Joan Swan in The Dungeon

Please join me in welcoming debut author JOAN SWAN to The Dungeon! :whip

Joan is a triple RWA® Golden Heart finalist and writes sexy romantic suspense with a paranormal twist. Her debut novel with Kensington Brava, FEVER, releases February 28, 2012. Her second novel, BLAZE, follows in October 2012.

In her day job, she works as a sonographer for one of the top ten medical facilities in the nation and lives on the California central coast in beautiful wine country with her husband and two daughters.

Though Joan & I both write for Kensington Brava, I only recently got to know her better via Twitter when she rescued an injured & abandoned kitteh.  Well, you know I jumped all over that—animal rescuers are angels on earth, imho, & I had to tweet her a big pat on the back. :kitty

I’m not sure she knew what she was getting into when she agreed to visit with us today, but let’s hope she doesn’t mind jumping right in & letting us torture her just a little… :cuffs

What is your favorite color? As a kid it was yellow. It was yellow for so long that when it changed to purple, I’d still say yellow when people asked…a knee-jerk thing. My mom used to say that she never worried about me when I was young because she knew as long as my favorite color was yellow, I was a happy kid. It shifted to purple sometime in young adulthood, which makes sense since purple is the color of romance. Apropos, yes?

Favorite song? Favorite movie? And of course, favorite book? Nope, sorry. Not going to pin me down on any of these. My tastes change on a weekly basis. I don’t understand the concept of “favorite” when it comes to entertainment. Yes, it’s true—I’m just that fickle.

What was the first book in your chosen genre that you remember reading, or that made you want to write the same? My memory has been destroyed (my oldest daughter is sure my Diet Coke consumption is to blame…she’s probably right, but I’ll never tell her that), so I don’t remember the first. The first that made me want to write the same was probably Hot Rain by Kat Martin. It’s a wild ride through the jungles of Belize, on the run from bad guys with a hot undercover cop. Just doesn’t get much better.

What do you think of Heidi? She’s great, right? Heidi? I thought this was about me. Oh, no wait…that’s my husband’s motto—“it’s all about me.” I hear it so often, I got confused. I think Heidi is a Mother Theresa for the four legged and has a place reserved in heaven where she will never be lonely.  (Note from Heidi: Awww, thank you.  See my note above…I happen to think there will be a lovely spot in Heaven for you, too, for all you did for that sweet little kitten. :kitty )  (Note from Mistress Heidi:  Honey, you’re in The Dungeon now—it’s all about me.  And a little bit about Heidi, when I let it be. :whip )

How did you get started writing? I got tired of reading what was out in print. I had exhausted all the backlists of every decent author I could find and when I started to dredge into the work of less-than-stellar authors, I balked. I didn’t start writing because I thought I could do a better job, I started writing so I could play with the kind of stories I liked to read, busying myself until my faves worked their fingers to the bone for a year on another book so I could devour it in a day. Then I got hooked on writing…and my reading days were never the same.

Tell us a little bit about your first (or most memorable, if you prefer) sale. My first is my only sale, so it would be my most memorable—how convenient! FEVER was originally passed over by the editor at Kensington. She said she’d be interested early on in the submission process, but would require changes to the second half of the book. After going through the rounds with different houses where there were various reasons they didn’t pick up the book—ranging from we just bought something similar to we’re merging with another house and not acquiring while that’s happening (what?!)—we revisited Alicia at Kensington, who said she was surprised it was still available because she was sure it would have gone to auction. **snorting up Diet Coke on the keyboard** Dream on. After discussing her concerns for the second half of FEVER and brainstorming revision ideas, I could see that with Alicia’s help, I could really amp up FEVER’s punch. It was a lot of work, but I feel really good about how those revisions affected both the novel and my abilities as a writer.

Fill in the blank—If you like [blank], you’ll love Joan Swan!  Shannon McKenna…sexy romantic suspense with a paranormal twist…slightly psychotic, snarky creatives shunning a mid-life crisis.  (Wasn’t sure which angle you were going for… :Huh )

Which of your books would you like to pimp today? Tell us about it and why we’ll love every word.  That would have to be FEVER, my debut. FEVER is the first of the new “Phoenix Rising” paranormal romantic suspense series. I think you’ll love every word because I’ve crafted FEVER to be a fast-paced read—you’ll never get bored. I’ve got a hot, hot hero who’s in an impossible situation, fighting to get back the most important thing in the world, and the strongest enemy hell-bent on keeping him from succeeding. I’ve got a strong heroine with a sassy mouth, compassionate enough to see through the hero’s tough exterior and intelligent enough to help him in his quest. To top it off, I’ve got some really fun secondary characters that spice everything up with good looks and quick wits.

