Author Interview + Giveaway: Jo Goodman

Fiction Vixen is pleased to welcome author Jo Goodman to the blog today. Catherine had the opportunity to ask her a few questions:


Catherine: Hi Jo and welcome to Fiction Vixen. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Jo: A little bit about myself…hmm.  Well, I’m directionally challenged.  When I stay at a hotel, I invariably go the wrong way down the hall when I leave the room.  It’s better if people point to the right or left rather than use the words.  GPS is only marginally helpful because, really, I don’t need another voice telling me what to do.  I’ve been writing for a long time, but then I did start putting together stories when I was still in elementary school. I rewrote Paul Bunyan from a tall tales book into a play for my fifth grade class.  It still makes me giggle remembering how I carried George McMurray on my shoulders so he could be as tall as Bunyan.  What was I thinking?!


Catherine: While reading various reviews on Kissing Comfort and chatting with friends about the book, I heard a lot of surprise about the fact that Newt and Tuck, Comfort’s uncles, spent some time with the ladies throughout the years, because it was assumed they were actually a couple. Are you surprised to find that so many people assumed this?

Jo: The reason that Newt and Tuck were not lovers is that I thought it was just too obvious.  I figured it was what readers would expect, and I decided to go the other way.  It sort of felt cliché if they turned out to be gay.


Catherine: I think you pulled it off perfectly here, but I know that having the heroine in love with someone other than the hero, even if only for a little while, can be a fine line to walk in readers’ eyes. Were you nervous about readers’ reaction to Comfort starting out in love with someone else in the beginning of Kissing Comfort?

Jo: I wasn’t particularly nervous about Comfort loving the wrong brother or anyone’s reaction to it.  At its core, it’s Sabrina, and I always thought that story was a lovely romance.  The wrong brother in my version is more calculating than either William Holden or Greg Kinnear.


Catherine: Let’s go a little retro here. Did you have a hard time keeping the events and timelines straight while writing the Compass Club series? I ask this because I am a horrible plotter and am always pleased when I stumble across someone good at it.

Jo: I think this brings me back to my point about being directionally challenged.  North.  South.  East.  West.  Again, what was I thinking?!  I knew from the beginning that I was going to tackle overlapping story lines, but since I don’t find outlines particularly helpful, this was a lot of flying by the seat of my pants.  I remember in the first chapter of North’s book that I wrote something about West having to leave the country picnic.  Even as I wrote it, I wondered where West was going.  I figured by book 4 I’d learn the answer to that.  Then there was some business about East getting engaged (mistakenly) to Sophie.  I had no idea what was going to happen there, except that perhaps I would know more when I began his story.  Keeping the threads in my head really was a challenge.  I generally reviewed the previous book for scenes that I wanted to include in the next book.  By the time I finished South’s story, I had a clearer idea of where I was going with the East and West.  Perhaps what made it more difficult than it had to be was that I only wrote a story a year.  That’s a lot of down time between stories and my brain is a sieve.

My first foray into doing something like this came years earlier.  Readers who are familiar with my Dennehy sisters series might recall that in one of those stories, I wrote 2 chapters that were nearly identical except for the fact that one took place from the hero’s point of view and the other took place from heroine’s.  Now that I think about it, it was a fairly decent representation of how any “big misunderstanding” takes place.


Catherine: One of my favorite books by you is If His Kiss Is Wicked. Do you have a particular favorite book that you’ve written? 

Jo: I have a soft spot for Sweet Fire

Catherine: What makes it your favorite?

Jo: About half the book takes place in Australia.  From a writing perspective, the research was interesting.  Something about the heroine touched me.  I’m not even sure how that happens when I’m in charge of her.  There’s a lot about writing that remains a mystery to me.


Catherine: One of the major commonalities in your books is the influence that family has. Whether that be a lack of family, a search for family, a preexisting strong family unit, or a horrible family situation, it always leads back to family. What causes you to focus on that factor so often?

