Thursday, August 12, 2021

Today's Special - - Q&A with JoAnn Ross & Giveaway


When 
New York Times bestselling author JoAnn Ross was seven-years-old, she had no doubt whatsoever that she’d grow up to play center field for the New York Yankees. Writing would be her backup occupation, something she planned to do after retiring from baseball. Those were, in her mind, her only options. While waiting for the Yankees management to call, she wrote her first novella — a tragic romance about two star-crossed mallard ducks — for a second grade writing assignment.

The Paper earned a gold star. And JoAnn kept writing. 

She's now written over one hundred novels and has been published in twenty-six countries. Two of her titles have been excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine and her books have also been published by the Doubleday, Rhapsody, Literary Guild, and Mystery Guild book clubs.   

The Inheritance
by JoAnn Ross
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: September 7, 2021

With a dramatic wartime love story woven through, JoAnn Ross's long-awaited new novel is a gorgeous generational saga about the rivalry, history and loyalty that bond sisters together

When conflict photographer Jackson Swann dies, he leaves behind a conflict of his own making when his three daughters, each born to a different mother, discover that they’re now responsible for the family’s Oregon vineyard—and for a family they didn’t ask for.

After a successful career as a child TV star, Tess is, for the first time, suffering from a serious identity crisis, and grieving for the absent father she’s resented all her life.

Charlotte, brought up to be a proper Southern wife, gave up her own career to support her husband's political ambitions. On the worst day of her life, she discovers her beloved father has died, she has two sisters she never knew about and her husband has fallen in love with another woman.

Natalie, daughter of Jack’s longtime mistress, has always known about her half sisters, and has dreaded the day when Tess and Charlotte find out she’s the daughter their father kept.

As the sisters reluctantly gather at the vineyard, they’re soon enchanted by the Swann family matriarch and namesake of Maison de Madeleine wines, whose stories of bravery in WWII France and love for a wounded American soldier will reveal the family legacy they've each inherited and change the course of all their lives.
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Welcome, JoAnn! It's an honor to have you join us here at The Romance Dish. I've been enjoying your books since discovering you through your Stewart Sisters Trilogy almost twenty years ago.

Thank you so much for inviting me! I'm delighted you've enjoyed my books. I've enjoyed The Romance Dish, as well. It's difficult to keep up with what books are out, so it's a wonderful resource.

1. Thank you. That's lovely to hear. Congratulations on the upcoming publication of The Inheritance, your women’s fiction debut. What would you like readers to know about this book? 

I suppose that it’s very personal to me. I don’t remember my birth father, who deserted my mother when I was a toddler. Although I knew he had a second family, it wasn’t until I found another of his daughters on Facebook that I discovered (oops!) he’d forgotten to mention his first family to her. When she asked her mother why they hadn’t told her, the response was —and this line got in the book because it was too good not to use­– “It never came up.” 

For years after that, I’d joking say that I was a secret baby romance trope. But a story about three sisters started simmering—one who knew about one sister, another who didn’t know about either of the others, and one who knew about all three. Each had  a very different experience with that same father, which informs who they are when the book opens. As they gradually came alive in my mind, I knew I was ready to write the story. 

And because I have to care about my characters, I gave Jackson Swann a hopefully understandable reason for being such a flawed father. While researching his career, I found several psychological studies showing that many (some studies went so far as to say most) conflict reporters develop varying levels of PTSD and survivor guilt. 

2. I enjoyed the present-day segments and the flashbacks that told the story of Madeleine and Robert. Why was it important to you to include their story rather than focus the full attention of the book on the current journeys of the three sisters? 

Madeleine and Robert were important because of the longevity of their love, and all they’d been through in their lives (especially Madeleine) had planted the roots for the family the sisters would become. That legacy of lasting love and strength, rather than the actual vineyard, was what I always considered their inheritance. 

I especially enjoyed writing Madeleine’s growth from a young teenager buying her first grownup dress and shoes for the harvest celebration, when her biggest concern was whether a boy would kiss her, to joining the French resistance and becoming a woman willing to do whatever it took to save people’s lives and take her country back from the Nazis. I’ll admit that something she did later on in the story took me completely by surprise. By that time she’d taken on a life of her own and I was just following along to see what she’d do next. 

3.   It’s apparent that a great deal of research went into the creation of this book. I was fascinated by the details of grape growing and wine making and enjoyed the wine pairings highlighted throughout. I’m curious to know what wine you would pair with each of the sisters to complement her personality. 

