Today, I’d like to introduce Joanne Lockyer in the final installment of “In PRO-suit of publication, Regency GH Edition.” Joanne is the only 2012 Regency GH finalist I’ve met in person, and I can assure you she is as lovely as she is talented! Welcome, Joanne. Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself?

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Wendy! I live in Brisbane, Australia. These days, I have the fortune to work at a fabulous, flexible science writing related job several days a week. I devote the other days to working on my manuscripts.

Sounds heavenly! Jumping right in, will you share the twitter-pitch of your GH finaling manuscript?

It’s the story of a lone adventurer who has stolen his family’s fortune yet never spent a cent, and the beautiful shipwreck survivor he plucks from the English Channel.

Love it. You’ve packed many story questions into an intriguing pitch. Right away, I want to know more about this mysterious hero. What do you love about this story?

I write hero-driven stories. The guys in my books carry some baggage! The hero of my GH manuscript, Jonathon Lecky, is by no means a typical regency hero. A lone wolf, a commoner, he reflects the type of men who pit themselves against mountains and sail solo around the globe. And while he works to his own moral code, he is also a lawbreaker. At one point in the novel, my heroine, Rachel Cavanagh, contrasts him to her infamous privateer grandfather and observes, “Her grandfather had been a man’s man as much as a ladies man. Jonathon Lecky was all man’s man.”

OOOh…you have a future reader in me! Where were you when you received the GH call?

Actually, I didn’t find out I finaled by phone! However, I did stay up all night in the hope the phone would ring! (Yeah… I was pretty hopeful!). My critique partner, Elizabeth Essex, received her RITA call at 9 a.m. Texas time (midnight Australian time). I was so delighted! Meanwhile, my phone remained stubbornly silent. At 5 a.m. Australian time (2 p.m. Texas time, when the full official list was supposed to be up), I took myself to bed, far more gutted in reality than I had earlier convinced myself I would be, should no call eventuate.

Three hours later, I was woken by a phone call from my mother, who said I needed to check the RWA website. A crazy, excited email from Elizabeth Essex revealed my name had appeared on the list twenty minutes after I went to bed!

After believing I hadn’t finaled, I then spent the whole day in shock. Wasn’t complaining though! Ultimately, RWA did call, after politely waiting for Australian business hours! I think GH/RITA calls are one of those things no one minds being woken for in the middle of the night!

What a roller coaster! Can you share any ah-ha moments related to writing?

I can chart a few great leaps. The first was attending the Romance Writers of Australia conference in 2006, three months after I got serious about writing. I arrived at that conference with a full ‘ugly duckling draft’ of my first manuscript; along with a draft query letter the visiting US literary agent quickly tore to shreds. I had written the first manuscript largely from instinct, rather than an understanding of craft. Attending a writing conference early was invaluable. Budding writers should get themselves to a conference quick smart!

In subsequent years, I’ve benefited immensely from Michael Hauge’s workshops and Margie Lawson’s lecture packets.

Margie Lawson is such a talented teacher. And, I completely agree about conferences. When RWA came to NY, I went on a mission to convince as many local writing friends to sign up as I could. Yes, conferences can be expensive, but they offer connection with your peers, networking with industry professionals and perspective on current trends…and that’s before you factor in the fabulous workshops! Worth. Every. Penny.

Switching gears, what’s your favorite romance?

I can’t narrow it down! Absolutely anything by Laura Kinsale. I adored ‘The Bronze Horseman’ by Paullina Simons. And I think Maire Claremont, who will soon be published by Signet, will become a future favorite . . .

I haven’t read Paullina Simons, but I love Laura Kinsale. I’ve read Flowers from the Storm about ten times. Talk about a hero with baggage! 

For readers who might not know, Maire Claremont was last year’s Golden Heart Winner in the Historical category. I’ve read an excerpt and I’m eagerly awaiting the release of Dark Lady.

This has been so much fun! Any parting words of wisdom?

Sure! I have been doing a lot of revisions lately and I am always looking for ways to ‘write smarter’. While I am very much a plotter, I have realized sometimes I don’t plot ‘deep’ enough – not on the first draft anyway! (I would love that to change!). Characterization can still feel a little flat on the page.

One solution? Returning to the main characters’ backstories, or developing the relationships between characters. “Show” (not tell) the nitty-gritty detail in backstory/character planning. Say, for example, the heroine does not get along with her elder brother. Instead of having the pair snipe at one another, brainstorm: What are three things the brother has done / continues to do to set his sister’s temper off like a Chinese firecracker? Wherever possible, consider both the event and consequence.

1. He is always reckless when he rides the estate’s most valuable horse. On the first occasion he nearly brings the animal back lame, the heroine snaps his riding crop in half. The second time, she tips a bucket of chaff over his head in front of his friends. For the latter, he’s never forgiven her.
2. He consistently recites their father’s various financial ‘words of wisdom’, yet their father left his children with a mountain of debt.
3. He is constantly buying new shoes.

