Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Author Feature:Joanne Sundell



"The Parlor House Daughter is a compelling story of the Old West, and an unexpected romance, evoking the distant past while celebrating the timeless wonder of the healing power of love."

- Susan Wiggs~New York Times bestselling author





Please welcome my friend and colleague, Joanne Sundell!


Tell us about your newest release, The Parlor House Daughter.

First, I have to thank you, Tiffany, for allowing me this opportunity to blog with you today!

You are most welcome. I'm excited to have you here!:0)

My latest Five Star-Gale release is THE PARLOR HOUSE DAUGHTER. I invite you to come and HAVE FUN TODAY discussing the brave women—whether parlor house daughters or forced to walk the streets—who are our heritage here in Colorado.

As for my newest release, THE PARLOR HOUSE DAUGHTER, it’s perhaps best described in this jacket blurb:

“Bound by birth to the world of prostitution, Rebecca Rose is born in a pine shack, a crib at the end of the line in Nevada City, Colorado Territory, in the mining town’s red-light district. Bound by birth to uphold his family’s good name and sizable fortune, Morgan Larkspur is born in Denver City with a silver spoon in his mouth and iron spurs on his heels. Their lives intersect in 1880 Denver when Becca is seventeen and Morgan, twenty-five. Immediately attracted, they’ve no idea of the high price they’ll pay for this—the danger awaiting.

A child of four when “hell came calling,” Becca determines to grow up and seek her own justice for what her mother suffered. The law won’t help a whore. She’d do what she needed to stay alive, knowing she’d never live happily ever after as in fairytales, yet never ashamed of what she was. When Morgan steps inside room number eight at the Palace behind the beautiful, untried prostitute, looking for nothing more than a pleasant distraction, he unwittingly sets in motion a series of events neither could have imagined in their worst nightmare.

The Parlor House Daughter is a suspenseful, romantic page-turner, set against the backdrop of hustle and bustle, gold-and-silver-rich Denver, where fortunes change hands often and misfortune befalls many. Where the society elite hold themselves apart from the lower classes, and where the fine line between truth and lies easily crosses over.

When Becca and Morgan discover they have nothing to hold onto but the love they once shared, will it be enough to withstand the impossible choice forced upon them—a choice no one should ever have to make?”

Sounds wonderful! What are you working on now?
Writing and marketing … marketing for THE PARLOR HOUSE DAUGHTER, out this month, and for MEGGIE’S REMAINS, due out next July and … writing a Civil War series (book two a WIP potentially due out in 2010, fingers crossed here).

Ooh, Civil War stories are so heartwrenching (in a good way, of course)! Do you have a favorite heroine amongst your characters?

I don’t because each one is my favorite at the time of their writing. They’re like my children, once created it’s hard to choose a favorite. To date, I’ve written about strong, brave heroines—an immigrant doctor in Golden City, a young deaf woman in Colorado Springs, a child born into the world of prostitution, and a young woman trying to escape her nightmares, fleeing Boston for the Colorado Rockies—who helped settle and soften the West.

How about a favorite hero?

Same answer here, as you might predict. I can’t choose between Jake Whiskey and Aaron Zachery and Morgan Larkspur and Ethan Rourke. I just can’t. They’re all alive and well and still falling in love in my head most days. It’s the schizophrenic price we pay for writing, is it not?

Boy, you're not kidding. :0) Tell us a little about your road to becoming published.

A long yet sweet road … one might argue. I’ve been writing for ten years, give or take. In 2004 I entered the LERA/RWA contest in NM and won in their historical series category. The important thing here is there I was able to “pitch” to then, Five-Star editor, Russell Davis and later able to “sell” to Five Star, which is now an imprint of Gale, a part of Cengage Learning. From submission to sale took several months, and from sale to publication takes a year, give or take. It’s a road well-worth traveling and I’m ever grateful and humbled, being published now.

Congratulations! Where do you find inspiration?

