Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Coffee Shop Conversations: Q&A and a Giveaway with author Angela Johnson

   Hello all you fabulous Dames, and welcome to Coffee Shop Conversations! On this segment of the blog I will be conducting interviews with Authors, Bloggers and anyone else relative to the literary world and willing to answer my questions. Coffee Shops are great places to just relax, let the hair down and talk about life, love and good books! So without further adieu, let's get to chatting with my special guest:

Author: Angela Johnson

"As long as I can remember I have loved to read books.  I have my mother to thank for my interest.  The earliest books I can remember reading were Little Red Riding Hood and The Little Engine That CouldThe Little Engine That Could is a book that teaches children you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.
In my adolescence, books like Little House on the Prairie, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Mysteries, and Treasure Island colored my world, when I was not outside playing with the neighbors, or participating in fast-pitch softball.  In my late teens I ransacked my mother’s stash of novels, always on the prowl for a good read.  Then when I was 18, or perhaps 19, I borrowed Captive Bride, by Johanna Lindsey, from a friend.  From that moment on, I was hooked on romance.
Later I went to college to study my other passion; history.  And in 1999, I graduated summa cum laude from Washburn University with a B. A. degree in History. 
After graduation, Joe, my very own hero and significant other suggested, “Why don’t you write a romance novel?  You love history and reading romance.  Why not combine your two passions into a career?”  I admit I was skeptical at first.  But before long The Little Engine That Could began to pull me in that direction. I gave it a try, and soon, story ideas started to flow. Words on my computer screen eventually followed. 
After several years, and more rewrites than I care to admit, I pitched Vow of Seduction to a New York editor in the summer of 2007.  She liked it well enough to ask for a partial submission.  But I also entered my manuscript in several RWA sponsored writing contests that had New York editors as final round judges.  Happily, I placed, or won in three of the contests, and as a result, each judge requested a full submission of the manuscript. 
In September of 2008, I received and accepted an offer from Kensington Books for a two-book contract. I was thrilled. The Little Engine That Could ...just did.  
Vow of Seduction is due out October 6, 2009.  I’m currently working on my second medieval romance. It's a stand-alone sequel to Vow of Seduction, and is tentatively titled Vow of Deception." Sourced from author's website

Angela Johnson on the web: Website | Facebook 

Angela's Latest Release:
'Vow Of Deception' 
Released 11.02.10

"Your first allegiance is to your heart…
As a knight, Sir Rand Montague’s allegiance is to King Edward I. But when the king orders Rand to escort Rosalyn Harcourt to court in order to wed her off to Sir Golan—a crass knight Rand abhors—he’s torn between duty and desire. For Rand has never forgotten the woman he spent one unforgettable night of passion with…
After suffering abuse at the hands of her deceased husband, Rose wishes to never wed again. But when Rand rescues her after Sir Golan attempts to compromise her, she agrees to marry Rand in name only. However, sharing such close quarters with Rand brings back memories of their torrid rendezvous—and tempts Rose to give in to an all-consuming desire…"Source 
[Read an excerpt: here]

[Read My Review of 'Vow Of Deception': here]

Get Your Copy Today:
Barnes&Noble | Amazon | Borders  
-Q&A-
RJ: Hey Angela! Thanks so much for swinging by for a little chat. Firstly, congratulations on your latest release, ‘Vow Of Deception’; available for purchase as of November 2nd, 2010!! What were the past few months like as you prepared to get this particular book on the shelf? Did you experience anything emotionally or professionally significant with this new release? 
AJ: Rita, thank you very much for having me at your blog today. I’m thrilled to be here. So what have these last few months been like for me? I can sum it up in one word: busy, hectic, swamped, eventful, and amazing. LOL. Okay, so that was several words. To begin with, I want to say two years ago when I learned my first novel was going to be published, an indescribable feeling of surprise, then elation flummoxed me. I had no idea what was expected of me next. But two books, and two years later, I am a much less naïve writer. The single most important lesson I learned is that the novel writing process does not end once you sign a publishing contract. That's when the real work begins; manuscript edits, copy edits, page proofs, and book promotion. For naturally shy people, like me, it can be challenging. But I would not change a thing. Mostly it's been fun.
RJ: Let’s jump right in and learn a bit more about ‘Vow Of Deception’. From your perspective as the author, what is this book really all about?
AJ: The common theme in this book is trust. Trust in oneself and the one you love. Rand and Rose are both wounded souls who suffered abuse at the hands of a person who was supposed to love them. Rose’s first husband was mentally, physically, and sexually abusive. Rand’s father was emotionally and physically abusive. But also, Rand blames himself for the death of his mother and sister. To make matters worse, he and his sister were not only twins, but were inseparable until her death at the age of ten and two. As an adult, Rand is a renowned knight, successful wine trader, and charming rogue who hides his pain, and fear of love, behind a congenial mask. Love is a burden and a curse to him, because everyone he has ever loved, has died. Yet despite this fear of love, Rand risks his life and the king’s wrath to save the woman he vowed to ‘love, honor, and protect.’
RJ: Where did the inspiration for the characters, plot, and settings come from?
AJ: Much of my inspiration for the characters in Vow Of Deception, had their origins in my first novel. Let me give you some insight into the characters and setting of my first book in this series, Vow of Seduction. When I decided to write the novel, the setting and time period were secondary to the theme. I wanted to write a story about betrayal, forgiveness, and a second chance at love. I also wanted the hero and heroine to be married, but not easily able to separate. Hence I chose the medieval period when annulment and divorce were extremely rare, but not impossible. I also wanted the story to be set in England, and for the hero to have been held in captivity. Nothing epitomizes the Middle Ages more than the Crusades, so that’s where I began my research. I thought -- What if my hero abandons his bride to go on Crusade, fights, and then is captured and locked away in a Saracen prison? And then is thought to be dead, until he returns home unexpectedly to reclaim the bride he had abandoned. Once I thought this premise through, I knew I had my main character and the plot of my story.

