USA Today National Bestselling author, Joy Nash

I'm privileged to announce USA Today National Bestselling author, Joy Nash, shared a little about herself with our readers—and what a success story. Learn how she did it!

She is the award-winning author of historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance fiction with Celtic, magic, fantasy, futuristic, romantic and sensual themes. My first chance to read one of her books was during a Romance Writers of America contest, Celtic Fire, and I was hooked. Now, all her books have a special place in my heart and truly are keepers. Her new book, Deep Magic, is now available everywhere! Read the excerpt of the second book in Joy's Druids of Avalon series, and order it online today!

Thanks so much, Joy, for taking the time to share with us today.

1. Can you tell us a little about your latest release?
Certainly! My latest book, Deep Magic, was released on Jan 2, 2008. Deep Magic is the second book in my Druids of Avalon series, which has been compared by reviewers to Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon and Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy. The Druids of Avalon series follows the lives of the Druid ancestors of King Arthur, as they struggle to pave the path for the great future king. Deep Magic, in which I tell my own version of how the great sword Excalibur was forged, follows the first book in the Druids series, The Grail King.

DEEP MAGIC... After generations of persecution, Britain's Druids have returned to Avalon, conjuring a magical mist to shield their illegal haven from Roman eyes. When a rogue Roman sorcerer threatens the isle's secrecy, Gwendolyn, the chosen successor to Avalon's Guardian, turns to forbidden Deep Magic in an effort to save the Druids from discovery. Crucial to her plans is Marcus Aquila, the handsome Roman blacksmith who once saved her life. But Gwen, a shapeshifter, cannot fully control the wolf that hides in her soul. The beast threatens the tentative love she and Marcus have forged. And what of the sword of Deep Magic they’ve created together...will it be Avalon's salvation...or its downfall?

You can read an excerpt of Deep Magic on my website, http://www.joynash.com/. Or you can listen to a podcast of me reading a different excerpt on Dorchester Publishing's website http://www.dorchesterpub.com/ !

2. What's coming up next?
Right now I'm hard at work finishing the urban fantasy Immortals: The Crossing. The Immortals series is a multi-author series I've co-authored with Jennifer Ashley and Robin Popp. The first round of Immortals books were released in 2007 – and all four titles became USA Today Bestsellers! Now four new Immortals books -- three full length novels and an anthology (with one full length book and one novella from each Immortals author) will be released beginning September 2008. Immortals: The Crossing (Oct 08), features the Sidhe demigod Mac, a very popular secondary character from my first Immortals book, Immortals: The Awakening. To keep up on Immortals happening, visit http://www.immortals-series.com/



3. Share with us how you felt when you learned you made the USA Today National Bestselling list.
The Awakening is the third book in the Immortals series. After Jennifer's The Calling and Robin's The Darkening each hit the USA Today list, I was on pins and needles waiting for my sales figures. I really didn't want to let the team down by tanking! Especially with JK Rowling taking up about twenty bestseller slots with her seven Harry Potter books in various incarnations . Luckily, The Awakening came through for us, as did Jennifer's finale, The Gathering. I was ecstatic, of course, and probably just as relieved.

4. Have you used a critique group? What are the benefits?
Yes, I've been in a critique group since I joined RWA in 2001. After a few false starts, I teamed up with two wonderful authors, Donna Birdsell and Anita Nolan. None of us were published when we began critiquing. Donna is now multi-published, with books from Berkley Sensation and Harlequin NEXT. Anita is now pursuing publication for middle grade readers, and has published educational short historical fiction as part of a middle grade history textbook series. I highly recommend critique partners. They keep you honest! They will tell you if some plot point's not working, and they'll catch all kinds of inconsistencies you've missed, even after your fifteenth read through. Often, authors are just too close to their own work to be able to see the story objectively, through a reader's eye.