Oh, this is fun! I grew up in Oregon and believe the best wines are coming from there and are what I drink. My husband and I have also enjoyed visiting wineries and being allowed to watch the process. 

Tess is the easiest. She'd definitely pair with a Pinot Noir because they're the most difficult grapes in the wine world to grow and can be a winemaker's biggest headache. They're stubborn, finicky, and late maturing. But when all the right conditions come into play, Pinot Noirs can be wonderfully smooth and complex. 

Charlotte would be a Pinot Gris, which is made from a lighter mutation grape of the Pinot Noir. The classic Pinot Gris are crisp, refreshing, and well balanced with complex fruit flavors. They're made to evolve with age, often marked with a touch of sweetness, and have a smooth, silky touch to the palate.

I see Natalie pairing with an Oregon sparkling wine. (If you’re a wine drinker and didn’t know that some very good sparkling wine is coming out of Oregon, now you do.) Her choice would be a blend of Pinot Noir and chardonnay, made in the French méthode champenoise, that’s bright, effervescent, and lively, while elegant. 

4.  Readers may not be aware of the challenges you faced in bringing this book to completion. Would you be willing to share what you’ve gone through over the past couple years? Also, what have you learned about yourself in the process? 

Oh, wow. Where to begin? In February 2019, I was diagnosed with vascular necrosis, which affects only approximately fifteen thousand Americans a year. What happens is that blood is cut off to the bones, causing them to die. By the time I was in enough discomfort to go to the doctor, the MRI showed my hip to be an empty white space, that also ran down the side of my femur. 

So, I had what was supposed to be an easy peasy hip replacement and a long rod inserted inside my leg. Unfortunately, as my reconstructive surgeon, who was brought in to take over at the third surgery, said, every unexpected thing that could possibly go wrong, did. 

I ended up having eight surgeries between March of 2019 and February of 2020, spent sixty-six days in the hospital and acquired the second and third most deadly hospital borne Superbug infections. But hey, I didn’t have the very worst! Though they did require fourteen weeks of three times a day IV antibiotics. That process took ninety minutes each time, and when my husband and I did it in the middle of the night, we’d turn on all the lights to be fully awake and say each step out loud to make sure we didn’t mess up. Just when we thought we’d beat it, the infections would return, and another surgery would be needed. 

During this time I went 8 ½ months without a hip, which meant I couldn’t put any weight on my right leg. I did, however, keep up daily exercise and got so I could hop sixty-five feet with a walker. I am now literally held together with cement covered wires, and manage to walk, with a walker, and more recently partly with a cane, somewhere between a half to one mile a day.

I was grateful for all the wonderful nurses who helped keep my spirits up and literally saved my life on two occasions. I learned the importance of keeping a sense of humor, and, although I’m a micro-manager, I was forced to give up a great deal of control and go with the flow, even as I fought to keep going. (As I kept telling doctors, I had contracted books to write!)  During all this, the support I got from readers on my Facebook page and all my friends on social media, especially those in Romancelandia, helped so much.  I’m not sure they will ever truly know how helpful it was for me, during some long, lonely, and often scary nights, to have people to talk with. I’m also hugely grateful for everyone at HQN, who not only remained supportive, but were patient enough to wait a year for this book.

 5. In addition to being an accomplished author, you’re also a prolific card maker. How long have you been doing that? How many cards do you estimate you’ve made over the years? And where do all those cards go when they are finished? 

I’d been a scrapbooker when, at the beginning of the second Iraq War, I saw a note from an Army chaplain’s wife on a papercrafting message board asking for cardmakers to make blank inside cards for troops to send back home to family, loved ones, and friends. So, during that war, I made cards for Cards for Soldiers and Operation Write Home.  I don’t know how many cards the first group mailed off. But by the time the troops marched out of Iraq, three million cards made by OWH volunteers had been sent to deployed soldiers, sailors, and airmen. Now I make Cards for Hospitalized Kids, which was started by an amazing teenage girl who’d survived cancer, and a more newly established group, Cards for Kindness, that sends greeting cards to hospitals, nursing homes, shelters, and other places where people might need their spirits lifted. 

6.  As I mentioned earlier, The Inheritance is your women’s fiction debut. Do you have plans to write more books in this vein? (I’m hoping the answer is yes) 

Absolutely. I’m pondering my next one, which is currently scheduled for August, 2023, while writing my fourth Honeymoon Harbor book, which will be out June of 2022. 

7.  You have had a fascinating life (I encourage readers to check out 10 Things AboutJoAnn at her website) with a wide array of experiences. Have you ever used – or considered using – your own experiences as inspiration in your writing?  (I’m partial to the Girl Scout story - that must have been some powerful storytelling! And your grandparents’ HEA adventure. I need to know more about that kidnapping!) 