The “Phoenix Rising” series pivots around a mysterious explosion at a military warehouse that injures a team of seven HazMat firefighters, killing one. The contents of the building—extremely confidential and dangerous radioactive chemicals used by the Department of Defense in secretive scientific experiments—have inflicted the team with various paranormal abilities. Abilities the government wants to study covertly. Abilities the team wants to understand and expose. With military advancement and national power at risk on one side, and personal health and freedom at stake on the other, each group is fighting for precious stakes.

FEVER is about one of the seven firefighters, Teague Creek, convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, framed by a government threatened by his prying questions into the warehouse explosion. Teague has been denied an appeal, lost the daughter he lived for, and the career as a firefighter he loved. With no hope left, he plans an escape. But his plan goes wrong when the woman he kidnaps as leverage to get his daughter back turns out to be someone else. And this woman quickly clues in to the abilities he tries to hide, creating a bond neither can afford while they’re on the run from both the cops and undercover operatives who want Teague silenced. This time, permanently.

If your plane crashed in the Andes, would you convince the other survivors to eat Heidi first or last?  So, here’s the thing…I strive for a no-cannibalism policy on all my trans-continental adventures, and let me tell you, I have a zero tolerance policy. Why, you ask? After working at a medical facility where they take parts of one person and place them inside various other people, after watching how those operations take place, after seeing all those internal pieces of the human body—you can bet your ass, not only am I not eating any of them, no one is eating any of them around me. Zero. Tolerance. You’re safe on any excursion with me, Heidi. (Yet another note from Heidi:  Whew! :dropmouth )

If you could write anything—whether in the same genre/sub-genre as you’re writing now or another—what would it be?  I really enjoy what I’m writing now—romantic suspense with a paranormal twist. I could happily continue in this vein for a long time. But I’m also very interested in the newer sub-genre of romantic thrillers. I’m a huge thriller fan, but feel they lack that third dimension of a hearty relationship thread. And if they do have the thread, that thread doesn’t always end happily—which is just so wrong. Romantic thrillers fill that little niche of 75% thriller/suspense and 25% Romance with a happily-ever-after that I absolutely hunger for as a reader.

Something I’d also love to write but am not cut out for—at least not now—is romantic comedy. I am so envious of those (present company included) who can write funny. (Hint:  If you have to buy a book entitled “How to Write Funny”—i.e. me—it’s not for you.)

What are you currently working on?  Actually, I’m working on a few things. I’m revising my option proposal to continue the “Phoenix Rising” series with Kensington. I’m revising a romantic suspense manuscript that finaled in the Golden Heart twice for Indie publication. And I just finished a long proposal for a new paranormal suspense series which delves deeper into the genre with witches, demons, and true evil. It’s dark, gritty, and really sexy, and I hope it sells because I’m dying to write it!


Leather or lace? Um…I’m more of a cotton or Gortex kinda girl. Yeah, figure that one out, heh!

Devil or angel? Definitely Devil. Never follow the rules. Always looking for the loopholes. Sliding out through the back door before the bell rings. But I look like an angel doing it.

Angel food or devil’s food? Devil’s food—chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate, please. And can I have a little chocolate on the side?

Hemlock or arsenic? Hardly. Hand me that M14 sub, please.

Blood, sweat, or tears? Sweat. Blood and tears both hurt too much. Sweat may hurt, but at least it’s freaking fun at the same time.

Boxers, briefs…or commando? Boxer briefs. Definitely.

Cowgirl or missionary? (Hey, get your mind out of the gutter. I was simply asking what you wanted to be when you were growing up. :winkwink ) My mind had to get out of the gutter, yours was hogging it! Man, this competition is fierce! Girl can’t get any good gutter action around here.  (Further intrusive note from Heidi:  Notice she never answered the question. Which makes me believe she probably never wanted to be a Missionary when she was a little girl. :cuffs )

Thank you so much, Joan, that was great!

Joan has also generously offered to give away a copy of her debut release, FEVER, to one of today’s lucky visitors.  In print or e-book format (winner’s choice) to be delivered upon the book’s February 28th release.  And there are no restrictions, which means this giveaway is open to U.S. & international readers alike!

To enter, simply leave a comment or question for Joan today.

Winner will be announced during our “Happy Sunday” post on January 22nd, so be sure to drop by & see if you won!

Happy chatting & best of luck! :thumbsup


60 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Jane says:

    Congrats on your upcoming debut release, Joan. I love Shannon’s books, so I’m sure I will love “Fever.” :kitty

  2. Debra G says:

    Congrats on your debut release. how exciting! Loved the interview. Made me laugh in places. My two kitties re both rescues.

