About Joanne Sundell

Author Joanne Sundell

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My absolute favorite romance is the quintessential romance, Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte`. Of course, I love “all things Jane Austen,” as well. Hooked on historical romance, I read all the authors I love. There are too many to count but you can bet Judith McNaught, Johanna Lindsay, Dorothy Garwood, Heather Graham, and Jude Deveraux are all on it. After reading so many wonderful authors for so long a time, I decided to try my own hand at writing romance. I joined writing organizations, traveling down from the mountains to Denver to attend meetings and critique groups. My goodness, did I ever learn … how much I had to learn!

I attended conferences where I could and tried to “pitch” when and where I could. The feedback obtained from these outings proved invaluable. It’s the best way to improve, I believe. I was so happy to win 1st place for Series Historical from the Land of Enchantment Romance Authors, a chapter of RWA, in 2004. A boon to my confidence! Conferences, too, are a great way to actually meet agents and editors. On one such occasion I met an editor from Five Star Publishing and was given the opportunity to submit a manuscript to them. Months went by. Then I received word from Five Star that they didn’t want the book I submitted, but did I have something else? I sure did. I sent it in and months later I finally received “the call!” ACCEPTANCE!

Over the years I’ve sold six historical romances to Five Star Publishing and now have sold a YA trilogy to them, in their Frontier Fiction line. ACCEPTANCE! It never gets old, only better.

I currently live between Colorado and California, ever chasing after my children and grandchildren. My writing spot, my Harriet Potter Room under the stairs, is in California.




  • Born in Front Royal, VA, 1946 – A Virginia country girl
  • Moved to Arlington, VA in early elementary years
  • Stratford Jr High School *One of the first segregated schools in the country – Remember the Titans could have been based on Stratford in Arlington, VA
  • Washington Lee High School (Yes, I was a cheerleader throughout junior high and high school, like so many of you out there.  J)
  • Medical College of Virginia, School of Nursing – Richmond, VA (now Virginia Commonwealth University, VCU)
    Class of 1970
    Bachelor of Science in Nursing
    R.N., BSN


When I was in nursing school in Richmond, I met my future husband on 7th floor psychiatry, where he was doing physicals in the separate lock-up unit.  I was sent to assist him.  The rest is history … 41 years of marriage later J  Retired, Sy, a forensic psychiatrist, is Board Certified in Psychiatry and previously served as the Medical Director for the Department of Safety, City and County of Denver. We raised our three children in the mountains in Colorado, and now have four wonderful grandchildren, two living in CA and two in CO. Like her father, our youngest daughter is also in medicine, an Army Major and a pathologist.

Joanne and Husband Sy on the Antarctic Peninsula

Joanne and Husband Sy on the Antarctic Peninsula

Sy and I decided early on, if possible, to take time for travel with our children while they were young. I think we created our Bucket List before there was such a term. We started with driving to Mexico, then ferrying and/or driving Alaska, then driving throughout Australia, twice, with a stop in Tahiti, then trekking through Western Europe, then having a walk-about throughout Israel and in northern Egypt. Then, with kids grown and gone, Sy and I began to venture out, going to Fiji, to New Zealand for the Milford Trek, driving both islands and loving every moment of our adventures. For our 35th wedding anniversary we decided to go “all in” and head to Antarctica.  The Drake Passage was rather calm, just for us … ha ha.  I can still picture every animal seen and every glacier looming.  The beauty was breathtaking.  The hardest part of this trip was watching baby penguins struggle for survival.  If the rain or cold didn’t get them, their mother’s only had food for one chick born and the other would run along behind her and squawk for help, but none came.

Eastern Europe was also on “the list” and we took off from the train station in East Berlin, landing us in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland.  In Poland we boarded a public bus in Krakow and made our way across the countryside to Auschwitz—another trip of a lifetime, to be in such a place.

Whether walking where Jane Austen walked; breathing the ancient air of the pyramids; passing through Marie Curie’s Warsaw; seeing the place where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis; standing on the 12th century Charles Bridge; watching the historic Running of the Bulls, camping in the Outback, or witnessing the realities of life and death in Antarctica . . . history came to life before my eyes.  It was a humbling experience that will never leave me. That so many could have achieved so much, amid such struggles for survival—animal or human—is a lesson for us all.


Other Life Experiences


  • Summers in high school, worked at General Services Administration, GSA, Washington, D.C.
  • Administrative assistant
  • Worked at Peace Corps Headquarters – Washington, D.C.
  • Administrative assistant to Peace Corps officers in charge of Early Terminations from the field – Given opportunity to apply for a health position on the Ivory Coast in Africa, but decided to return to college and complete my education prior to this consideration
  • Clinical experience in nursing at the 4 hospitals comprising the, then, Medical College of Virginia
    Adult medical-surgical care
    Team nursing
  • General Rose Memorial Hospital – Denver, CO
    Adult pre and post op care
    Team nursing
  • Denver Disease Control – Denver, CO – A part of Denver General Hospital
    Tuberculosis control and treatment
  • I currently hold an Active Colorado Nursing License.

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