Site Meter Vamps and Scamps: Interview with the Fabulous JoAnn Ross

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Interview with the Fabulous JoAnn Ross

She really is fabulous. JoAnn Ross is one of my very favorite people, not to mention a fantastically talented and prolific author. I was so happy when she agreed to do a blog interview for us and I agree with her...readers on the Scamps, Vamps & Spicy Romance loop asked a ton of wonderful qeustions, but I think JoAnn selected some really great ones to answer.

Without further ado...I give you...JoAnn Ross...

Wow, what a lot of great questions!! I want to stress that it was extremely difficult to choose, so my selection process was mostly random. Which pretty much describes everything about my writing. :)

1) Is Emma Quinlan's friend Roxi from Cajun Heat getting her own story? Or Bobby Jefferson from Blaze? ~ Judy F

I'm so glad you asked that, Judy! ::g:: Because it gives me a chance to tell you that Love Potion #9, my novella in the BAD BOYS SOUTHERN STYLE anthology, will be out the first of July. After Katrina blew away her shop, Roxi moved Hex Appeal to Savannah, another of my favorite cities. Emma and Gabriel also make an appearance. You can see the cover, read an excerpt, AND even watch a hot Bad Boys Southern Style video on my website at As for Bobby, I haven't planned a story for him, however, I've learned never to say never!

2) Will there be anymore trilogies in the future? ~ Chad

Yes. But that's all I can say about it at this moment. ::g:: Oh, I can tell you that you just might be seeing more of Brendan, from my Irish trilogy and OUT OF THE STORM and BLAZE, and Father Mike, Joe's brother from OUT OF THE STORM. (Both men are harboring dark and dangerous secrets from their pasts.) Stay tuned.

3) One of the things I like about your books is the Louisiana bayous are the setting of many of your books and in fact many of them have been set in the fabulous city of New Orleans. Why the fascination with this location? Has Katrina had any affect on your writing and do you plan to set future books in these locations? ~ Barbara

New Orleans is fabulous, isn't it? Even now, with all its current challenges, it's still like no other city in America. I fell in love with it back in the early 90s when we spent Christmas there. After that first visit, we've gone back every chance we get, including many visits to the bayou country where the Callahan Brothers trilogy, and BAYOU BAD BOYS is set.

And yes, Katrina had quite an effect. I was well into a book set in the city when Katrina hit. We'd been down in the Mississippi Gulf area for a library fund-raiser the Saturday of that weekend when the storm began to turn. We made it back to TN Sunday night, and I was glued to the television all Labor Day, watching the tragic destruction. I kept going back and forth on what to do since my book centered around crooked cops, corrupt politicians, the mob running gambling/prostitution boats in the Gulf, a battle between good and bad voodoo and -- oops -- a huge hurricane hitting the city. By late Monday night I'd come up with a new romantic suspense set in Wyoming about a serial killer (the man who was once the boy raised by wolves), which became IMPULSE.

I'm now back to work on the New Orleans book -- and passing a good time with way sexy bad boy cop Nick Broussard -- which will be out in February or March of 2007. (It no longer has a hurricane.) The title on the excerpt in the back of IMPULSE is FALLEN, but I just received word last week that may change. I'll announce the new title on my website as soon as I know it myself. And wow, that ended up a long answer! LOL

4) Jo Ann, if you could meet any of the characters in one of your books, who would you want to meet? (and why?) ~ Erin the Innocent

Hey, Erin -- One of my favorite heroines, of FAIR HAVEN, has the same name as you! As for meeting my characters. . . Wait! You mean they're not real? Then who are all those people who've been hanging around my house for the past 23 years? ;)

5) How much research do you do? Patti

Tons. I changed majors five times in college, so each time I start a book, it's like having someone actually pay me to change majors again. Remember, in Tootsie, where Dustin Hoffman tells his agent that he's not merely any tomato, he's a BEEFSTEAK tomato? We'll that's how I write; I'm sort of a "method" writer who has to be inside every character's skin in order to write them. (Which, since I've had serial killer books due December 30th two years in a row, has made for some rather strange Christmas seasons! Even my dogs started acting edgy around me while I was writing the Flamemaster's death row scenes in BLAZE.) Anyway, working this way means that I eat what they eat, listen to the music they listen to, and pretty much need to know everything they know. I read approximately 25 books on fire fighting and arson investigation for BLAZE, and even passed a written sample certification test.

6) What is the most fascinating thing you've learned about the writing process, and/or the most fascinating thing during your research for one of your stories? ~ Stacy

The most fascinating thing, to me, about the writing process is that twenty-three years and ninety-six books later, I still have no idea how I do it. I only know that some days it works. And others, like a baseball pitcher who loses his mechanics and doesn't have the foggiest idea why, it doesn't. Fortunately there have been more good days than bad.

Thanks for inviting me, Lucy, darlin'. I only wish we'd had room to answer everyone. These were all truly great questions!


Erin the Innocent said...

Hi Jo Ann :) I just picked up the book Impulse today at Chapters :) I can't wait to read it! I don't think there is a book of yours that I've read that I haven't loved :)

~Erin the Innocent

Judy F said...

