Jo Goodman

Read more about Jo Goodman.

Interview By: Tamazon

Date: October 14, 2011

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Kissing Comfort - Berkley Sensation - Historical Romance - September 2011

A Place Called Home - Zebra - Contemporary Romance - December 2011

KISSING COMFORT: Bode DeLong knows that his playboy brother Bram isn't really in love with Miss Comfort Kennedy, even though it's clear that she's enamored with him. With Bram's motives for the engagement suspect, Bode figures the safest place for Comfort to be is in his arms. Now, Bode just needs to convince Comfort that the childhood fancy she has for his brother is no match for the incredible desire that sparks between them every time they touch.

A PLACE CALLED HOME: When Thea Wyndham and Mitchell Baker learn they've been named joint guardians for their late friends' three children, they're little more than acquaintances. Barely polite acquaintances, at that. Something about Mitch's forthright intensity has always left ad exec Thea feeling off-balance, while Mitch makes no secret of his disdain when Thea offers him financial assistance if he'll take sole guardianship.

Thea is far from heartless. She's just plain terrified of her new parenting responsibilities. Both she and Mitch are romantically involved with other people. Yet the more time they spend together, the less certain she is of her loyalties. There are complications and missteps, tears and laughter--lots of it. And somehow, through it all, the dawning realization that the last place she thought she'd find herself could be just where she belongs. . .

What main genre do you write in?


Please tell us your latest news!

Kissing Comfort my first book for Berkley. After years of writing historicals under the Zebra imprint, I made a change. The irony is that I'm working with my first editor again, the one who bought my first book and shepherded me through eight more.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I answer this in different ways at different times, but I generally go back to Ayn Rand. I like the crisp style of her prose, the sharpness of her ideas, and the toughness of her heroic characters. She really is a romantic writer in the broad sense of the term.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I only pass on the tip that was given to me: Don't talk about the story until you've written it. It works for me because the impetus to tell the story has to be from my head to my fingertips. If I talk about it, it's as if the balloon has sprung a leak.

Do you have a favorite object that is pertinent to your writing?

I keep some thinking putty on my desk. Sometimes when I need a break, I grab it and work it in my hands while I'm staring at the screen. It's bright red, and it makes me smile. The ideas follow...or not...but I'm smiling.

Please describe your writing environment.

I have a terrific place to write. The room is at the back of my house and has 2 skylights and three sets of sliding glass doors. It overlooks the wraparound deck. On the wall behind my desk, I have shelves that hold research books and some of my own. Even with the internet, I find having books at my fingertips to be helpful. I have a 2 drawer lateral file that holds lots of research from previous books that I would be foolish to toss. I keep some maps on the wall for quick reference. I have old book covers hanging up, but I should pull them down. The sun through the skylights has faded them. I work on an iMac, the only kind of computer I've ever owned (thank you, Steve Jobs). It's a good space for plants, some of which I keep in a Radio Flyer wagon. Outside, the deck rail supports bird feeders and windchimes. Since I write primarily in the winter months, I find it soothing to be surrounded by lots of light, the birds, and if I'm lucky, snow. The draw back to working in a sunroom on stilts is that it gets pretty cold. I keep the space heater close for most of my writing season.

What's been the most challenging part of writing for you?

Hands down, it's writing the love scenes. I want them to be integral to the book, not simply tossed in because it's expected. I want the sex to advance the relationship in some way. If it can advance the plot, even better. The love scenes in a romance should be as critical to the story as song and dance is to a musical.

Who has been your best supporter? How have they been there for you?

My mother (who passed away this year) was the wind beneath my wings. She encouraged me when I writing stories in 4th grade, cutting pictures of models out of the Sears catalog for my character illustrations. She bought me an electric typewriter for my birthday about a year after I graduated from college. I didn't get it at first. She told me it was for me to write the book I'd been thinking about since forever. Now, that's support. Right up there with her is my sister. She reads the manuscripts, moves books around in the bookstore, and listens to me whine. That's the trifecta of support.

What book are you reading now? What are your thoughts on it?

I read a lot more thrillers than I do romances. I just discovered a writer named Linwood Barclay and I'm really enjoying his books. His characters seem like people I could actually know, very down to earth, heroic in the sense that they're caught up in something outside their experience and have to figure out how to get through it. They're clever, but not wildly so. He sets some of the stories in the same location of Promise Falls. It could be Anywhere, USA. I think he's Canadian, but he's got a bead on us.

What inspires your writing?

A deadline. Well, that's a little true. I write because it's helpful. It gives me an opportunity to work things out in ways that I don't always understand until after I've put the book to bed. I don't journal. (And I sure as heck don't blog.) Writing gives me an outlet from the work I do with children and families.

If you had to choose one person to have dinner with, who would it be? And why?

I'd love to chat with Ben Franklin. He can eat. I'd listen. I'm fascinated by the breadth of his knowledge, his scientific inquiry, and his thoughts on liberty. I'd love to take him on a tour of the USA via the iPad and ask him what he thinks. As a nation, are we better or worse off than when he left us?

Gene Fowler (1890-1960) a journalist and biographer wrote: "Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead."

Jo Goodman writes: Yeah. What he said.

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