It is amazing how many other ideas this approach can trigger! Our life experiences reveal our character and our substance. So too these details for our characters 🙂

What a wonderful suggestion. Hummm…sounds like a great future workshop, too! Thanks so much for being here Joanne.

And, in honor of the Regency Golden Heart Category, commenters today will be entered to win a e-book copy of 2009 Regency Golden Heart Winner and 2010 Regency Golden Heart Finalist Sara Ramsey‘s Heiress Without a Cause (In the e-book format of their choice).

20 Responses to In Pro-suit of Publication: An Interview with Joanne Lockyer

  • Oh boy! Do *I* know about writing hero-centric books! (I also love reading them, so you’ll be on my auto-buy list, Joanne!)

    I love the suggestion to find unique backstory reasons for interpersonal conflict. I definitely spend my fair share of days out in the garden letting my characters snipe at each other in my head. I find out so many unusual traits for them that way!

    Can’t wait to meet you in Anaheim!!

  • Oh, I’m jotting down your characterization tips. It’s exactly what I needed. I always start with a hero and find a heroine for him 🙂 The need for more depth is so important and sometimes it takes a lot of work.

    Good luck! I look forward to reading your book.

    Can’t wait to meet and it’s only days away! Have a safe trip 🙂

  • Loner hero outside the usual mold? Sign me up, please. I hope you sell that book soon so I can read it!

  • Hi Joanne!!!

    My ears were burning! Thank you so much for The Dark Lady love. Ever since I heard your pitch, I’ve been dying to read your story too! Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long.

    I’m a panster but I absolutely love love the idea of looking at events and consequences and far/deep those consequences will go.

    And your GH call story is so awesome. I love those “tales”. Talk about going from the depths of despair to cloud nine in a few hours, eh?

    And I’m with Ashlyn. Brooding, lone wolf hero? Where do I click pre-order 🙂

    Maire Claremont

  • Joanne, what a fun interview and call story! Though I don’t have a time difference issue, I gave up on finaling in 2010 – I had given RWA my home number, not my cell! Thankfully I got an email before I saw it on the list.

    Congratulations on the final and have fun in California!

  • Wendy, Another lovely interview. It’s so great to hear about the GH finalists.

  • Congratulations on your GH final, Joanne! Can’t wait to meet you in Anaheim. Your story sounds absolutely excellent!

  • Hi, Joanne! I’m so happy for your GH final and can’t wait to see you in Anaheim. What a wonderful story. And more good things will come your way–I’m sure! oxox

  • Great interview you too.

    Wonderful tips,Joanne. I hope your book is published soon so we can all enjoy it.

    See you guys next week!

  • Ooh! The book sounds fabulous!!!

    And THE BRONZE HORSEMAN was an incredibly intense read. What a love story that was!

    Can’t wait to meet you in Anaheim!

  • Loved the interview, Wendy and Joanne. I haven’t read THE BRONZE HORSEMAN, but after these recommendations, I’ll look it up.

    Your book sounds very nice 🙂 And I loved your story of the ‘polite’ RWA call LOL.

  • I loved hearing your GH story. Did you say your critique partner is also up for a RITA this year? How exciting for both of you! Wishing you enormous success!!

  • Hi Joanne:
    Congratulations on your GH final. Your call story is great and I love the sound of your manuscript. I was also at the 2006 AustRWA conference. I wonder if we met then? There were so many amazing Australian writers/authors.
    Looking forward to meeting in Anaheim.

  • Wow – thank you for the wonderful comments everyone!

    Glad you liked the characterization tips, Jean!

    Absolutely Maire! It was a bit depths of despair! And I had tortured myself for HOURS refreshing RWA website and watching all those finalist spaces get smaller and smaller… And several other Aussie names had gone up in the middle of the night, so I had assumed all the Aussies had been called, lol. Whew! So glad that I DID make the list! It has been such a wonderful experience, with such a wonderful group of finalists.

    Yes, Mary! My critique partner is up for a RITA! Elizabeth Essex, For Danger of Desire, her third Kensington Book. It was a book Liz just loved writing so much that it just spilled onto the page. It is fabulous!

  • Hi Joanne –

    I love your pitch and the idea of an adventurer hero. I hope you are published soon because this is something I want to read!

    See you in Anaheim –


  • I have read much of the manuscript. It shares a raw hero and a heroine with wit. I am biased, but I know a few things about men who take risks, and so does Joanne. There are men who will much identify with and enjoy this story too.

  • Loved your comments, and learned something new, as I ALWAYS do when you talk craft. 🙂

    I can’t wait until this manuscript is published!

  • Wendy, another great interview. Thanks.
    Joanne, hello from another Brisbane romance writer. I can’t go to Anaheim but I’ll be cheering you both on from Australia. Expecting to hear some great news.
    Wendy managed to get a little tipsy last year at The Beau Monde soiree – grin! So did I! Wendy’s fault of course.
    So the two of you will have to share a drink for me this year.
    Suzi Love

  • Thanks for visiting and commenting everyone! has chosen Elisa as our winner. Yay, Elisa 🙂

  • Now, Suzi…we Beau Monde Ladies always respect decorum. We’ll miss you this year.

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