In The Mind of Joanna Shupe – 30 Years of Happily Ever Afters

This week we’re jumping over the hump with our featured workshop presenter, NJRW member, Golden Heart winner, and all-around technical guru, Joanna Shupe!

Joanna will be giving a workshop at our conference in October, Tech Tips for Writers is just one of many fabulous workshops we have scheduled.

For more information on our conference, how to register, and other popular questions, please visit our website at

Please welcome Joanna!

How did you come up with the idea for THE COURTESAN DUCHESS?

I love historicals set outside of England, and I also love Venice. So the first half of the book takes place there. The idea for me usually starts with the hero, and this book was no exception. I thought, “How naughty can I make my duke and still have readers care about him?” 

How long did it take you to write THE COURTESAN DUCHESS?

Four months for the first draft.  

What was it about your book that made your editor want to buy it?

The non-traditional setting was a part of it, and I think the naughtiness may have played a part.  

What was the most difficult aspect of writing THE COURTESAN DUCHESS?

This was the first book I sold and also the book that caught the attention of my agent. When I wrote it, I literally wrote the exact book I wanted to read with no thought to deadlines or marketability or reader response. This one is for me.

How much research did you conduct for THE COURTESAN DUCHESS and what was the most interesting thing you did while conducting your research?

Well, of course I researched courtesans of the Georgian, Regency, and Victorian eras. What fascinating ladies! Many were the rock stars of their day. Society ladies even copied their fashions and hair styles. 

Why did you decide to write historical romance?

I find historicals a bit more liberating in what I can get away with. I try to bring a little crazy-sauce to every book, something to surprise the reader with, and that is a bigger challenge in contemporaries, I think. Someday, I might try my hand at something else, however. 

What is your process for writing a book? For example, are you a plotter or a pantzer? Do you start at page 1 and write your book sequentially or do you skip around? Do you start with your characters or the plot?

I try and plot the tent poles of the story before I write it. For me, it’s like acting—you have to know where to hit your marks on the stage before you go out. But other than that, I probably don’t have much plotted before I start writing. 

Do you use any techniques, tools, or aids to help you write? 

Scriviner is my friend. 

Do you write multiple drafts or barely need revisions when typing, The End?

I think I write a fairly clean first draft. I always start out the day by editing what I wrote the previous day. That said I could tinker with a manuscript to DEATH. It’s never quite perfect enough, but at some point you have to let it go.

How do you make time to write?

I wake up at 5AM. There’s no other way for me to do it. I have a job and two small kids. By 8:30 pm, I’m wiped out.

When you are writing, who is in control? You or your characters?

Me. I can beat them into submission when necessary. 

Ha! Nice! Would you tell us your story of getting “the call?”

My agent, Laura Bradford, called me early on a Monday morning to offer representation. I was floored. I had sent her the manuscript over the weekend and never expected to hear so soon. As soon as I hung up the phone, I wanted to scream and call all my critique partners so we could squee together…and then my youngest daughter puked all over the couch. Needless to say, squeeing was postponed for several days.

What books can we expect to see in the near future?

My first book, THE COURTESAN DUCHESS, comes out on April 7, 2015. THE HARLOT COUNTESS comes out in May, 2015. And THE LADY HELLION comes out in June, 2015.

What do you want your readers to take away with them after reading the story?

I want the books to be pure escapism. I want them to be a fast-paced thrill ride at an amusement park.  

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as an author?

Always be writing. When Nora Roberts spoke to the Golden Heart finalists last year, she said, “So you wrote one great manuscript. That’s nice. What are you going to do next?” I’m paraphrasing her words, but the sentiment is the same: Don’t pat yourself on the back for too long. Get back to work.

Okay, get ready, we have our rapid response portion. Don’t think about your answers, just say the first thing that comes to mind. Ready?   

Favorite color: Purple

Favorite number: 13

Favorite Actor: Bill Murray

Favorite Actress: Bette Davis

Wine or liquor? Wine, but happiest with a beer

Tea or coffee? Coffee

Decaf or caffeinated? Caffeinated

Boxers or briefs? Why wasn’t commando an option? (LOL! Nice, I’ll have to fix that)

Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate

Donald Duck or Goofy? Neither! Both creep me out.

Frozen (the movie) or Tangled? I love Flynn Rider, but I have to say Frozen because I have two little girls who remind me of Elsa and Anna.

Channing Tatum or Johnny Depp? Of the two, I would say Channing because he’s got some serious dance moves. And he looks good in a thong. (Amen!)

Want to meet or attend Joanna’s workshop? Make sure you check out the information on our conference at and register! 



One thought on “In The Mind of Joanna Shupe – 30 Years of Happily Ever Afters

  1. Pingback: In The Mind of Joanna Shupe – 30 Years of Happily Ever Afters | Lita Harris

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s