With the publication of Joining , a historical romance set in King John’s England of 1214, Johanna Lindsey adds novel number 35 to her long list of New York Times bestsellers. Beloved by readers and critics alike, the prolific author is a trailblazer of sorts: not only has she been one of the first authors to find overwhelming success with her historical romances but she’s also been instrumental in establishing the incredible popularity of the genre. We corresponded with Lindsey via e-mail about her highly successful career, her approach to writing, and the latest historical that has everybody talking.
Amazon.com: When did you decide that writing would be your life’s work? Did you ever have any doubts?
Johanna Lindsey: After writing my first book, I figured I might have one more book in me, so I began another. It wasn’t until after the second book that I knew I could continue writing indefinitely.
Amazon.com: You have consistently produced at least one book per year for more than 20 years. Do you have a set writing schedule?
Lindsey: When I’m working, I tend to work seven days a week. My schedule has slowed down in recent years, to allow some time for myself. Previously, I would work 12 to 16 hours a day–I’ve cut that down to a normal 8 hours a day.
Amazon.com: You have successfully set novels in a variety of eras and locales, including the American West, medieval England, Regency England, Regency Arabia, and future worlds. To what do you attribute the unusual ease with which you move from era to era, setting to setting?
Lindsey: Most of the eras and settings I write about I really enjoy getting into, so it’s always a pleasure to get back to one of these. The futuristic books were pure fun, so I will be writing at least one more book in that series. But it’s not so much an “ease of settings” as it is an immersion in each book that I write.
Amazon.com: Your new historical, Joining , provides an interesting, personal view of Prince John and his reign. Why did you choose him, specifically, as a character for this novel?
Lindsey: I needed a king for the story who was known to be less than honorable in his dealings with his subjects. King John fit rather perfectly.
Amazon.com: How much of your own perceptions can be found in Wulfric and Milisant, the hero and heroine of Joining ?
Lindsey: I suppose my own perceptions and morals always sneak into my characters in one way or another. I have to like the people I write about, and it’s easy to like them if they share some of my views.
Amazon.com: What do you feel is unique about Wulfric de Thorpe and Milisant Crispin’s relationship?
Lindsey: The childhood incident–a less-than-ideal first meeting in which both are injured–that sets this couple at odds continues to strongly influence their adult emotions and the evolution of their relationship, though their slowly falling in love overcomes this long before they resolve that old issue.
Amazon.com: The affectionate relationship between Milisant and her twin sister, Jhone, and their very different responses to having been raised without a mother provide an interesting twist to Joining . Did their relationship arise from a personal observation that caused you to explore the effects of the loss of a same-sex parent?
Lindsey: No. I present situations and relationships for my characters and let them deal with them their own way. With one twin bold and the other timid, they would both naturally react to things differently.
Amazon.com: What would you hope readers would take away from reading Joining ?
Lindsey: A smile.
Amazon.com: Are you working on a new book right now, and if so, would you give us a sneak peek?
Lindsey: My next book will present a Scots hero with two grandfathers, one on the English side of the border, who both lack an heir other than the hero. Since they can’t manage to share him, they mean to see him married and begetting more heirs to solve their lack. The hero isn’t opposed to marriage, just the hasty marriage being arranged for him, which is where the fun will begin….