Next, I gave my hero, Alex, a close friend; Sir Rand Montague. Rand had known Alex for many years, and therefore also knew Alex’s sister, Rosalyn. Rand always teased Rosalyn like a little sister, but beneath it all, he cared for her as more than a friend. But he chose to follow Alex on Crusade instead of offering marriage to Rosalyn because he had sworn to never marry. This relationship between Rand and Rose became the basic foundation for my second novel, Vow of Deception.

Now, I always like to give my characters some sort of traumatic emotional event in their lives prior to a story’s beginning. So for Rose and Rand, it was the abuse I mentioned above. But they also shared one night of burning passion that neither can forget. When Vow of Deception begins, England is on the eve of war with Wales, and Rand worries for Rose’s safety, living as she does with her young son on the border between the two countries. And that’s how the main characters, conflict and plot evolved for Vow of Deception.
RJ: Did you learn any interesting tid-bits while writing 'Vow Of Deception'?
AJ: When I was researching medieval hospitals for a scene in Vow of Deception, I found a great website online: The Great Hospital Online. It's dedicated to the St. Giles Hospital, Norwich, England. In the Middle Ages hospital architecture was similar to churches. They consisted of an infirmary where the inmates were cared for, a chapel with an altar, and a bell tower to chime the hour of the Elevation of the Host during Mass. The infirmary was a large, vaulted space like a church nave, and had smaller aisles on both sides where the beds resided. Opposite the center aisle, the chapel altar was visible to the occupants in the beds. The inmates were typically the old and poor. The wealthy paid for private, in house physicians and surgeons. Click on the following link to see a computer generated video of what St. Giles Hospital might have looked like in the Middle Ages. http://www.thegreathospital.co.uk/exploring/stGiles.shtml
RJ: Let’s talk about the Hero and Heroine (Rand & Rosalyn). What are their flaws and misgivings? What are their redeeming qualities? Also, what attracts them to each other (other than any physical desires)? 
AJ: Abused by her first husband, Rosalyn wants to take a vow of chastity so she can never be forced to remarry. But when the king orders her to marry a cruel knight, she obeys, despite her fears in order to protect her young son’s inheritance. Rose is kind and caring to everyone who depends on her, yet is desperately in need of healing from the pain of abuse. With Rand’s kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness, and patience, Rose’s expectation of abuse begins to dissipate. Eventually she desires more than a marriage in name only, and hopes for a union based on love, respect, and physical intimacy.

Rand has vowed to never to love, because he believes he is cursed to hurt his loved ones. When Rand was young, he tried to protect his mother and sister from his father’s abuse, but he failed dismally. When he was ten and two he let his twin sister drown to save himself. A year later his mother died trying to rescue him from a stable fire. Because of all these things, Rand has fierce protective instincts, but feels incapable of protecting the ones he loves. Ultimately, Rand must face his fear, and defy his king if he is to protect Rose and her son, and heal the beautiful, vivacious girl hidden behind the hurt.
RJ: Cover Love Time! The cover to ‘Vow Of Deception’ is HOT and FIERCE! What
did you feel when you first saw it? Did it live up to any expectations you had? Does it make YOU want to pick it up and read (sure made me want to!)?

