“An automobile accident in front of a homeless shelter causes Lola, a dog trainer in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to renew her battle with grief. Ben, formerly an architect in the same city, has been abandoned by his family and is currently homeless. Lola sees Ben on the day of her accident, trying to smuggle something into the shelter while all the people associated with the facility are outside with her, waiting for the ambulance to arrive and watching the drama unfold at the end of the street as the guy who broadsided her runs from the scene and is pursued by police…” Thus begins the summary of Under the Blue Moon, the new contemporary novel by author Joan Schweighardt, whom I recently interviewed for “Women Writers, Women’s Books.”

Schweighardt is the author of nine novels, a memoir, two children’s books and a number of fascinating magazine articles. I’ve known Joan for years as a colleague and friend, and one of the things that always amazes me is the way she starts a new project as soon as the last one ends and finishes a draft before I even conceptualize my next work.

Joan has written a number of carefully researched and gripping historical novels, including the award-winning The Last Wife of Attila the Hun, initially released with the title Gudrun’s Tapestry. Under the Blue Moon, however, is a contemporary story that takes place in New Mexico. In our interview, I asked Joan about switching between historical and contemporary stories, what inspires or prompts her ideas, and how long it takes her to write a first draft.

Read the complete interview here, and do yourself a favor — dive into the novels of this talented writer.