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A little about me . . .

Hi, my name is Josephine Strand and I recently published my debut novel Misty Dreams. My fascination with books began very early in life. When I was little my parents barely had money for schoolbooks, let alone storybooks. My town didn’t have a public library and bookstores were only for the rich (but that’s a whole other story to tell later). When I started attending elementary school and was introduced to the school library, a whole new and exciting world opened up to me. I devoured everything, from fairy tales to children’s classics, to picture books. The first fiction I ever wrote was at age eight or nine, a fantasy short story on how fictional characters came to life in the school library when the clock struck midnight. As a teenager, I would invent stories in my head and test them out on my best friend. How grateful I am to her for humoring me all those years and feeding my hunger for creativity! One of the things my childhood friends remember about me is how I always said I would write a book one day. It took a while but I finally made them–and myself–proud!

Announcing the release of the audiobook version of MISTY DREAMS on December 23!

Clare has lived on St. Isabel Island all her life, except for a few months she can’t recall. A traumatic childhood experience has left a blank spot in her memory and a lingering feeling of having lost more than just a small, painful piece of her past. When the enigmatic Dr. Richard Kelly arrives on her island, she’s found that missing part. Yet she’s certain the man is a stranger to her, until she discovers he’s been hiding something from her, a secret that reawakens her childhood fears and threatens to upset her life again.

Richard Kelly’s hard-earned career as a world-renowned neurosurgeon has been derailed by his ex-wife’s unspeakable betrayal. His entire life is on a downward spiral. In a desperate attempt to outrun his demons, he sets off to a remote island in the South to trace the origins of an anonymous painting. He doesn’t expect to come face to face with the girl he once knew as Misty, and he’s instantly captivated by her genuine charm. But if the charismatic kindergarten teacher of the secret lagoon is the Misty of his past, why doesn’t she remember him?

Listen to a sample!

INTERVIEWS

MEET THE AUTHORS PODCAST – OCTOBER 30, 2021

Book Reader Magazine

Awesome Gang

Bookgoodies

INTERVIEW BY RITA CHAPMAN, author of the Anna Davies Mystery Series

12 December 2021

This week it is my pleasure to interview Josephine Strand. Would you please introduce yourself to my readers, Josephine and share something about your life.
I’m a wife, mother and young grandmother of two, as I like to say. I was born in Italy but grew up in South Africa. I am now a long-time resident of the United States. I discovered my love of books when I was introduced to my town’s public library at the age of eight. At nine, I wrote my first fiction piece, gaining my teacher’s praise with my short story The Library at Midnight. I haven’t stopped writing since, though Misty Dreams is my first published novel. My travels between the three continents have strengthened my love for the sea and the outdoors. It’s no surprise that Misty Dreams is set on a small tropical island. When not writing or absorbed in the latest gripping page-turner, I love to cook and enjoy long nature walks.
When did you write your first book and how did it come about? Misty Dreams was published earlier this year, but it took a long time to complete. One of the struggles I had writing my book was that English is not my first language, and that set a roadblock, if you will, in my writing journey. I was very young when I returned to Italy after spending most of my formative years in South Africa, and I had to focus on perfecting my Italian, so I wrote only in that language. After moving to the United States, switching to writing in English didn’t come easy, and that’s part of the reason it took me so long to finish Misty Dreams. I wasn’t confident enough to believe I could come up with a good enough story worth publishing, so writing was more of a hobby for me. The other reason is that I had a demanding full-time job. I spent four hours a day commuting to and from work and had little time for writing.
Misty Dreams is a love story set on a fictitious island in the Southeast of the United States. The idea for the story came from a series I had written in my late twenties. In between caring for my daughter, housework and helping my husband in his business, I wrote a number of novellas set in a vacation resort near the Florida Keys. It was superficial, frivolous stuff, unfit for publication. I wrote because I loved inventing stories, with just my little Olivetti typewriter and zero editing skills. Two of my characters in particular, Clare and Richard, I had grown to love so much I wanted them to have their own standalone story. What laid the groundwork for the plot was probably my deep-seated regret for not having been blessed with a sister. In Misty Dreams, Clare has a sister, albeit not a very nice one. But enough with the spoilers.

