Meet Joanna Barnden

I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I can remember. My mum says that as a toddler I used to be happy in my cot for hours as long as I had plenty of books with me and I’ve always been a voracious reader.

I loved Enid Blyton and was writing my own boarding-school books by the time I was about ten.

I wrote all throughout my teens school plays, competitions, stories and, of course, endless angsty diaries! but it wasn’t really until I had my own children that I started to try to get published.

I was over the moon when “The People’s Friend” accepted my first story fourteen years ago and since then I’ve had over two hundred stories published in women’s magazines.

I still love writing them, but bit by bit I’ve crept back to longer fiction first serials for “The People’s Friend” and then novels.

‘Fascinated by the past’

I was drawn to historical fiction because I’ve always been fascinated by the past.

I remember as a child visiting Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh and standing over the (presumably re-touched) bloodstain where David Rizzio was murdered by Lord Darnley.

I was forcibly struck by the reality of standing on the same spot the very same boards where the killing had taken place.

That sense of the layers of human experience through time has remained with me always and I love exploring the people who have lived before us in my fiction.

Hollyrood Palace Edinburgh

Joanna was fascinated by her visit to Hollyrood Palace in Edinburgh / Flickr.

I firmly believe that even 1000 years ago the core elements of what make us human were the same as they are now and that people would have celebrated, feared, grieved and loved in much the same way we do, despite the social differences.

It’s my job to create characters readers can relate to so they can enjoy immersing themselves in a very different time to our own.

My children are now thirteen and eleven and at secondary school, meaning I have more time to devote to my writing but I still can’t quite believe that it’s actually happening.

All my life I’ve dreamed of having a novel on the shelves of a bookshop and now that I’m there, it’s wonderful.”

Joanna’s latest serial “Under The Streets Of London” began in the “Friend” dated December 5 and runs until February 6.

“The Chosen Queen” – the first book in the Queens of the Conquest trilogy – is available in paperback, hardback and ebook and the second book, “The Constant Queen”, will be released in April 2016.

“The Christmas Court”, a 98p novella, is available on ebook from Amazon a really festive read to get you in the mood for Christmas, Anglo-Saxon style!


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