We Give You Fever — Interview With Debut Author Joan Swan

Happy Thursday, Scribesters!  It’s an especially Happy Thursday for me, Suze, because after our freak October snowstorm and multi-day power outage, my neighborhood has been restored to full capacity. Thank you, O Great Electricity Goddess!  

Please welcome triple RWA Golden Heart finalist/double Daphne Du Maurier finalist Joan Swan, whose debut novel FEVER will release on February 28, 2012 from Kensington Brava.  Joan is generously giving away a $10.00 Amazon gift card to one lucky random commenter, and a handmade custom FEVER bookmark to five more.  (Check out that cover, romance lovers — you KNOW you want a bookmark!)  Contest ends Friday, November 4, at midnight EST.   Take it, Joan!

Temperature's Definitely Rising At The Scribes!

How do you battle the doubt monster?  Doubt Monster: the nagging feeling that your prose is terrible, your plot is silly, your characters are insipid and no one in their right mind would read this drivel, let alone buy it.

I respect the doubt monster.  It’s taken me a long time to get there, but I’ve learned that if that doubt is creeping in, my subconscious is trying to tell me something.  If it’s whispering, “Your plot is silly.” I take a harder look at my plot.  If it’s nagging, “Your characters are insipid.” I say, “Er…um…hold on, let me look that up…” *tick tock* *tick tock* *gaspFlat, dull and uninteresting?  I say, “How rude! Get out of my way. I need to smack a few characters into shape.”

Now, if it’s saying things like, “This is drivel, no one will buy it.”  Here’s how I approach that:

1)      Go to a movie

2)      Take a walk on the beach

3)      Buy myself something pretty

4)      Get a massage

5)      Generally kick myself in the ass, tell myself to take a pill, suck it up and get back to the freaking keyboard already

Have you thought about writing something that is completely different for you?  Perhaps writing in a new genre or just taking a story someplace that you haven’t done before?

Best Bookmark Ever!

Every story.  Every time I contemplate a new story, I push myself to take it a step further.  If what I just wrote was sexy, I want the next one to be sexier.  If what I just wrote was dark, next one has to be gritty.  This one had three povs, next one will have five.

What story haven’t you told yet that you want to tell?  What is holding you back?

I have a contemporary story I want to tell.  A sexy, sensitive cowboy; a feisty, independent horse trainer.  A small town with lots of history.  A secret…or three.

A trilogy, I think, the other two books stemming from the sexy, sensitive cowboy’s two brothers: sexy, secretive and sexy, saucy.

The only thing holding me back is this too freaking short 24 hr day, the human need for sleep and the pesky needs of husband, children, pets, day job…  Ah, the trials and tribulations of daily life.

What is the most surprising thing that has happened in your writing career?

That I got this far.  This industry is truly brutal.  If I didn’t feel compelled to write, if I didn’t know this is where I was meant to be, I would have dropped out of the race a long time ago.

What would you do if you couldn’t be a writer any longer?

I’d be a publicist.  I’ve discovered that I love the promotional avenue of publishing.  The website design, advertising, coordinating blog tours, organizing interviews, etc.  I mean…for someone else—coordinating and scheduling them for someone else. J

They say that every author has a partially completed, quite-possibly-terrible half a story shoved in a drawer somewhere.  What is yours?  What is it about?  What makes it terrible?  Would you ever consider picking it up and finishing it?

FEVER is my 10th novel.  This could take a while because I feel that all my past stories are salvageable to some degree.  And I’m completely impartial!

Author Jane Haddam says that anyone who seriously annoys her gets bumped off in her next book.  How do you incorporate your real-life experiences into your stories?

Torture.  I don’t let them off as easily as Jane.

What made you decide to write romance?  Who are your favorite romance authors?

I write romance because I can’t seem to NOT write a romance into a story.  When I read, I prefer suspense or thrillers with a romantic thread.  But when I write, romance seems to take over a lot more of the book than those I read.  And I could never answer that second question…I’d have to commit hara kiri because I could never name them all—and they’d all be favorites for different reasons.

Your book, FEVER, will release on February 28th, 2012  Tell us about it. 

