Interview with Author Joyce Henderson

For your pleasure, I interviewed author Joyce Henderson. Joyce is an outstanding person, and I’ve mentioned her in an earlier blog here. She is one of my favorite authors, as indicated in the left sidebar under “Authors I Love,” and her most recent book, Promise the Moon, was one of the first books I purchased with my new Kindle.

Joyce Henderson is a member of Romance Writers of America, a charter member of Southwest Florida Romance Writers, Florida Romance Writers, Published Authors Network, and Published Authors Special Interest Chapter, as well as Novelists, Inc. Her books have been nominated for National Readers’ Choice Award and George Romance Chapter’s Maggie Award. During Joyce’s 27-year writing career, she has mentored dozens of writers.

MC: Thanks, Joyce, for taking the time to answer my questions.

JH: Thanks for having me, Marisa. As you know, I can runoff at the mouth endlessly! So, let’s get to your excellent questions…

MC: When you’re not writing, what’s your preferred way to spend time?

JH: Other than writing? Reading, because I read everything except erotica, YA, and inspirational. That’s not to say I never read those three since I judge more writing contests than I should (about 10 per year), and oftentimes contest coordinators need judges for those sub-genres, so I help out.

Schmoozing with friends is a fun way to spend an evening or afternoon at the pool. Adult libation anyone?. 🙂  

However, I find myself at the computer schmoozing with friends and fellow writers far more often than I can get to the pool at our condo complex. We’ve lived in this condo for 22 years, so we have met a ton of folks who’ve come and gone. I tend to keep in contact with friends by way of the internet. As an example, I have a friend I went to high school with who lives across-country. Oh, and my school days came to a screeching halt waaay back in 1952 when I graduated from high school, and married 11 days later. Now you know…I knew dirt while it was still a rock. LOL I’m also on 10 writers’ loops, and I’m never shy (Can you tell?) about hopping into discussions.  

Back to reading… I’m an eclectic reader, which means I read everything, burning through two or three to a half-dozen books in a week. Depends on how long a novel is. BTW, I’m a night person. Right now I’m reading Nora Roberts’ Chasing Fire. That woman is a phenomenon. No matter her subject, one would swear she’s been there, done that! It’s astonishing. Since I write historical that’s my first love for pleasure reading. It’s also the sub-genre I fell in love with from the get-go.

MC: If you could eat only five foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?

JH: Well, I was raised in a meat-eating home. That’s red meat. My husband would like it if I made more strictly veggie meals, but that ain’t gonna happen, folks. Veggie affectionados, I do like veggies so don’t get your dander up!  I grew up working in my folks’ grocery store, my dad the butcher; in today’s lingo, a meat-cutter. I grew up eating the best of cuts, T-bone, New York strip. If you don’t know what sweet-breads are…a bull would no longer be a bull without them. Got it?

Mexican dishes are my favorite cuisine, nachos, tacos, chimichangas. I make a bi**hin’ salsa! I’m not much on sweets. So many writers I know get orgasmic over chocolate. I can take it or leave it. Chocolate martini? No thanks. But I love colorful salads, so if I have them available I include nasturtim petals, along with cheery tomatoes, different types of lettuce, onion…green or red…celery, shaved carrot. You name it, it’s in my salads. I can make a meal of salad. I often do in a restaurant.

MC: Share with me about your writing career. Have you had more ups or more downs?

JH: After wearing many career hats, I began a writing career in 1984, with the thought, shoot, I can write one of those. My rash thought came from reading icons of the romance genre like Kathleen Woodiwiss and Bertrice Small. Piece of cake…right? WRONG. Took me awhile to discover there are techniques to writing fiction, which I spent an inordinate amount of time learning because I wrote from ’84 to 1989 before I realized I needed to take a class or three in writing for publication. (Uh-oh. One of my critique partners is going to jump on the run-on sentence.) I was 20 years getting published. Not surprising, is it? 

One might think during all those years I’ve had more downs than ups. Au contraire. I’ve never done anything without enrolling in the “school of hard knocks,” but I’ve learned sooo much that way. In the process I’ve attended a gazillion workshops, dozens of conferences, and secured lifelong friendships; people who are like family. No matter where I go in this life, besides my husband I’ve been married to for 59 years, those friends will always be my strength, never farther away from me than this keyboard.   

MC: Are you more productive/creative (in regards to writing) in the morning or the evening?

JH: Writing is a career…a job. I’m “most” productive when I plant the fanny in the chair and write…every day. It doesn’t really make much difference what time of day. Although, I tend to run out of steam around 3:30- 4ish in the afternoon. I’m fortunate to have two critique partners (Did I tell you I have lifelong writer friends who are like family?), two excellent writers that I admire and who are really sisters of my heart after upward of 15 years together in the writing trenches. (Ack, another run-on sentence that she’s gonna jump me about. LOL) We have been fortunate to get away once or twice a year for weeklong writing retreats. One lady has a second home in South Carolina, the other in Georgia. We usually manage to get to SC in the spring and GA in the fall. All three of us have verra supportive husbands. And isn’t that nice?

