NYTimes Best Seller JoAnn Ross is "Getting Lost"

Murphy Brothers, book 2

Welcome to River’s Bend — Oregon’s most western town where spurs have a job to do and cowboy hats aren’t a fashion accessory.

New York Times bestselling author JoAnn Ross returns to her Oregon ranching country roots with a poignant, emotional story about friendship, loss, and the redemptive power of love that binds us together through the worst of storms.

Growing up on neighboring ranches, Sawyer Murphy and Austin Merrill were always best friends. As teens, each secretly wondered if they could become more to each other. When the grown-up Sawyer returns to River’s Bend from deployment as a Marine Special Forces Ranger, Austin’s ready to move their relationship out of the friend zone while Sawyer remains stuck in the war zone.  She still holds his heart, but he needs to be alone.

Something that becomes impossible when, after a heart-shattering accident, they’re left to care for their best friends’ children. Despite concerns about their ability to take on such a monumental responsibility, together they embark on a shared journey where they’ll encounter challenges, joys, and, ultimately, a perilous event that takes them to the very heart of what it means to be a family. 

New York Times bestselling author JoAnn Ross wrote her first novella — a tragic romance about two star-crossed mallard ducks — for a second grade writing assignment. The paper earned a gold star. And JoAnn kept writing.

She’s now written over one hundred novels (she quit keeping track long ago) and has been published in twenty-six countries. Two of her titles have been excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine. A member of the Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll of best-selling authors, she’s won several awards, including RT’s Career Achievement Awards in both category romance and contemporary single title. In addition, she received RWA’s national service award and was named RWA Pro-Mentor of the Year.

Currently writing her River’s Bend series (a spin-off of her wildly popular Shelter Bay series), set in Southern Oregon ranching country, where she grew up, and her award winning Irish Castlelough series, JoAnn lives with her husband and two rescued dogs in the Pacific Northwest.

ANGI: How often to you get lost in a story?
JOANN: I grew up with my Irish seanachie (storyteller) grandfather, so I live lost in stories. Anyone who knows me would tell you that I can’t have even a short conversation without telling a story. When I’m reading, I disappear in whatever story the author is telling me. When I’m writing, I lower my cone of silence and live in my characters’ worlds. One time we were walking on Coronado Island and I saw this bungalow that was exactly my heroine’s Coronado Island house. I had to sit down on a bench in the park across the street and convince myself that I really could not walk up to the door and talk with her.

ANGI: Hugh Jackman or Chris Pine?
JOANN: No contest. I’m definitely team Hugh.

ANGI: Can you tell us about a real-life hero you’ve met?
JOANN: I’ve been fortunate, over various careers, to have met some people who might qualify, in a romance or thriller novel way, but I have to say my husband. Not so much because he was smart enough to marry me, but for all the years I’ve known him (since the week I turned fifteen), he’s been a backpacker/mountain bike rider/mountain climber who put himself through college fighting forest fires where my River’s Bend books are set. Then six years ago, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, which, for a guy who pretty much defined himself by his super physicality, was an extra blow.

But it only took a week for him to find a movement neurologist and start in on a serious regimen of daily fitness therapy, much of it designed specifically for people with PD, but also more basic classes, like yoga. ( I have to admit that it wasn’t easy convincing a guy who grew up in cowboy country that he couldn’t wear his Wranglers to yoga class!) Every morning he wakes up, not knowing how much his body is going to cooperate that day, but since the three most important things you can do for PD is exercise, exercise, exercise, he gets up and works out, and I’ve never once heard him complain. That to me, is heroic.

ANGI: What's your most favorite thing to do in your state?
JOANN: We now live on South Puget Sound in Washington State, so since I’m a home cook, my favorite thing to do is to escape my office and go to the year-round waterfront farmers market a couple miles from our house and pick up a week’s groceries. Then we go next door to the wonderful fishmonger who sells fresh, sustainable seafood right off the boats. We may buy some chowder while we’re there. Then we finish off the day walking around the waterfront, eating our chowder while enjoying the tang of the salt air and watching the boats.

ANGI: What’s your favorite meal?
JOANN: Salmon. Grilled, blackened, smoked, poached, on pasta, snatched off the grill, burning fingers, while cooking. I could eat it every way, every day. We actually do eat it two or three times a week, at least one of those times grilled and blackened and served with various grilled veggies because it’s fast and easy and allows the buttery taste of the fresh fish to come through. Another favorite weekly meal is tacos made from fresh Oregon rock cod, caught by our fishmonger’s brothers where my Shelter Bay books are set. And since I’ve already cheated by not sticking with one, I’ll add Dungeness crab. But I can’t bring myself to murder the ones in the tank, so I buy them already steamed.

ANGI: What do you like about the hero of your book?
JOANN: I love Sawyer’s steadfastness. After Austin’s mother deserted the family when Austin was seven, he scrawled a note he passed her in second grade telling her that he’d always be her friend. Decades later, during a very difficult time in his life, he doesn’t waver from that promise. He has many other heroic traits (such as being really hot!), but for a true happily ever after, what more can a woman ask for from her man than absolute loyalty?

