How about a small bio? Tell us a little about yourself:
First of all, thank you so much for the opportunity to share my writing journey and Rain Dance with you.
I’ve been married to Jon for 32 years. We live on 35 acres of woods and fields with a pond in the valley. We enjoy walks with our dogs, Sophie & Tucker, on our land. Besides writing, I’m an author coach, professional speaker, and publishing partner with Sheaf House Publishers. I love my work!
Why did you start writing?
Before I could read. I would trace the words from my books and tape the pages together and dream about when I could put my own words on the pages. I was about four, I’m told, when I started reading on my own – mom would read out loud to us and I’d watch the words as she read. Eventually, I recognized them. She tested me with a brand new book she’d never read to me and she tells me I didn’t miss a word. I’ve always love the way words look on the pages and feel on my tongue.
How did you start writing?
After learning to read and write on my own I wrote poetry. Allowances were spent at the local Ben Franklin or Woolworths on paper, pencils, and pens. After someone in high school discouraged me from writing, I gave it up. In fact, I burned over 100 poems I’d written. I kept only one. I can’t remember a single one of those poems – I grieved the loss of the dream. After about 10 years of marriage, my husband came home with 2 writer’s magazines and encouraged me to follow my dream and write. I resisted but he persisted. A few days later, he had a desk and word processor delivered to our home.
How did you select your genre?
I write in several genres. At the FCWC many years ago, an editor asked if anyone had bird stories they’d like to share. I had a journal full. This became Under His Wings – What I Learned From God While Watching the Birds – a devotional published by Barbour. At the same conference, an editor mentioned needing an article on infertility – that was published a few months later in Decision Magazine. While cleaning my house one day, an idea came into my mind and it seemed like a great idea although I asked God to find another author for it. The story, eventually titled Rain Dance, was mine to write. Next came three children’s books.
What is your writing day like?
Because my coaching is writing related, my day starts with early clients – sometimes at 7AM. When I complete their paperwork, I take a walking break and then blog, catch up on emails, do some marketing, or flesh out a new idea. Then, it’s time for lunch and hopefully, another brief walk. Back at my desk, I focus on writing three afternoons a week and market the other two and sometimes on Saturday.
How do you organize your writing? (outlines/note cards/post-its)
Index cards which become detailed outlines.
What’s the most surprising thing a character has “told you”?
The main character in my new novel caught me completely off guard when she told me she was not divorced – she’d been a “kept” woman for 25 years. She sort of whispered it to me at first then when I resisted, she stomped her foot and raised her voice. There is just no ignoring her.
Do you have a list of characters that you’re saving for future use? What kind of information do you keep on these characters?
Yes. There is a series about four sisters. I keep a character sheet for each one. I only have a name on the page. I jot my discoveries down on that page and then plaster post-it notes all over when the page is full. When I’m ready to write, I transfer this information to a new sheet. Re-entering the material into my computer reveals new things about each character at that time. If I get stuck, I interview them.
What does your work space/office look like?
My husband is very generous with me. He installed a wonderful wrap-around desk, bought me three bookcases, and a wonderful arm-less cozy chair for reading.
What is your go-to snack when writing?
The Last Sineater by Francine Rivers. The story haunted me long before the movie. Her characters are always vivid and capture my heart. My other most favorite is Peace Like a River by Lief Enger. Same reasons. Unforgettable characters that touched me soul deep.
If you could only recommend one CRAFT book (writing, no crocheting), what would it be? Why?
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yes. While Rain Dance deals with the tough issues of one woman’s infertility and another woman’s abortion, it is a book about grace. While I’m passionately pro-life, I’ve also been given a deep love for women who have chosen abortion and regret it. We’re a strange mix – these beautiful women and I – you see, I can’t have children. Someone once told me that this just doesn’t make sense and I agreed. Then I told him, “It also doesn’t make sense to me that the perfect and sinless Son of God died for me 2,000 or so years before I was born – but He did. If it makes sense to Him, it makes sense to me. Besides, the love in my heart is so pure and powerful, it comes from Him.”
Joy, thank you for taking the time for this interview – it was a pleasure meeting you!
Everyone else – don’t forget to leave a comment (or question) for Joy to be entered to win a FREE copy of “Rain Dance”!