My friend, Joan Sowards has another book coming out. It's called, "The Star Prophecy." I have both of her other books, and have reviewed them here, and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this latest novel.
The Star Prophecy is making its debut in LDS bookstores in time for Christmas gift-giving.
Here's the back-cover blurb:
“You are crazy. No Nephite has ever returned.”
Most people laugh when they hear of Enoch’s dream of returning to Jerusalem to find the infant Messiah. Even Enoch's future father-in-law mocks him when he asks for a postponement of the long-awaited wedding to his beloved Rebekah. A few take Enoch seriously—the shipbuilder Omnihah, Enoch's teacher David, and Nephi the prophet.
Five years previously, a Lamanite named Samuel had stood on the wall of Zarahemla and prophesied that “five years more cometh” and the Christ would be born in Jerusalem. Time is running out! Enoch knows he must set sail across the great waters in search of his dream—to see the face of the Messiah.
The Star Prophecy is a surprising story of courage and love, faith and fortitude. Sail with Enoch and friends across the sea through hardship and adventure in search of the Christ Child.
Joan, tell us how you came up with the idea for The Star Prophecy .
When my daughter Kristy gave me the premise for this novel, I felt electrifying tingles come over me, the ideas began to flow and I wrote the first draft in three months--an incredible experience!The main character, whose quest it is to find the infant Messiah, is named Enoch after my nephew, a beautiful, bright child, who passed away at the age of four.
When did you start to write and how long did it take you get published?
I have been writing novels for over fifteen years. A friend invited me to ANWA (The American Night Writers Association.) I've learned so much about writing through ANWA.
Kerry Blair lived in my ward back then. She'd edit my chapters and I tried to learn the rules behind her changes. I learned a lot from her, too. (During that time, she wrote her own first novel and sent it to Covenant. They excepted it within two weeks.) Gotta love her!
How did you break into publishing?
I admit it was luck. I was in the right place at the right time. An editor suggested I send Walnut Springs Press my novel The Star Prophecy--so I did. I pestered editor Linda Prince every few months asking if she had read it. After the eight month, she asked if I had an LDS romance and that she needed one right away. I sent Haunts Haven and she liked it! Chocolate Roses was published next. I was surprised when WSP came back and said they were ready to publish the Star Prophecy since it had been two years since I submitted it.
What are you working on now?
I'm writing a story about a recent ASU college grad who takes a summer journalist job in a seaside village in Oregon. The working title is Clairvoyance. I love the characters.
Joan is also talented musically and composes music. Do you write with music playing? If so, is the music likely to be songs with lyrics or only instrumentals?
I have too much music going on in my head as it is, so I have to have it quiet so I can think above it.
What has surprised you about being a published author?
As soon as Haunts Haven hit the stores, I was expected to promote it and myself. I've never felt comfortable with that.
What do you like to do when you aren't writing?
I'm a family history addict. I love to sew, and write music (http://joansowards.com/) My adorable grandchildren take a lot of my time, and I love being with my husband.
What was the most usual way you came up with a story idea? What made you to think, ‘hey, I could make that into a story?’
My daughter came home from Institute class with the premise for The Star Prophecy. I loved it! It is about Nephite young men setting sail to find the Christ Child.
Several years ago, Jeni Grossman taught a class at an ANWA conference and handed out feature newspaper articles with big photos and told us to ask ourselves "What if…" I got an article about haunted inns of Southern Arizona and asked myself, "What if a young woman inherited one of these inns, not knowing it was haunted?" Haunts Haven blossomed from there.
I wanted to write a modern Jane Eyre tale, and after a lot of thought, I wrote Chocolate Roses.
What advice would you give aspiring writers today?
Don't give up. Be ready for when you are "in the right place at the right time." Learn the craft of writing and be open for critiquing. There's a lot to be learned from other writers.
Thank you for the Interview, Joan.
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