Do you always write in the same genre or do you mix it up?
I can’t imagine writing anything but romance, though I like to spice it up with some mystery or family drama.


When you write, do you start with an idea and sit down and let it evolve, or do you make notes and collect ideas on paper beforehand?
I’m more of a pantser in the way that I write. I usually start with an idea, I create the characters, give them a background and mostly let them direct my hand in telling their story. I do also take down notes as ideas come to me, and I’m big on character spreadsheets, though I don’t always stick to them.

Would you like to give us a short excerpt from your book?
One of my favorite parts of the book is when Richard meets Clare for the first time.

CHAPTER 9
“I’m so sorry. Are you all right?”

He blinked several times to clear his vision. The human tornado he’d collided with—a decidedly more mature person than he’d initially thought—leaned over him with a worried frown on her face. Her long blond braid fell over one shoulder, the wet end of which grazed his belly, reassuring him she wasn’t an apparition. He managed to raise himself into a sitting position but was hit by a dizzying spell, one he suspected had very little to do with the bodily impact and more with the fact that for a moment—for one crazy, incredible instant—he’d believed to have seen Misty’s eyes staring back at him.

She scrambled to her feet and held out a hand to him. “I’m terribly sorry. I didn’t see you. You aren’t hurt, are you?”

“No, not at all,” he replied with as much dignity as he could muster.

To be mowed down by a small, willowy wisp of a girl was a crushing blow to his manhood, and he was sure his humiliation showed.

He accepted her hand and stood, feeling like a gawky, fumbling ninth grader, dripping seawater all over her already soaked blouse and shorts. She smiled up at him, revealing a perfect set of teeth framed by full, slightly sun-chapped lips. Even wet and bedraggled, she was exquisite.

Who is your favourite character and why?
I love all of my characters, even the bad ones, but if I had to pick a favorite from Misty Dreams, I would say Richard. Richard is closer to my heart because of his unhappy childhood and all the hardships and heartbreak he goes through before finding happiness.

What is the best marketing tip you have received?
Not to be shy about putting myself out there and asking for help in promoting my book. I was very social media shy before it all began but I’ve learned a lot and I’m working on improving my networking skills.

How would you describe yourself?
Socially, I would describe myself as reservedly outgoing, if that makes sense. As a child I was painfully shy despite the fact I had very outgoing parents. In my work I’m a perfectionist, always trying to make my work better. I tend to edit as I go, going back to revise what I’ve already written every so often. If something didn’t sound right the first time I can’t move forward unless I go back and fix it.

What do you do when you are not writing or reading?
When I’m not writing or reading I’m either in the kitchen inventing new dishes and desserts, or outside enjoying the fresh air.

If you could holiday anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why?
In my younger days I would have probably said somewhere exotic, like the Maldives or Bora Bora, but growing older makes me long for more peaceful surroundings, somewhere where I can relax and draw inspiration for my writing, like in an ancient villa in the Tuscan countryside.

What is the biggest factor for you when selecting a book to read?
When I pick a book to read, the blurb is the determining factor for me. If the story sounds too clichéd I don’t bother with it. I make an exception for my favorite authors, in which case I’ll just buy the book sight unseen.

Do you have your own website?
I do. My website is https://josephinestrand.com/

Are you working on a new book at the moment?
I’m currently working on a prequel of Misty Dreams. My first draft was a whopping 360,000 words, and I had to cut off a lot of the backstory to bring it down to a marketable size. I hated the idea of that part of the story going lost, so I decided to put it in a prequel. After that I have an idea for another standalone novel.