MC: If you could give advice to your younger self (the age when you first began actively pursuing a career in publishing), what advice would that be?

JH: I was in my mid-fifties when I began writing. Okay, I suppose that was a younger self. 🙂 Had I been privy to the pitfalls in this business, I would have taken classes and hopefully found Romance Writers of America sooner than five years into the process, more or less spinning my wheels those first years. And I would have submitted more often than I did. I’d sometimes go for a year between submissions. Not the way to get published anytime soon, was it?

Joining RWA was the best thing that ever happened to a romance writer who was trying to find her writer’s legs. It’s an unsurpassed organization that is 10K strong. Aforementioned Nora Roberts and Bertrice Small are but two excellent writers who give so much to wannabe authors. Kathleen Woodiwiss was also a member until her death. We miss her in our ranks. Ann Stewart! She’s one of the best workshop presenters in the universe! 

MC: If you have a nifty tidbit or anecdote you’d like to share, please do so!

JH: I’m pathetically inept at techie stuff. Fortunately, I can call Michael, another writer, who gets me through many shaky moments, oh heck, days, of wearing myself out trying to understnad this “magic box” we call a computer. Don’t get me wrong. I love that I can write, delete, rewrite so easily. I began writing on a legal pad with pen. Btw, some longtime published authors still write first drafts with pen and paper. Fortunately, Michael is my web master or I’d not have that presence on the internet. I guest blog like I am doing today, but have yet to bite the bullet and try to write my own. I don’t twitter either. Am I shootin’ myself in the foot promotion wise? Probably. Still, I like to write, I like to interact with fellow writers, and if I sell my Native American and Americana historicals in the process, I figure I’m a part of the best of all worlds.

MC: Thanks, Joyce. I love having permission to ask probing questions!

JH: Thanks again, Marisa. I love your blog, and it’s an honor to have been a guest. I like to interact with fans, too. By all means, visit my web site:

Cheers everyone. I wish you all happy reading and productive writing! 

Please don’t hesitate to leave comments or questions for Joyce! I know after each response I had a million comments and follow up questions!

Joyce will give a free pdf of Promise the Moon to one lucky person who comments, so if you comment, be sure to check back to see if you are the winner. Winner will be announced when Joyce says so, but probably on or about two weeks from today.



You can purchase Promise the Moon here, or you can click on the book’s image.

Hope you enjoyed my author interview with Joyce Henderson!



  1. Great interview! We’ll sure miss this lovely lady at our SWFRW’s monthly meetings:( I read more YA & inspy myself so Joyce’s To The Edge of the Stars was the first historical romance I read & I was pleasantly surprised! I hope I’m still kicking like she is in my golden years:):)

    • Jamie, thanks for commenting! It’s great to read out of genre, and I do recall loving To The Edge of the Stars as well. Joyce’s heroines are remarkable, and Kalen – her heroine – pulled me into her world. Since that book, I’ve developed a soft spot for Texas historical romances. 🙂

  2. Joyce, my sister at heart, knows her craft forward and backward…and is willing to share that knowledge with anyone. Her characters become so real that when you reach that last page, you really hate to say good-bye to them. All her books are keepers on my shelf! Great interview! Congrats to both Joyce and Marisa!

    • Lynn, it is so true when you say Joyce will share her knowledge with anyone. She welcomed me into the SWFRW group way back when, and she’s always willing to spend time with the less experienced writers. She blends encouragement with realistic comments, and her knowledge really shines in her own work.

    • Vonnie, thanks for stopping by my blog! I clicked on your name and love your site. Also, the clustrmaps was so neat!

  3. Thanks for stopping by, Jamie. Btw, your name is that of my granddaughter’s. 🙂 As I said yesterday, I’ll still be around vie email.

    And Lynn, one of those sister’s of my heart, keeps me on track day after day, week after week. She’s helpful too!

    • Joyce, thanks again for answering my probing questions. I love your answers, and I am excited to say I will be having a large salad for dinner!

  4. Joyce, what a great interview here with Marisa! Very interesting. I learned a lot about you, girl! I tend to spend way too much time on the computer, too. LOL I have written for as long as I can remember, but never had a clue about publishing anything until about 15 years ago–that’s when I started thinking I wanted to write for publication. So glad to have met you, and I can’t wait to read Promise the Moon. I’m crossing my fingers…feel like maybe it might be my lucky day….LOL

    • Cheryl, thanks for commenting on my blog. I loved interviewing Joyce! I visited your site, and Fire Eyes looks intriguing! Whenever I find a new author, I like to start with the debut novel, and I think that’s the one, if I’m not mistaken. 🙂

  5. Inspiring interview. I love your sense of humor, Joyce. It’s contagious. I was raised on red meat too, but I jumped over to vegetarianism in my twenties. Even became a vegan for awhile until my love of leather shoes slapped me back to reality. My meat loving husband considers this period in my life ‘my age of insanity.’ Let’s just say I was a little ‘earthy’ in those days. Now I’m back to loving meat. And as the saying goes ‘There’s nobody more zealous than a convert.” Steak anyone?

