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March - Joy Isley of Arizona

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Hi Everybody!

I decided it was time to have some fun on the website, so

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….

No, wait, that was Star Wars, but it feels that way to me now looking back. J

When I was little, I had made up stories all the time and wrote them down.  I also played cowboys and Indians with my Roy Rogers ranch in our backyard.  One other thing that influenced my career was learning from my dad that his father had loved steamboats.  He told me how when he was a young boy (early 1900’s) my grandpa had taken him down to the St. Louis riverfront and said it was a ‘damn shame’ that the steamboats were disappearing.  Because of that, my dad grew up calling steamboats ‘damn shames’ J.  He passed my grandpa’s love of steamboats on to me. 

I was a voracious reader in grade school and high school, but once I got in college, there had been no time to read for fun.  It was in the late 70s when I was a stay-at-home mom with two young sons, that I read The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss and fell in love with historical romance novels.  I enjoyed all the great authors who founded the romance genre as we know it today, and I started daydreaming about writing one of my own.

Inspired, I began writing my first story in longhand while my youngest son was napping and my oldest one was at school.  I love St. Louis history, and set the story here in the mid-1800s, with the hero’s family owning a steamboat line.  I always believed lawyers were true heroes, so I made my first hero, Marshall Westlake, a lawyer, while his brother, Jim, was a steamboat captain.  (He’s the hero in the sequel, my 4th book Rapture’s Tempest.)  I wanted my heroine, Renee Fontaine, to be from the South, so I took a trip down to Louisiana with my mom to visit the plantations.  We went to Oak Alley, Madewood and spent the night at Nottoway.  It was so awesome and inspired me even more. J

To get to know my characters better, I cut pictures out of Penney’s and Sears catalogs and pinned them on my bulletin board over my desk.  I never dreamed I’d sell my story.  I was just having fun.

In the early 80’s, I took a part time job in a bookstore, and it was wonderful!  Being surrounded by books and booklovers was pure delight.  When I told the ladies I was working with that I was trying to write, and they all encouraged me.  It took me 2 ½ years to finish the first book – longhand first and then typing it on a manual typewriter. J  A customer of ours was an agent, and he agreed to represent me.  Kensington bought my first manuscript and I was thrilled.  It was an absolute dream come true for me to be a ‘real, live, published author’!

raptures rage

And that’s how Rapture’s Rage came to be.  (My unofficial working title had been ‘The Mist and The Dream’, taking after ‘The Flame and The Flower’, but NY wanted Rapture’s Rage and I wasn’t about to argue.)  So my very first every novel came out in 1982!

It’s been a great 30+ years, and I hope you enjoy my stories!

Best,

Bobbi

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