AJ: Seeing your book cover for the first time is almost surreal. You immediately get a first impression. Then as you study it more closely, other impressions overtake the first. I have been extremely lucky on both of my book covers. I love the sexy models wielding their swords. I admit I had a concern about the tattoo on the cover of Vow of Deception, since Rand does not have one, but I have received many positive comments on the tattoo from those who have seen the cover. I like the scenery in the background too because it’s reminiscent of the Welsh foothills, near where part of the book is set.


RJ: What’s your writing process and atmosphere like? Do you plot and execute, let your hand and heart guide the pen non-stop; sit in a coffee house, or barricade yourself in your office? How and where does your work come to be?
AJ: The first thing I do when I get up (this can be day or night) is read/write any important emails. Then I start writing. Unfortunately, I have to fight distractions like internet searches and such. I do this by setting daily goals. I write in a small office space at home on my PC. But when the weather’s nice, I sit outside, enjoying the sun and fresh air as I write on my mini netbook.

I’m not a strict plotter. I'm more character driven. After my initial research, I know the main characters well; their goals, motivations, and conflicts. Plus the inciting incident. Then I let the characters tell their story. As I write, my subconscious mind works on building one scene upon another. When I get a bit stumped on what should happen next, I raise the question to myself in my mind before I go to bed, and the solution usually comes to me in my sleep. As far as atmosphere goes, I enjoy listening to music as I write, but the volume must be low, so as not to distract me.
RJ: What are some of your favorite romance picks for the following: Favorite Love Song? Favorite Scent on a Man? Favorite Romantic Comedy? And Favorite Romance Novel?
AJ: Favorite Love Song? Josh Groban’s Per Te; though it’s sung in a foreign language, the emotion in the song stirs something in me every time I hear it. Favorite Scent on a Man? I love the scent of my husband when he emerges from the shower smelling of his unique, fresh, clean essence. Favorite Romantic Comedy? The Girl Next Door. And Favorite Romance Novel? It’s a tie between Virginia Henley’s...Seduced, and Julia London’s...Ruthless Charmer.
RJ: Tell me about your path to publications? Where did it begin and how did you get here?
AJ: After surviving a near-fatal car accident, and becoming handicapped, I returned to college and received a BA degree in History from Washburn University. But afterward, I wasn't sure which way to go next until my husband said to me: “You love history and romance, why don’t you combine the two, and write your own historical romance.” I thought he was crazy, but soon story ideas began to flow, and I started writing Vow of Seduction. I entered and won several RWA sponsored writing contests using material from Vow of Seduction. As a result, I received three requests for a full submission of the manuscript from New York editors. Just three months after I got a rejection letter from the first editor, Hilary Sares at Kensington offered me a two book contract, which I accepted.
RJ: What do you do when the pen (or keyboard) is down for the count? What
hobbies or solitary interest do you like to pursue? 
AJ: I love reading, going to movies, visiting friends and family. I’m also addicted to watching HGTV.
RJ: What can the readers and I expect next from you? What are you working on now? 
AJ: I sent a proposal to my editor for the 3rd book in the Vow series, and am waiting to hear whether or not it will be contracted. I'm also planning a Regency trilogy called Scandalous Brides which I intend to submit to publishers.
RJ: Final Question: What is something interesting or shocking about you that the readers may not know? If you lead a staid existence (besides the whole writing and selling novels to hundreds of thousands of people), what is something daring that you’ve always wanted to do? 
AJ: I’ve always wanted to go bungee jumping, and explore a tropical jungle.
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RJ: Thanks again for stopping by, Angela!
AJ: Thank you, Rita. I enjoyed sharing a little bit about me and my writing with you and your blog readers.

~*~Giveaway Details~*~
Angela Johnson has generously offered two (2) giveaways for copies of 'Vow Of Deception' to some lucky commenters! First Prize: A copy of 'Vow Of Seduction' (previous book in the series) and 'Vow Of Deception'. Second Prize: A copy of 'Vow Of Deception'. Follow the guidelines below and comment for your chance to win. The giveaway will end on Tuesday, November 16th, 2010 at 11:59:00 PM. The winner will be announced and contacted via email on Wednesday, November 17th, 2010. (*Restricted to US and Canadian residents)

Giveaway Guidelines: To be entered in the giveaway all you have to do is leave a comment. Please include your email address!
(NO EMAIL= INVALID ENTRY)
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For Extra Entries (do one or more of the following for extra shots at winning):
+2 'Like'  Angela's Facebook Fan Page
+2 'Like'  The 'Not Another Romance Blog' Blog on Facebook
+3  Leave a comment on My Review of 'Vow Of Deception'
+4 Spread the word: Tweet on Twitter, Post a Facebook status, or Blog about this interview and giveaway (provide a link where you did it so I can check)
+5 Become a Follower/ Be a Follower
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(Easy instructions on how-to find and share direct links to a specific facebook or twitter status': here)

***Tell me in your comment which extra entries you are entitled to and include the necessary links so I can check, or they will not count!

