Hi Joan! Welcome back to UTC! We are thrilled to have you here again. Let's get to know you a little better first. Who is Joan Swan? What five things would readers not know about you?
Thanks for having me back! I love this place – colorful, upbeat, fun and friendly. A girl couldn’t ask for more. (Except maybe … chocolate!)
Well, let’s see…
· My birthday is on the cusp of two different signs, Cancer and Leo, and I swear I’m half of each.
· I don’t eat vegetables. **Collective gasp here** When I was a kid, I spent many, many hours sitting at the dinner table “until I finished my vegetables”, and ended up getting sent to my room because I wouldn’t relent and eat them. I still won’t eat them (because I don’t like the taste of them).
· My favorite color as a kid was yellow. My mom said she never had to worry about me being happy.
· When hurt or wronged, I rarely forgive and I never forget. That has been both a weakness and a strength for me over the years.
· I hate conflict, but once put there, I’m a relentless fighter.
How did the Phoenix Rising series come to be?
Phoenix Rising is my first series. Before this I’d always written stand alone single titles. But when I shopped FEVER, the market was offering multiple book deals with related storylines. So only after I’d written FEVER did I conceptualize the grand plan of the firefighting team and every team member getting a starring role in a book.
Also, Elisabeth Naughton, my critique partner helped me immensely with the structure of the series. Without her, there would be no Phoenix Rising series.
So far, of the Phoenix Rising series, BLAZE is my favorite! Can you tell us a little more about yummy Luke Ransom (sexy name, btw!) and Keira O'Shay?
YAY!!! I’m thrilled you enjoyed it so much!!
I love BLAZE also, though FEVER was a real push for me as an author, which makes me love it in a different way.
Thanks on the name kudos…I think that one goes to my muse. J
I adore this couple. They are both tortured characters with good souls looking for that ultimate love. I guess in that way, everyone can relate to them. We’re all flawed. We all have something in our background that haunts us, whether it was of our doing or something that was done to us. Yet despite our history, we all want to be loved. We all want to feel special to someone we find special.
Luke is one of those one-woman men and Keira is that woman for him. He thrives on both her strengths and her weaknesses. I once had a male friend of mine tell me that he enjoyed taking care of his wife, but that he also loved the fact that she was strong enough to take care of him if he needed it. Keira is that kind of woman. She needs Luke, but she can also take care of Luke when he needs her.
I happen to love the way one of my reviewers, GraveTells, describes Luke:
“…all charisma and wit, a capable agent with a big bad side of get-with-the-program-or-get-the-hell-out-of-my-way. Underneath all that swagger, though, is a man who has never gotten over the love of his life and is willing to give up just about anything to see her safe and happy... even if it means living the rest of his life in misery.”
Where Luke is strong from a childhood of stability and love in a secure family, Keira is strong from the lack of those things. Keira had a traumatic childhood filled with abuse and loss. She floated through the foster care system, living day to day with violence, fear and loneliness. Because of her background, she’s tough on the outside, but vulnerable on the inside. She’s reluctant to trust and risk her heart. Where Luke sees family as a strength, Keira sees it as a weakness, a liability, one more thing to screw up. This give Keira and Luke lots to argue about and stay divided over.
GraveTells describes Keira as:
“…a firecracker of a woman who knows what she wants and how to get it, before going after it like a guided missile. She's a smart, take-no-shit, expert markswoman with a shattered heart and traumatic childhood enfortressed behind a wall of emotional steel, packed muscles, and intense S.W.A.T. training, and the only one who can get past that shell is ATF agent and fire cop Luke Ransom.”
You balance the romance and the suspense very well. How do you make sure that there's enough of both in a book?
I don’t. I don’t think anyone does, because that’s a matter of opinion.
Romantic suspense can run between the boundries of 25% romance/75% suspense all the way to 75% romance/25% suspense. For me as a writer, the most compelling story is my ultimate goal. Whatever I need to do to get it there is what I include, regardless of what the % rates come out in the end.
Conflict in a romantic relationship between two characters that we love is a compelling reason to read on, which is one of the reasons I love writing romantic suspense as opposed to straight suspense—besides the fact that my characters never stay away from each other. That’s always a problem too.
Why did you decide to incorporate a paranormal element into this series instead of keeping everything strictly suspense?
The market. I originally wrote FEVER as a straight romantic suspense right at the time the RS market tanked. My critique partner suggested I add a paranormal element as paranormal romance was very popular at that time. Of course, that required rewriting the entire manuscript, but I liked where that idea took the story and the potential it gave the concept as a series, so I did it. And it sold.
What would you say was the most difficult thing about writing BLAZE and how did you overcome it?
The whole overarcing plot idea was a lot to get my mind around. Not only did I have to think about how to transition from the end of FEVER to the beginning of BLAZE, but I had to think about transitionsing from the end of BLAZE to the beginning of RUSH, book 3…without having written RUSH yet!
A series is a story within a story – the book’s story, the story question that will be asked and answered within the book itself and the overarching plot’s story, the story question that will be asked in book 1 and answered in the last book.
Honestly, the way I overcame that issue was with help from my critique partner, Elisabeth Naughton. Not only had she written a series like this before, her amazing Eternal Guardian series, but she has a remarkable ability to sift a story down to the bare elements and organize structure.
You are also writing the Covert Affairs series, the first book is called INTIMATE ENEMIES. How does this series different from the Phoenix Rising series and why should readers check this out?
