This week’s guest also lives in Spain and her books tell us more about the rich history of this fabulous country. I’m so glad I asked her as I’m delighted to learn she was also a teacher and then moved career. We have a lot of common. In her own words:-
Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Lucinda. I’m a great fan of yours, so feel doubly honoured to be here.
Well, I suppose you want to know something about me and what has influenced my writing. If you have read any of my books, you can see that I’m very much a feminist at heart (although that’s a term that has been abused over time), and strongly believe that women should have equality in all things. In 2020 this may now seem to be a given, but I grew up in the sixties and seventies, in a time when it was harder for a woman to gain recognition in a man’s world. So it’s not surprising that all my books have strong female characters who manage to succeed against the odds. By that I don’t mean they are all Boadiceas, driving chariots and brandishing swords, but ordinary women who have been dealt misfortune or disappointment, and managed to overcome it.
The other strong influence on my books is perhaps more obvious. I have lived in the south of Spain for twenty-five years and Spanish history and culture have always fascinated me and have provided some of the most exotic settings in my historical novels. Here in Andalusia, we are surrounded by the art and history of the Moorish occupation, and I have incorporated that into two series of historical
fiction: The al-Andalus trilogy, set in Córdoba in the 10th century and The City of Dreams trilogy, which follows on from that, with the protagonists now living in Málaga. There’s plenty of action and romance in the series, but it’s not all fiction. The historical part is based on hours of research, so for readers that know the area, it should make interesting reading.
I haven’t always been a writer, although for as long as I can remember I have wanted to be one. As with many people, retirement—or early retirement in my case—gave me the opportunity to fulfill a long-held dream. Writing about the caliph’s harem in 10th century al-Andalus is a long way from teaching primary children—my first occupation—or being a management training consultant, as I was at the end of my career, but just as fulfilling.
Sometimes I find myself labelled as a writer of historical fiction, but I don’t think of myself in that way. I write books about something that has inspired me and it may turn out to be a historical novel or it may be set in the 21st century. One day a few years back I read a short article about children who were sent to Australia as child migrants during WWII. I’d never heard about it before, and because I was intrigued I investigated further and the result was a very popular novel called The Only Blue Door. Inspiration can come from anywhere, and sometimes it is in the form of an unanswered question. The al-Andalus series came from a visit I made to Madinat al-Zahra, some ruins just outside Córdoba. The guide book told how it had been the most wonderfully rich, powerful and cultured city in the land, but had lasted only seventy-five years before it was completely destroyed. My immediate question was ‘How could that have happened in such a short space of time?’ There was only one way to find out: more research.
My latest novel, The Prisoner, will be available at the end of the summer. It is book three in the City of Dreams trilogy and will probably the last book I shall write about Moorish Spain. I have a yearning to try my hand at a crime novel, and already have a dead body in mind.
I love Joan’s books and highly recommend them. Here are a few more you might like to check out.
And the links to where you can find more about Joan’s books.
If you would like a guest post on my blog, just drop me an email email@example.com or you can pm me on messenger.
Stay safe and happy reading.