In history, Colorado history and the Victorian Era to be more precise. I love old-fashioned, traditional romance and easily revert back to another time when this was vogue. Really, I love the 19th century because of all the overlays of the double standard and the challenge to find romance in such a “Victorian” environment. Because I’ve lived in Colorado a long time I find the “turbulent, colorful” environment of days gone by, riveting, with stories coming at me from most all directions on most any day. Clearly, I find inspiration in old-fashioned romance and love to think about falling in love in days of old.

History adds its own romance to our romances, doesn't it?! How do you research?

This process is unending. From the inception of a novel to its completion, I’m ever rummaging through my books collected and folders and charts and graphs and old letters and internet sources, et al … trying to “get the history right.” Suffice it to say, the research IS the most important part of writing any historical romance, for me certainly. The research also takes far longer than the actual writing of the book. Before I “key” the first word of any story, the characters have been born out of my research and are “writing the story” now, and not me. With my first 4 novels, all set in Colorado, I’ve been lucky to already have “a sense of place.”

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

I live in the mountains and you probably know how that goes. I’m shoveling snow in winter or tromping through mud in summer or out with my huskies, hiking in the wilds. My children are grown and, except for my son who lives in Denver (bless him), I have to hop on Frontier to see them, darn it. As a family, we all traveled together for many a year. I miss that now, of course. The main thing I do when I’m not writing is actually “get dressed,” every day, changing out of my flannel pj’s on occasion.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?

The most romantic spot I’ve ever been is Santorini in the Greek Islands. This could be the Lost City of Atlantis, you know … sigh. Ascending the cliffs to reach Santorini, once there, the vista awaiting takes your breath. I think it’s more romantic than Venice, which is a close second. A third would have to be Australia. Who can resist the Land of No Worries!

…and they all lived happily ever after …

THANK YOU, TIFFANY, for this wonderful day!


Thank you, Joanne, for taking time out of your busy schedule to hang out here with us! Here are some ways to learn more about Joanne:

http://www.joannesundell.com/
http://www.myspace.com/

And here's information about her newest book:

THE PARLOR HOUSE DAUGHTER, hardcover from Five Star-Gale
ISBN: 978-59414-722-7
Available online at amazon.com or any bookstore!

Joanne has also graciously agreed to offer one of her beautiful books in a contest. Just leave us a comment and you're entered to win! You'll also be entered into my "Blind Date with a Book" contest which goes until the end of the week.

Thanks to Joanne and to all of you readers for joining us.

40 comments:

Joanne Sundell said...

I just want to thank you, Tiffany, so very much for the invite today! I love that writers like you are taking the time to reach out to other writers, inviting us to your wonderful blog site to help us MARKET, MARKET, MARKET! The Internet can be a big bad place but wonderful people like you make if feel friendly, indeed.

Thanks so much, Tiffany!!!

:-) Joanne

Romance Fan - Beth said...

Joanne I have read your blog from your website and have to say I am a big fan of yours and of historical romances. A friend of mine gave me a copy of your first book "Matchmaker Matchmaker" and I loved it. I realized from your website and various blogs that you have written quite a few other books as well. I am headed to my local library this weekend to check out A..My name is Amelia and The Parlor House Daughter. Really looking forward to reading them.
Can you tell me where your story ideas come from? I think your storylines are unique and interesting and I was curious to know what inspires them. How much research goes into a book such as the ones you write?
I also just added myself to your mailing list and am looking forward to hearing more about what you are working on.

Joanne Sundell said...

Beth, you're not just a Romance Fan, you're a Dream Fan! Your remarks are kind, indeed.

I love historical romance and ever live somewhere in the American 1800's. My story ideas and characters are born out of my research. Certainly the research takes the majority of time in the writing of historical romance, at least for me.

I happen to live much of the time in the Colorado Rockies and have had a love affair with the majestic mountains and their history ever since I moved here.

I hope to be working on a book in the near future set perhaps in the great northwest and beyond ... heh heh.

