Novelists Unwind: Joanna Davidson Politano

hey everyone welcome back to our latest edition of novelist unwind I'm so excited to be here today with Joanna Davidson poet on oh did I say that right she's a debut author her first novel comes out October 30 October 3rd I'm sorry comes out October 3rd Lady Jane disappears and we're really excited to talk to her about it it's kind of a very interesting storyline but before we get into talking about the book and the characters and the you know what's going to happen in that story and Joanna tell us a little bit about you where you're from how you got started writing all that fun stuff well sure um I'm from kind of the Chicago suburbs area and I have a husband and a three-year-old and a one-year-old and so I'm kind of a naptime novelist I only open my computer and my kids are sleeping and we're sure they will take an afternoon nap so I have that time and then a little bit evenings occasionally if my husband's gone and I worked in publishing in the nonfiction side for several years I was a pharmaceutical writer for a while yeah so that's kind of my background oh so ye been fiction / nonfiction when what made you want to go that direction well actually my grandma started telling me about her parents love story and it was so fascinating to me just the things that they overcame that the story just poured out if I mean I couldn't not write it was such a cool story and I had no intention of publishing it and I haven't but it really got me hooked on fiction and it was just it was a totally different animal than Christian living and articles and things that I was working on and it just it really caught my attention a lot it was very fun well that didn't you so you're talking about your great-grandparents so what what years are we talking about here very early in 1900s like I think 1905 my great-grandfather came to the States from Norway and yeah he had a whole family drama background that was fascinating where he got kicked out of his house and he played the piano in the silent movie theatres and he met my great-grandmother who was also Norwegian immigrants and they just had the sweetest love story and they're like my role models even though I've never met them oh that at me started writing stories and it's just been something that I've enjoyed ever since they do you think you ever published that or is it more does the family story I'm not sure anybody would be interested in it besides me it was it was something that was when I finished writing it I had I get printed it on my printer and gave it to my grandma and that was probably one of my favorite moments in my writing life oh that's me if it stops there I'm happy I don't I've never really attempted to publish it how I bet she treasures that that I what I mean that felt like a family and that's really cool that's so cool okay well then tell us about Lady Jane it disappears a couple of different things I wanted to talk about with that you said in some of the information online that you visited a lot of old houses and Great Britain and climbed around than them so tell us a little bit about your research experience for the story sure well actually my husband and I went to Scotland on our honeymoon five years ago and we basically just toured all of the UK with houses that were abandoned and old derelict castles and family estates and things like that and there's just the stories were so fascinating to me that I wanted to write I just wanted to write something that was based on a big old house like that that's such an adventure I guess I should have had you talked about what the story is about Before we jump to the houses bit like oh I wanna your house yeah that's kind of it look tell everybody what the story's about and you know don't give away any spoilers but tell us about your heroine and what she's got herself into sure well the heroin is actually not Lady Jane it's a girl named Orly and she's grown up in debtors prison with her father who's a debtor and he is a novelist a serial novelist kind of like what Charles Dickens did and so when he dies she takes over his pen name because nobody knows who this guy is and she goes to live with some wealthy relatives and she starts kind of writing them into her stories she's so quiet so she doesn't necessarily have the courage to see him up to them but she definitely kind of exacts her revenge by writing them into their stories but then they start recognizing themselves oh that's cool culture novel yeah just so people understand it you know a serial novel would be like Dickens he had no stories printed in the newspaper so like a chapter or two at a time would be in the newspaper and people had to wait till the what till the following week or following months sometimes to get the next installment so this is what aura Lee is doing she's just writing these kind of as she goes along right yeah it was similar to like the TV shows that we all watch or we tune in for new episodes and things like that and it's a continuing saga that's kind of what they did back then that was they had like magazines and Quarterly's and things like that yeah and that's how Bacon's got to be so popular was from from doing those this series yes his stories and I love that too because I'm I'm a Charles Dickens fan and I loved how you said you know you kind of took that idea and you took the idea of a pin name and you're fascinated by the Bronte sisters and so tell us about tell us about that do you read do you read all this classic literature and how did that if so did that inform your story in any way yes I I grew up in kind of a farm community where in the summer she would detasseled and then you're kind of on your own so I read a lot of books and I love Brad Lee sisters and I love Charles Dickens and even some of the Russian authors and things like that I just sucked it all up and I loved the rich characters in Charles Dickens which is your favorite novel Dickens probably our mutual friends oh really I love that one the twists are amazing they are I've read that and actually I had a hard time keeping and I like Dickens like you know so it's but it's like I was having a little bit of trouble you know okay what's going on here but my favorite is Bleak House but but I love one of the adaptations of it she is like I saw it and had to read the read the book it was really it was really fun Bleak House is wonderful – yeah I like it okay so you have this idea for the story you're going to explore all these these wonderful own houses and Great Britain did any fun stories to tell anything that happened while you were doing that during your research where were you weren't actually were you actually researching then or was that just kind of fun and then you went back to it well my husband's a really good sport so we basically spent our honeymoon researching okay we just went for several weeks and you know he's not a book person but he really helps me get stories and kind of track down the details and things like that and all the research that I needed libraries been that much time you know we you know we did a lot of sightseeing things too but it was touring abandoned mansion castles and cathedrals and getting some of the stories behind them so we don't have a copy of Lady Jane disappears to show anyone to cover the book doesn't come out to October 