  3. Donna says:

    Wow! You got out of the dungeon mostly unscathed. Must have been that M14 sub. :muahaha I have to say I LOVE the cover and shall be adding Fever to my wish list. Good luck and thanks for sharing. :blowkiss

  4. ChrisS says:

    Loved the interview. Thanks for the smiles.

    Joan, congratulations on your upcoming debut! I am always looking for new authors to read and Fever sounds like a great read.

  5. Viki S. says:

    What a fun interview. I can’t wait to get my hands on FEVER! Just look at that yummy cover 🙂

  6. Anne says:

    Well, congratulations to Joan on her debut. I enjoyed the interview and look forward to reading Fever.

    I agree with Viki, that’s a might fine cover! Guaranteed to get me to pick it up and read the blurb.

  7. Sherry says:

    Congrats on your debut release, Joan. I love the interview.. some parts got me laughing :rolf . I’m sure I would love Fever.

  8. CrystalGB says:

    Hi Joan. Great interview. Congratulations on your debut release. I love the cover.

  9. carole says:

    Hi Joan! Congrats on your new book! Like to read it for its a different kind of book that I’d normally read also yur a new author,too! sounds like an enteresting and exciting book! I liked your Q@ A. Your definitely a cowgirl, for you like to take a chance or not afraid! Have a wonderful day!

    • Joan Swan says:

      Hi Carole…yes, I have always been the one who likes to ask what the rules are just so I know what I’ll need to do to break them. :winkwink Thanks for coming by!

  10. Mary Kirkland says:

    Congrats on the new release! I love romantic suspense novels :blowkiss looking forward to reading this one. You’re a new author to me so I’ll be looking into your books, thanks for coming today. Loved the interview..had me giggling.

    • Joan Swan says:

      Hi Mary,

      That’s awesome news! :blowkiss I’m a big RS lover too! The paranormal element in this series was so fun to write and fit these guys so well! I hope you enjoy!

  11. Monikarw says:

    Joan! I’m so excited for this book!!!:D I wish u all the success in the world! Thank u for everything and for being so nice to me on twitter!:) ..Good Luck with ur WIP :*

  12. Hollie says:

    Hi Joan!! Love the cover of your book!! Very Hot!! and it’s nice to see that you did very well with the inquisition!! Great answers!!
    I’ve put Fever on my tbb pile!! :jumping

  13. Heidi says:

    Good afternoon, all! Thanks so much to Joan for joining us today, & thanks to everyone for dropping in to keep her company! Enjoy yourselves! :twirl

  14. Tina B says:

    Good luck on your new release Joan! This sounds like a very interesting read. :jumping

  15. Raonaid Luckwell says:

    That’s alright Joan you can move right next door to me in Gutterville because my mind totally went there too. Which is not unusual for me.

    Leather or lace for me – Totally Leather. I LOVE the scent of leather. Whenever I pass a leather shop in the mall or walking the sidewalks, I always have to go inside to inhale the scent.

    Totally cannot wait to get my greedy hands on FEVER

  16. StacieD says:

    Hello Joan!
    I am so looking forward to the release of Fever. I’ve been crushing on the hero ever since you revealed the cover art.

    I love firefighter heroes. I admire their bravery and their strength. I cannot wait to dig into this series. I have February 28th circled on my calendar.

    Congrats on the upcoming release. I know it will be a huge success. Thanks so much for the giveaway. If I win I would absolutely want a paperback of that cover. *swoons*

  17. Sebrina says:

    Fever has been on my ‘hot reads’ list seems like forever. We’re getting closer and closer, but still itchin in the britches to get my hands on it! *laughs*
    I’ve been talking about this upcoming release to friends and family, plus pimpin it on FB so I know lots of people have seen it. Think we (us readers) can pimp it enough to where we run out of copy prints? That’d be cool…….maybe…..idk to be honest, but that would mean its HOT!!! Speakin of hot ——->cover! Yowzah! I’m rambling ….. 😉
    Thanks for the chance!

    • Joan Swan says:

      :blowkiss :blowkiss :blowkiss :blowkiss

      There is nothing better than word of mouth! It is the absolute best marketing and utterly priceless. I can’t thank you enough.

  18. SoftFuzzySweater says:

    Do you prefer your readers to read your books on e-format or printed?


    • Joan Swan says:

      Ooo, what an interesting question!!! A flip from the typical “What do YOU like to read on.”

      Hmmm…okay…I’d have to say paper. Why? The cover. Yes, I know…silly, but when you close the book, you have the cover staring at you and when you put the book on a table or in your purse, you have the cover staring at you. When it’s on an ereader and you close the ereader, you have the ereader screensaver or cover there. Not at all the same.

