Thursday, November 21, 2013

Interview with JoAnn Spears Author Six of One, a Tudor Riff

Are you a mom ?

I am the mother of a 33 year old son.  And arguably, three cats.  The cats are fully aware, however, that I am not their real mother.

If yes do you find it hard to juggle writing and parenting?

I worked two jobs as a nurse while my son was growing up, and sadly did not make the time to write.  Now, my son is grown, and he has been most supportive of my second career as a writer.  He’s urged me to take chances and risks with writing and marketing that I probably would not have taken without his encouragement.  As for the cats, they like to sit on the keyboard when I am writing as a show of support.  At least, I hope it’s a show of support.

Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect to?

Yes!  The driving force behind the book was my desire to see Henry VIII’s six wives portrayed as victors, rather than victims.  Of course, the way that plays out in ‘Six of One’ is purely fictional.  Still, I like to think that the six wives are on an astral plane somewhere, laughing at my book, and at having finally gotten over on old Henry, even if only in the realm of fiction.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I am 53 years old (for a few more days); like the heroine of ‘Six of One’, I have dark hair and am still a size 8; I am a dual Master’s Prepared Nurse, certified in healthcare quality; I have 3 cats; I love black and white movies; I embroider reproductions of antique samplers; I am into ‘real’ food and organics; and I LOVE Jazzercise.

When you’re not writing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?

My guilty pleasures are:  Box wine; $5 faux gold hoop earrings from Target; visits to the TJ Maxx next door to my yoga class; an occasional Shake-and-Bake pork chop; and having all 3 of my cats in bed with me at the same time.  Please don’t tell my mother about the first and the last.

Which romance book or series (or other genre, if you don’t write romance) do you wish you had written?

I wish I had written any of Barbara Pym’s books.  Old-school single blessedness has its funny side, and no one captured it like Pym.  She was a master at the art of the gentle send-up.

If I were a man, I’d wish to have written George MacDonald Fraser’s ‘Flashman’ series.

Clearly, I should be in therapy for some kind of multiple personality disorder.

If this book is part of a series…what is the next book? Any details you can share?

I’ve just started on a second-generation Tudor sequel that will pick up where ‘Six of One’ leaves off.  I am also working, believe it or not, on a Tudor cookbook.

Is there a genre(s) that you’d like to write that you haven’t tackled yet?

Yes.  I hope someday to write a book about my early retirement experience. 
A couple of years ago, I left urbanized New Jersey and moved, solo, to the mountains of Upper East Tennessee.  People always are shocked to hear about a single woman of my age making that kind of move, to a place where she didn’t know anyone. 

I would like to let other single women who are contemplating such a move know that it IS possible to pull it off.  I am living happily ever after!  I would like to share with other women what I have learned, and what I am still learning.  And of course, I would like to make them laugh.

Six of One, a Tudor Riff
JoAnn Spears

Genre:  Historical fiction, satire, women's fiction, chick lit, alternative history, historical fantasy


Number of pages:  304
Word Count: 79,000

Book Description:

“Six of One” is the ultimate ‘girls’ night in’…with the six wives of Henry VIII. It’s the most fun you can have with your nightdress on!  Join Dolly, the Tudor-obsessed heroine of “Six of One”, on a Yellow Brick Road journey to the alternate reality of an all-girl Tudor court.

It all begins when Dolly loses consciousness on the eve of her marriage to the six-times- divorced Harry.  She awakens in the company of the Tudor women she’s studied all her life. They have a mission to accomplish, and Dolly may be just the girl who can help them do it.

As a warm-up to her life-changing interview with the six wives of Henry VIII, Dolly gets to dish with lots of the other fascinating females of the Tudor era. She learns things she never guessed about the Princes in the Tower from their sister, Elizabeth of York…Henry VIII’s mom.  She talks sex with Henry’s sisters and scholarship with his daughters. She even gossips with the help, since Kat Ashley and Bess of Hardwicke are among the ladies on hand.

Of course the heart of the story is in Dolly’s interview with the six wives of Henry VIII. It turns out there’s something to each of the wives’ stories that’s been held back all this time.  You won’t believe what really happened…or will you?

“Six of One” offers no tragedy, no excuses, and no apologies. It does have lots of broad humor, not to mention tons of puns. And—for a change—a happy ending

About the Author: 

JoAnn Spears spent a lot of time trying to figure out whether she wanted to major in English or History in college.  Life stepped in, and she wound up with a Master’s Degree in Nursing instead.  A twenty-five year nursing career didn’t extinguish that early interest in books and history. It did however stoke a decidedly gallows sense of humor.

The story of the six wives of Henry VIII was JoAnn’s favorite piece of history.  She read the classic variations and the feminist variations, the tragic spins and the vindicating spins.  She witnessed the success of the pop culture, soft-core Tudor offerings of recent vintage. It occurred to her that the one thing that hadn’t been brought to a full length novel about the Tudors was a gallows sense of humor. The Tudors certainly qualified for it, and JoAnn had plenty to spare.

The first ‘real’ book JoAnn ever read was “The Wizard of Oz”.  She returned to the Yellow Brick Road for inspiration for a new kind of Tudor novel, and “Six of One” was born.

“Six of One” was begun in JoAnn’s native New Jersey. It was wrapped up in her new Smoky Mountain home in northeast Tennessee, where she is pursuing a second career as a writer. She has, however, obtained a Tennessee nursing license because a) you never stop being a nurse and b) her son Bill thinks she should be sensible and not quit her day job.

While “Six of One” is a different kind of historical fiction novel, JoAnn is a downright stereotypical lady author.  She admits to all of the cats, flower beds, needlework, and obsessive devotion to Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott that you’d expect.

Twitter:  @joannspearsrn

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1 comment:

joann spears said...

So nice to visit Creatively Green!