Debut Author Joan Swan

Oh, I love FEVER…even two years after writing it, fully rewriting it once, rewriting the second half again and editing it…I don’t know how many times.

FEVER is the first of the Phoenix Rising series.

The overarching series plot broils around a government conspiracy after the explosion of a military warehouse injures a team of seven hazmat firefighters, killing one.  The contents of the building, extremely confidential and dangerous radioactive chemicals used by the Department of Defense in secretive scientific experiments, have inflicted the team with various paranormal abilities.  Abilities the government wants to study covertly.  Abilities the team wants to understand and expose.  With military advancement and national power at risk on one side and personal health and freedom at stake on the other, each group is fighting for precious stakes.

FEVER is about one of the seven firefighters, Teague Creek, convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, framed by a government threatened by his prying questions into the warehouse explosion.  Teague has been denied an appeal, lost the daughter he lived for, and the career as a firefighter he loved.  With no hope left, he plans an escape.  But his plan goes wrong when the woman he kidnaps as leverage to get his daughter back turns out to be someone else.  And this woman quickly clues into the abilities he tries to hide, creating a bond neither can afford while they’re on the run from both the cops and undercover operatives who want Teague silenced.  This time, permanently.

What was your biggest mis-step in your writing career so far?

Not connecting with writers and readers sooner.  Not taking the career seriously sooner.

My first final in the RWA Golden Heart was in 2006.  When I was notified, I was polite and pleased and said thank you.  The woman on the phone was clearly disappointed, saying, “You’re the only person I’ve called today who hasn’t screamed.”  And all I could think was, why would I scream?

I didn’t understand how important RWA was.  I didn’t understand how much a final placement in this contest could have meant for me at that time if I’d pursued it.  I didn’t understand how important relationships and networking is in this business until very recently.  I let a lot of time and a lot of opportunities pass me by.

Do you have a word-related pet peeve?

Oh, I have a lot of pet peeves, but words aren’t typically among them.  Wait, wait…yes.  I really, really hate the word ain’t.  Really hate it.

What is your junk food of choice?

It would be easier to tell you what’s not my junk food of choice: anything green and leafy.

Love: jelly bellies, chocolate covered macadamia nuts, spice drops…this could go on for pages.

What’s next for you?  Can you give us a sneak peek?

I’m having a lot of fun with a new paranormal that ventures deeper into the genre, exploring witchcraft, demons and true evil.  It’s complicated, dark, gritty and sexy.  Very fun!

Here’s a little unedited, never-before-seen excerpt of the WIP:

Delaney didn’t wait for an invitation.  She pushed her shoulders back and rounded the doctor, stopping on the threshold. 

Beckett wasn’t sitting on the gurney or pacing the room as she’d expected considering his itch to leave.  He was lying on the gurney on his back, one filthy black cross-trainer dirtying the crisp white sheet with soot, the other foot crossed over the opposite knee.  He wore only jeans.  Dark jeans.  Unbuttoned.  And above that unfastened button stretched a canvas of bronzed skin tight over a lean torso.  A torso mottled with collections of furious bruises and marred with raw red gashes that had been glued back together.  One forearm lay over his forehead, the other hand holding a notebook at arm’s length directly above his face, where he appeared to be studying notes.  His biceps were as equally bruised and scraped and as equally sculpted as that chest.

Delaney stepped into the room, but kept a healthy distance, unsure what to expect.  “Chief Beckett.”

The arm on his forehead jerked down and his head swiveled toward her.  His face may have taken the hardest hit.  She couldn’t even tell what he truly looked like with all the swelling and bruising.  And another few lines of super-glue stitching made him look Frankensteinish.  But his eyes were…beautiful.  Big and brown and warm.  Outlined in thick black lashes.  Accented with heavy black brows—one of which sported another nice gash.

He squeezed his eyes shut, winced and brought a soot-blackened hand to his forehead.  “Holy f***.”

“Don’t touch your face until we get those cuts covered,” Garner said, moving closer.  “And I told you, no sudden moves.”

“Then don’t flash a piece of a** like that in front of me.”

Delaney tightened the cross of her arms and the clench of her teeth.

