Meet Debut Author Joan Beth Erickson

The daughter of a military man, Joan Beth Erickson developed a keen interest in travel at an early age. Combining this love with a degree in journalism, she eventually became a travel writer and editor for Sunset Books, exploring such places as Australia, Hong Kong, Tonga, Japan and Hawaii. Now she enjoys weaving the exotic destinations she’s visited into novels packed with suspense and romance.

Joan Beth sold her debut novel to The Wild Rose Press. Rainbow’s End, set in the tropical splendor of Hawaii, hit the shelves in June, launching her new career as a fiction writer.

The Sierra Foothills of California are home to Joan Beth and the love of her life, whom she met during the first week of her freshman year of college. They share their mountain retreat with a talkative cockatiel named Paddy. Both Joan Beth and her husband enjoy traveling and have plans to take their motorhome on the road and explore the wonders of the United States.

Join me as we learn more about Joan Beth and her debut novel.

(Look at the bottom of the post for multiple drawing prizes offered.)

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Joan Beth Erickson

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Joan Beth’s Journey Begins

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Many writers harbor a dream of writing for years before they begin putting words on the page. You, however, knew from an early age you wanted to write and made a living doing just that, which I think is so cool.

•Please tell us about your days as an editor and writer for Sunset Books. What type of projects did you work on?

I actually began my Sunset career doing copyediting and production work. Then I became a travel book editor. My books included Islands of the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, The Orient, and Australia. As a book editor I wrote all the copy, worked with the graphic artist and the illustrator, and chose all the photographs. I was also responsible for keeping the travel information updated for each new edition of the book.

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•What was it like being on the other side of the editor’s desk? What did you learn that helped you as a novelist pursuing publication?

Since I wrote the copy for the travel books, I was never an acquiring editor. I was the person who got the completed books out the door. My job was to make everything as accurate as I could. That need for accuracy continues in my novel writing today.

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•Based on your experience as an editor, what tips would you offer others on how best to work with their editors?

Be cooperative and listen to what they have to say. Also, respect the deadlines.

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•When did you decide to make the leap from non-fiction to fiction?

I was involved in fiction writing even in college where I minored in Creative Writing. In my early non-fiction career, I was too busy to work on fiction much. However, after a trip to Australia I got an idea for a historical novel and started writing fiction again. This novel is in the “proverbial” drawer at the moment, but I hope to resurrect it one of these days.

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Joan Beth’s Inspiration

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•As a travel writer, you visited some amazing destinations. Are these exotic locales what lead to your story ideas, or do you come up with the characters and plot first?

Because I was a travel writer and am a very visual person, I think settings are very important in novels. They are like an additional character. They set the tone. In fact, when I talk about a book I’m working on I always indicate where the book takes place before I talk about the storyline or the characters.

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•When did the idea for Rainbow’s End grab you, and was it a given that this story would be set in Hawaii?

I went to an RWA convention in Hawaii a number of years ago and thought Hawaii would be a great setting for a novel, very romantic. I love the islands, the people, and the culture. Somehow from that a story developed.

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Joan Beth’s High Points

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•As an aspiring novelist you entered a different side of the publishing world. You no longer had assurance that your books would be printed. You had to submit like the rest of us, which you did. And then came The Call from The Wild Rose Press. When did you receive that life-changing message, and how did you react?

Ironically, when the request for contract came via e-mail, my Internet provider didn’t let the message come through. I didn’t know for two more weeks. The official request came on March 1, 2008. It was a great birthday present.

How did I react? I started jumping up and down until I realized I might hurt myself. Then I called everyone I could think of who’d been with me on the long road to publishing. When I woke up the next morning I was still smiling. I was finally going to be a published novelist. There is nothing more exhilarating.

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•On June 12th, Rainbow’s End made its debut. How did you celebrate that  milestone event?

I got author copies a few weeks before the official publication date. I opened the box, took a book out, and just stared at it. I was finally holding my “baby” in my hands. My husband looked at it next and said “it really is a book”. I guess neither one of us could believe that my dream had become a reality.

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Rainbow’s End has garnered some great reviews, including 4.5 books from Long and Short Reviews. Which stand out, and why?

For me the Long and Short review was very special because it was the first review for my first novel and they loved it. For me, my reader reviews are very special. When they say they can’t put the book down or the characters are so real they expect to meet them on the street, I’m very happy. It means I’ve done my job. My goal is to lift my readers from the everyday world and carry them on a fictional journey. If I entertain them en route, I’ve done what I set out to do.

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Joan Beth’s Partners on the Journey

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•Who have been your biggest supporters in your quest to become a published novelist?

A loving aunt is the one who encouraged me to become a writer. My dear husband has stood by me every step of the way. When I lived in the Bay Area, I had a wonderful critique group. One of them, a published novelist, took the time to read my finished manuscript and offer suggestions. Where I live now, I’m lucky to have another published novelist as a neighbor. She, too, read my manuscript and helped me a lot. Having good critique partners is a definite blessing.

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•What’s it like to be part of The Wild Rose Press family?

