Any day that I get to chat with this sweet lady is a great day for me! I’m happy to welcome Joanna Davidson Politano to the blog today in celebration of her new novel Finding Lady Enderly!
Joanna Davidson Politano writes historical novels of mystery and romance, including her debut Lady Jayne Disappears. She loves tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives and is eager to hear anyone’s story. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and you can find her at www.jdpstories.com.
FINDING LADY ENDERLY
GENRE: Victorian/Gothic Romance
RELEASE DATE: August 20. 2019
“For one blessed moment, I was actually beautiful…”
Raina Bretton is a rag woman in London’s east end when a handsome stranger appears in a dank alley and offers her a glittering smile and a chance for adventure. Rothburne Abbey has a unique position for her, one that will take her away from her hardscrabble life and give her a chance to be a lady. Things she could only dream of might be coming true. But some dreams turn out to be nightmares.
“I do not truly wish for all my dreams to come true. After all, nightmares are one type of dream.”
Though Raina has traded squalor for silk and satin, something about the abbey is deeply unsettling. As she wrestles with her true identity, the ruin, decay, and secrets she finds at the heart of the old mansion tear at her confidence and threaten to reveal her for who she really is. Only one man stands between her and the danger that lurks within–and only if he decides to keep her biggest secret hidden.
Hi Joanna! Welcome back to the blog!
Joanna: Winter, if I have to choose, but I honestly get excited about each new season as we sit on the cusp and watch it sweep over our world. There’s beauty in every form of weather, and adventures specific to it that I wouldn’t miss!
Carrie: I feel that way about spring, fall, and winter…. but not summer. Please, not summer. 😉
Joanna: Do I lose my author card if I say hot chocolate? Tea is wonderful too, but I’m one of the few writerly people who cannot stand coffee. Sorry! It’s just so not for me. Actually just give me ice cream.
Carrie: No – you actually win the ‘you picked winter & hot chocolate & now Carrie is your friend for life’ card. Haha!
Joanna: LOOOOOOVE music! There’s a “flavor” for every season of life, every circumstance, every book in the works. It’s somehow arresting without being distracting, and worshipping with songs really gets to my heart.
Carrie: I’m pretty sure we are the same person…
Joanna: Both, please, and add in some woods! Natural beauty is inspiring and it feels like home to me. After growing up in the city/suburbs, I feel like I’ve come “home” to my woods and I love it here! We’re also near a beach 😉
Carrie: sounds blissful!
Q: When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head first?
Joanna: Well, after my children, who are mindlessly tearing toward the kids’ books and anything that looks like Thomas the Train. (And I’m good with that, because I loved kids books even before I was a parent!) After that, I check for sales and talk to any employees hanging around. They always know so much! They’re like an untapped well of brilliant opinions. After that, maybe I’d wander over to fiction and see what covers drew me into their story.
Carrie: “an untapped well of brilliant opinions” – i love that. You should be a writer 😉 And I love that the covers draw you to new reads too. (PS – yours always snag my attention!)
Q: Do you have any strange writing habits/quirks?
Joanna: When I was a kid, I used to sit on my couch upside down to write, with a notebook and pencil. Something about that pose cancelled out the reality of the world around me and allowed for full escape. Now I write in snatches when I can and brainstorm in the shower—my only alone time!
Carrie: i LOVE that you wrote as a kid! that makes me so happy!
Q: Library Journal gave a starred review to your debut novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, stating, “Fans of the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens, and Victorian gothic fiction will enjoy Politano’s well-crafted debut.” Your newest novel, Finding Lady Enderly, is also set in the Victorian era. Why did you choose this time period?
Joanna: There are so many deliciously rich stories from that time period—Charles Dickens novels, with their many layers; Thomas Hardy’s beautifully drawn characters; and Wilkie Collins’ haunting tales, for example. Stepping into their colorful, gritty world resonated with me, and I wanted to go back and visit.People may think of this as a boring, prudish time in history, but the pristine appearances that were so important to them were a great cover-up for some fantastic family secrets and epic tales of forbidden love. I love a good secret.
Carrie: ooo me too!
Q: What type of research did you do for Finding Lady Enderly?
Joanna: I pored over what Scripture said about identity as I shaped this book’s theme, and I looked at names and their significance. As for the cultural aspect, I read a lot about Victorian law—specifically the rights of married women and the role and limitations of solicitors. I also dove headlong into a study of clothing of that specific decade, since the main character is experiencing many of these fancy gowns for the first time and completely loving them. I had to be aware of every detail, the way they felt, how they looked.
Carrie: oh that sounds like so much fun!
Q: Did you have the whole plot outlined before you started writing this book, or did you let the characters dictate what came next?
Joanna: The idea for this book came to me as nothing more than a really cool twist, and I built the story around it as I wrote. When I reached about 75%, though, I realized the twist was not so twisty and completely changed the ending by twisting the story exactly backwards—and that worked. So… the one part I had plotted beforehand was totally ditched. I suppose that makes me a dictation taker and not a plotter!
Q: What is something that God taught you while you wrote Finding Lady Enderly?
Joanna: Over and over again, my stories help me circle back around to one truth—God is able, and all our lives are cradled in the palm of his sovereignty. I always set out feeling inadequate to write another book, and by the end I realize I am—but that’s sometimes all that’s driving me to depend fully on God, so it’s perfectly ok. My heroine, Raina Bretton, finds herself inadequate for the crisis she faces, and after falling on her face a number of times, she has a beautiful moment of shattering her self-reliance. Even as she seeks to figure out who she is, especially when so much of “her” is stripped away to make her someone else, it’s not until she looks up instead of in, to paraphrase Corrie Ten Boom, that she finds anything worth grasping as truth.
Carrie: Amen ♥
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Joanna: I’ve just finished drafting a multi-layered love story that starts and ends with an old, undelivered love letter that slipped down into the cracks of a desk. The heroine is determined to deliver it, but she has to figure out who sent it… and for whom it was meant. That story will release from Revell in the summer of 2020 and I can’t wait!
Carrie: oh my goodness – i’m super excited for this one too!
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What about you? What interests you most about this book or the author?