Please do stop in at your local library and ask for my books. How perfectly wonderful!

Thanks so much for stopping to comment!

My very best,

Joanne

Tiffany James said...

Joanne,

I'm thrilled to have you! I love meeting new authors and readers. Armchair Heroines is a great place to do that! You always have a safe, welcoming site to turn to here at AH.

Tiffany :0)

Tiffany James said...

Beth,

Thank you for joining us. I agree with Joanne - you are a dream fan! It's so great to hear readers asking their libraries to carry romantic fiction. My library happens to be good about it but not all are. So let them know it's what you crave. :0) Go, Beth!

I hope you enjoy connecting with Joanne and then stay with us and find more wonderful authors to add to your favorites.

Tiffany

angietheresa said...

i love to hear about the usa civil war, my kids know that if im watching a film or reading about the civil war that they wont get any response from me until its done

joanne gl with you book i hope you get loads of sales

Terry Odell said...

Joan, the book sounds great. I much prefer getting my history from fiction! Didn't fly back in school, but maybe if authors were as painstaking in their research as you are, I could have gotten away with it.

I love writing about heroines who are normal, everyday people faced with tough choices. I don't think it matters when in time they live.

Joanne Sundell said...

Miss Tiffany!

I LOVE the title of your blog, giving heroines their just due! I also LOVE that you love other authors and are willing to "share your toys," tee hee.

Your wonderful, romantic energy surely will rub off on us all. For that I THANK YOU MOST KINDLY!

:-) Joanne

Joanne Sundell said...

Hi, AngieTheresa!

You sound a lot like my sister, who still lives in the very heart of Civil War, Virginia. Barb is so much more knowledgeable than moi` on the CV and has read pretty much everything out there on the subject. Just a bit of trivia. I went to college in Richmond, VA, where one of the famous scenes from GONE WITH THE WIND was filmed at the Hotel Jefferson. Remember the red-carpeted stairway at Tara? Fun stuff, huh.

If (fingers crossed here) my romantic Civil War series is picked up, keep a look-out for THE QUAKER AND CONFEDERATE~Hearts Divided and THE QUAKER AND THE CONFEDERATE~Hearts Persuaded and maybe we'll have a chance to chat again ... tune in tomorrow.

I'm so happy you stopped by to comment.

My best,
Joanne

Margie Lawson said...

Joanne -

All your books sound fascinating. I'll add PARLOR HOUSE DAUGHTER to my MUST READ list. ;-))

Kudos to you for your quote by Susuan Wiggs. Awesome!

Tiffany - Love the blog! Hope to see you both at the CRW meeting this Saturday.

Joanne Sundell said...

Hi back at ya, Terry!

Our last names are a bit similar, are they not? Hmmm ... maybe we're long lost something or other's? At the very least, we're kindred spirits! I've come in contact with an author from the UK with the name Joanne Rendell and her birthday is only one day from mine. Kewl.

As for history and historical novels, it's ever an up-hill climb for me to "get it all right," or as close to right as I can. I do fall in love with the history in which my story is set before the first word in the ms ever comes to me. This is why, of course, I love the 1800's and the romantic Victorian era (even though it's an oxymoron).

Thank YOU for YOUR wonderful blog. Everyone should know that Terry Odell has a fabulous blog in which she, like Tiffany, features other authors and allows us to showcase our wares. Like Tiffany, Terry is a generous, warm-hearted author, indeed; not to mention she's multi-published and multi-talented!!!

B'bye for now,
:-)

Joanne Sundell said...

Hi, Dr. Margie!

All who read this should know that Margie Lawson is THE WORD on THE WORD in romance and how to "get it right!" I'm thrilled that you stopped by for a comment, Margie.

Yes, I was happy to meet Susan Wiggs and happy to receive a quote from her. The gift outright. I had too much fun at the LA BookExpo last summer, meeting some of my favorites like Heather Graham and Iris Johansen and hearing Phillipa Gregory speak ... only in LA LA Land, tee hee. My 15 minutes of fame signing with RWA still has me dancing on the ceiling! I'm ever the groupie.