ANGI: Sand or Snow?
JOANN: Sand, if it’s on a Pacific Northwest beach, with lots of driftwood, sea stacks, and cool enough you wear jeans and a hoodie in July. That’s also super romantic to me, because when I was eighteen, my husband bought me a bag of saltwater taffy on the Oregon Coast where my Shelter Bay books are set, then we walked across the street to the seawall. While we were watching the resident whales, he proposed. We return there often and, yay (!), that taffy store is still there.

ANGI: Favorite Dog Story
JOANN: We’ve always had rescued dogs. Back when they were called pound mutts. We always adopt dogs no one else wanted, so we tend to get ones with issues that need to be worked out. But the unconditional love they gift us with is worth any problems. Shadow, who’s the inspiration for Gabe’s dog in One Summer, was horribly abused and came to us with such separation anxiety, he’d go crazy if he was left alone. We did all the things the dog therapists said, but nothing worked. He’d froth, scream (his bark can shatter glass), and even though he’s only nine pounds, he’d tear up door frames. Which meant we couldn’t leave the house together the first nine months he lived with us.

Then finally, we took him to obedience school hoping to help build his confidence. He discovered other dogs and went crazy excited with joy. So, of course, we immediately had to adopt him a friend. Essentially, we got our dog his own dog. This is the day Toby, who was rescued on his “kill day,” came to live with us fifteen years ago. Toby’s the one on the right, having a bad hair day. A few days later, after visiting Shadow’s salon, he was much more spiffy. It’s only a coincidence they look like brothers; they actually came from different parts of the state.

ANGI: Superman or Batman?
JOANN: Batman. Hands down. Going all the way back to my childhood days when we kids would sit beneath the Chinese elm in my backyard and trade comic books.

ANGI: What drinks or snacks are always on your desk when you’re writing?
JOANN: Coffee. Hot. Iced. Mostly lukewarm from sitting for two hours before I remember it’s there. I’m not a snacker.

ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: What’s one thing from your bucket list?

JOANN’s GOTTA ANSWER: I was having trouble with this, because I’ve been lucky enough to have pretty much done everything I’ve wanted to, including jumping out of planes solo, before tandem jumping came into vogue. (That was on my list from the time I was about five. ) However, after much thought and discussion with my husband, I realized it’s a simple one for other people. Not for me. I want to learn how to knit. Every time I try, going back to high school, it turns out to be a huge yarn fail. It’s also worse these days. I go into a store to just check things out and my head starts literally spinning inside from the overwhelming number of choices. Not helping is the fact that I’m allergic to wool. But I really want to learn to knit blankets for for Project Linus, a national volunteer group that makes blankets for children in need that I mention in many of my books. Including Long Road Home.

COMING this fall from JOANN
7 Brides for 7 Brothers

A Place in Time 
& Somewhere in Time, my first two Rum Runner Island books, set on an island off the coast of Maine, will be out back to back this fall. 

Murphy Brothers, book 1
Read a little, Buy the book

a Shelter Bay (9) & Castlelough (5) novel

Shelter Bay 10

JOANN is giving away 1 copy of RIVER'S BEND, either print or ebook, reader's choice. *autographed North America only, digital international.
Twitter @JoAnnRoss              
She’ll return mid-August

Get Lost on GoodreadsFacebook
or @GetLostInAStory  #GetLostStories

JOANN WANTS TO KNOW: Having grown up surrounded by lakes, rivers, and forests, when I need to escape, there's no place better to unwind than going to the mountains. Here we stay in a remote cabin at the base of Mt. Rainier where we can watch the glacier melt from the mountain roaring down the creek right outside the wall of bedroom windows. There's no TV reception there, so mostly we talk, play board games, walk in the woods, sit by the rushing creek, and read.  Do you have a special "Zen" place you get away to that makes the world go away?


  1. My zen place would have to be beside the ocean. I could chill out & watch the waves all day.

    1. That's my other place. At the Oregon Coast where my h.s. sweetheart proposed when I was eighteen.

  2. Replies
    1. If you read, you have a zen place. It's wherever the story takes you. :)

  3. I love looking out my window to my backyard... it brings me peace... love watching the wind blow or the birds hop around the feeder... :)

  4. Such a pleasure to have you on the blog, JoAnn.

    1. Thanks for having me! I unexpectedly had to be away from my computer today and for some reason blogger wasn't accepting my iPad and phone sign-in attempts. But I'm here now!

  5. Reading a book is my zen place. I have not found a real place yet. So to get away from the world, I curl up on the couch with a book.

    1. That's the BEST place. Because you can carry your zen place wherever you go. So you're always there.

  6. A cabin, high up in the Smoky Mountains, is my Zen place. I've visited every other year for the last 12. There's nothing like being above the clouds with the mountain "islands" scattered across the horizon, the grayish white "river" flowing around them. It's so peaceful and serene.

    1. That is pretty! We could see the Smokies from our deck in Knoxville and hiked there a lot.

  7. In the summer give me a pool a beach and a book to read and I am good. But last year I built a glam cabin in the woods and sometimes it's just sitting on my back porch watching all the wildlife.

    1. I'm with you on all those places. A Glam cabin would be lovely!

  8. I have my garden but my zen place is still my room.

  9. Recently we got both a camper trailer and for my birthday a swinging hammock floating chair. I love the chair but even in my own yard I can sneak away for quiet in the camper and pretend I am ANyWHERE else.