"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
No Time Like the Present
Spotlight on Contemporary Paranormal Romance
Joy Nash loves to write her dreams - and sometimes, her nightmares! As a child, Joy loved books and harbored a secret desire to be a writer. She became an architect instead. Years later, giving birth to three children in less than four years caused something in her brain to snap. Now she designs buildings and romance novels. When not reading or writing, Joy's hobbies include brain-numbing movie binges, staring into space, and wishing her house was clean. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, kids, and a liver-spotted Dalmatian that she swears was a cat in a past life.
Joy writes historical and contemporary paranormals romance novels for Dorchester Publishing. Her 2006 release, The Grail King, won the 2007 Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Historical Fantasy. For excerpts and a monthly contest, visit www.joynash.com
An Interview with Joy Nash
PNR: Welcome back, when we last spoke in March 2006 you were awaiting the release of THE GRAIL KING, and you have been very busy since then. Could you tell readers what you have been up to?
Joy N.: Certainly! When we'd spoken last year, I'd just finished proposals for books 2 & 3 in my Druids of Avalon series for Dorchester, Deep Magic and Silver Silence. Those books are scheduled for release in 2008. The first book in the series, The Grail King, was very well received! I even had an independent bookseller tell me she created a special cookie recipe for my Druid hero in The Grail King -- she whipped up a batch of Owein's Oatmeal Cookies for her store's bookclub! I was thrilled to accept Romantic Times Bookreviews Magazine's Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Historical Fantasy for The Grail King at the RT Booklovers' Convention in Houston last April.
I also spent a good part of 2006 working with authors Jennifer Ashley and Robin Popp, and Dorchester editor Leah Hultenschmidt, on Dorchester's Immortals series. Working with Jennifer and Robin was fantastic. Our styles clicked and complimented each other. It was a real synergy of creativity.
PNR: Readers are very excited about the new IMMORTALS series from Love Spell, the premise is very intriguing. How were you approached to join the project?
Joy N.: My editor at Dorchester, Alicia Condon, called me and told me she thought the Immortals series would be a great showcase for my talents. Jennifer Ashley had proposed Book 3 of Immortals be set in Scotland and include a good dose of Celtic myth and magic. My Druids of Avalon series has a Celtic theme, so I was a natural choice.
PNR: Could you tell us about THE AWAKENING, your contribution to the IMMORTALS series?
Joy N.: In THE AWAKENING, Coven of Light witch Christine Lachlan tracks down the Immortal Kalen, but encounters some difficulty in convincing the reclusive warrior to join the battle to save mankind. A betrayal in Kalen's past has made him wary of trusting humans, and the greed and dishonor he sees in modern human culture makes him wonder if the human race is worth saving. Kalen doesn't believe mankind has done anything valuable since about 1900. His cliff-top castle on the north coast of Scotland is completely devoid of modern conveniences. Kalen associates with an assortment of mythological Celtic peoples: Sidhe, Halflings, brownies, merfolk…and Mac. Mac looks and acts like a cheeky Scottish human male, age 16…but appearances can be deceiving! Just who or what is Mac? You'll have to read THE AWAKENING to find out!
PNR: How much freedom were you given in developing your installment of the series? Were you given an outline, names, etc. or just the concept to develop?
Joy N.: When I received the details of the project, I learned that Jennifer had created an overall theme and story conflict: In a world where death magic is overpowering living magic, four human witches must call four forgotten Immortal warriors to battle for mankind. She had the plot of the first book, The Calling, pretty well mapped out, but purposely left the set-ups for books 2 & 3 very loosely defined, just a couple paragraphs, which gave Robin and I maximum control of our stories. The main requirements for Book 3 were that it was to be set in Scotland, and that Celtic Sidhe characters would be part of the story. Yes, there were tentative names for the main characters, and a working title for the book, but all that ended up changed.
PNR: What has been your experience collaborating with such talented authors?
Joy N.: It was really a blast. We immediately formed a Yahoo loop and started brainstorming about characters and worldbuilding elements for the Immortals world. As you can imagine, we needed some rules of what magic could and couldn't do. We all contributed to developing the worldbuilding from Jennifer's initial outline. I think some of the coolest ideas we came up with was to give each Immortal warrior a different aspect of the mother goddess as a patron, and to give each witch heroine an element (earth, fire, water, or air) as the source of her magic. You can read more about these traits at www.immortals-series.com, and also view a very cool trailer for the series.
PNR: If you hit a writer’s block, did you brainstorm with the rest of the authors?