Heck, if I made your Must Read list, I won't make it down from the ceiling anytime soon!

:-) Joanne

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Joanne - your check is in the mail.

Tiffany James said...

Angie,

Howdy! Great to see you. I think you'll really like Joanne's books! More for the "to be read" pile. :0)

Tiffany

Tiffany James said...

Terry,

I completely agree with you on both counts! I didn't like history when I was younger, but now I'm fascinated by it. But then I get most of it from fiction now. :0) I also love everyday heroines- hence my blog - and how they act under pressure.

Thanks so much for joining us today!

Tiffany

Tiffany James said...

Joanne,

You are so sweet! Thank you for the kind words. Maybe that romantic energy will rub off on the next agent or editor I pitch to(or is it to whom I pitch??)! :0)

Thank you again for being here.

Tiffany

Tiffany James said...

Hi, Margie!

Great to have you with us today. I second the congrats to Joanne for the Susan Wiggs quote. I looove Susan Wiggs (Charm School is my favorite). I'll be there Saturday - with bells on. :0)

Tiffany

Tiffany James said...

Terry,

I checked out your blog and it's great! I'll be hanging out there doing some reading for sure. :0)

Tiffany

Terry Odell said...

Tiffany -- thanks for visiting "Terry's Place" -- if you're interested in police work, you HAVE to drop by on Fridays where I'm sharing stories from a local homicide detective about his early years in police work. You can search for "Homicide - Hussey" or just figure out what dates Fridays fell on!

Joanne Sundell said...

Phooey! I won't be at CRW on Saturday but in WA with my youngest daughter, Doc Zoe. Living in the mountains as I do, unfortunately I'm often an "absent member."

You are all the best for putting up with us mountain folk.

:-) Joanne

Helen Hardt said...

The book sounds fascinating, Joanne. I love anything set in historical Colorado!

Helen

Eva S said...

Hi Tiffany and Joanne,
thanks for more books for my wishlist! I love finding new, interesting authors!

Romance Fan - Beth said...

Joanne and Tiffany,

Thank you so much for responding to my posting. I feel honored that you took the time to answer me..so thanks!

I am a dreamer but wanted to be honest in what I thought of your books and your writing. I am truly fascinated by your storylines and find myself falling in love with your characters. I appreciate that you take so much time to research and really make your stories as true to life as you can. Living in Colorado I can see where your inspiration comes from. My family and I visited a few times and it really is a beautiful place.

Due to the tough economic times I love the fact that I can go to my local library and checkout a book. It really is a great resource and I encourage more of your readers to do the same.

Thanks again for responding and I truly look forward to hearing more about what else you are working on.

Keep on dreaming.......

Joanne Sundell said...

Hi, Helen!

Me, too ... in terms of our love of historical Colorado. Perhaps we're both from another time, which is an intriguing thought ... for another author and another book, tee hee.

I'm so happy historical romance is finally on the upswing. It's been a tough slog for HR, caught between bestselling paranormal erotica on the one hand and bestselling Christian romance on the other. Of course there's a lot left in between and I'm glad HR is catching on again.

Thanks so much for commenting!

All best,

Joanne

Joanne Sundell said...

Hi, Eva ...

OK ... you have ME hooked with your liking to find "new and interesting authors." THANK YOU FOR THAT!

I'm just beginning to blog in earnest and love meeting readers and writers like you, when I do. Too much fun.

Heck, you might win the drawing for THE PARLOR HOUSE DAUGHTER and can scratch it off your wish list, tee hee.

Happy to e-meet you!

Joanne

Joanne Sundell said...

Dear Beth (just like in Little Women),

It is I who am honored that you posted on ArmChairHeroines today. I agree with you about the bad economic times and the fact that libraries are beginning to draw readers away from expensive bookstores. My books are hardcover originals and a bit pricy and so I'm very, very pleased to sell primarily to the library market. If you ever want one of my books and your library isn't carrying it, ask them to order it. They usually will. Yea!

