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Today I am so pleased to welcome J.P. Barnaby to Joyfully Jay. J.P. has come to talk to us about her latest release with author Rowan Speedwell, A Pocketful of Stardust.  Please join me in giving her a big welcome!


Aaron + Zach = Stardust??

What happens when JP Barnaby, the author of Aaron and Rowan Speedwell, the author of Finding Zach coauthor a book? Not what you’d expect.

I read a lot (A LOT) of craft books—plotting, characterization, setting, structure, etc.. One day, I found myself reading The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing by Evan Marshall. In it, he postulated some examples for how to hook a reader. One of his examples included a woman who inherited a bookstore with a ghost in residence. The ghost scared her patrons and potentially her love interest away. I thought it was a cool idea, but I didn’t want a malevolent ghost. I wanted a fascinating ghost that the bookstore owner could talk and share ideas with. When I closed my eyes and pictured him, I saw an elderly black gentleman in a checkered shirt, bowtie, suspenders, trousers, and worn wingtips.

Then, I stopped dead. (pun intended)

My new friend Henry told me he’d owned the store until the late 60’s when he was killed in a robbery and hidden in the attic. (What?) Yes, so now I have a 62-year-old black man from the Civil Rights era. How on Earth was I going to write that? I wasn’t even born until the 70’s.

Well, as it happens, I have a very good friend with a degree in History who loves to write historical romance. I sent a message to Rowan Speedwell and asked, no, begged for her help with the historical details. She sent me pages of ideas. Intimidated as I am of her talent, I still found the balls to ask her to write it with me.

It was an awesome experience. The words flowed like water between us and then onto the page. Once we were finished and the book edited, neither of us could tell who had written what—it’s that seamless. Writing with her forced me to think about the details and writing with me forced her to streamline a little.

A Pocketful of Stardust is a charming novel without the hard-hitting angst you see from either of us. It’s the story of Noah, a technical writer in New York who gets called home when his father dies and leaves him a failing bookstore. With Henry’s help, he starts to learn that community has nothing to do with where you live.

I hope you enjoy the journey!


Noah Hitchens loves the New York City life he worked hard to build. But when his father dies and leaves him a bankrupt bookstore in their sleepy Georgia hometown, Noah knows he has to save it. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know anything about business. He finds unlikely help in Henry, the man who owned Stardust Books before his 1966 murder, and Kyle St. James, a shy but kind-hearted out-of-towner with a past almost as mysterious as Henry’s.

Kyle came to Aster, Georgia, looking for redemption. On the run and out of hope, he’s just trying to get on with his life. Then he meets Noah, a ghost, and a big sloppy lab named Jake who redefine his idea of living. But his past is closing in, and when it finds him, they could lose everything.


JP Barnaby is an award-winning contemporary romance and romantic suspense novelist with over a dozen novels. Her heart and soul, the Survivor Series, has been heralded by USA Today as one of their favorites. She recently moved from Chicago to Atlanta to appease her Camaro (Jake) who didn’t like the blustery winters. JP specializes in recovery romance but slips in a few erotic or comedic stories to spice things up. When she’s not working on her latest novel, she binge watches superheroes and crime dramas on Netflix with her husband and Jack Russell Terror, Chase.

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