Joan Sowards has been a friend to me for nearly twenty five years. Our relationship started with my asking help to notate some music on a computer program. She gave her time to me selflessly and was generous with her advice and skills in guiding me when I needed it. When my cousin Kerry Blair introduced me to ANWA in 1998 it was a warm surprise that our mutual friend Joan Sowards was part of the Daytimer’s Chapter.

Joan’s new Book Chocolate Roses not only sounds good enough to melt in your mouth, it looks good enough to eat. It has been fun hearing the developing stages as we critiqued passages in our chapter meetings month to month. I’m very happy for Joan that her wonderful Jane Eyre Parody has made it to the bookstore shelves.  The Heroine, Janie Rose Whitaker’s world revolved around her chocolate shop until Roger Wentworth and his young daughter moved into the apartment across from Janie’s. Anyone would think Roger fit the mold of the “perfect” guy, but soon Janie discovers secrets that could keep them apart forever. Though she resists getting involved in Roger’s complicated life, they are drawn further into a bittersweet relationship. This novel will make you laugh, cry and carve chocolate if you didn’t before.

Welcome: When did you start to write and how long did it take you get published?

Joan: I have been writing over fifteen years. I felt prompted to sit down and write what a particular ancestor would say if I had the chance to interview her. She didn’t want to give me much information, didn’t trust me, and from that I wrote a short story that grew into a novel. Through that experience I discovered that I loved to write!

Margaret: How did you break into publishing?

Joan: I admit it was luck. I was in the right place at the right time. Kathy Jenkins of Covenant Com. suggested I send Walnut Springs Press my novel We Have Seen His Star–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!

Margaret: What inspired you to write romance?

Joan: I think every story needs romance, if not just a touch of it.

Margaret: What are you working on now?

Joan: I’m writing a story about a recent ASU college grad who takes a journalist job in a seaside village in Oregon. It has a touch of the paranormal, and I love the characters.

Margaret: What has surprised you about being a published author?

Joan: Before being published, everything I did had an eternal perspective: taking care of my family which included cooking and cleaning, etc., my relationship with my husband, my calling. Even writing novels and music was developing talents and I felt the Spirit affirming that was what I should be doing. As soon as Haunts Haven hit the stores I was expected to promote it and myself. I felt uncomfortable with that because it didn’t easily fit into the eternal perspective that gave me comfort. I’m still not comfortable about the promotion.

Margaret: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

Joan: I’m a family history addict. I love to sew aprons to give as gifts. I write music ( that I give as a service. My adorable grandchildren take a lot of my time, and I love being with my husband.

Margaret: I love your music and have enjoyed your new Christmas Carol you have shared with me every year.  Singing Seasons of Joy in a choir of women of all ages was an experience I will never forget. What one thing do you like most about writing?  and the Least?

Joan: I love crafting the story, plotting it, writing subplots.  Least? that life gets in the way and writing always comes last.

Margaret: What is your all time favorite book?

Joan: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier lit my fire in my teen years.

Margaret: I love the opening line: “Last night I went to Manderley again.” It dragged me in and kept me chained between the covers until the final period.  I devoured all the Daphne du Maurier books when I was in high school. What advice would you give aspiring writers today?

Joan: 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.