5. What is your writing space like? Do you write at a desk? Somewhere else? Listen to music? Have to have no distractions?
If I had to write at a desk, I wouldn't have finished my first book! I write on a laptop computer, while sitting on the living room couch (you know, the one in the room near the front door that no one ever uses). Often, my dog is curled up at the end of the couch. The coffee table is my desk, supporting my feet and all the notes I've written to myself. I never listen to music while writing – I find it distracting. When I first started, I needed absolute silence (and preferably an empty house), but now I can filter out most background noise, like the TV in the family room, and the normal noise generated by three teens/preteens. But I do have a set of noise-cancelling headphones, and I'm not afraid to use them!

6. What is the message you'd like to share with your readers?
That there will always be real life heroes—men and women who face external foes, and their own weaknesses, with honor and optimism. They may not be fighting to save the world, like the heroes in a novel, but they are fighting for a piece of their own world. For their marriage and family, or for a child's future, for the good of their community or country, or to defeat an illness, or to just do their job honestly and as well as they can. And that love is always a part of that struggle. The heroes in books may be larger than life, but the inspiration for those characters are everywhere around us.

7. Do you feel contests helped you in making it where you are today? Why or why not?
Yes, I definitely do. I first entered contests in order to get honest critiques – and mostly that was worthwhile, especially the painful critiques from knowledgeable judges who ruthlessly pointed out my weaknesses. Of course, there were a few downers – here and there I encountered a less-than-tactful judges whose subjective comments made my blood pressure skyrocket! The first manuscript I sent out on the contest circuit had fair results, especially after a good number of rewrites. It was the second manuscript, however, that hit paydirt. Celtic Fire did extremely well in contests in 2003/2004. I was somewhat of a contest slut....ahem diva...but the effort paid off – Celtic Fire became a 2004 Golden Heart finalist. As a result, I had numerous requests from publishers, and the manuscript ended up selling to Dorchester. I used to joke that if all the judges that ever read the first chapters of Celtic Fire in a contest actually went out and bought it, that the book would hit the NY Times list!

8. When did you start writing and what gets you through the rough times, if any?
I always fooled around with writing a book, but I really started writing seriously in 2001. It was one of those silver lining things. In autumn of 2000, I came down with a flu that never went away – it turned into a case of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that took almost four years to completely heal. The first year was particularly bad. I struggled to take care of my three young children, and had no energy for anything else that involved moving around. Funny thing about CFS is, you're extremely fatigued, but it's also hard to sleep. So I read a lot of books, and eventually started writing my own, mostly to get my mind off of worrying if I was every going to be able to walk a mile without needed to lie down for three hours afterward. So actually, it's the writing that gets me through the rough times. Writing is fun. I never get tired of it, though I do sometimes get distracted by all the other things in my life. My trick is to write in the morning, first thing after the kids leave for school. If I put it off, sometimes my pages don't get done.

9. What was your happiest moment as far as writing goes?
I probably screamed the loudest when I learned Celtic Fire was a Golden Heart Finalist. Selling Celtic Fire to Dorchester was also a high point. But I'd have to say that Immortals: The Awakening hitting the USA Today list has been my biggest thrill.

10. What advice can you give to readers?
The same advice I give my children – concentrate on creating and spreading goodwill, and break the karma of the bad by not passing it along to the next person when it hits you.

Wow, Joy, this is an incredible story. I’ve never heard of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but what a journey! And to think that horrible flu was the beginning of a successful line of books that capture the reader’s heart. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us!! And anyone who has a yearning to read the kind of stories that will keep you hooked to the page until the very end, check out Joy’s work. I’m sold!

Terry Spear
http://www.terryspear.com/
Sold!!! Don't Cry Wolf, sequel to Heart of the Wolf
4 Responses
  1. Nicole North Says:

    Fascintaing interview, Joy and Terry!! I enjoyed learning about how you write and your journey to publication. I have one of your books on my big TBR stack. Time to start reading it! :-)


  2. I loved both Celtic Fire and The Grail King and already have the new one on my wish list!

    Great interview, Joy and Terry! I enjoyed reading about Joy's journey to publication.


  3. nefatariel Says:

    Great Interview! I love hearing about writing spaces and how authors came upon their ideas. It helps me being a writer myself. I love Joy's books. I can't wait to read the next.


  4. Clover Says:

    Wonderful interview. Love, love, love Joy's books. Keep writing. I need more.


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