Great! Everyone is so friendly, helpful, and supportive. As you just said, we are “family”.

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Joan Beth’s Debut Novel . . . and Beyond

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•Please tell us about Rainbow’s End.

Here’s the blurb for the book.

Rainbow's EndDiana Mason witnessed her biological mother’s brutal murder when she was five years old. Adopted soon after, she possesses no memory of the crime or her early childhood. Terrifying nightmares, triggered after finding a photo of her birth mother, lead Diana to Hawaii in search of a woman she doesn’t know is already dead. She soon becomes the target of the killer who wants to silence her before she remembers the night of the murder.

Jim Hastings, ex-cop turned private investigator, avoids birth parent search cases, but he can’t shy away from Diana Mason’s need for a bodyguard. Diana balks at Jim’s by-the-book approach to protecting her. However, they must work together to unlock her past while fending off the killer—and a growing attraction for each other. Their blossoming romance is nearly destroyed when the murderer’s identity is revealed.

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What can your readers look forward to next?

I’m working on another romantic suspense novel. The working title is One Week to Live. It is set in Las Vegas and involves a child kidnapping, a psychic, a newspaper reporter, and some long-kept secrets.

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Five Fun Facts About Joan Beth, the Writer

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~ I like to write with background music, particularly movie themes.

~ I admit it. I over research, but I love learning new things.

~ Looking at my messy office, you’d wonder how I get anything done.

~ I probably rewrite too much, but it’s the internal editor in me.

~ At times I use a pencil to write. It helps me feel more connected to the words.

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Five Fun Facts About Joan Beth, the Person

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~ I love chocolate, particularly homemade chocolate chip cookies.

~ I love sunrises and sunsets when the sky is painted in gorgeous color.

~ Mention the word Hawaii, and I want to be on the next plane there.

~ I love when my husband brings me a bouquet of flowers for no reason.

~ I never travel light, I always over pack.

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Joan Beth’s Question for You

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•I’ve enjoyed having you as my guest, Joan Beth. Thanks for your great answers to my questions. Now it’s your turn to ask a question of your visitors, so ask away.

Since settings are important in my writing, what places in the world would you want to see as settings in a novel? Do you buy a book because of the setting?

To leave a comment, click on “Comments” below the date in the title at the top of the post.

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Learn More About Joan Beth

Visit her Web site: http://www.joanbetherickson.com

Friend her on MySpace:  http://www.myspace.com/joanbetherickson

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Leave a Comment for Three Chances to Win

To leave a comment, click on “Comments” below the date in the title at the top of the post.

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Joan Beth’s Drawing

Joan Beth has generously offered to give away a package of rainbow-themed goodies (including a spinner, beach ball and windsock) to one lucky visitor.

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Joan Beth Erickson's blog prize

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To enter the drawing, leave a comment for Joan Beth by midnight Pacific Time on September 15th and enter your email address when prompted. (I don’t share your information or add it to any mailing lists.) On September 16th, I’ll post the winner’s name here.

Congratulations to Linda Henderson, winner of Joan Beth’s rainbow package.

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My Regular Drawing

My next drawing will take place September 20th. The winner will receive a copy of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on any blog post by September 20th and enter your email address when prompted. (I don’t share your information or add it to any mailing lists.) On September 21st, I’ll post the winner’s name in the Welcome post at the top of the blog.

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You could also win a First Sale Scrapbook

If you’d like to have a chance at winning a First Sale Scrapbook created by me, your blog hostess Keli Gwyn, leave a comment on any post between now and September 30th. Be sure to include your name and email address when prompted if you want to be entered in the drawing. (Your information will not be shared.) Click red link above to see samples of covers and pages.

On October 1st, I will choose one person who will have her/his choice of covers on an 8×8 inch, twenty-page scrapbook in which s/he can document that long-awaited first sale. The pages will cover various milestones including The Call, signing the contract, receiving the first advance payment and holding your debut novel in your hands.

(No scrapbooking skills required. You just add your photos and journaling.)

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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24 Responses to Meet Debut Author Joan Beth Erickson

  1. Keli Gwyn says:

    Welcome, Joan Beth! It’s great to have you as my guest.

    I’m a fan of historicals. My favorite settings are in the West, but I’ve read some great stories that took place in the eastern U.S. as well.

  2. Hi Keli—I’ve enjoyed our interview. I’m a fan of historicals, too. Australia is a favorite historical setting of mine and I’m working on a book set in 1860s Australia. I’ve also been doing some research on the Civil War period in the U.S.

    Joan Beth

  3. Marie Tuhart says:

    Hi Joan,

    Great interview. I knew your name sounded familiar. We met years ago in San Diego at one of their conferences. Congrats on the book.

  4. Hey Joan Beth (fellow Rose) and Keli (fellow Pixie)!

    Great interview, Keli, as always. 🙂

    Joan Beth, I love reading about exotic settings pretty much because I’m such a homebody and rarely travel anywhere exciting. If my daughter’s soccer team doesn’t play there, I probably haven’t been there. 🙂

    By reading books with interesting locations, I feel a little more well-traveled. Someday I’ll remedy this for real.

