"One of my favorite memories is lying on the grass on a knoll on a late summer day and telling my sister stories I was making up," says Jo Ann Ferguson, who also writes as J.A. Ferguson, Joanna Hampton, Jo Ann Brown, and Rebecca North."There's something magical about being able to spend time with people you enjoy in your imagination. As a writer, I get to go with my characters to their time and place so I can share their adventures and falling in love for the first time…all over again."
She has had a few adventures of her own, including a stint as an Army quartermaster officer where she was the first and only woman in her unit. She still enjoys traveling to the locations of her books and learning all about those places and people. Researching her novels is part of the fun. Whether it's ghosts, calling cards, how to fire an antique gun, or traveling to a world that exists only in her imagination, she pays a great deal of attention to the details that delight her reader. She's even learned a bit of Russian, Arabic, Welsh, and a lot of Regency slang.
Her work has been honored with award nominations from Pearl, ROMY, Romantic Times, Rom/Con, and Affaire de Coeur magazine. Amazon Books chose her novels to showcase. And Romance Writers of America bestowed the two ARTemis Awards for Jo Ann's Zebra Regencies: The Counterfeit Count and A Christmas Bride.
Nonfiction also appeals to her, because it's where she got her start, seeing her first byline when she was twelve years old. She contributed to an encyclopedia of the English Regency period published by Garland Press. For all three editions of the New England Chapter's Now That You've Sold Your Book…What Next?, she has served as co-editor.
Believing in giving back, Jo Ann has served Romance Writers of America on both the local and national levels. She has served on the national board as president as well as a director and at term as vice president. For her volunteer work, she was given RWA's highest honor, the Emma Merritt National Service Award. She is also a creative writing instructor. She was awarded a Massachusetts Art Grant to teach creative writing and then established several creative writing courses at Brown University. Many of her students have gone on to publishing careers of their own.
She lives in Massachusetts, where her favorite hero—her husband, Bill—and their children and two cats. She's not sure which is the most spoiled.