Jo: Family influences us all the time.  It’s virtually inescapable.  Close families, distant families, adoptive or foster families, we are shaped by family in ways both subtle and obvious.  In my other life, I’m a counselor.  I spend a lot of time thinking about families even if I only have one other person in the room with me.  The agency I work for is called Family Connections.  Family figures into my writing because I respect the power it has to ground a character – and me.


Catherine: Do you have any projects in the works? If so, can you tell us a little about them?

Jo: I have a western in the hopper for Berkley, and in December I have a contemporary coming out – the only contemporary I ever wrote.  (And yes, family figures strongly!)  I am in the thinking stages of a new western.  I have the character names and a location and a premise.  Once I figure out who these characters are, I’ll know enough to startKissing Comfort writing.

Catherine: Thank you so much for visiting Fiction Vixen today!


To enter win a copy of Jo Goodman’s latest release, Kissing Comfort just leave a comment in this interview. Because the prize is being shipped by the publisher, it’s open to US and Canada only. Open until October 29, winner announced soon after.

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  1. heather k says

    This post reminded me how much I enjoyed Marry Me, I really need to explore Gooodman’s back list! Thanks for the giveaway. Heather

  2. Linda S. says

    I’ve read about this book in other places, and the entire description sounds delightful. My fingers are crossed, but I’ll go ahead and admit that I will be reading this book even if I don’t win.

  3. LSUReader says

    Thanks for a great interview and giveaway. So we have a new contemp. to look forward to from Jo–nice!

  4. kathybaug says

    I really liked If His Kiss is Wicked. I would love to read Kissing Comfort. Thanks for the contest

  5. Maria D. says

    Loved the interview! I’ve never read a Jo Goodman book but Kissing Comfort looks really good – and the cover is great! Love the abs!

    Thanks for the giveaway


  6. cheryl c. says

    I love western romances! After reading your review, I really want to read this story. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.
    castings at mindspring dot com

  7. says

    Great interview! I have never read a book by this author but Kissing Comfort sounds very good though and I would love to get a chance to win it. I love the cover also! LOL

  8. Lexi says

    I have always loved Sabrina as well, what a fun idea to bring into a book!
    I got a little lost with what the north was doing, and the east going on a picnic I think….guess I should just start from the beginning and it will all make sense =)

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your book, it truly sounds like a good read!

  9. Jen B. says

    First, the cover is wow! Second, the interview just makes me even more interested! Thanks for the giveaway. Jo Goodman is a new to me author.

  10. Martha Lawson says

    Love that cover, it’s awesome!! I love Jo’s books, I am a longtime fan. I’d love to be entered to win this one.

  11. Barbara Elness says

    I enjoyed the interview and I have something in common with Jo, I too am totally directionally challenged. It never fails that when I walk out of a store at the mall, I always turn in the wrong direction. I have to really stop and think when I’m driving somewhere unfamiliar about how I got there so I can reverse my route. It helps to have directions written down. 😀
    I’m looking forward to reading Kissing Comfort, it sounds fantastic.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  12. Andrea says

    I’ve never heard of this author but now I’m intrigued. I’ll have to put her books on my “to read” list.

  13. Lorraine says

    Loved the interview!! Can not wait to read this book. Hope I win it, because now I have to read it! Can’t wait!!

  14. says

    I’ll just state the obvious and say that Kissing Comfort has a great cover! I’ll definitely be reading it though because it sounds like a great book:) BTW – I’m directionally challenged too… can’t read directions worth a damn:) Thanks for the great giveaway & HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

  15. Grannie says

    This was an interesting interview. I’ve not read this author but I will since reading this interview. Would love to be one of the winners of “Kissing Comfort”. Thank you.

  16. Buttercream says

    I’m glad you tackled your challenges and allowed your creativity to shine. I imagine it’s hard to get a handle on things when you’re pulled in different directions.

  17. Debbie S says

    The cover is just great. I like when the characters are not fully shown, it gives you the chance to put whatever face you want on them. Thanks for the interview and the contest.

  18. Sarah Porter says

    Haven’t read a good western in a while. Judging by the cover alone this looks like one I shouldn’t missed and will enjoy! *Off to add to my TBR pile*