Joy N.: Actually, I refuse to believe in writer's block. An author with tight deadlines just doesn't have that luxury! I just keep writing and things always end up working out in the end. While writing THE AWAKENING, most rough spots had to with continuity among the four books. I would write a rough draft of a scene not knowing if something I put in would contradict something Jennifer or Robin was writing. Then I would start emailing questions like crazy.
PNR: What was the biggest challenge you faced working on the series? The most rewarding aspect? Would you do it again?
Joy N.: The biggest challenge to me was that my incredibly talented Immortals partners write faster than I do! I started THE AWAKENING while they were working on other deadlines, so I ended up hammering poor Jennifer with continuity questions and issues she hadn't gotten around to thinking about yet. I probably ended up doing more revisions than I normally would, as the three of us got into reading each others' work with an eye toward consistency.
The most rewarding aspect of the project was creating a new world with other authors. All the characters I create in all my books are very real to me, but the Immortals characters got to go out and do things I didn't think up! I got a big kick out of reading what my characters were up to in Book 4, during Jennifer's final battle scene. It was like sending my kids out on their own!
PNR: What advice would you give to an author looking at being part of a series like this?
Joy N.: I'd say go for it! If your publisher gets behind you, as Dorchester got behind the Immortals series in a big way, each book's buzz and success will help all the authors in the series. One point to remember during brainstorming – each author has to feel that her story is her own, and that her contributions and ideas are valued by the others. The lead author of the series has to let the other authors do their thing and can't try to direct their creativity too much, since creativity is such a personal thing. I want to compliment Jennifer on being a truly outstanding lead author to work with. She's a talented group facilitator as well as a talented author. Robin was also great to work with. So an added benefit is that I made two new friends!
PNR: Paranormal romance in a contemporary setting is experiencing an incredible surge in popularity, what do you feel accounts for the sudden interest in this sub-genre? What is it about this setting that captures your interest?
Joy N.: I'm not sure that it's so sudden – people have been enthralled by magic since the beginning of storytelling. My enduring love since childhood has been fairytales, folklore, and mythology. Why has this eternal human fascination suddenly started filling bookstore shelves in a big way? One reason for the immense popularity of the paranormal genre is its unpredictability. Literally, anything can happen, and everything does. For readers who are maybe a little bored with the laws of physics and with mundane reality, paranormal fiction keeps them engaged.
Another reason, I think, has to do with the uncertain times we've lived in since 9/11. Magic is power, and we want our heroes and heroines to be powerful. I was very aware of this while writing THE AWAKENING, since the burgeoning death magic in the Immortals world is too often mirrored by the evening news in the real world. In fact, the last line of my book is a subtle tribute to the 9/11 heroes of Flight 93, which crashed in my home state of Pennsylvania.
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months? Do you have any additional series in the works? Single titles?
Joy N.: I've just turned in the second books in my Druids of Avalon series, Deep Magic, which will be out in January 2008. I'm now working on the third Druids book, Silver Silence, which will be released in August 2008, so writing that book will keep me busy for the rest of 2007. Readers who read The Grail King have already met the heroes and heroines of Deep Magic and Silver Silence. Many are already eagerly awaiting the stories!
PNR: Thank you, Joy, for speaking with us and giving us a peek at this exciting series, where can readers find out about your work?
Joy N.: For excerpts, Secrets behind the Stories, free short stories, a monthly book giveaway and more, please stop by http://www.joynash.com. I update at least once a month, so there's always something new. Thanks!
For a complete list of Ms. Nash's work visit her website
Featured in this issue:
August 1, 2007
The Immortals: Book 3
Kalen, Immortal Warrior, has lain down his weapons. Scornful of what the human race has become, he’s rejected everything modern humans have invented—until a young, badly dressed American witch arrives at his remote Scottish castle bearing tales of demons and Death Magic.Also Available
Christine Lachlan is determined to gain Kalen’s aid in the looming battle between Immortals and the demon. But first, she'll need every feminine skill she possesses to outwit Kalen’s beautiful and vengeful Sidhe lover...
Christine was everything Kalen had been desperate to capture in his art—and in his bed. But Kalen has a dark secret of his own to fight before he and Christine can join the others for the last battle.
August 1, 2006
Druids of Avalon series: Book 1
The Holy Grail of legend unites a Druid hermit and the daughter of his Roman enemy in The Grail King...
THE SACRED ISLE
May 1, 2005
Captured by the enemy, Rhiannon, the rightful ruler of the Celts and a beautiful witch, succumbs to forbidden passion with Roman commander Lucius Aquila who needs her help in deciphering his strange visions.
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