Hi and welcome to my blog, Jude Johnson. Please make yourself at home and grab a drink from my hunky cabana boys, Zeke and Jake. So tell us a little about yourself.
Hi boys, and thanks, Raine–but am I limited to simply grabbing a drink? Jake’s got some nice cantaloupes there. Ahem…slices, of course.
I’m a Gemini, Sign of the Twins, so having simultaneous multiple lives is the norm. My day job is as a chiropractic physician in private practice, but I’ve always written stories in my head. I started seriously writing fiction for publication about ten years ago. I adore history and reading about the details of daily life in the past, so historical fiction naturally became the first choice of genre to try. And yes, I’m still in practice full time, so writing is done after everyone’s gone to bed. Insomnia can be a blessing…
So tell us a little about your latest book. What inspired this masterpiece?
My latest–Dragon’s Legacy— is the third in my historical fiction/romance series about a Welsh immigrant and the Mexican healer he fell in love with in the Arizona Territory. Book One, Dragon & Hawk, introduced Evan Jones and his brothers who came from Wales to work the copper mines during the 1880s. Each meets a strong but different type of woman, but it’s Evan who goes through hell and back for the mystic healer, Reyna.
Book Two, Out of Forgotten Ashes, picks up their story after their Happily Ever After–as consequences of Evan’s past rise up like phoenixes to not only threaten their marriage, but their lives.
And just released on July 1 is Dragon’s Legacy, picking up the action in 1904 Tucson as more Anglos moved into the West, bringing their strict morals and racial prejudices with them. Jamie Jones, eldest son of Evan and Reyna, finds himself the target of such bias because he has his mother’s dark skin and blue-black hair. When a beautiful blonde newcomer arrives, he becomes determined to prove his worth by winning her affections. But she has her own agenda, including playing him against another man, Percy Kendall, who has a mysterious connection to the Jones family. Snared in a web of deceit created by their fathers, Jamie and Percy’s lives collide, resulting in revelations that could destroy the entire Jones clan.
If you had any super powers, what would they be and why?
The Super Power to negate calories in one delicious treat per day. Because everything that tastes wonderful is fattening. Imagine a world where you could elevate your mood with chocolate that wouldn’t go to your hips! But it could only be one serving per day; otherwise people like me would forget good nutrition and try to live on chocolate dipped bananas and Crème brûlée.
What genre haven’t you tried yet but want to in the future?
I’d like to write a mystery/thriller with a hint of sarcastic humor that keeps the reader absolutely guessing with a totally unexpected twisted ending. I try very hard not to telegraph what’s coming, but I find planting those “red herring” clues difficult.
What is one thing readers might be surprised to know about you?
Hmm… I’ve always wanted to participate in a Demolition Derby where you drive a junky car and smash it into other cars to knock them out. It’s so tempting on the freeway sometimes, but I like my current car too much to chance it. Maybe someday…
If we asked your muse to describe you in three words, what do you think they might say?
Obsessive, Risqué, Imaginative
What authors can be found in your library of books?
Again, Gemini, so think Multiple Personality Disorder with this eclectic group: Neil Gaiman, Rhys Bowen, Stephen King, Benjamin Franklin, Ashley Barnard, Sharon Kay Penman, Naomi Novik, M.A. Hutchison, Diana Gabaldon, Carol Costa, Jasper Fforde, C.S. Forester, Ashleen O’Gaea, J.K. Rowling, Patrick O’Brian, and many more.
Have any guilty pleasures you want to share with us?
Well, it’s rather embarrassing to admit I lovewatching Dancing with the Stars and professional ballroom competitions on PBS. I’m amazed at the athleticism and the whole notion of dancing with a stranger that way is so sensual and romantic.
Is there anything you’re currently working on that you can give us a taste of?
I’ve been researching a novel based on the true story of a young man who was forced into the British Navy and jumped ship in Boston Harbor. He hid in a cranberry bog until he almost froze to death and was rescued by a young girl from a nearly farm. I intend to fictionalize it by making him suspected of being a spy–by both sides. Is he a Patriot? Is he a Loyalist? Will the young lady be his salvation–or ultimately turn against him? I’m hoping to keep readers guessing until the end.
What is your favorite way to relax after a hard day working and writing?
Red wine, dark chocolate, and a hot mineral salt bath.
What is one historical figure you would love to chat with and why?
Gosh, there are so many… but I think I’d like to talk with Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson of the British Navy. What made him such a risk taker–not only in naval tactics but in his personal life? He flaunted an affair with another man’s wife while he himself was married–didn’t he think about how it affected those women? If he had such a dedication to “duty” why didn’t that apply to his marriage vows? And yet, he is one of Britain’s greatest heroes, so I’d like to listen to him tell his versions of what he did at the Battle of the Nile and Trafalgar.