Intimate Enemies is a completely different animal. This is a straight romantic suspense novel, set in Baja Mexico. The book is the first in the Covert Affairs series, but that series is linked by interrelated heroes and not by plot. Each Covert Affairs book has an individual plot without connection to the prior or the next, though characters from other novels in the series will play through.
I think readers will love Intimate Enemies for the same reasons I do—for the subtle threat, for the dark tone, for the danger lurking to ambush my hero and heroine. I believe readers will find Rio the hottest thing since their morning coffee and Cassie a strong, sympathetic heroine they can relate to and root for.
If you like hot romance and can’t-put-it-down suspense with strong emotion and a few laughs along the way, you’ll like Intimate Enemies. And it’s only $3.99!
You have a signing in October in San Jose at a Local Book club can you tell us about it?
Okay, is this fun, or is this fun?? I have to admit, I’m not a fan of signings. Big signings with lots of authors that’s more like a social get together, great! I’m threre. But a bookstore? Standing there greeting customers and making small talk about my books? Just shook me in the head instead!
But Angela told me Virna DePaul was going to be signing and I’ve been wanting to sit down and chat with Virna since I met her in passing at RT this year. So I said yes. And, then, promptly asked a few other authors I knew living in the bay area. Well, those authors asked a few authors…and before you know it, we’ve got 7 fabulous authors signing at the Barnes & Noble in San Jose on Oct 3rd. It’s going to be sooooo fun!! And yes – you’ll get pictures! We promise!
The authors who will be there are: Virna DePaul, Hannah Jayne, Marina Adair, Britt Bury, Elisabeth Barrett, Cassie Alexander, and me!
What's next for Joan Swan?
At the moment, I’m finishing up RUSH, book 3 in the Phoenix Rising series, which releases October 2013. Then I’m on to book 4 of the Phoenix Rising series and book 2 of the Covert Affairs series.
Once those are finished, I’m hoping to go back to work on a new paranormal series I’m hoping to shop soon! J
Book Depository / Chapters / IndieBound / Powell’s
Ever since FBI agent Keira O’Shay started tracking a young boy named Mateo, she’s felt a connection even her empathic abilities can’t explain. Sheneeds to save Mateo from the cult leader holding him hostage. Nothing can interfere with that—not even the reappearance of Luke Ransom, the hot-as-hell fire captain she’s regretted walking out on for three long years.
Chapters / IndieBound / Powell’s
OUR REVIEW COMING NEXT WEEK!
Sexy romantic suspense is my genre of choice, and, occasionally, I like to dabble in the lighter side of paranormal as well. I write the Phoenix Rising Series, FEVER, BLAZE, and two more books coming in 2013, for Kensington and the Covert Affairs Series, INTIMATE ENEMIES, independently.
A triple RWA Golden Heart finalist, I am a lover of craft and closet-hoarder of writing craft how-to books. I’m a recovering OCD perfectionist…bet you can just imagine how well that’s going.
In my day job, I work as a sonographer at UCSF Medical Center, rated one of the top ten best medical centers in the nation – a location with an intensity that makes me slightly—okay majorly—insane. This seems to work well with my inner writer. Access to abundant character material—and I’m not only talking about my patients—is a fringe benefit.
I’m married to my own personal hero, a veteran firefighter, we have two beautiful daughters and are blessed to live in the heart of wine country on the gorgeous Central Coast of California.
To keep up with my latest news & releases please visit me online:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Twitter Giveaways / Goodreads
Joan Swan's BLAZE Blog Tour Schedule
Tour runs from September 17 - October 6
September 17 - Grave Tells - http://gravetells.com/
September 18 - Book Reader Addicts - http://bookreaderaddictsgiveaways.blogspot.com/
September 19 - Pearl's World of Romance - http://pearlsworldofromance.wordpress.com/
September 20 - Under The Covers - http://underthecoversbookblog.blogspot.com
September 21 - Reading Between The Wines - http://readingbetweenthewinesbookclub.blogspot.com/
September 22 - Riverina Romantics - http://riverinaromantics.blogspot.com/
September 23 - Reading on The Wild Side - http://readingonthewildside.blogspot.com/
September 24 - United By Books - http://unitedbybooks.blogspot.com/
September 25 - My Keeper Shelf - http://mykeepershelf.blogspot.com/
September 25 - The Reading Café - http://thereadingcafe.com/
September 26 - Ramblings From This Chick - http://ramblingsfromthischick.blogspot.com/
September 27 - I Smell Sheep - http://www.ismellsheep.com/
September 28 - Paranormal Haven - http://www.paranormalhaven.com/
September 29 - Just Romantic Suspense - http://www.justromanticsuspense.com/
September 30 - Just Romantic Suspense - http://www.justromanticsuspense.com/
October 1 - Close Encounters With The Night Kind - http://closeencounterswiththenightkind.blogspot.com/
October 2 - Book Monster Reviews / Literal Addiction -
Book Monster - http://bookmonsterreviews.blogspot.com/
Literal Addiction - http://www.literaladdiction.com/
October 3 - Books-n-Kisses - http://www.books-n-kisses.com/
October 4 - Readers Confession - http://www.readersconfession.com/
October 5 - Book Lovin' Mamas - http://booklovinmamas.blogspot.com//
October 6 - Cocktails & Books - http://www.cocktailsandbooks.com/