- GUEST AUTHOR -
Today, I interview an aspiring author from Chicago, USA.
Welcome, Joyce ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I have been happily married for 27 years; I have one son and my baby, Taylor, a cat. Working for the Chicago Tribune Editorial Department for ten years, I gained invaluable skills, primarily in Art and Journalism. My love of fantasy and the paranormal, coupled with my fascination with Rock and Roll compelled me to write Wish You Were Here Badfinger “A Rock Fantasy”. This is my second novel.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
My writing Journey began after I dislocated my hip as a young child. Due of my injury, I couldn’t go home for lunch. The lunch monitor believed I belonged in a school for handicap children but my mom disagreed. Just to be mean, the lady sat me with the toughest girls in the school. They began to beat me up every day. I’m sure a lot of people know what it is like to be bullied. Being tormented had a profound effect on me. I became shy and withdrawn. On one unusual warm day in the winter, my third-grade teacher gave the kids an assignment to write a poem for our annual school poetry contest. With misery and agony at the forefront, I spilled my guts on paper. I never expected it when I was told I’d won the contest and received a certificate for best poem. From that point on I had some respect from my peers but the tough girls still beat me up during recess until a sister of one of the girls told her sister she would defend me if she continued to harass me. I was still pretty shy and out of frustration after everything I’d endured, I started to write a comic about a popular girl name Deana and a unpopular but street smart girl named Tammy. Through their friendship Tammy and Deana became best friends with Tammy always giving the impulsive Deana advice. Thanks to this comic my art and writing blossomed.
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
That is a very good question. In my mind I usually know how the story should start and where it should end. I enjoy just making it up along the way.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Conveying a story which helps my readers escape just for a little while from the humdrum of life.
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
I think the hardest part for me is the editing, formatting and promotion of the story. At first it was so much fun just writing. After a while that realty of getting the book out kicked in.
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
Before I became a writer, I was singing solo on stage in preschool.
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
Writing this current series is my greatest achievement.
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
Right now, I am almost ready to publish part one of a series of books called Wish You Were Here, Badfinger “A Rock Fantasy.” It’s a quirky novel that crosses the love between band brothers with the pop-paranormal, set to a killer soundtrack. Badfinger’s Tommy Evans, after years of depression following the death of a beloved bandmate, slips into heaven by the skin of his teeth. Guided by Gabriel, an angel, he sets out on a Dantean voyage through the strata of the afterlife to reunite with his lost lead singer, Pete Ham. Along the way, Tommy encounters a repertoire of famous faces—chafing against, laughing with, and learning from each one in the fierce quest for his best friend’s soul. It is a novel about after-death adventure, rules and posthumous love. It features the overtly fictionalized spirits of real-world artists, performers and thinkers to explore questions about legacy—but not always to answer them… and to say “Blimey” from time-to-time.
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I was inspired to write this story in a strange way. In 2013 my husband had a little internet radio station and asked me to find some CDs for him. I came across The Best of Badfinger, decided to put it on and I listened to Rock of All Age. It sounded like a Beatles’ song and I loved it. I read the liner notes and found out a little about the band. My husband was familiar with the group Badfinger on Facebook so I joined it. I found out everybody was hurting, including a deceased band member’s wife.
Badfinger’s manager had stolen their money, consequently two members killed themselves, one in 1975 and the other in 1983. I wrote to her, letting her know that Tommy was looking down at her from Heaven and she would always be in his heart. She liked my sentiment so I decided to write a blurb about Tommy and Pete on that site that they were all doing fine in Heaven. I got a lot of positive feedback and comments. From that I created my own Badfinger page and began writing segments of a story about Tommy and Pete in Heaven. That has since morphed into Wish You Were Here, Badfinger “A Rock Fantasy”.
10. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
I love fantasy and adventure stories.
11. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
I would tell new writers to write what you know and also to get a good editor like my editor and now good friend, Dennis De Rose. I had given several samples to different editors and they basically tore the story apart, something Dennis didn’t do.
12. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
Yes, I am blocked right now, Recently,I had some devastating things happen in my life and I couldn’t write anything new. I’m sure once I finally get the book out my inspiration will come to me to finish the second series of the story.
13. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
No, I do not. I write when I feel inspired. I could be washing dishes and through that a part of the story might come to me. Once it is in my head I can sit down when I’m finished doing things around the house I can get the information down on paper.
14. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
Yes, I write in my living room where I can keep an eye on my Taylor and I’m close to the kitchen so that I can make my recipes, clean the central area and of course through all this busy work I become inspired.
15. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
I believe there is an afterlife and I know I am helping my readers to escape the tragedy that happened to the band and also to keep all the Rock stars, actors, and thinkers’ memories alive by writing about them in my story.
16. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
I admit I enjoy reading Clive Cussler because his action and storytelling is very vivid.
17. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
My heart is in the right place while penning my story.
18. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
That I’m trying to cash in on Badfinger.
19. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
I had a very tough life with extreme ups and downs coming from a poor background. I believe my frustration helped me become the writer I am today.
20. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I love to draw and come up with different recipes and be there when my friends need me. I also like to go shopping in order to get out of the house now and then.
21. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
Yes, my friend and editor, Dennis De Rose, edited my book and we’ll continue to work together once the second book is written.
22. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Knowing I am getting this book into the hands of the people who want to know more about my imagination.
23. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
My husband. He has been a big supporter in my life.
24. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
Stop the hate.
25. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
To break even on my book and visit my brother since he lives in another country.
26. WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON BOOK TRAILERS? DO THEY SELL BOOKS?
I have a trailer but I don’t know the answer to the question. I guess I will have to wait and see.
27. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
I actually see myself in every single one. I feel like I am one with my characters.
28. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
Very much so. I went through a period where I wanted instant gratification when it came to publishing my first book and I recently found out that the publisher I sought was at the top scammer list. They will take your money and say they will do the editing but I found out they just care about making money and I heard stories that they didn’t professionally edit or help promote my book. The publisher I used basically wanted me to buy my books and when you do that sort of thing you don’t get a royalty for your book. I was told I could do book signings and approach bookstores. When I did they told me they wouldn’t deal with anything from that publisher. I was dead in the water after that. The other thing that frustrated me is trying to get the attention of traditional publishers. They really don’t want to take a chance on somebody new. Of course if I were Stephen King that would be another story.
29. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
Yes, several times in the four years I have been writing my book I have run into some road blocks and just wanted to give up.
30. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
Writing this story Wish You Were Here, Badfinger “A Rock Fantasy” because it is now polished and I feel a satisfaction knowing I can help somebody else even for a little while to escape from reality.
31. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER?
Having a polished book, a professional book cover and knowing you are able to convey what you intended to your reader.
32. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
I hope they walk away feeling a sense of great enjoyment and peace.
33. WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE YOUR BOOKS MADE INTO MOVIES? EVER WRITTEN A SCREENPLAY?
I have written several scripts for television, one for Quantum Leap and the other for the sitcom Herman’s Head. A TV critic I know loved it but I didn’t have an agent and without one they just honestly throw unopened work in the garbage. It didn’t matter because both shows were canceled. I had several people say the story I am writing now would make a good movie.
34. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
Oh my Gosh! I think a book cover is one of the hardest parts of the story because it is like your resume. If you don’t have an appealing cover nobody is going to want to look further into your project. It needs to be eye candy online and in bookstores.
35. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
I really don’t know at this point. Maybe to fix up the house we live in, help my family out and get to visit my brother.
36. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
Right now I have 1077 members in my FB group Wish You Were Here, Badfinger “A Rock Fantasy”. I post a segment of the second story five days a week and am getting positive feedback in my group. But I am also messaging members who may not be active to see where they are at in terms of how they feel about reading the story.
37. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
I am taking a giant leap into self-publishing. That way I will have control of my book and where I want it to go.
38. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
Sensitive, curious, helpful, introspective, vulnerable.
39. WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
Two things really piss me off. The first one is when somebody judges you too quickly and the next, when people look at the glass half-empty.
40. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
Pure Attraction and it was definitely a page-turner.
41. WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
Why can’t we all just get along? (Thank you, Gilda Radner)
42. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
Everybody getting along with each other.
43. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
I am hopefully going to get this book on Amazon on June 5th, my main character’s birthday. Anyone wanting an autographed copy can get it directly from me at email@example.com. Those that buy the book will get a copy of the eBook and Rock Dreams, drawings I created from 1979 until 2015 at no cost and I am running a one-month contest to win a signed copy of No Dice, an album by Joey Molland from Badfinger. Also, a percentage of each sale will go to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. I just want to mention the title and position of my name on the presale video is different than the title of my book. I kept the video on YouTube because it has almost 800 hits since I put it up December 23.
Clancy's comment: Go, Joyce! Thank you. Keep going!