Would you care to mention any upcoming or WIP projects that readers can look forward from you in the future?
I will have a short story coming as part of an anthology, but I’m afraid I’m not permitted to talk about the project more than to say it will be an uplifting read for women of all sizes to learn to love who they truly are.
Out of all your books, do you have a favorite one? If not, then which one is closest to your heart?
My first novel (Dragon & Hawk) was a real labor of love so it’s closest to my heart. But I actually like all the stories I’ve written so far–because if I don’t like them, why should readers? I honestly enjoyed exploring a marriage relationship during the Victorian Era in Out of Forgotten Ashes, and the stupidity of racism and prejudice in Dragon’s Legacy. I also had great fun writing a short fantasy involving the Celtic legend of the selchie (or selkie)–a person who is human on land and a seal in the sea–called Within The Mists.
Thanks for coming. Is there anything else you want to add?
Thank you for having me over, Raine! Ta-ra, Zeke and Jake–and thanks for the raspberry daiquiris. Too yummy!
To readers I would like to add that if you enjoy my books, please “like” them on Amazon and other sites, and feel free to like my Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/JudeJohnsonAZ
Out of Forgotten Ashes
Available from Champagne Books:
As well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.
Teaser Excerpt for Dragon’s Legacy by Jude Johnson
BLURB for Dragon’s Legacy:
Jamie Jones looks like his Mexican mother and so struggles to find his place in an increasingly Anglo Tucson, Arizona Territory, in 1904. But his stubborn Welsh half is determined to be accepted, so he sets his sights on winning the affection of Miss Iris Crawford, an aloof beauty with motives of her own.
Percy Kindall lives the life of a privileged rogue in San Diego—until the day of his father’s suicide. Percy’s only clue to motive is a letter sent to a mysterious Mrs. Reyna Jones in Tucson. When he arrives there, he recognizes a kindred spirit in Iris Crawford, and makes clandestine arrangements for their mutual satisfaction.
Unaware of the avaricious manipulations of Miss Crawford, Jamie and Percy’s lives collide and intertwine in a web of secrets and destiny—a Dragon’s Legacy.
Jamie looked down Congress Street toward the bank—and suddenly felt woozy, as though a mule had kicked him across the street. Time ceased to flow.
He knew the moment he saw her she would be his ruin. The swinging skirt captivated him and transformed rational thought into hummingbirds that zipped away into the ether. Only a tiny hatchling of probable calamity remained. He shoved it into a far, dark corner of his mind. He had never seen such a beautiful girl. She might have stepped from the pages of the latest fashion magazines of 1904 with that smart navy gabardine suit. A straw boater, perched jauntily atop a pile of golden hair, barely shaded delicate porcelain skin from the harsh June light. He stared, hypnotized, aware of nothing but the young woman approaching him and the sudden clamor of his heartbeat in his ears. Jingling harnesses and creaking wagons and clopping hooves along Tucson’s busiest street disappeared. The air no longer held the aromas of manure and dust, hot wind no longer stirred his hair. Hundreds of people going about their business, laughing and chatting, no longer registered—only this goddess.
She strolled toward him with that tantalizing sway, deliberately slow despite the heat, as though the desert reserved its torture for insignificant mortals.
Her mesmerizing spell did not ensnare Will. His bony elbow jabbed Jamie’s ribs and startled him back to the here and now. “Here comes another fancy-dancy Eastern girl,” Will muttered. “She’ll be a puddle of sweat before she gets up the block. Her nose is already redder’n a cherry. Don’t those people read about Arizona before they come here?”
Jamie realized he’d been gawking and closed his mouth. He remained silent and touched his Stetson to her as she passed. She stared beyond him—through him. He did not exist. Bitter disappointment welled in his throat. Newcomers from the East, like the New Yorker in the alley, saw his brown skin and blue-black hair and assumed an air of superiority. He knew he favored his Mexican mother in appearance and ignored such bias when he encountered it. But today this girl’s rejection stung deep.
At the very least the beauty should have nodded politely to Will, who was the mirror image of their Welsh father—Jamie’s height, but pale-skinned with thick, dark curls, high cheekbones, and a prominent jib sail nose. But she did not. Jamie wondered if she avoided eye contact with strangers out of
proper modesty. Yes, that’s it, he decided. She must be a real lady from the East, new in town and not taking any chances of encouraging the wrong sort of attention.
“What a snob.” William shook his head. “Where do you think she’s from? New York? Baltimore? I’ll bet it’s one of those ‘society’ places like Philadelliyuh.”
“Philadelphia, Will.” Jamie sighed. Whoever she was continued down Congress toward Main Street, head held high. His heart skipped. Bet she’s going to Steinfeld’s Department Store. That’s our next stop.