    • Marianne, I’ve been a vegetarian since high school, but now that I’m approaching half way to eighty, my hubby decided I need at least a bit of whatever he’s ordered. Usually covered in sauce, I manage to swallow. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! I checked out your site, and you have a fabulous quote from Sharon Sala! Excellent!

  6. Hi Joyce, great interview. I like you down-to earth, yet positive attitude. The fact you never gave up should encourage many new writers, and make other believe in better days. I always enjoy reading your posts. Now I need to discover your books. Best of luck.

  7. Mona, thanks for stopping by. I checked out your blog, and you have some great pictures! The cover for Rx in Russian looks great!

  8. Great interview, Risa. Joyce, I loved learning about you and your writing career. Best wishes! Cecy Robson (aspiring writer).

  9. Good eveing, Ladies. It’s been one of those days, but I did get to critique a synopsis for a friend, which takes me awhile because I’m thorough. Maybe far moreso than a writer wants. LOL Vonnie, Cheryl, Mona, fellow “Roses,” thanks for stopping by. Marisa, Fire Eyes is really a good read. And Mona, my goodness, she has traveled all over the world and puts everything she knows into her work.

  10. Macy and Amanda thank you for stopping by.
    Cecy, attend conferences when you can, take advantage of workshops on line, too. No matter how long one writes, you can learn something from workshops. in may case, often I hear something that I’d forgotten, but reinforcement and learning is ongoing. When I quit learning, i’ll have turned up my toes. I’m in the midst of trying to write a time travel, which I don’t know how to do. I did say I enroll in the school of hard knocks with every thing do, didn’t I? LOL I took an online class from Jo Ann Ferguson, which was more in the Star Trek vain than I needed, but I still learned a few things.

  11. Monday morning. I’m up, Nine a.m. here on the East Coast. If I’m supposed to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, well, I’ll get there by…noonish…perhaps. LOL

    Beautiful day here in Southwest Florida. To my friends who traveled to the mid-west and northeast for the summer…why? Alas, y’all are about parboiled by now. True, it’s like walking into a wall here from the humidity and heat when one ventures outside this time of year, but at least we have a breeze.

    Now, let’s see how well I can type today “without” typos. Sheesh, I look back at the original blog and my replies here…it’s no wonder I’m thankful for copy editors. Okay, Off to work…Microsoft word, here I come…

  12. I second your advice about joining RWA. I spun my wheels for about a year trying to reinvent how to write a novel, when the folks at RWA were ready to help me learn my craft without nearly so much angst!

  13. Hi Mia!
    May I suggest those of you wanting to learn more about the craft of writing stop over at one of Mia’s websites. She has two more aka’s that I know of, Emily Bryan, and Diane Groe. She does a Redline Thursday on one of them, I think it’s Thursday. That’s for intrepid souls willing to submit a few pages of a work in progress to her for comments…right online for God and everyone to see. It’s quite enlightening. Thanks fo rstopping by, Mia.

  14. Great interview, Marisa, and thank you, Joyce, for sharing your journey with us, as well as some very solid advice. I too make a bi**hin’ salsa – isn’t homemade so much better than store bought? And I loved your admission that you’re not a techie. Hey, you try and that’s what counts, right? Right!

  15. Hi Jen. Thanks for stopping by. If I can’t have homemade, I don’t eat salsa. I’m spoiled, but I’m entitled! That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. LOL

    There’s a local fruit and vegetable stand here where they make a great salsa fresh everyday. It’s worth the price if I happen to be shopping there. Living in Florida, though, it’s a seasonal stand; open in the winter, closed in the summer when all the Northerns have gone north. I would suspect this year those folks’ve wonder why they just “had” to get home since it’s been such a scorcher all over the mid-west and northeast.

  16. While I’m hear today, I’ll add…I’m about to move across the country. I’m going to miss my longtime friends here in Southwest Florida but, hey, I’ll only be as faraway as this keyboard. LOL I will have the best of both worlds, too. Here I have a wonderful fellow writer who helps me with my techie problems. I call him my East coast “son.” Once I arrive on the West coast, I’ll have my techie son-in-law and granddaughter “whose never saen a computer program that she didn’t like!” So, if I can’t handle this computer, it won’t be for the lack of able help everywhere I turn!

    Btw, I wrote nine pages on my time travel today. Yay! That may not sound like much, but I pretty much put everything into a first draft because not only do I hear voices, II see complete scenes. I know, spooky, But no one every said writers are sane.

    • Joyce! Thanks again for allowing me to interview you. I love hearing about my favorite authors’ private lives, and you are definitely one of my favorite authors. I can’t wait to read your time travel. Also, thanks for generously donating a book to one lucky commenter. Hugs, Marisa

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