When I decided to start writing, I told my husband, and he supported me fully. When I told my family, they supported me. I never worried about sharing with them. Joanie Bruce, however, wrote in secret for more than a decade before shocking her family with a publishing contract! She’s been writing and publishing ever since. She’s here today to give us an inside look at her writing process.
Welcome, welcome, welcome! Thanks for spending some of your holiday time with us. Let’s start with the basics: what genre do you write? How did you pick it?
I write stories in the Christian suspense genre because I love reading that type of story. The heart-pounding tension mixed with the sweet love story create an exciting book to read. When I read my first suspense book, I was hooked. 😊
What are your favorite genres to read? Why?
If I had to pick the genre I love most, it would have to be Christian suspense — of course — but I also enjoy reading historical fiction and any type of Christian romance.
How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript (published or not)?
I started writing my first novel when my children were young, probably about fifteen years before it was published. 😊 My family never knew I was writing at the time. Then, one day, I read my first Christian suspense book. That lit a fire under me and gave me the desire to finish my manuscript as a Christian suspense. After almost a year of writing in secret, I was finally brave enough to send it off. My family was shocked when I told them a publisher wanted to publish a story I had written. My first book was born.
Have your follow-up novels been easier or harder to write? Why do you think that is?
My second and third novels were much easier to write than the first. My first book required a lot of attention by my editor, to put it mildly. I learned so much from her. Things like plot timelines, point-of-view, and how to “show, not tell” were a few things she was willing to teach me. After learning those tips, the other books were much easier to write.
What’s surprised you the most about the book-publishing process?
I was shocked to learn that only a small number of new books released actually make it onto the shelves of brick and mortar stores. My publisher tells me approximately 2-3 percent of all new titles end up in stores, and this includes well-known authors such as John Grisham and Terri Blackstock. That makes it extremely hard for new authors to see their work displayed in stores.
What’s been the most challenging part of getting a book published?
Marketing remains the most formidable task for me. Normally, I’m not an outgoing person. I try to stay in the background and not call attention to myself, so it has been extremely hard for me to promote myself or my work.
What’s your favorite part of the publishing experience?
I love honoring the Lord with the talents He has given me, and the fact that I can encourage and inspire others to follow the Lord means a lot to me. Meeting new friends and hearing from my readers is also special. It makes my day when I hear from a reader who read one of my books and loved it.
For learning the writing craft, which do you prefer – books or conferences? Why?
I’ve never been able to attend a writing conference, but I would love to register for one at some point. The distance and expense are usually the limiting factors, however I do LOVE to read books and articles instructing writers how to build good stories. I’ve learned most of what I know about writing from reading books on the subject.
If you could attend any writing conference, which one would you attend? Why?
I think I would thoroughly enjoy the ACFW conference because I’ve read books by many of the authors who speak there. When they have the ACFW conference in Nashville, it would be closer to where I live than some of the other conferences, so one day I look forward to attending.
If you could recommend one writing book, what would it be? Why?
I think the book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King would have to be my favorite resource and — I believe — the most helpful for all authors. It touches almost every topic a beginner needs to address before sending a manuscript off to a publisher. Almost everything I learned about writing from other sources is covered in this book. It’s fantastic.
If you could pick any of your novels to be made into a movie, which one would you pick? Who would you want to play the lead roles, and why?
I love the second book I wrote, A Memory Worth Dying For. While writing the story, I fell in love with the characters and the whole idea of complete and unconditional forgiveness. The story is about a woman who was falsely accused after four wonderful years of marriage. She was banished from her home by the ones she loved but, years later, she still went to great lengths to protect them because she loved them. At the end of the book, what she lost during the time of separation with her family is restored. A verse in the Bible says, “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten…” (Joel 2: 25a) That is one of my favorite verses, and the love in that promise actually provided the idea for this story.
Loving Hallmark movies as much as I do, I would have to choose Andrew Walker and Erin Krakow as my leading characters. I think they would both be awesome.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I would love to say thank you for allowing me to spend time with you on your blog, and to thank all your readers for their time reading it. It would be a thrill if you would consider connecting with me on any of my social media pages, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post.
Thank you so much for appearing on my blog! Have a blessed day!
As an avid reader, Joanie welcomes the transition from reading to writing and considers it a wonderful way to honor the Lord. She has written three published Christian suspense novels, a Christmas Trilogy, and a novelette. Also as an artist, she recently illustrated a picture book which released in April of 2018.
Joanie lives with her husband on their Black Angus cattle farm in Georgia and enjoys writing and painting from her home in the country. She also enjoys playing with her grandson, various hobbies, and taking long walks on the farm.
Amazon Author page: https://amzn.to/2rmaldx