Monday, May 14, 2018

Interview with historical novelist Josanna Thompson

Author Josanna Thompson joins me today to chat about her new exciting historical adventure, A Maiden’s Honor.

During her virtual book tour, Josanna will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice) to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too.

Josanna Thompson is the author of A Maiden's Honor and The Woman from Eden series. She has lived in many different places in the United States, including the Southeast, the Midwest, California, and the Northeast. When she is not writing; she enjoys traveling, exploring, and scuba diving.

Welcome, Josanna. Please share a little bit about your current release.
A Maiden’s Honor has been near and dear to my heart for many, many years. I’m so pleased to finally share my baby with the world. What is it about, you ask?

There are two story lines that run parallel to each other until they converge half way through the story. The first chronicles the extraordinary journey of a rare woman named Sarah Campbell. She is a truly one of a kind person. Born to Scottish missionaries, Sarah was raised by her father on a primitive Polynesian island. Mind you, money and all the Western amenities are unknown to her. Circumstances beyond her control, force Sarah and her father to leave her beloved island. Both are unaware of their crew’s plans to betray them.

A Maiden’s Honor opens off the Barbary Coast. Sarah’s father is dying, and their ship is about to be boarded by the most feared corsair in the region, Hassan Aziz. Little does Sarah realize that Hassan is the only one who can save her. Yet, Hassan has secrets of his own that will endanger his own life and the lives of every person that depend on him, including Sarah.

The second story chronicles the villain’s journey. Naa’il Dhar is the Dey, or leader of Algiers. Two American women are presented two him. Both are examined, and Naa’il is told that only one of them is a virgin. Drawn to both women, Naa’il tests their loyalty to each other. Little does he know that his dangerous game and his wrong conclusions will force him to question all that he holds true.

What inspired you to write this book?
I have always been drawn to complex stories with equally complex characters who are forced to overcome great odds. I was especially drawn to Sarah Campbell’s character because she was unlike any character I had read before. She's the kind of person that people constantly underestimate. At a glance, she is sweet and childlike, yet she’s strong and fearless. Hassan Aziz and others view her as dim-witted because she doesn’t speak English well. In reality, Sarah is highly intelligent; she’s a quick learner; and she observes everything. She is also the kind of person who is not intimidated or impressed with powerful people. How could I not write her story?

A number of people asked me why I set A Maiden’s Honor in the Ottoman Empire. I had read a steamy romance about a woman who got caught on the Barbary Coast. Though the story wasn’t great, I was fascinated about the world this author had wrote about. In time, I weaved my own steamy Ottoman romance. However, A Maiden’s Honor became so much more as I researched this culture and got to know Sarah and the other characters. I did my best to present each character accurately and without prejudice.

A Maiden’s Honor addresses serious issues, including slavery and religious persecution. This story also illustrates the strength of women in all cultures. Moreover, it illustrates that if you strip away a person’s nationality, beliefs and history, we’re all human beings who want to be understood and accepted for who we are. I hope readers will agree that A Maiden’s Honor is a compelling story with intriguing characters.

Excerpt from A Maiden’s Honor:
I would love to share one of my favorite scenes from A Maiden’s Honor. This snippet is short but sweet.  If I may, permit me to set up the scene for you. Sarah has been captured and brought to Naa’il. This is the first time Sarah sees her reflection. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Naa’il retrieved a full-length mirror and leaned it against the wall. Sarah blinked rapidly as her gaze darted back and forth between his reflection and him. She rose from the bench and stood beside him with a crinkle on her brow. Sarah stared intently at her image. She lifted her arms, stuck out her tongue, and spun around slowly, never taking her eyes off her reflection. Naa’il rubbed his chin with the back of his hand and shifted to the side of Sarah. Then it occurred to him that this was the first time she had ever seen her image. Naa’il moved in back of her and rested his hands on her shoulders. “You are beautiful,” he said in English.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on the sequel to A Maiden’s Honor. This is the second instalment in the Woman from Eden series. This story picks up where A Maiden’s Honor left off. Sarah, Hassan (Nathan) and their friends arrive in England. Not surprising, Sarah has trouble adjusting to her new environment. Book 2 chronicles Sarah’s experience in Regency England. She has much to overcome, including his mother’s and English society’s rejection of her.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I would have to say that it wasn’t until I published A Maiden’s Honor. For the longest time I would tell my story ideas to people without writing a single word. It wasn’t until I joined a local writer’s group that I began to write my stories. Even then, I was only a tinkerer. When I finally released A Maiden’s Honor to the world, I started thinking of myself as a writer, and that's a good feeling.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
About 10 years ago, my husband gave me my dream to become a full-time writer. I was thrilled and terrified at the same time. It took me forever to settle into a routine, and even then I struggle with sticking to that routine. What does my day look like, you ask? I usually head downstairs between 8 and 8:30, and I always make a point to change out of my jammies. I eat a little breakfast, and then I settle down in my favorite armchair to write for several hours. I take a break in the afternoon to work on marketing, and take care of other book related projects. If I’m really good, I will write into the evening. That’s the plan at least.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I hated writing papers in school, and I dreaded writing them. That included creative writing. However, I have a knack for story weaving. Thankfully for the readers’ sake, my writing has improved and the process has gotten easier.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Oh that’s easy, I wanted to be a cheerleader for the University of Georgia. My dad was a student there. We used to go to the football games with my dad. I was fascinated by the cheerleaders. So much so that I dressed up in a uniform that my grandmother made for me, and I cheered in the stands. Ironically, I never got into cheering in high school or college. That’s ok. I found more interesting things to do.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thanks so much for interviewing me, and thanks to those who stopped by to read this interview. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I always enjoy meeting new people.


Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

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Unknown said...

Good morning!

Thanks for hosting Lisa!

Thanks to the folks at Goddess Fish for coordinating this ebook tour.

To anyone passing by, I'll be around all day, so please feel free to stop by and say, "hi." I would love to hear from you.

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Unknown said...

I enjoyed getting to know your book and thanks for the chance to win :)

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a good book.

Victoria Alexander said...

Great post - I enjoyed reading it!

James Robert said...

Congrats on the tour and I appreciate the excerpt and the great giveaway as well. Love the tours, I get to find books and share with my sisters and now my twin daughters who all love to read. We have found some amazing books for everyone. So, thank you!

Unknown said...

Thanks again for hosting, Lisa.

Thanks to all of you to who stopped by and left a comment. It's much appreciated.

Danielle merkle said...

Sounds like a great read!