So happy to e-meet and e-greet you today, Beth!

:-) Joanne

Joanne Sundell said...

Tiffany, blogging with you today has brought me good luck!

I just heard that I'll be offered a two-book contract by Five Star-Gale for my Civil War series, THE QUAKER AND THE CONFEDERATE~Hearts Divided and THE QUAKER AND THE CONFEDERATE~Hearts Persuaded, to be released tentatively in May and Sept of 2010, respectively! I'm excited, grateful, and humbled by this news. I don't have the contracts yet but I wanted to share my tentative good news with you. It's not a done deal yet, but as Tom Cruise has so often said, "It's looking good so far."

I wish Good News for us all in the New Year!

:-)

Tiffany James said...

Hi, Helen!

Thanks for joining us today. :0)

Tiffany

Tiffany James said...

Beth,

I love answering comments! That's why I blog - because it's a conversation with real people. (I have conversations with the characters in my head often, but it's just not the same). :0) Hope you'll join us again soon.

Tiffany

Tiffany James said...

Joanne,

That's amazing news! Congratulations! Of course, there's just a tiny bit of selfishness in my congrats...that means I'll get to read more of your books!

Thanks you for being here today!

Tiffany

Tiffany James said...

Hi, Eva!

How's the weather in Scandinavia? We had snow today. It was pretty for awhile until it started melting and got muddy and ugly.

You are going to love Joanne's books! Thanks for being here today.

Tiffany

lbreene said...

Feathered hats off to you, Miss Joanne!!
Congratulations on a wonderful blog event!
Only you could come to the rescue of a Victorian prostitute and make her a strong heroine. =) Your research and love of your western characters comes through loud and clear.
Much success with this book!
Leslee Breene
"Hearts on the Wind" ~ Five Star 10/08

Joanne Sundell said...

Tiffany & Company ...

It was a pleasure to "blog" with you all today. I'm happy to have made new e-friends! I hope to chat again with you on this blog or others. It's ever All About Romance, is it not?

Thank you all so very much,

Joanne

Joanne Sundell said...

Hey there, Miss Leslee!

I was just about to sign off and saw your comment. Please, I hope all of you have an opportunity to read Leslee's wonderful historical romances. She's a great writer and a great friend!

:-) Joanne

Dena said...

Hi Tiffany, I enjoyed the interview with Joanne, I always like learning about Authors and there books. Her new book sounds so good, a lot more depth than other old west stories I've read before.

Joanne Sundell said...

Dena,

Your comments are music to an author's ears; especially one who writes romantic historicals set in the American West (which is the case with my first four novels). I appreciate "your appreciation" of careful historical research. The West is a romantic hero in and of itself!

Thanks so much for your kind words,

:-) Joanne

Tiffany James said...

Dena and Leslee,

Thanks for joining us today!

Tiffany

Tiffany James said...

Joanne,

This has been such a great time, and I loved seeing all the new and familiar faces! It's been a couple weeks since we've done an author feature on AH, and it's great to be back at it especially with someone as gracious and talented as you, Joanne. You can come back anytime! I wish you the greatest success with your writing. :0)

Tiffany

Joanne Sundell said...

Aw, Tiffany, you're the best!

My experimental "mini blog tour" consisted of you, petticoatsandpistols, and romancejunkies. What a trifecta! I met so many wonderful new readers and writers on all three blogs and truly appreciate the opportunity. I've had some new users to my website thanks to you guys, and also have had folks comment on MySpace. Internet marketing is the way of the future and I'm trying to come on board. Tune in tomorrow.

BTW, what do I need to do re the contest winner? Just let me know.

:-)ing all day because of you!

Joanne

Joanne Sundell said...

I'm so excited to see you're having an upcoming interview with The Wonderful Leslee Breene! She's a good friend and pretty darn talented, to boot!

:-) Joanne