Please welcome, regency, historical, paranormal author Jo Ann Ferguson to Friday with Friends.
HWH: Thanks so much for being with us, Jo Ann. Lets get started. You write using several pen names: Regency; Jo Ann Ferguson, Paranormals: J.A. Ferguson; Historical, Jocelyn Kelley. Are there any currently in the works that I’ve missed?
JAF: Actually I’ve written quite a few historical as Jo Ann Ferguson, too. I did two quilting romances for Berkley as Joanna Hampton, and a Regency novella as Rebecca North. My “newest” name is Jo Ann Brown, which I used when I did the novelization for Thomas Kinkade’s Christmas Cottage from Lionsgate. I’m also using that name for mysteries I’m writing for Guideposts Books (A Time to Share will be out this late summer/early fall). Book 3, Sea Wraith, in the Nethercott Tales was recently released under Jocelyn Kelly and you have a new paranormal coming out soon under J. A. Ferguson, Under Her Spell.
HWH: Can you tell us a little about both?
JAF: Sea Wraith is the third book focusing on the three Nethercott sisters and their adventures with ghosts. Sea Wraith is Sian’s story and is set in Cornwall during the Regency period. Sian goes there to paint a mural for her older sister, but ends up meeting Wraith, a mysterious – and very sexy – man who may be a hero or a villain. Under Her Spell is set in Victorian England. The hero is looking to hire performers for a party where he hopes to introduce his mistress to his mother, so his mother has to acknowledge her. He hires the Amazing Nightingales, a sleight of hand brother and sister act, but Madeleine Nightingale is harboring a secret – she can do real magic. Needless to say, nothing goes as planned for the hero from that point forward.
HWH: Wooo....they sound interesting. I'll have to be visiting my book store soon! Okay, a writing question. I’ve heard writers talk about whether or not they should use a pen name. Since you use several, can you let us in on why and how you come up with your names?
JAF: I’ve chosen to use pen names when I write different types of books. I never planned to write Regencies as Jo Ann Ferguson. My plan was to write as Rebecca North (the heroine of one of my early historicals), but my real name ended up on the cover, so I continued with it. Otherwise, I’ve chosen a pen name when I’m writing for a line where the sell-through numbers may affect my other types of books. Kelley is a family name as is Brown.
HWH: Out of all of the genres you write, which is your favorite? And why?
JAF: That’s really tough to say. I write the books I want to read, and I read in several different genres. Usually my favorite genre is the ms I’m brainstorming, because it’s so much fun at that point and everything is possible.
HWH: What is the etiquette to approaching someone for research?
JAF: When I’m approaching someone to ask questions about a career or an avocation, I usually try to find someone in my network who knows that person and can offer me an introduction. I did that when I was writing One Knight Stands and I wanted to learn about quarterstaff fighting. I was fortunate to have a friend who could introduce me to a gentleman who does fight choreography for local and Broadway productions. If I don’t have a contact, I will send an email or a letter, saying that I’m an author and that I’m looking for specific information and asking if the person has time to answer questions. I never call cold. I have to say, I’ve gotten enthusiastic response to almost all my emails…and the information I needed. I always acknowledge my sources in the book and send them an autographed copy.
HWH: As a writer, I’m always interested in any tips for revisions. Do you have any?
JAF: The most important step for me in revisions is to spend some time away from the ms. I prefer two weeks, but sometimes I have less time. I’ll start something new and get caught up with new characters during that interlude. That gives me a chance to come back and look at the ms with clear eyes. A true re-vision. I also like to do revisions with distractions around, so I don’t get caught up in the story. It sounds strange, I know, but it works for me.
Thanks so much for being with us, Jo Ann. Please come back when your next book comes out. Please visit www.joannferguson.com for more information on her and her wonderful books.
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