Contemporary Romance Author Joan Reeves: Happily Ever After @JoanReeves

Bestselling contemporary romance author Joan Reeves has stopped by for an interview. Available as ebooks and audiobooks, her novels all have the same underlying theme: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.” Joan lives her happily ever after with her husband in the Lone Star State. Sign up for WordPlay, Joan’s free email list for readers:

Do you outline your books or wing it? Describe your process.
My Process? That sounds rather lofty, when in actuality, my process is a mashup of outlining and winging it. Usually, I know how a story is going to start, but I do jot down some notes to make sure I lay the threads needed to carry the story forward. Then I dive in because I want to get to know these people.
contemporary romance author
The middle is the toughest for me. That’s when an author’s enthusiasm usually wanes and she becomes convinced she’s writing utter crap. So I do outline the middle because I don’t want it to turn into a muddle. After I get through that, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s a race to the finish line.

How do you decide on setting?
To me, the setting represents characterization in that the fictional people inherit a specific environment which reflects their choices, attitudes, etc. Setting can do a lot to make a book seem real, and it can contribute to conflict and change.

Most of my books are set in the South, particularly in Texas. The Lone Star State is dynamic and ever changing with it seems an influx every day of thousands of new residents. We have every ethnic group, every culture, and still have the traditional farmers, ranchers, and oil men. I’ve lived all over the world, but Texas is truly the most interesting place I’ve called home.

What genre(s) do you write in? Why?
With fiction, I write what I like to read: any story with a strong romance. Heat Lightning is a romantic suspense, but I’ve written about a dozen romantic comedies too.

What is your favorite part of writing?
Rewriting! I love tinkering with the story, getting the words just right, making sure the proper elements are presented so the reader can see the vision in my head.

What is your least favorite part of writing?
Ack! Sitting at a computer. The mouse is one of the worst inventions in regards to the human body. I’ve been a writer for more than twenty years so I feel as if I’m twisted up like a pretzel by the end of most writing days. I have to ration my time at the computer. After moving in 2013 and unpacking all that was moved in 2014, I ended up with a the most painful pinched nerve in the trapezius muscle on both sides of my shoulders. It’s still an ongoing problem requiring daily stretching exercises, therapeutic massage, and muscle relaxer medication. My goal this year is to resolve that painful situation.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of editing. How about you?
I write and edit as I go along until I’m past the halfway point of the story. If I can get the setup of the book and the setup of the complications and resulting decisions to accurately represent the story, then the rest of the book unfolds more easily.
romance authors
How much research was involved in writing your book? How did you go about it?
In Heat Lightning, I needed to create a believable scenario where a woman could disappear one day and resurface months later with no memory of what had happened. I studied maps and river currents and figured out how a rain-swollen river could be made to create the scenario I envisioned. Then I researched amnesia, that staple of movies and TV. The other information elements in the story, like careers, the West Texas setting, etc. come from my experiences.

What inspired your latest release?
Many years ago, I lived in Rapid City, South Dakota, when a spring storm caused a dam break. A flood swept through town, leveling everything in its path. Washing away homes, livestock, and people. That night when all this was happening, there was no power. I could hear the rain pounding the roof and what sounded like a long train rushing past. That train sound was the floodwater, decimating everything in its path. Along with that sound came exploding natural gas lines. It sounded like the end of the world. We were lucky because our house was on high ground. The next morning we walked a few blocks away and saw a body lying on a grassy slope. People, muddy and barefoot, sat huddled in the weeds on the same incline. They looked dazed, confused.

In the scenario where the heroine disappears, I knew how I wanted to accomplish that since I knew firsthand the power of water. The rest of the premise came from knowing someone who had been victimized as a child. That trauma, despite therapy, colored every aspect of life so that this person could not live a “normal” life and be happy. I’ve often thought that if a particular memory could be excised like a malignant growth, a victim could move forward instead of being mired forever in emotional pain. Of course, you can’t remove just one memory.

E-books, print, or both? Any preferences? Why?
Both. Also audiobooks. I find it so much easier to read ebooks. They’re not cumbersome the way print books are, they’re lightweight, and you can carry hundreds with you on a small device. I prefer print books for research though and for reading nonfiction if it’s something I’m trying to learn. I travel every weekend to our country house so audiobooks make the miles speed past.

What might we be surprised to know about you?
I’ve studied martial arts, owned and flew my own plane, lived in Japan for many years, and traveled a lot in southeast Asia. I’ve also been in quite a few dangerous situations like the flood I mentioned, a three-day blizzard in the Dakotas with no power, and anti-American riots to name a few.

For more about Joan Reeves, visit her blog and follow her on:

Heat Lightning, part of Summer Fire: Love When It’s Hot, Contemporary Romance Collection.
Her husband found her, claimed her, rescued her. David’s touch makes Tessa throb. Between them, desire flashes like heat lightning on a summer night. Her body knows David, but when she looks at him, he is a stranger to her. Not a flicker of memory is left of him or their life together. All she has left are questions. Who is she? Why does David seem to hate her even as he pulls her into his arms? What is he hiding? How can she trust him when her gut says, “Trust no one”?

Buy it on: Amazon

Send My Free Storybook Valley Welcome Kit

Get a sneak peek into Stacy's romantic comedy series set at a theme park. Includes sample chapters, princess tips, interviews, and more. You will also be subscribed to the Staycation newsletter, filled with book news, surprise bonus content, and perks for readers.

Powered by ConvertKit
Stacy Juba's Characters At A Crossroads Blog


  1. Great interview by Stacy and Joan. Now that I learned many of your secrets, Joan, I can understand how you write such good bestsellers.

  2. Thanks so much for coming by, Mona!

Stacy Juba