PRAISE FOR MISTY DREAMS

This stunning debut novel by Josephine Strand is a wonderful combination of drama, romance, mystery, and suspense. Much like her character Clare, (a teacher and artist) the author “paints” an intriguing tale filled with thoughtful detail and brings you on an emotional journey that spans almost two decades.
The author slowly peels the layers from her main characters, Richard and Clare, as we learn bits and pieces of their past, their present, and the people/experiences that have shaped them. The book switches seamlessly from each character’s perspective, as well as various time periods, and culminates in a satisfying ending.
The rich language and description places the reader on St. Isabel, as if the story were an extended session of “people watching”- I felt an attachment to and intimacy with the characters by the end of the novel, and wanted to “meet” them in person!! A timely story with hope and healing as the main themes- very relevant in light of recent events- don’t miss it!! ~ Rose Ann B, Amazon reader

“Josephine Strand writes a gripping narrative of how one small mistake can lead to big consequences. Many readers can relate to wanting more—be it forgotten dreams or lost loves—and hoping to find happiness amidst the loss. What’s great is how Strand connects all the pieces and ties the plot in a pretty bow.”  ~  Hayley Haun for Readers’ Favorite                                             

“It’s always a treat for me when a writer can bring you into the full feelings of the characters as they try to navigate the shoulds and shouldn’ts of their developing feelings, and this author manages to capture those heart-touching moments well. I truly enjoyed reading this book.”  ~ Elizabeth Caroline, Amazon reader

“I truly loved this book! It made my heart sing and cry. I felt the connection between Richard and Misty right from the start and my heart broke when they were torn apart. The twists and turns of the story were perfect, and I couldn’t have been happier with the ending! I always like to guess the mystery before it unfolds, and although I was close, I’m happy to say this ending was better! The descriptions of St. Isabel Island were lovely and it had me yearning for that same peacefulness…” ~ Anonymous reader, Amazon

“An enjoyable blend of mystery, interesting characters, love and conflict. A subtle blend of exotic background, interesting characters, a years-old mystery, a twisty plot, family love and family conflict… Misty Dreams doesn’t have that painfully proper, starchy feel some clean novels have. It’s also well-written, which is not a given even with some very popular, highly touted books. This is Ms. Strand’s first novel, and I’m impressed.” ~ Kathleen Buckley, Amazon reader

“A Unique and Outstanding Suspenseful, Mysterious Romance Story. Though I read a wide variety of genres, my favorites are the romance genres, and Misty Dreams is one of the most interesting romance stories I have read in a long while. It is the debut novel of Josephine Strand, and I have to say it is a topnotch debut novel. It is well written and has been well edited.
Misty Dreams kept me up past my bedtime every night until I finished reading it. It was hard to put down when I had to. The story was unique and Ms. Strand created such wonderful characters, I couldn’t help but love them and want to see them overcome their struggles and be happy. There was conflict and suspense from the beginning until very near the end. There was even a surprise twist near the end.
Misty Dreams is a wonderful story of heartache, struggles, and love. It is not a formulaic romance story and the characters will live on in my memory for a long time. Misty Dreams will be placed on my “favorites” list, and I look forward to more great stories by Josephine Strand.”  ~ Kelly Barr, reviewer

“Brilliant story! All I can say is brilliant!!!!! Josephine does a masterful job drawing the reader in and you don’t even realize it until you reach the end! Clare and Richard’s story is one you don’t want to miss out on, I promise! Absolutely amazing storyline, wonderful characters, and relatable emotions combine to make an unforgettable story! Definitely recommend you read this book. ~ Marie Evans, Amazon reader

“Beautifully written! Josephine has done a great job depicting the characters and sceneries in this story; I could almost see and feel them. As you read on, there is a growing enigma about to erupt with the mystery behind this love story which will keep you on “your toes” until the very end…A beautifully written romance, with a twist of unexpected events at each chapter!” ~ Krissi, Booksprout reviewer