Release Day Launch for A Gathering Storm by Joanna Chambers


My guest on the blog today is the lovely Joanna Chambers, presenting her latest release, A Gathering Storm. It's a mm historical romance, part of a series of queer romance set in the fictional town of Porthkennack and written by different authors. I finished this book last week and have just one word for it - wonderful. It's fun and intriguing and so well written. Read on if you are curious how it all came into being and what else we can expect from Joanna Chambers in the near future. 


1. Your new release, A Gathering Storm, is part of a historical romance series written by different authors but set in the same fictional town of Porthkennack. It’s the first time I’m hearing/reading something like that. How did this idea come about? 

It’s a format Riptide, the publishers, have used successfully before. So, for example, they put out the Bluewater Bay series and the Tucker Springs series which you may have come across? Porthkennack is the same idea in that it’s set in a specific universe but the books are written by a number of different authors. The differences with the Porthkennack series are that (a) it’s distinctly British, being set in Cornwall in South West England, and (b) it’s a mix of contemps and historicals.

In terms of how the idea came about, I gather it was the brain child of Sarah Lyons (Riptide editor extraordinaire) and the amazingly talented Alex Beecroft. The other authors playing in the Porthkennack sandpit with me are Alex Beecroft, JL Merrow, Garret Leigh and Charlie Cochrane and we’re all writing two books each. I’ve read Jamie Merrow’s first one, Wake Up Call, which is also out now and is fantastic. I can’t wait to read the others!

2. What was the experience writing this book compared to your other series?

It was quite tricky since I was writing in a new-to-me time period (Victorian, 1850s) AND there was lots of research needed AND the book ended up being longer than I usually write at over 80k—so it took a wee bit longer than planned than most of my stories. The initial bit though – of selecting characters and identifying the basic storyline – was a bit easier, thanks to the detailed bible we got.

3. There is lots scientific bits in the story – hypnosis, nature/power of electricity, spiritualism, even weather forecasting. Did you have to do a lot of research on these? Which was the most fun thing to research for this book? 

I did a LOT of research for this book! The most fun parts were probably reading into the spiritualism and seances and mesmerism/hypnosis. Those also gave rise to two key scenes in the book – the one in which Ward hypnotises Nick and the one in which they attend a séance together. However, about 80% of my research doesn’t even appear in the book. For example, I spent hours reading into the Second Burmese war and the Siege of Rangoon and its aftermath (where Ward’s brother lost his life). I even researched which British regiments fought at the Siege and which one Ward’s brother would have been part of, which county his regiment was based in and how close that was to Ward’s family home etc. None of that is in the book, but you never really know at that research stage, which parts of the general history you are reading into will end up being significant to your story. Anyway, it’s all interesting and worthwhile, regardless of whether you use it.

4. One of the heroes, Nicholas Hearn is half-Romani. How did you go about representing his cultural heritage? I have to say I found him both fascinating and convincingly presented as a Romani (based on my limited knowledge of Romani people). 

I was quite wary about depicting Nick’s heritage. Romance novels have quite a troubled history with Romany people. I remember reading many ’gipsy romances’ as a teenager (25-30 years ago, gulp!) and honestly? I loved them – I really did – but now I look back and see how troubling it was that Romany people were always depicted as passionate, wild, dark, ‘other’. In this book, I wanted to portray Nick, who is estranged from the Romany half of his family, in a way that would push back against these assumptions. Consequently, Nick, is by far the more pragmatic and level-headed of the two heroes and in fact is the one who has to be pushed to make a leap of faith.

5. We don’t see much of Nick’s cousin, Isabella but I think she is a very intriguing character and I’d love to read her story. Is there any chance of that happening? 

I’d honestly never thought about writing about her! She’s basically the heroine of all those romance stories I read when I was teenager, you know? The headstrong, passionate redhead etc. But now you mention it, I do like play around with romance clichés, so maybe that would be a good one to try to subvert 😊

6. Finally, what can we expect next from you?

Next up – and very soon – is a co-written book with my long time pal and crit partner Annika Martin. We started this book a year ago, dashed off 15K words, then had to shelve it while we met our other commitments. We came back to it late last year to write the rest and I’m super excited about releasing it next month. It’s a hot, fun and emotional contemp story with an American hero and a British hero. I’m really excited about it and can’t wait to reveal all the details! Coming soon!


A Porthkennack novel

When grief-stricken scientist Sir Edward Fitzwilliam provokes public scorn by defending a sham spiritualist, he’s forced to retreat to Porthkennack to lick his wounds. Ward’s reputation is in tatters, but he’s determined to continue the work he began after the death of his beloved brother. 

In Porthkennack, Ward meets Nicholas Hearn, land steward to the Roscarrock family. Ward becomes convinced that Nick, whose Romany mother was reportedly clairvoyant, is the perfect man to assist with his work. But Nick—who has reason to distrust the whims of wealthy men—is loath to agree. Until Fate steps in to lend a hand.

Despite Nick’s misgivings, he discovers that Ward is not the high-handed aristocrat he first thought. And when passion ignites between them, Nick learns there’s much more to love than the rushed, clandestine encounters he’s used to. Nevertheless, Nick’s sure that wealthy, educated Ward will never see him as an equal.

A storm is gathering, but with Nick’s self-doubts and Ward’s growing obsession, the fragile bond between the two men may not be strong enough to withstand it. 

Purchase links: Riptide / Amazon 

Author Bio and Links

Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. In between studying, finding a proper grown-up job, getting married, and having kids, she spent many hours staring at blank sheets of paper and chewing pens. That changed when she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna’s muse likes red wine and coffee and won’t let Joanna clean the house or watch television.

You can find Joanna at, friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @ChambersJoanna, and connect with her on Goodreads.

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