Joan Johnston

Joan Johnston
"The Price"

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
September 19, 2005

Q.    Who is Joan Johnston?

A.    Joan Johnston is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of 46 novels, including mainstream contemporary, historical and category romances. Along the way, she has been a news editor, drama critic, director of theatre, college professor and attorney. Each career has helped to make her the writer she is today. Joan has a B.A. in Theatre Arts cum laude from Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida, an M.A. in Theater from the University of Illinois in Urbana, and a J.D. with honors from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. She is the mother of two grown children and splits her time between Florida and Colorado.

Q.    How did you come up with the idea to write the novel THE PRICE?

A.    THE PRICE is part of a series of novels set in Bitter Creek, Texas, about the rich and powerful Blackthornes and the poor and struggling Creeds--who are either marrying or murdering one another. While most of the novels in the series take place on the Bitter Creek ranch in Texas, I decided to use my experience as a lawyer in the largest firm in Virginia to write about the moral conflicts facing a lawyer who has to decide between protecting his client and protecting the public--when the woman he loves is on the other side of the battle, and his own child is in danger, depending on the outcome of the fight.

Q.    How did you come up with the title?

A.    THE PRICE refers to the price we decide to pay when we choose family over career, or vice versa. Can you have it all? This book looks at that question and says. . .maybe!

Q.    How did you come up with the idea to have Luke Creed representing the company which supplied the D-Free drug and have his daughter using the drug?

A.    It is always more powerful to have a hero with a personal stake in the outcome of a conflict. If Luke Creed allows D-Free to stay on the market, it's not just some other man's child who might be at risk of dying from taking the drug--it's his own. When you have someone you love at risk, every decision becomes not just important, but crucial.

Q.   How did you come up with Amy's character?

A.    When I was a lawyer, I had small children at home. I could identify with Amy's struggle because she's trying to be a career woman and a mother at the same time--knowing that what she does at work makes a difference, but wanting to nurture her own child.

Q.    Is The Price a sequel to another book?

A.    Yes--both the sequel to and the prequel to other books! THE PRICE is part of the Bitter Creek series, which begins with my New York Times bestselling novels THE COWBOY, THE TEXAN and THE LONER, then THE PRICE, which is followed by THE RIVALS and the New York Times bestseller THE NEXT MRS. BLACKTHORNE.

Q.    Can you give the readers a brief synopsis of the friction between the Creed and Blackthorne family?

A.    Sometime after the Civil War, an English duke called only "Blackthorne" marries a woman named Creighton Creed and in suspicious circumstances takes possession of land in Texas that is called Bitter Creek. Creighten (Cricket) Creed's son holds onto a small parcel of land right in the middle of the Bitter Creek ranch, which sets the scene for a conflict over the next hundred and fifty years between the Blackthornes, who own everything, and the Creeds, who own a tiny piece of land right in the middle of "everything"---like a chicken bone in the throat of every Blackthorne living.

Q.    How many books have you written?

A.    I've written 46 novels including mainstream contemporary (my Bitter Creek series), historical (both Western--my Sisters of the Lone Star Series, FRONTIER WOMAN, COMANCHE WOMAN and TEXAS WOMAN and Regency--my Captive Hearts series, CAPTIVE, AFTER THE KISS, THE BODYGUARD and THE BRIDEGROOM,) and category romances (my Hawk's Way series, which includes 13 titles including my hardcovers TEXAS BRIDES, in stores September 27, 2005, and HAWK'S WAY BRIDES, in stores in February 2006) and novellas.

Q.    Are you currently working on another novel?

A.    I'm currently working on my 47th novel, which is also a part of the Bitter Creek series. It doesn't have a title yet, but deals with the themes of betrayal and forgiveness. The heroine is a Blackthorne daughter and the hero is a rogue Texas Ranger.

Q.    What message would you like readers to receive from reading THE PRICE?

A.    What I learned as a lawyer: Everything isn't always black and white. There are two sides to every issue, each of which can be argued. And love, understanding and compromise are the keys to living happily ever after.