A former high school English teacher and Yankee's fan, she splits her time between working with her husband at their church's food pantry and writing.
Please welcome, one of the icons of the Romance Novel genre, Joan Wolf
Joan: My story is the tale of a desperate housewife. My husband and I had just moved to Connecticut with our new baby. I had quit work (that was what we did back in the day), I knew no one in my new town, and I was lonely and bored. I picked up a few books that were on the best-seller list (these were the days of Rosemary Rogers and Katherine Woodiwiss) and I read them. I had taught literature and creative writing to high school seniors for a number of years, so I thought, O'kay, I’ll give this a shot. I can work while the baby’s napping. It seemed a much more interesting project than cleaning the kitchen floor.
Me: Christian Romance is a rapidly growing market. What do you think has spurred the growth?
Joan: Christian Romance has always been popular in Christian book stores, but I think its surprising growth into the wider book market has been spurred by regular romance readers who just got tired of the heavy sex, vampires and werewolves that seem to populate most romance novels these days. I know I got sick of it, and that’s one of the reasons I turned to Christian romance. It offered me a chance to express my own faith while telling an emotionally and psychologically rich love story about human beings. The New York publishing houses are no longer giving women this kind of romance and these readers are discovering that Christian romance does. I think that’s why it is growing so quickly and I also think it will continue to grow as the word spreads: This is what readers are looking for in a love story.
Joan: When I was in high school Camelot was playing on Broadway and a boyfriend took me to see it for my birthday. Richard Burton played Arthur. I fell madly in love with him and thought Julie Andrews was insane to have looked at anyone else. After crying my eyes out at the theatre, I read everything I could get my hands on about Arthur. I read Mallory, of course, and the other medieval Arthurian tales, but what really began to intrigue me was the historical Arthur.
It sparked my imagination to think that a leader from deep in the dark ages could have left so strong an imprint that legends sprang up around him. That is why The Road to Avalon is set in the final days of Celtic-Romano Britain and I portray Arthur as the savior who kept civilization alive by turning back the waves of Saxon invasion.
Joan: Alas, when I edited my first book I kept changing adjectives and adverbs until I thought I had the right ones. Now when I edit, I take things out. Adjectives, adverbs, sentences, whole paragraphs - gone forever. In truth, I rather cringe when I look at my early stuff.
Joan: I have been very fortunate in my agents. Every one of them has really loved my books and has been committed to selling them. I would never have done as well as I have as a published author were not for excellent agents. My present agent, Natasha Kern, is the one who introduced me to the Christian Romance market. She’s been a huge help; I’m new to this genre and she knows just about everything.
Joan: This is so easy for me to answer. I have been working on a book about Mary Magdalene that I just love. I have written the first two parts and my agent, Natasha Kern, is very excited about it. It’s a very different slant on Mary’s story, starting with her childhood and showing how the events of her life caused her to become the woman whom Christ regarded as one of his disciples.
I think women especially would love this book; it has a very feminist cast to it. I have become quite entranced with Mary myself, and I look forward to delving back into her world.