Thank you. I have used some of my experiences. I had a heroine skydive in a book, I think in 1985. And although all my characters but one have been entirely fictional, Brady in A Woman’s Heart (MIRA) is absolutely my Irish Grandda McLaughlin who lived in the house behind ours for several years and was always telling grand, exaggerated stories while I was growing up.  In fact, I heard his brogue the entire time I was writing it. 

8. Where can readers connect with you online? 

I’m at www.facebook.com/JoAnnRossBooks and also on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/JoAnnRossBooks, and there’s a link to email my on my website, at joannross.com, but to be perfectly honest, when I’m deep in a book, or on deadline, it might take a while to get a response. 

9. Thank you for graciously answering my questions today. Would you like to add anything or ask our readers a question? 

Thank you again for the invitation and I’d like to especially thank all the wonderful readers who’ve allowed me to live the dream I’ve had since I was seven years old. As for a question, which format do you prefer? Print, ebook, or audio? I like all three, so I’m super happy that THE INHERITANCE, as well as my Honeymoon Harbor books are available in all formats. 

 

One person who posts a comment by 11:00 PM, August 13 will receive a Kindle copy of Herons Landing (Honeymoon Harbor - Book 1).

*Must be 18

*Amazon US

*Void where prohibited

15 comments:

  1. I prefer ebooks, since they don't take up room on my crowded bookshelves or in boxes. If I like the book, I'll read it more than once. Some I've read up to 7 times! The Inheritance sounds really great.

    Susan in AZ

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    1. I love having the confidence of never running out of books on my Kindle when I travel. :)

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  2. I don't understand how this book could be your "women's fiction debut," when I've read several books by you through the years. What's the difference between this new book and the other books you've written? I've loved all your works that I've read.

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    1. This is her first women's fiction novel. Her other books have been contemporary romance and romantic suspense.

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  3. I like print and ebook, but lately I find myself reading more on my kindle. Ebooks are easier to take with you, plus I can make the font as big as I need! :-)

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    1. My eyes are appreciating the fonts on my Kindle more every year!

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  4. I like all 3 formats. You can usually find me reading a paperback by day, on my kindle at night and listening to an audiobook during my commute :-)

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  5. I prefer e-books as I age. You can change the font and prop the Kindle up to read, much easier on my hands. However I do still buy my favorite author's books in hardback when I can.

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  6. I prefer paperback books, but generally not the trade size…I’ve always liked being able to toss a small paperback in my purse to have in case of boredom…but lately I’ve started reading on my Kindle because that way I can get the newest releases from my library on e-book and not have to wait for the paperbacks!!!

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  7. I am not a fan of audio books. i love actual books. But, my Kindle is easier to take with me if I am going to be somewhere and must wait. I do like the idea I can change the font. It appears that some of the older paperbacks I reread have been altered. The font is becoming smaller and smaller. I just know someone breaks into the house and messes with the font on all those older books.

    I hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

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  8. I love the convenience of having all my books on my kindle or iPad. It's so much easier for traveling. Thanks for the chance. I've really enjoyed JoAnn's books through the years!!

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  9. I "read" all three formats, but print books are still my favorites.
    Enjoyed the 10 Things About JoAnn. You have had a wonderfully varied and uncommon series of experiences in your life. The hip episode was unbelievably difficult and certainly took a long time to recover to the point you are today. Thanks so much for letting us know about this rare bone condition. You have done a public service for us and our friends & family.
    THE INHERITANCE sounds like a wonderful story. It will be interesting to see how the sisters' relationships develop and to follow the life of Madeleine.
    Take good care of yourself and continue on your path to healing.

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  10. I like ebooks and print but usually buy ebooks so my hubby doesn't groan "what? AANOTHER book?".

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  11. Print and ebooks are my faves. I can't do audiobooks as I prefer to see the words I read. I switch between the two a lot depending on what I want to read. This book sounds so good. Looking forward to reading it.

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  12. I'd like to say print books are my preference, honestly though it is ebooks. How can I say no to the ability to store so many books in such a smmal physical space plus theres the fact that I can adjust the font size (the older I get, the more important that is. ;-) ) Also, Oh My Goodness! You have had a time of it this past year plus! (Here I am getting impatient for a cut on my knee to heal up after a month. Ganted it was a very deep cut, but still.) Hope you are doing much better and can avoid the hospital and health problems for a good, long time

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