Author Interview: JoAnn Smith Ainsworth – Romantic Suspense in the Middle Ages

I’m pleased to have fellow Blue Ridge Literary author JoAnn Smith Ainsworth join me at “Musings from the Middle Ages.” Speaking of the middle ages, JoAnn has written two medieval romantic suspense novels. If you’re looking for a great read, MATILDA’S SONG and OUT OF THE DARK received 4 stars from RT Book Reviews. Her stories set out to entertain, inspire and keep you in suspense! Below is more information on MATILDA’S SONG or you can visit her website at http://www.joannsmithainsworth.com/

Thanks for joining us, JoAnn.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I was coming up on my retirement years and I needed a way to make money over and above Social Security. In publishing, no one cares how old you are as long as you write a good book. I have a Bachelor and a Masters degree in English and my MBA studies so I decided those qualified me to become an author. Little did I know how difficult the publishing business is and how little today’s novel compares to those novels I studied in literary criticism class. I spent four years in online classes to learn the craft—character development, dialogue, pacing and various other elements of the dramatic novel—before I finished my first novel.

I feel fortunate that I began writing in the years when e-books were first becoming available. I had experience working with the Web and knew that, on-screen, the eye needs a lot of white space and frequent breaks from the text. I adjusted my writing style to today’s need. I write shorter sentences, paragraphs, scenes and chapters. Instead of using four or seven words to describe a room, I choose one or two that go directly to the essence. Fortunately, what started out as a business turned into a passion. I’ll write stories for the rest of my life, even if no other manuscripts sell.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

The novel my agent (Dawn Dowdle of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency) marketed and for which I have a contract is a paranormal suspense entitled EXPECT TROUBLE. Here’s the pitch sentence:  Opening herself to ridicule by revealing she’s clairvoyant is the last thing U.S. WAVE Livvy Delacourt wants, but when Uncle Sam needs her skill to track Nazi spies on the East Coast during World War II, she jumps in with both feet.JoAnn_chin_on_hands_72

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I create challenges to force me to grow as a writer by putting some craft difficulty into each novel. My first challenge was whether or not I could write a novel. The second novel has a sight-impaired heroine. The historical western romances releasing September and December are an action and a mystery. The action required realism and attention to detail. The mystery was difficult because I write third person and include a point of view of the villain. Usually my readers know everything. Only my characters are kept in the dark. In the mystery, I had to keep the secret a secret from everybody until the end. The challenge in the paranormal suspense novel was to create a consistent literary “world”.

Give us an interesting fun fact about your book or series:

I decided to use Pennsylvania hex signs painted on Pennsylvania Dutch barns in the 1800’s and early 1900s in my Work in Progress (WIP) paranormal suspense manuscript. I grew up in Pennsylvania knowing that these colorful hex symbols were painted so witches would think they were windows, hit their heads against the barn wall, knock themselves out, and thus save the animals and stored crops in the barn from witchcraft.

In the 21st century, the research books I studied went to great length to deny witchcraft and to assure us researchers that hex signs were only colorful, artistic symbols, now considered tourist attractions.

I know better.

 How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

The paranormal suspense series has the word “EXPECT” in the title because the lead psychic is a clairvoyant – EXPECT TROUBLE is the first book of the series. My WIP manuscript is EXPECT DECEPTION.

 Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?

My characters are self empowered individuals who take control of their lives and responsibility for their actions. The underlying theme is that life is better when you’re in the driver’s seat.

MatildaSong200x300

Title: Matilda’s Song
Series: Prequel to OUT OF THE DARK (but marketed as stand alone)
Author: JoAnn Smith Ainsworth

Duty requires sacrifice…but the heart will not be denied.

Blurb:
At the time, pretending marriage to her middle-aged widower cousin seemed like the best way to escape a politically motivated betrothal to a brutal knight. Now, her journey toward a new life has landed her in hot water—she’s been waylaid by a local Norman baron who’s mistaken her for a real bride. And he demands First Night rights.

Hot water turns to steam in a scalding night of passion…passion she has never known. And now must live without.

Lord Geoffrey is entranced at first sight of the Anglo-Saxon beauty and finds that one night in her arms is not nearly enough. But all he can offer the low-born Matilda is a life in the shadows—as his mistress.

Her head warring with her heart, Matilda resigns herself to her duty in a masquerade of a marriage. It’s a choice that could cost her life.

For the knight who first sought her hand is back with murder on his mind. Now it’s Geoff who’s faced with the ultimate choice: which is more precious…his estates or the love of the one woman who can heal his soul?

Buy at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Matildas-Song-JoAnn-Smith-Ainsworth/dp/1605043230

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8 responses to “Author Interview: JoAnn Smith Ainsworth – Romantic Suspense in the Middle Ages

  1. Terri-Lynne DeFino

    “I’ll write stories for the rest of my life, even if no other manuscripts sell.”

    This warms the cockles of my writerly soul.

  2. Loved the bit about the paintings on the barns to knock out witches 🙂 Thanks for sharing about your writing journey! Best of luck with all of your books!!

  3. The writing becomes entwined with our souls.

  4. We who lived it know what those designs were for, Nicole, despite what researchers think.

  5. Wonderful interview, Sharon. I love Joann’s sharing of how she studied and learned what’s required of today’s writing market. The reads sound terrific.

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