Garner cast her an apologetic look.  “Like I said…”  Then turned back to Beckett, helping him as the man struggled into a sitting position.  “This is Agent Shaw from Special Crimes.  She’s here to work with you.  Considering your condition, Chance, I think it would be in your best interest to keep your mouth shut for a while.”  


Delaney turned to Dr. Garner.  “If you drug him into oblivion, and only if you drug him into oblivion, I’ll take him off your hands.” 

Thanks, Joan!  I can’t wait for FEVER.  It’s available for preorder here from Amazon, and here from Barnes and Noble.  Don’t forget to comment for your chance at Joan’s great giveaways today.  For more information about Joan, see www.joanswan.com.  


41 thoughts on “We Give You Fever — Interview With Debut Author Joan Swan”

  1. Yay to romance & please don’t stop writing it because there are a multitude of us out here just waiting to devour good romance books. I wish there were more hours in a day too; so many books so little time to indulge! I’m so looking forward to reading your new PNR, my fav subgenres are Historical & Fantasy but I reckon there’s a fine line btwn PNR & Fantasy Romance.

  2. I love when authors talk about all the work they put into their book. It’s further proof that writing is a real career and a real job. (But a very cool and awesome job.)

  3. Hi, Joan! Congratulations on the book! Loved what you had to say about going to the movies. That’s my go-to salvation, too! Best of luck with your book; it sounds fantastic. Hope to meet you one day!

    1. Hi Kristan,
      I love the darkness, the largeness, the sound…it’s all larger than life, absorbs you and takes you away for two good hours. Then drops you back into you day with a whole new appreciateion for your life.
      Thanks for commenting.

  4. Tenth… I feel your pain. I had an alarming number of manuscripts in a drawer. Did you scream when you found out FEVER had sold?

    1. LOL, evidently, I rarely scream. I have this bizzare fear that someone will turn around and take it away…(THEN I might scream(…so I guess I stay reserved and by the time I convince myself it’s gonna stick, it’s past screaming stage. 🙂

      Good luck with those partials. They have promise, just like mine. I have no doubt.

  5. Great interview Joan, and FEVER sounds awesome. I subscribe to your methods of dealing with the doubt monster–take his good advice and kick his butt to the curb if he’s being abnoxious!

    I also envy your love of PR. If this writing thing doesn’t work out for you, I could really use someone who loves promotion. LOL

    Congrats on the book and I love your bookmark–stunning and unique!

  6. Hi Joan,
    I adore your book mark and I’m really looking forward to reading Fever. Thanks for sharing, it gives me hope.

  7. I link into all of the giveaways that mention your bookmarks just to see them. They are all so great. Looking forward to reading FEVER.

  8. Hi Joan,
    Did I get this right – this is your 10th novel but the first published? You authors amaze me.
    I second you on the word ain’t but sagging jeans tic me off even more. That excerpt is great – thanks.

  9. I cannot wait to get your book. February seems a long way from now but I do know how quickly time fles 🙂 I like how you push yourself and is not afraid to challenge your writing.

  10. Thanks for coming by, all you Scribe newbies! It’s great to see some new faces (well, some of you are just avatars, so I’m picturing each one of you as breathtakingly beautiful!). I hope you’ll nose around our blog, and keep coming back. And thanks of course, to Joan. You are a fabulous guest! I’d love to have you back!

    1. Yes, actually. The manuscript just before FEVER finalled in the RWA Golden Heart twice. The plot is based around human smuggling over the mexico/california border which escalates to smuggling terrorists. With the growing intensity of violence in MX, I want to revamp the book to reflect that violence and resumbit.

      And there are a couple of others that have promise with some revamping as well. At minimum I can “part them out” for other stories. 🙂

  11. Hi Joan, sorry to comment so late. My brain is still recovering from having no heat or electricity for 5 days. First off, love the cover. It is HOT! One thing that I can really relate to is romance writing. I keep trying to write a straight Urban Fantasy and the romance (and HEA) always find their way into the story! Thanks for being our guest. Best of luck with FEVER.

  12. Hi! Great interview, thanks for being with us today! I loved your reactions to Doubty gettin’ in your head. I especially like to go to the movies when there aren’t (ain’t?) many other folks there. I love a private showing. Fever has a great cover and it seems like a fun series. Can’t wait until it comes out in Feb.

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