Great questions. Thanks for taking the time to answer them. I need to go pick up Impulse.

Janice Maynard said...

JoAnn - Great interview! Impulse is, even as we speak, winging its way to my house. :)

I see that it is already hitting the charts. But who is surprised by that?!?!? Not me...

Janice M.
(Fellow Tennessee gal and big fan.)

Stacy~ said...

JoAnn, here's to another 96+ books! I'm glad to hear it's still exciting as the day you started, and I am fascinated by the research you've done for your books. Very impressive. Thank you for hanging out with us :)

Bookstoredeb said...

Hi JoAnn. Great answers to fantastic questions! Looking forward to more wonderful books!

JoAnn Ross said...

Hey Erin -- Thanks for taking Will and Faith home with you. I hope you enjoy their story!

And yes, Judy, you must go pick Impulse up. Now! LOL And I'm not trying to influence you, but my kid called this morning, said he'd finished it last night and believes it's my best book yet. Not that he's prejudiced or anything. ;)

Janice, thanks for ordering the book and yes, I was tickled it managed to hit USA Today after only two "official" days out. And you know I'm a huge fan of yours, as well. (Loved Suite Fantasy!) I also enjoyed seeing your RT report!

And Stacy & Bookstoredeb, thanks to both of you, as well. There's always a fear whenever I guest blog that no one will respond, which would leave me feeling a bit like Mary Tyler Moore whenever she'd throw one of those dreadfully unsuccessful parties on her MTM show. :)

Lucy Monroe said...

Oh, JoAnn...THANKS for coming out to play! I can't wait to read IMPULSE myself. :) We've had a discussion on what makes a book edgy on my personal blog and I brought you up as an example of the kind of edgy writing I love to read. :) You know...the books that take you to the precipice and over and you don't even mind because you're enjoying yourself so much reading them? Like your others, I know IMPULSE is going to fit that definition beautifully. And maybe even take it a step further.

Welcome to our blog!


Stacy~ said...

JoAnn, I am tickled that anyone who has had the amazing career you have had still takes the time to chat with readers - the internet is an amazing tool and I am thrilled you are so interactive with your fans. Believe me, it means a lot to us too, and if that wasn't enough, Lucy has been a wonderful advocate of you. Thanx for stopping by :)

Judy F said...

JoAnn I followed your orders. LOl We had Impulse in today at my bookstore. Can't wait to start it.

Thanks again for stopping by.

JoAnn Ross said...

Hey Lucy girlfriend! I was tickled to be invited to come play in your sandbox. ;)

As for what makes a book edgy, hmm. Well, you know for me everything's always all about character, so I mostly just heap as much turmoil on them, then sit back and watch them work their way out from beneath the mess. Messes they often make worse before things get better.

Someone (sorry, I forget who, exactly) asked me which of my characters I was most like, and I guess I'd have to say there's a lot of me in most of my characters because I tend to take one or more of my own flaws, and give it to them. With my number of flaws, I figure I have at least another 96 books in me. LOL On a slightly more serious note, I do think that in order to write fiction, a writer has to be willing to open up some scary internal doors and go down some very dark stairs.

Faith and Will in Impulse are probably two of my favorite characters because they're both so flawed. (I think of Will, as he was when I first met him in that first scene in a Savannah bar, as Peter Pan with a gun.) And Faith definitely has darkest past of any of my heroines. So far.

A reader on Amazon described them as "at the same time beautiful and flawed. Tortured and strong. Dishonest with each other and honorable with one another. " Having played with the contrast of dark and light a lot throughout the story, I was pleased to see it worked for her. And, of course, I've never met a redemption story I didn't feel compelled to write, LOL.

Again, thanks for inviting me and Happy Memorial Day!

JoAnn Ross said...

Stacy -- I love being able to chat with readers! And the internet is, indeed, a great tool. Especially since some people, and we won't mention names ( but hers starts with L and ends with Y), seems to believe I'm a tad reclusive. :D

Judy -- Wow! You follow instructions really, really well! Thanks for buying Impulse and I hope you enjoy Will and Faith's story.

Kate Davies said...

Waaaah! Like I told you earlier, JoAnn, I tried to buy Impulse this week and there was not a copy to be found. I have to hit a bigger city soon, or order online.

And I loved what you said about heaping turmoil on your characters. But in your books, it never feels forced or unrealistic -- the characters, and the situations they work through, are always gut-wrenchingly real. Which is why I want to be you when I grow up. :)

Lucy Monroe said...

LOL Did *I* say that? Me call you reclusive? Blinking with a very innocent expression. (Did it work? The innocent expression, I mean. LOL) Did I mention you're also uber generous with your time?

Kati...this it totally off topic, but I can't wait until your avatar is a book cover. least you've got a release date!

Hugs to all!

Kate Davies said...

Oh my gosh, Lucy, I was thinking the same thing the other day! I know the cover artist is about halfway done with the July releases, so I'm *really* close to getting my cover. I can't wait!

Barbara-PF said...

HI JoAnn

Thanks for answering the questions. Really interesting answers. Looking forward to Impulse.

Take care and thanks so much for stopping by.