Joan Hiatt Harlow


chalkboard with ABC written on it

Q: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
A: When I was able to read – around the age of 4.

Q: Who or what inspired you?
A: My mother, with her amazing tales (both true and mythological) of Newfoundland. My grandmother recognized my interest in words and plots. When I was nine she gave me the “Complete Works of O. Henry” and she explained the nuances of the surprise ending. Teachers also acknowledged my early talent and encouraged me. Librarians were always willing to answer my questions

Q: Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
A: Mostly from unusual historical events – and from stories about animals who were brave and heroic.

Q: Where do you find characters? Are they real?
A. Some characters are based upon real people. Some are a conglomerate of several people. Some are totally fictional.

Q: Do you have pets?
A: I’ve had pets throughout my life. My first dog was a pure white Eskimo Spitz and I loved him dearly. I never had a Newfoundland dog, although my relatives in Canada did, and that’s where I got my Newfoundland dog story ideas.

Now I have Amber, my beautiful black and white Persian cat who lives with me in Florida. If you come to visit, she will welcome you. Don’t be surprised if she curls up and naps in your purse!

Q: How long does it take to write a historical novel?
A: It takes me about six months of research, six months of writing. Then, after the first draft is accepted by the editor and publisher, it takes another year or more for editing, the cover illustration, and proof reading, etc. Add all this together and it takes two years or more for the book to be published and in the bookstores.