Fantasy/Sci-Fi Focus (FSF): Hi Joanna, how are you doing? How has this last year plus of global insanity treating you?
Joanna White (JW): I’m actually doing really good. I feel bad for everyone else, but my life hasn’t changed at all. I am a full-time author, so I stay at home all the time anyway. I know it’s been hard on everyone else, and not to be heartless, but it’s kind of nice that everyone understand how lonely it can be.
FSF: So you’ve just released Bloodless Secrets , the first book in the Mystics Series on Fallbrandt Press. How does it feel to have brand new never before released work out under a new publisher?
JW: It feels so refreshing, honestly. Especially since The Mystics Series is my first vampire series that deals with supernatural creatures. I’ve always wanted to write a series like that, but with more historical aspects to that, so it’s super exciting. I know that the Mystics Series is in good hands.
FSF: Tell our community about Bloodless Secrets and about The Mystics in genral and let them know why they need to binge the series this year.
JW: Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve binged the series several times. My inspiration is to write the books I want to read. I could never find a vampire novel that wasn’t either erotic romance, that dealt with the true reality of beings that live a long time and thus, added more historical details to it, or was just a good clean vampire romance. I wanted to add more mystery and suspense, so I added the government organization mystery, but it literally leads from one book to another. I’m a master at cliff hangers, so if there’s anyone who could get to the ending of Bloodless Secrets without desperately needing the next one, they deserve an award.
FSF: You’ve written so many books in such a short time. What is the secret to your prolificacy?
JW: Honestly, God. I think that’s the only way it’s possible. I’ve written things so fast, it blew my mind and I’m going… yeah, I don’t know how I did it. I’ll start a book with a goal in mind, and suddenly, I wrote 30 thousand words in one day. It did screw up my wrists, though, so now I have to be careful how much I write and I use wrist compressions to help with the ache they get. I’m also a fast typer; I don’t know how many words per minute I can type, but when I’m sitting at a computer, my hands just clack away faster than my brain can think and it pours creativity onto the page.
FSF: Who was your favorite character in The Mystics Series to write and what do you like so much about that character?
JW: There were so many characters that will stick with me, but Keisuke was hands down my favorite. He made the list of my top ten favorite characters I’ve ever written period, haha. I am a sucker for a good Japanese samurai that lived during the 1860s, so to bring that into Keisuke’s character with an added twist made him a unique character and not just “another samurai.” But then you add in the aspect that he’s a genuine good guy who loves life but is forced to drink blood to survive and has a cruel vampire Lead ordering him to do bad things and that adds a layer of guilt to his character that just made me feel for him and root for him to get the ending he deserves. Whether he does or not, we’ll all have to wait and see.
FSF: How much of your real life influence made it into the series? ie: characters based on yourself or those in your personal life, or personal philosophy etc.
JW: The human woman Keisuke is falling in love with was based off me in many aspects. One is her love of music. She’s in college writing her own songs which is something I’ve wanted to do. I’ve written a few, but nothing like she does. Then, she plays and sings music, which I do as well. Again, not to the extent she does, but that’s where the inspiration came from. She is also a bit clumsy like me, so that’s always fun.
FSF: What were some of your influences for the series?You’ve got Eastern Influence and Vampires so, where did you get your inspiration?
JW: Well, I love shows like the Vampire Diaries and The Originals, but anytime I watch anything, I always ask, “how would I do this? What would I do different than them and what would I keep the same?” So, I started with that and the typical aspects of what a vampire is, but made the vampire lore in this series what I wanted to have—like how human blood is the only blood that will sustain them, unlike other series that do where they can drink animal blood to sustain themselves. Like, we have to have actual food for the most part, so I felt they should to. But then, when you get vampires, the number one aspect about them is that they don’t age. My mind automatically jumps to history. So, when I planned vampire characters, my first question about them to answer is “what time period are they from?” For my main character, it was a no brainer I wanted to do my favorite time period, which was Japan. Specifically in the 1860s during the fall of the samurai, because of the drama it would add to his character. I couldn’t have vampires and not make the main character be from my favorite time period.
FSF: Did you write the series with a particular market or audience in mind or did you just write it for yourself and hope that readers would come along for the ride?
JW: I hate to say it but I almost never write for an audience. I started writing the books I want to read and still do, to this day. But I think in a way, that is writing for an audience because I can’t be the only Christian out there who just wants a clean book to read that isn’t predictable or boring or dry. You know?
FSF: How important is reader interaction to you as an indie author and what is your favorite way to network with your readers?
JW: Honestly, I care more about reader interaction that I probably should. After all the work I pour into my books, I almost need the interaction because it makes it worth it—more than money from my books selling. My favorite way is through my fangroup on Facebook. It isn’t necessary people who are fans of my work, but just a bunch of nerds who enjoy nerding out together. You can find us on Facebook at: facebook.com/groups/jwwarriors
FSF: So after Mystics, what’s next for you? Do you have any projects you are working on for the coming year that readers can look forward to?
JW: Yeah, I’m currently publishing The Valiant Series. The first two books, Hunter and Shifter, are being rereleased in July and August and then, the long awaited third book will be out in September. The new Republic Chronicles novel will be out in November and the Calamity’s Hope Series will continue next year with Earthquake. So, I have a lot of projects going on and I’ve written so much in the last year or so that I have plenty of books coming that people can look forward to.
FSF: Can you recommend some Indie fantasy that you’ve read over the last year to our community?
JW: To be honest, I haven’t really read anything in the last year, because I spend all my free time writing, but I know that Glimpses of Time and Magic is an anthology I was part of. Ignore my story and read the rest, because these authors are amazing. If you love historical fantasy like I do, then you’ll enjoy this one.
FSF: What one piece of advice can you offer to new or aspiring authors?
JW: Never stop writing. I say that so much it’s cliché at this point, but it’s so true. Whether you face rejections from publishers, or struggle as an indie author, don’t stop writing. If it’s what you’re passionate about, then get into a habit of writing every day. It’ll help you learn to write faster and help you learn to overcome procrastination.