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To all the readers, be sure to make use of those 'on the web' links above to better acquaint yourself with this fabulous author! This has been great! Good luck to all of the giveaway contestants and I hope all of you have enjoyed this edition of: 

20 comments:

  1. jeannemiro@yahoo.comNovember 2, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    Angela -

    I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed Vow of Seduction and can't wait to pick up Vow of Deception. I must admit the reason I picked up Vow of Seduction is because my husband is a Mason and also a Knight Templar and since so many of my relatives have also belonged to the Masonic Lodge I have always had an interest in their history including the Crusades. I love your stories and really enjoy the conflict and the way you develope your characters.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would love to win Vow of Deception and Vow of Seduction. I love this type romance stories as does my daughter with whom I share my books. Enjoyed the interview and have added both books to my wish list.

    Thanks for this opportunity to enter.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  3. +2 'Like' Angela's Facebook Fan Page(@Brenda Hill)

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  4. +2 'Like' The 'Not Another Romance Blog' Blog on Facebook

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  5. +4 Spread the word: Tweet on Twitter(@misskallie2000)

    http://twitter.com/misskallie2000/status/29498086821

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Post a Facebook status(@Brenda Hill)

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1424713340#!/permalink.php?story_fbid=129617250425430&id=1424713340

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I follow via GFC

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Jeanne,

    I'm so glad you enjoyed Vow of Seduction. I strive to create compelling, conflict-ridden character, so I appreciate hearing that the characters and conflict resonated with you.

    That's so interesting about your husband. I've never met anyone who was a Knight Templar. The Crusades is such a fascinating period in European history. Someday I'd love to write a series about one of the military orders during this period.

    Angela

    ReplyDelete
  9. Misskallie2000,

    Thanks for stopping by to read my interview and enter the giveaway. I hope you enjoy the books.

    I have no children, but my mother and I shared an interest in reading, romance novels in particular. This is a special bond, and one your daugter will always remember.

    Angela

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great interveiw! I enjoyed reading a little bit about Rand and Rose! I know I will reading and loving this book soon! I love medieval romance books and I don't see enough of them anymore! Thanks for sharing today!

    evjochum@aol.com

    Comment and e-mail
    +2 liked Angela on FB
    +2 I'm a follower of NARB on FB
    +3 I left a comment on your reveiw
    +5 I'm a follower of NARB Blog

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks, Johanna. I'm thrilled you enjoyed the interview. I agree, I wish there were more medievals being published today. Their popularity seems to rise and fall in cycles.

    Angela

    ReplyDelete
  12. Angela, I love your covers! I enjoyed the interview and getting to know you better, and I look forward to reading your stories. Best of luck with your new release!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you, Pat. I'm glad you liked the interview and my covers. You've been amazingly supportive.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Congrautlations, Angela!! I have always loved Medieval stories,and yours sounds even better than some becaues of the heroine's character. In phone counseling for the Sexual Assault Center here, I've worked with abused women, so I'll be very interested in reading your story.

    Thank you for sharing your story about how you became a writer.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh, and please enter me in the contest. My email addy is: rebelatheart@bellsouth.net
    Thanks,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  16. Okay, the first three were easy enough and a pleasure to do. BTW, I am the same Julie as above with the rebelatheart@bellsouth.net address.
    I just went to another computer that works faster.

    I have a question for #5. Do you mean become a follower of this blog or of your blog? I'd have no problem with both!---Is that 2 extra point then? I know I've already friended you on facebook before.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Angela, Just wanted to comment on your video---I got chills watching it---the music and the way the wording was with the pictures wrenching.
    I also read your excerpts, including the bonus---sucked me right in!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Julie,
    the +5 extra entries for 'following' is for GFC following this blog (Not Another Romance Blog). I do not believe Angela has a blog (if she did, I would be stalking it relentlessly)

    GFC-Google Friend Connect;the first box on the left side of the blog. Just click follow =)

    ReplyDelete
  19. thanks for the interview. I enjoy good medieval romances (strong galant knights = sighs). Joanna Lindsey was one of my first "must buy" authors. this sounds like an enjoyable book, now to find room on the tbr pile ;) best of luck with getting your proposed new books accepted and released.

    gamistress66 (at)
    aol (dot) com

    (+4 => liked both facebook pages (da kenney),
    +3 => comment on review - again, well done
    +5 => follower)

    ReplyDelete

 

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