3rd but it's it's a lovely cover and can you tell us a little bit about it and how it really reflects the story sure it has a very subdued colors a little bit of a kind of a mystery sad oh we look to it because there are definitely mystery elements to the book the woman on the cover is I think they were going for Lady Jane who is actually the heroines mother and the subject of the novel that she's writing and she's trying to figure out what happened to her mother who she's never met and so Lady Jane has like a little purple earring on the book cover and that's kind of like her signature thing through the book and of course it has a very Victorian look to it very scroll II and things like that so I think Ravel did a beautiful job they really capture the tone of the book very well yeah by the time that we put this on by the time we post this interview that it will have you know I've got copies gosh I can't even talk we have an image of the book so we'll go on the website but that'll be cool so everybody can can see it as a you know when they watch the interview beyond writing fiction writing this wonderful historical story though I also checked out your blog and your yeah and your main focus they're true stories so can you talk to us a little bit about the true stories that are on your blog sure well I actually started blogging before I started fiction writing I was just fascinated by I guess the people that the rest of the world sort of overlooks and just stories that are kind of buried in some really quiet people I especially like talking to people in nursing homes people that are just sort of forgotten but have these amazing insights and lives and things like that so kind of like the abandoned houses that are kind of overlooked and things like that I'm just fascinated by like real life stories and a lot of my character inspirations and some of the the tensions and the dramas have come from talking to people not that they'd be able to recognize themselves these stories but just some of the tensions that have you know driven them through adversity in their life and things like that well that's such a blessing that you're willing to you know to do that and it's been a blessing to me honestly I'm sure yeah because sometimes we don't do well about remembering people and taking care of them and in one quote that you had took this off your site and if the world fits you're the wrong size I love that but you talk just a little bit about that how that defines you how that defines orally and in in the novel well when I was younger I kind of felt out of place because everybody in my family is extremely outgoing and this have a different personality and I'm just kind of quiet and I like to listen more than I like to talk and so everybody in my family always coached me well you can get over that you can you can overcome being quiet and you can be really outgoing and God really worked on me especially I guess through high school and college years and just told me you know what that's okay because there's specific things that you can do there are specific people you can listen to that you wouldn't be able to if you weren't that quiet and I found a book when I was in college that had that exact phrase as their title I think it was something like if the world fits the near the wrong size and that always stuck with me and I guess kind of realigned my standards for myself so something a little bit more biblical yeah I like that I mean it's so it's such a easy phrase to remember and to say and you know most people bumper sticker and yet there's so much death in truth to it it's like you know I'd be good at thinking about that all afternoon like fair too bad yeah it's actually kind of the theme of my novel as the main character is trying to fit into this household where she just doesn't belong she grew up very poor like the poorest of the poor in debtors prison and the family that she lives with his wealthy but they're so broken and in a lot of ways naive and she just she doesn't understand why they don't reach out and help in like very basic ways and she just doesn't understand the way they live life and the hero keeps telling her you know what that's okay I love that about you if if you were like like them I wouldn't like you so much that's the theme plays out and she finally figures out by the end that she was created the way she's for a reason so that's kind of how that sentence fits into the book I like that that's really good great so what's next my next story comes out with revell in July of 2018 and it takes place in a vineyard in the south of England and has to do with finding a buried fortune and the love story has a little bit of traces of my own love story and tension that kept us apart for a long time and then what brought us together and kind of the journey that I went through to be even interested in my husband Wow right and I read a little bit about it too and it's about an artist whose canvas is from room right yes um nobody really takes her seriously as an artist even though she's wealthy everybody's kind of got their own agenda in her life so they just don't think to give her canvases so she just she decorates her whole room and it ends up looking like a garden from ceiling to floor so I could love the imagination and the originality that you're bringing to be the stories and can't wait to read yo Lady Jane disappears when when it comes out be looking for it so a couple more things real quick I do want to mention that Joanna won the American Christian fiction Genesis contest in 2013 I'm assuming in the historical category correct yes and it was for Lady Jane disappears um I don't remember honestly there were different Mimi scripts that I was entering her on that time so I don't really know which ever see in the Genesis winter which is you know that's a really big deal in the Christian writing world so congratulations on that thank you and then I also might happen try to ask everybody after you're done and writing you put all these hours into writing your book what do you do to unwind I play with my kids there's so much fun I'm a stay-at-home mom so the whole time they're awake I get to be a kid and have all sorts of adventures we live in the middle of the woods so we take walks through the woods all the time and play in the creek it's yeah that's like my favorite part of me day that's wonderful for me this is me to love that and how can people get in touch with you um I have an author page on Facebook and it's just my name Johanna Davidson polo tahno and then my website is out I still sign up with it when Joanna's ready you'll be sure and get information on her on her writing journey and what she's up to yeah yeah I think there's a link to sign up for the newsletter on my website right well thank you so much again I'm just really excited I mean I look like I said love Dickens love that era I think the fascinating you've got so many different things together to create the story and it just sounds just sounds fascinating so we should the best luck I appreciate it yeah it's great debut novelist Joanna Davison tolet on it welcome we're so glad you were here with us today and and everybody watching thank you for being here too we really appreciate it and we'll see you next week bye bye

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