Friday, April 6, 2012

Interview with Author Joanna Allred McKethan

Today I’m interviewing Joanna Allred McKethan. Her book,A Holiday Folly, is a mainstream gothic/romantic suspense and was released on December 17, 2011.

Welcome, Joanna. You and I have met and recently shared lunch at your North Carolina art studio. I cannot believe you teach students to paint and have time to write. Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.  

Holidays are always a bit stressed, but this holiday knocks “stress” off the charts to make it a holiday of dark foreboding. Sinclair, artist and daughter of the Wards with an empire who live in a hidden spot of the Sandhills of North Carolina, is invited back home and brings her current boyfriend with her. Tensions and events escalate in this hilly N.C. setting which brings together a senator, horse people, rich relatives from all over the U.S., and an ex-boyfriend invited by Sinclair’s mother. The holiday is the time for receiving bad news.

Many authors are basing their stories in North Carolina, and I am glad to see it. This state has the ocean beaches and mountains to the west. Describe the genre of this particular title, and is it the only genre you write in?  

A Holiday Folly is written in contemporary gothic genre, and it is, more or less, the home setting to which I return. One book may emphasize one aspect of gothic or another.

I know first hand that getting published can take years. Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?

No, but I had one single title finished (also a gothic) and another abandoned (a fantasy). And I made all the mistakes, for example getting people eager to see the novels I was working on before I had finished them, and then not being able to follow through.

Why have you become a published author? Besides the money, of course (LOL!)    

Largely due to the encouragement of my writer peers, and to Wendi Felter of Red Rose Publishing, who called my book “a perfect match for Red Rose Publishing.”

Do you have any rejection stories to share?

No—they’re all the same. Most of my rejections have been kind, however.

The dreaded form letter…been there, done that, but you kept at it (lucky for your readers!) Writing is a profession and my readers are curious to know what your writing routine is like.

I’m an artist, as well, and I have finally bought a downtown storefront for both my writing and my art-based business, and it is my dream come true. It is a haven for me, and the place I write every morning, when I am in the birthing-a-new-novel phase. I do creative writing at the beginning of the day usually. It just depends on where I am in the process. Some days I have to just sit, staring. I’ve even gotten my art students interested in writing or improving their writing.

How nice to get them involved! I have several family members I use as sounding boards. Now to the nitty-gritty after the sale question. What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?

You, Nancy Lee Badger, are a fellow author I met at my local RWA chapter meeting. Also You and Betty Ann Harris are Red Rose Publishing’s published authors. I was plunged headlong into promoting before I was ready, and Nancy helps me sort out the different avenues, helped me set up twitter, etc.

Betty Ann has been a great help, I hear. Getting the word out is tough, but having you here today is just one step. On the plus side, having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?    

Seeing my title and a beautiful cover with my name under it!

Your cover is lovely. My three covers created by the artists on staff at Red Rose Publishing were also spot-on. You and I met at the local Romance Writers of America chapter, the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers. We are nearly 130 strong. I had no idea there were so many authors in our area. Are you a member of any other writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?

The Heart of Carolina Romance Writers is a wonderful group of local authors with large
Readerships. Romance Writers of America is one of the most super organizations in the world
for its unselfish fostering of new talent by mingling us beginners in and fostering the feeling of a humongous sisterhood. The North Carolina Writers Network have given me countless courses, all helpful. The Poetry Society of North Carolina and the Poetry Society of America are two wonderful groups.

My readers and fellow authors know I am a big advocate of the term pay it forward. Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract? 

You know, it’s hard for me to know how to encourage, but I know I wouldn’t ever give up. Maybe I should have long ago, but I didn’t. And I’m just dogged enough, and just ornery enough to ignore the nay-sayer’s and keep right on at it, so of course, that’s how I would encourage would-be authors. It’s not over until it’s entirely over and what else will you do with your time? Somebody else’s club duties? Busy work? Nah. Keep at it.

Wow! A woman after my own heart! What’s next for you?

1. I’m taking a break from marketing my first manuscript. It earned me my PRO status in RWA. It is titled A Deadly Provenance, and I am about to take everybody’s advice and do a little up-front renovation on the book.
2. I’m finishing my first Scottish Gothic, set in Scotland and N.C., Stone of Her Destiny. It has my family’s lineage in it and a preposterous scenario which come together in what I think is a really exciting entity.
As a reader of and writer of Scottish romance I am looking forward to your next book. Thanks for stopping by today. Here is more information about Joanna’s latest release A Holiday Folly, a gothic mainstream romance about a Southern gal, Sinclair. 


Used to a rich life style amongst the powerful, Sinclair has chosen the creative (and not-so-privileged) life of an artist and chosen a red-headed geologist as the love of her life. Invited to the 20,000 sq. foot family house in the heart of the Sandhills in North Carolina for Christmas, the lovebirds have no idea of the evil that awaits them and others in the upscale Ward family.

Sinclair, the youngest daughter to four older brothers, finds she must navigate tricky personal waters when she returns. Her love, Allan, is more than she bargained for, and a commitment begins that she might not be ready for in this Gothic-tinged suspense.


How can readers buy your book?

ISBN 978-1-4513-0130-1

Red RosePublishing    



A little more about the author

Joanna McKethan is a Southerner with a foot in the Old South and the New, a wife, mother, and grandmother who lived for nine years in Europe and returned from abroad to her country home in the south. She is an artist, a poet, a teacher, as well as an arts business owner. She has always wanted to paint and write, and has hidden her love for novels behind her paintings until recently. She has worked as an assistant editor, written feature stories, and published her poetry. Now her lifelong dream of publishing novels has begun. Her grown children visit her and one of her grandchildren blow bubbles with her on the lawn. Her "grand-cat," Buddy Number Two joins her and her husband on the deck which faces the woods. From there they see all manner of wildlife, including 8-10 deer at a time. You can sample her creativity at

Twitter:   @JoMcKethan

Lady in White is another romance by Joanna A. McKethan.
It is a mainstream romance with gothic suspense. The heroine, Michaela paints a new life for herself when she eagerly accepts an offer of art exchange student in what was a Communist country only a few years before. An artist by craft and by nature, she wants to prove her talent in foreign waters. Her love of truth requires her to question everything and dig for answers.

In Estonia she meets and falls in love with Peeter, an art professor, government contractor, and a royal. He loves her desperately, admiring her staunch separations of black and white. She loves Peeter wholly, not realizing a secret shame drives him. How he deals with life is challenged by his new wife and her unwitting exposing of the past so that he must finally confront his and his father’s unpardonable sin. Michaela plows through danger, even her own. Any single move might redeem her—or kill her.

Lady in White Buy Link