JOANNA: I’m a very character centered writer. Most of my novels start with a person and I build the world around them. It makes me watch people more. I love to figure out why people do things and react certain ways. I did theatre for a short time and I use some of my acting skills to get inside my character’s heads and become them while I write. It’s easy for me to tap into their emotions.
Kim Mullican: What is your most recent book/story release? And could you tell us about it? (please don’t give away the ending J)
JOANNA: Divine Judgment is the third installment of The Divine Chronicles and it’s the tale of two heroes. Ryse, our main hero, is on a mission to recover Avery’s spirit and be reunited with her again. He departs from his home on Earth, and goes to the gods in the Heavens. Along with the other leaders of the Olympian race, he gets the opportunity to see the gods and interact with them. He also gets to see their wrath. It’s eye opening for him.
Dante, our secondary hero, remains in the Haven on Earth and is watching over Avery’s body. The gods send down the Oracle Lysandra to assist him. Lysandra is over a thousand years old and has to adjust to being around men and modern technology. Their story is one of forbidden attraction and kind flirtations. (My heart aches just thinking about it, so sweet!)
Kim Mullican: What led you to tell this particular story? (try to explain how you related to a character or place—again, don’t give away your ending).
JOANNA: The previous book! LOL. Divine Destiny ends on a heck of a cliffhanger and I think my readers would have strung me up and beat me like a rug had I not given them more of Ryse and Avery. I could write about them all day. Ryse makes me giddy! Dante and Lysandra’s story was a surprise to me, honestly. I had a lot of the characters competing for page time in Divine Judgment but those two spoke the loudest. I didn’t intend on Dante stepping up like he did, but that’s one thing I love about allowing myself to be a conduit for the characters. If I listen, they will speak. I’m very pleased with their story. I adore them. And they’re going to be instrumental players in the next installment.
Kim Mullican: Which part of your story was the most difficult to write? Why?
JOANNA: Oh, that’s easy- the execution. I wrote a lot of scenes in various points of view and seeing things from Charles’s or Dyna’s perspective was so hard because I’m a parent and a wife. Dealing with their struggles often brought tears to my eyes. There’s one scene where Dyna is speaking about being a widow and examining my own fears of such a fate was difficult. I hope that deep emotion is conveyed to the reader because it broke my heart to go there mentally.
Kim Mullican: If one of your works made it all the way to Hollywood, what kind of a monster would be in the film? And which actor or actress would you have battling it.
JOANNA: The gods and demons would be fuuuun to cast and create! I’m thinking a combo of the creatures from Spawn meets Thor…Ah, Chris Hemsworth as Dante…Oh! Sorry, got lost in that fantasy. Holy smokes, that’s hot!(wipes drool)
Kim Mullican: If you had an unlimited advertising budget, how would you “get the word out” about your latest release?
JOANNA: Ryse, Dante, Hayden, Brenden and Yankee shirtless on billboards all over the world. It might cause a few wrecks, possibly a pile up or two, but it would totally get your attention. Better than the ads for Magic Mike! Yes, I’m thinking shirtless Thracians…this could be huge.
Kim Mullican: If any one of the monsters/places/characters could come to life/be real in our world right now, which one would you choose and why?
JOANNA: Ryse, Dante, Hayden, Brenden and Yankee shirtless…Wait, this sounds familiar… No, I really love, love, love masculine, strong, slightly dangerous men with a hidden chivalrous side. Thracians coming to life would be swoon-worthy. I could handle battling demons if I had Thracians to depend on.
Kim Mullican: Though we have every expectation that you will live well past 125 years, when you finally find rest, what would you like your tombstone/obituary to say?
JOANNA: Tombstone: “If you can read this, you’re standing on my boobs.”
Kim Mullican: If your next birthday party were going to have a theme based on one of your books, what would it be.
JOANNA: Olympians! Come dressed as your favorite Greek god, Thracian or Divine heroine! If I were skinny, I’d totally rock the outfit Avery wears to the execution. “Hello, my name is sexy, set you on fire goddess…”
Kim Mullican: If you were to be stuck on an island, which character from one of your books would you want to have with you? Why?
JOANNA: Ryse…sweet baby Jesus…please let it be Ryse. I could find nirvana on an island with a man who wields the powers of the gods in every way. Clothing optional. (wink wink)
Thanks for hosting me today Kim! It’s been a blast. Now that I have a few new dreams implanted in my head, I think I’ll go take a cold shower.
The Divine Chronicles
Genre: Paranormal romance
ISBN: 978-1-940460-11-6, ASIN: B00N5UAN72
Number of pages: 271
Word Count: 85500
Cover Artist: jleeann.com
One warrior fights for the love of his life, while another warrior finds his.
The gods have summoned…
Thracian Master, Ryse Castille, and Deities around the world travel to the Heavens and face their creators. It’s time for a murderer to come to justice and Ryse will have a front row seat at the trial. The Heavens have a few unexpected surprises for him; he prays one of them will be a reunion with his beloved Avery’s spirit. He’ll stop at nothing to bring her home safely and see his father’s killer brought to justice—if the gods don’t destroy the Olympian race first. Their fate rests on his shoulders.
While the Master is away…
Elite Apprentice, Dante, has a monumental responsibility in Ryse’s absence. He must watch over the widowed queen and Avery’s comatose body until her spirit is returned. In the wake of the king’s death, the gods send Lysandra, an Oracle, to earth to guide them through the troubling times. Weighed down by the constant disapproval of his father, Dante finds solace in her admiring eyes. Their unexpected affections are cultivated amidst the secrecy and constant threat of exposure. Both Oracle and Elite are bound by their oaths—the very things that might wrench them apart.
Two Warriors. Two Quests. One Final Judgment.
JoAnna Grace lives in a world of alpha males and strong females where true love conquers all—at least in her mind!
From the time she started holding a crayon she began to create magical worlds. Her first book was a series of pictures about a puppy princess. The story changed each time she told it, but there was always a happy ending! Her first written story was about girls who changed into tigers.
Now those stories have become a bit more complex!
JoAnna’s tales are spun at her home in East Texas where she lives with her husband, three kids, and a couple dogs. When not hiding behind the computer screen you can find her camping, boating, and shopping.
Sign up for her newsletter to receive information about new releases, events, and giveaways! www.authorjoannagrace.com
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