Guest Post and Giveaway: A Gathering Storm by Joanna Chambers

Today I am so pleased to welcome Joanna Chambers to Joyfully Jay. Joanna has come to talk to us about her latest release, A Gathering Storm (which Camille reviewed and loved). She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Joanna a big welcome!

A Gathering Storm Tour Banner


Hello, reader friends! I’m Joanna Chambers and this is the blog tour for A Gathering Storm, my new Cornwall-set historical romance. I’ll be sharing thoughts on my experience of writing about eccentric Victorian scientists, pragmatic Romany land stewards and unscrupulous mediums – come and comment to win a copy of the book and a $25 Riptide gift card!

Magnetism, mediums and mesmerism, oh my!

One of the best things about writing in the historical genre is how much new stuff you learn when you’re researching and writing. And I don’t think I’ve ever learned more stuff for a book than for this one.

The amazing Alex Beecroft created a ‘Bible’ for the world of Porthkennack featuring all sorts of potentially fascinating characters, but the one I couldn’t get out of my head was Sir Edward Fitzwilliam, an eccentric-sounding scientist trying to ‘pierce the veil’ between the spirit and living worlds by inducing trances in his subjects using magnetism. Despite his reputation for sending his subjects home brain-damaged(!) I decided that this sounded like a man I wanted to write about.

But how to create a plausible story around that intriguing snippet?

I set about reading widely into electromagnetism, mesmerism, hypnotism and spiritualism in the 1850s. Talk about disappearing down a rabbit hole. And each of those topics took me down further rabbit holes.

I spent a lot of time reading about the development of batteries, experiments involving electricity and magnetism, the development of the electric telegraph and the technology to create undersea cables.

I read about the history of Mesmerism, from Franz Mesmer onwards, its practitioners, critics and defenders.

I read about James Braid, the Scottish surgeon who recharacterised the phenomenon of mesmerism as hypnotism, and whose own book on the subject, “Neurypnology; or the Rationale of Nervous Sleep Considered in Relation with Animal Magnetism”, reveals a humorous and wise man worthy of his own book. And I read too, about other scientists, like John Elliotson, who defended the Mesmerists and whose reputations never recovered from taking such a position.

I read about Spiritualism, its genesis in America with the fascinating antics of the Fox sisters, one of whom would, in later life, recant and reveal how they convinced so many people they could call forth spirits. How the craze over these sisters would turn swiftly into a huge, worldwide movement, spurred by the Victorian obsession with death. How seances were performed and the reactions of both sceptics and converts to what they saw.

And as you read about these things, several things happen. You begin to see the connections between these seemingly unconnected things. And you begin to see plot points you could use. And you begin to patch together a picture of the world in which your characters live. A world where, in this case, technology and spirits are both highly topical, highly mysterious, possibly – who knows? – connected. A world with less of clear cut boundaries regarding the respectable limits of scientific enquiry.

I love that part of writing in the historical genre: the weaving together of what I discover and what I imagine.

What’s your favourite genre and why?


A Gathering StormWhen 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.

Now available from Riptide Publishing.


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, coffee and won’t let Joanna clean the house or watch television.

Connect with Joanna:


To celebrate the release of A Gathering Storm, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Riptide credit and a copy of A Gathering Storm! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 22, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.


  1. So excited to read this one!

  2. I do enjoy a good historical – have read about mesmerism and how doctors treated women for attacks of female vapeurs before!!
    Enjoyed your Enlightenment series!

    Littlesuze at hotmail dot com

  3. I’m looking forward to reading this. It’s next on my TBR.
    kimandpete123 at gmail dot com

  4. I always like when a lot of intriguing and different plot threads come together!


  5. Serena S. says:

    Thanks for the post. It’s interesting to read about all these things, to tell the truth I never paid attention but now it got me curious.

  6. Thank you for the interesting post. It really intriguing where the mind goes and what connections can be formed when you do research. Congrats on the new release =)
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  7. Purple Reader says:

    Congrats and thanks for a bit about your research. I think I’d like the research, too, and learning about such things as mesmerism. Your new book sounds great, as does this new collaborative series. I love your historicals and when they take me to a time and place I haven’t been. –
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

  8. Welcome, Joanna, and best wishes on the release of A Gathering Storm. My favorite genre is definitely romance. Within that broad category, I enjoy historical romances as well as contemporary, science fiction, and fantasy. Basically, I enjoy a well written romance. A Gathering Storm sounds fascinating, and I definitely appreciate a well researched story; I look forward to reading it.

  9. LOL, a better question would be what genre I don’t like!

    FTR, I’m a total goner for well-researched historicals (like, to the point where the reading becomes immersive), shifters, and everyday settings. Lucifugefive (at) gmail (dot) com

  10. Historical has always been my favorite subgenre. I love reading about the past because it’s fascinating, and it proves how much things change, they stay the same. I can’t decide if that should give me hope or not. aahickmanathotmaildotcom

  11. Shirley Ann Speakman says:

    Interesting post I’m looking forward to reading the book the premise is intriguing. My favourite genre is Sci Fi I blame my dad making me watch Star Trek when I go home from school. shirleyann2400(at)gmail(dot)com

  12. Thank you, Joanna. Congratulations on the release of “A Gathering Storm.” My favorite genre is romance. I read all across the romance spectrum, but I will always have a soft spot in my heart for historical romance. I am thrilled to see that you have a new release out; you were missed!! What a wonderful idea to create a story world with collaboration from multiple authors. I can’t wait to read each story. Thanks for a chance to win.
    chalonsursaone95 (at) hotmail (dot) com

  13. Hi all – thanks for the kind comments and it’s good to see how many historical lovers there are out there ?

    Good luck with the prize draw at the end of the blog tour. best Joanna

  14. Tanya Guthrie says:

    Thanks for the post! Tanyamarieward(at)

  15. I’ve always loved paranormal, not like shifters, but small “powers”. Kind of like JL Merrow’s Plumber’s Mate series, or Jordan Castillo Price Psycops. I also read a lot of Gothic Romance (Victoria Holt) when I was a kid. :-)

  16. Congratulations on the release, Joanna. I love historical and paranormal, and if you combine both of them, you make me a very happy girl!

  17. Great post! I’m an equal opportunity reader so I’ll happily read across most genres although YA/NA & BDSM are my least favorites.

  18. Ashley E says:

    My favorite genre is fantasy. I love seeing what new worlds and societies authors can come up with. It’s endlessly fascinating.


  19. I am really looking forward to reading this one (and the whole Porthkennack series). X

  20. I thoroughly enjoyed this post and thank you so much for sharing!

  21. Looking forward to reading! Among other genres, I love fantasy and historical. violet817(at)aol(dot)com

  22. Sounds interesting!

  23. sandra rosario says:

    Quite interesting what you share with us about research. I know sometimes research can take forever until you find the right answers to your requests. It took me at least 3 months (on and off) to find the right accident I needed for a story I wrote. In the end, I ended up sick to my stomach from the many horror things I saw, as well as the exact accident I was pursuing.
    Congratulations and much success!
    taina1959 @

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