      And somehow…to me…words on paper seem like they are closer to the original format — coming directly from ME — than words on a screen, which is totally ridiculous considering I write on a computer, not paper…but…that’s just the way it feels.

      What a cool question! :winkwink

  19. Maureen says:

    I am reeeeeally looking forward to this book. It looks great, would love to read and write a review on my blog;)

    Best of luck…… :jumping :jumping :jumping :jumping :jumping

  20. Bonia says:

    Starts singing “Welcome to the Dungeon” to the tune of “Welcome to the Jungle” “we’ve got fun and games….” oh sorry got side tracked!
    I have only recently gotten into the paranormal romance reads, and let me tell you I’m HOOKED! Now hearing about yours I’m excited!

    You state you want to get into the romantic thrillers genre. I am with you on they need more “happily ever afters” I know it’s a thriller but would it kill them to add a little happiness? I hope it works for you! I would love to read that!

    If you could suggest 1 book to us that is a MUST read (outside the obvious of FEVER) what book would you suggest?

  21. Joan Swan says:

    Hi Bonia!


    ROTFLMAO — seriously!!! I’m with you!!!

    My must read…Darynda Jones’ FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT or SECOND GRAVE ON THE LEFT. :winkwink

  22. Quilt Lady says:

    Congrats on your new release. Love the cover of this book so sexy!! I have not read your work but that will change. Thanks for sharing your book with us today. :blowkiss

  23. JoAnna B says:

    Congrats on your upcoming release! Fever sounds great.

  24. Gayle Cochrane says:

    I loved the lost and found kitty story on twitter too. Looking forward to Fever for what seems like forever. Fun interview.

    • Joan Swan says:

      Yours will be in soon, Gayle! Yes, kitty is still a touch schitzo…but I’m hoping she’ll grow out of it as she gets more and more comfortable with us.

      Thanks for coming by.

  25. Jennifer says:

    Hey Joan! Squenn here.

    I’m really looking forward to your book. I keep seeing it on websites, and it’s ticking me off that I can’t buy it! Best of luck on the release!

  26. Sherie says:

    I am so excited for the release of this book! Congrats Joan! And wow what a HOT cover! :heart

  27. Jennifer K says:

    Hi, Joan! I’m so excited to read this because I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this for a while now.

    Question: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and what do you do to get through it or through a difficult scene?

    • Joan Swan says:

      Oh gosh…yes. But I have issues with the word “block” so I never use it, but I know what you’re talking about–periods where I can’t seem to get anything down on paper (or screen).

      From what I’ve been able to decipher, this always happens to me for one of two reasons. 1) Insecurity: that internal editor is on super-human volume and I’m so worried about every word I write, every thought I have that my brain becomes paralyzed and no writing comes out. This usually happens as a result of something — a bad comment about me or my writing, the loss of a sale or some other opportunity, etc. Or 2) something is not going right in my story.

      When I know #1 is not the cause, I look into my story and in particular my characters (99% of the time it stems from them — such pains in the asses!). And it almost always occurs because I’m making them do something they don’t want to do or that’s out of character. What is really happening is my subconscious knows this isn’t the right direction for the story and puts up a wall.

      My best 2 ways of getting around that wall are 1) waiting – just putting it aside and working on something else or just tinkering with the story everyday or cleaning the house or … whatever … and letting my subconscious work on it. Or 2) Brainstorm with my CP. That usually works out some good kinks but doesn’t always solve the problem…which brings me back to waiting.

      Thanks for asking!! Good question!

  28. Kathleen O says:

    Great interview ladies.. there were some LMAO moments all through this interview.

    Joan I am putting you on my must read list for sure.. looking forward to reading your books.


  29. donnas says:

    Congrats on the release!! Im really looking forward to reading it.

  30. Jessica Lemmon says:

    Congrats, Joan! And wow, that cover is…WOW. :dropmouth
    My question is, think you’ll ever quit the day job to write full time, or are you happy (as a lark, or clam, your pick) to do it all? :jumping

    • Joan Swan says:

      Hi Jessica,

      Thanks, it’s a :dropmouth cover :winkwink

      And on the quitting the job thing…um yes. No, wait–hell yes! 🙂 A.S.A.P. But with a daughter in college…might be later than sooner.

      The job at least gives me lots of character ideas! *snort*

  31. Jolene A says:

    Congrats on your upcoming release!! It sounds amazing and it’s on my must buy asap list. Release day can’t come soon enough and to mention how much I love the cover. I REALLY love it, I need his hot abs sitting on my shelf with my other hot book covers 🙂 Loved the interview, my daughter’s fav. colors are always yellow and purple 🙂

  32. says:

    looking forward to FEVER!!! :jumping :jumping

    love the tattoo on the hunk! :winkwink

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