Sunday 6 August 2017

Author/Novel Spotlight: Joanna Emerson

Today, I am spotlighting novelist, Joanna Emerson. She writes for the secular as well as for the Christian market. I was attracted to her latest novel, The Mapmaker's Daughter, due to the steampunk elements and it is based on her ancestry. I have only read one steampunk novel and I was hooked on this genre. There are also Christian themes included. I am looking forward to reading this novel in the near future. Based on this, I thought it would be worthwhile to spotlight Joanna Emerson and her new novel. 

So without further ado, let's investigate Joanna Emerson as a successful author, her writing and her passion for a God honouring story.

First, let us view her bio:

Joanna Emerson loves the miracle of life and is continually awed that she's allowed to participate in this wild, beautiful, frightening ride. She loves to write fantasy, sci-fi and steampunk novels that sweep readers away. Although it's constantly subject to change, she currently lives by the sea in Mexico with her husband and two miraculous children.

Now let's have a look at The Mapmaker's Daughter. which was released on April 1, 2017, in both e-book and printed editions:

The Mapmaker's Daughter: A Steampunk Novel

Less than a decade after millions flee or die from starvation and persecution in Ireland, a strange refugee arrives on this Emerald Isle.

She falls, this refugee, practically into the arms of Paddy O'Brien...the day after Paddy's mum dies in mysterious circumstances and he's left to care for his two younger brothers.

He doesn't know that Akemi, this refugee, is the mapmaker's daughter, and the Shogun of Japan has commissioned ruthless pirates to bring her back alive.

But Jun, a lowly transgender slave aboard one of these pirate ships, who has lived in so many places she has nowhere to call home, may ruin everyone's plans. Except her own, if she can help it.

I asked Joanna why she wrote this novel and here is her reply:

I wrote this book while trying to process several themes. One is the idea of patriotism. It’s a far stickier subject than I realized. Most people don’t have a cut and dry patriotism, it’s all filled with nuances and grey areas. Does a person’s patriotism mean that they will die for their country? That they will kill for their country? And if they don’t want to do either, does that mean they aren’t patriotic? What if you prefer the company of those who are different? Does that mean you’re not patriotic? These are serious questions that many people wrestle with and sometimes don’t even form the words of the struggle within. These are the themes I processed while writing The Mapmaker’s Daughter. And I don’t know if I came to any solid conclusion.

One of the other reasons I wrote the book is to face some dark history in my ancestry. I’m an English girl, born in Cambridge, and I lived four years in Ireland. I had to come to terms with what the British did to the Irish for centuries. I couldn’t justify patriotism to the UK without taking a close look at some of her mistakes.

I’m also a direct descendant of Commodore Matthew C. Perry, the man who opened trade between the United States and Japan. For years, I felt so proud of this fact. When I learned the truth, that Perry used gunboat diplomacy and the festering fear of this action sparked the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor almost 90 years later, I had a different opinion. The duelling patriotism at work in these two acts cost many, many lives on both sides.

Even when wrestling with these heavy themes and ideas, I wanted to write something fun. I love steampunk and I love Japanimation, and I merged my favorite aspects of these two genres in this story.

Also, woven in, there’s the story of Jun, the transgender pirate. There are enough themes in her story to sink an airship, but I let you discover those yourself!

I hope this story sweeps you away!

Joanna has kindly provided an excerpt to whet your appetite: 

              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Start of Excerpt~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I stand in the center of the abbey and close my eyes. Mum’s voice, singing psalms like she used to when I was a child, dances through my mind. Her voice was beautiful when the coughing didn’t intrude and stomp all over the perfect sound.

The Lord is my shepherd. She sang that one often. Her certainty, at times so comforting to me, now bitterly hollow, carried through her sickest days.

Why would someone kill her if she was so close to death’s door anyway? Who would be so cruel?

I hope Father Grady doesn’t ask me to say a word at the funeral today. A steady bonfire of rage churns in my belly. Bitter and sweet wrestle for dominance in my memories.

Even here. Even in the stillness of sunrise with lapping waves the only noise in my ears.

I climb the wall up to the window. No glass fills the opening, but I often imagine the stained glass that may have caught all the sun’s rays and sent them dancing on the stone floors, where monks would sing and pray while bathing in rainbows.

Perhaps that’s what mum’s doing right now. Singing and bathing in rainbows of color.

If I could believe there is a heaven.

Today I feel suspended between belief and unbelief as if I can’t and can all at once. As if I must for her sake, but cannot for my own, while I must for fear of what Father Grady, or worse, Aideen may say if either one hears how strongly I doubt.

But here, while the rising sun soaks me in the imaginary colors of long ago destroyed stained glass, here I’m suspended.

Here I just might believe something. Here, my thinking is so clear.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~End of Excerpt~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Since its release in April this year, this novel has impressive Amazon reviews:

Customer Reviews
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If this has whetted your appetite to buy The Mapmaker's Daughter or read a further excerpt, then click on the BUY/PREVIEW icons below:

Readers and reviews are an author's best asset, so I encourage any reader who likes reading in the genres of steampunk, action and adventure, science fiction and fantasy, to consider reading The Mapmaker's Daughter and submit a review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (or any other social media you subscribe to).

1 comment:

  1. Whoa. I recently finished Stephanie R. Sorensen's TORU Wayfarer Returns, which explores patriotism and Perry's opening of Japan in a steampunk setting. An excellent book. I thought at first this was a sequel to that book, but, whoops, when I pulled out Toru I was looking at two different authors. I bought this and am looking forward to reading this take.


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