    Congrats on your debut novel. The blurb sounds fabulous. It’s currently in my shopping cart at TWRP–I have to spread out my book spending a bit so I need to wait a few days before I hit “submit.” 🙂

    :)Becky

  5. Linda Henderson says:

    I have bought books before because of the settings. I love books about Australia and New Zealand. I also like ones that take place in the USA. Congratulations on your book.

  6. P.L. Parker says:

    Good morning. You and my husband would travel well together. He packs everything but the kitchen sink. Great interview. Congratulations and many sales.

  7. Joan Beth, Congratulations on the birth of your book. Are you going to Emerald City this year?
    Lynnette Baughman

  8. Joan Beth,
    Congrats on your first book! I also got the travel bug early from living overseas with my family. Wish I had the time & budget to indulge in it as much as I’d like! Hope to meet you at the Emerald City conference.
    Margaret

    Margaret Mallory
    Tales of Love & Adventure
    http://www.MargaretMallory.com
    Knight of Desire-4 Stars, RT Book Reviews
    Knight of Pleasure-Nov 24, 2009

  9. Hi Marie Tuhart–That San Diego conference at San Diego State (my alma mater) was a long time ago. I think I taught a class on travel writing. Amazing you remembered my name. Hello back. Joan Beth

  10. Hi Joan Beth,
    Congratulations on your new book. I’ve never been to Hawaii but I’ve always wanted to go, especially in the middle of a Canadian winter! Perhaps I’ll have to visit this winter for “research”.

    I like tropical settings for books, and I also love English and Scottish, even though many books have these settings. Your Australian historical sounds like a great setting.

    All the best,
    Jana Richards

  11. Hi Rebecca J. Clark—hello to a fellow TWRP author. Thank you for putting my book in your shopping cart. I appreciate it. Joan Beth

  12. Hi Linda Henderson—thanks for the congrats on my debut book. Yes, I go for books and movies that take place in Australia and New Zealand. I was definitely hooked on the tv series, Thornbirds. Unfortunately, it wasn’t filmed in Australia. But I think the sequel was. Joan Beth

  13. Hi P.L. Parker—I laughed when you talked about your husband and his tendency to overpack. My husband sometimes accuses me of only wanting him on a trip to carry my suitcases and be my chauffeur. Joan Beth

  14. Hi Lynette—thanks for the congrats. Unfortunately, I’m not going to the Emerald City conference this year. But it is definitely on my calendar for next year. Joan Beth

  15. Hi Margaret Mallory–Yes, once the travel bug bites it is hard not to want to travel. Since I’m no longer a travel writer, my “wings” have been clipped a little. No more international travel. But my husband and I are exploring the U.S. now and it’s lots of fun. Joan Beth

  16. Hi Jana Richards–Thanks for the congrats. There are certain places I’ve been in the world that I just seem to connect with. Hawaii is definitely one of those places. Another place is Australia. I’m not sure why we connect to some places and not others. Anyone have an ideas out there? Joan Beth

  17. Hi Keli and Joan Beth!

    Thanx for a great interview! Do I love settings?!?! LOL! Joan Beth and I both write romantic suspense set in those exotic locations. My newest release is set in Venice.

    And YAY! Joan Beth and I will be doing a couple of local booksignings together in Oct. So if you are in the Northern California area, be sure to check us out. 😉

    Cindy

  18. Hi Cindy—thanks for the booksignings announcement. I will see you on Oct. 3. Unfortunately, I can’t make the one later in October. But have fun! Joan Beth

  19. Dear Joan Beth — Thank you for the invite. What a terrific interview! And, as always, congratulations and hugs—in that, from the beginning to the end of this true page turner with its gorgeous cover and our fun meeting at the SF conference—you and “Rainbow’s End” will continue to hold a special place in this editor’s heart. Say hello to your charming husband.
    Joelle

  20. Hi Joelle—Thanks again for being a great editor! Joan Beth

  21. Hi everyone–I want to thank all of you who posted a comment and all of you who checked out my blog interview. I wish all of you the best of luck in your writing and hope to meet at least some of you along the way on your romance writer’s journey. Joan Beth Erickson

  22. Quilt Lady says:

    Hi Joan Beth, nice to meet you. I don’t always buy books for the settings but it does help. You see I travel in books, and I have been to many places through my books. My favorite settings is Scotland and Ireland because it is such beautiful country.

  23. Keli Gwyn says:

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by to learn more about Joan Beth and her debut novel.

    I held the drawing for the package of rainbow goodies she donated, and the winner is Linda Henderson.

    Congratulations, Linda! I’ll be in touch.

  24. Orinda-Lou Martinez says:

    Good afternoon,
    I just stumbled on to the site. i enjoyed reading Rainbows End and also the interview with the auther.
    I know it is to late to submit a destination for a book but i like the Naval Station Rota Spain, it is very romantic, with its old European charm.

Comments are closed.