A Reluctant Queen: An Interview with Joan Wolf

Cat 243 Dover by Mary Jo

Today we’re honored by a return visit from Joan Wolf, one of the grande dames of the romance genre.  Her first romance was published in 1980, and she immediately became a star of the Signet Regency line.  Over the years, she has also written historical romancess, contemporaries, pre-history romances, and medieval mysteries. 

Now she is embarking on a new publishing path.  Joan, welcome back to the Word Wenches, and please tell us about your latest work:

Cover--Large  Joan Wolf:

I am so pleased to be invited to your blog to write about my new book, A Reluctant Queen, The Love Story of Esther. I was a guest on Word Wenches once before and it was a lot of fun, so thanks so much for having me back.
This novel is a change for me in that the subject is biblical, but in other ways it’s not really a change at all.  One of my favorite themes for a novel is to take an old story and make it new. 

I did that for the Arthurian myth, and my novel The Road to Avalon is still in print after thirty years. In fact, a fan has done an incredibly beautiful movie version of Avalon.  If you are interested in taking a look you can find the link on my website (joanwolf.com).

This Esther book has been a long time in coming.  I have always loved the story and The Road to Avalon fifteen years ago, when my father was dying, I wrote the first version of what would become A Reluctant Queen.  I just needed to go someplace far away in my mind, and regency England had become so familiar to me by then that it wasn’t far enough, but the Persian Empire was. 

Writing this book helped me through a bad time, but no one wanted to publish it fifteen years ago.  So I put it away and pretty much forgot about it.  Then, when I felt I couldn’t write the kind of hot romance that editors wanted because it was flying off the shelves, I remembered Esther.

The Story of Esther:

In some ways the story of Esther resembles every girl’s favorite fairy tale.  The peasant girl comes to court dressed as a princess and is so beautiful that the prince marries her and they fall in love.  But he still believes that she is a true princess, and her deepest fear is that if he finds out about her lowly origins he won’t love her anymore.

Esther and the King Yet the stakes are much higher in the Esther story than they are in a fairy tale.  If Esther reveals to the king who she is, she may lose his love but she will save the lives of the entire Jewish people.  The moral imperatives of this story go far beyond the Brothers Grimm and turn Esther into one of the great heroines of the Old Testament.

It’s a wonderful story, but it is definitely not a hot romance.  So I looked into the area of Christian publishing (even though Esther is Jewish, not Christian), and Thomas Nelson bought it and has published it.  They gave it a wonderful cover and are even having a contest with a Kindle as the prize!  If you’re interested in entering, you can go to my website and sign up.  

A Reluctant Queen is available at Barnes and Noble and other bookstores (I think you’ll probably have to ask where they’ve shelved it).  It is also available on Amazon, Amazon’s Kindle, and as an audio book.  It has questions for book clubs at the back, and if anyone wishes to suggest it for a book club, and the members have questions, I would be most happy to answer them. 

New Directions:

This has been such an invigorating experience for me that I almost feel like a brand new writer.  I’m at work right now on my next biblical romance for Nelson – it’s about Rahab and it’s set during the fall of Jericho.  The farther back in time I go, the happier I am!  Thanks so much for giving me your attention and I wish everyone a happy summer.
Reluctant-queen Thanks so much for visiting, Joan!  And for graciously offering a copy of The Reluctant Queen to someone who leaves a comment on the blog between now and midnight Saturday.

Mary Jo, who can’t wait to see where Joan goes next!