What is your genre? Why did you choose it?
I’m not sure I chose the genre of suspense as much as it chose me. I’ve always loved scary moves and stories growing up. I have a fascination with the dark side of humanity and like to explore it in my novels. I also have many fears and I suppose weaving them into stories, giving those fears to my characters, is a way of dealing with them in the real world. Cheaper than therapy which I would have to pay for rather than getting paid.
I might create a poem or write an article, but I work only on one book manuscript at a time. A novel is an evolving thing and percolates in both my conscious and subconscious, even when I’m asleep or bathing or taking a walk. Especially since I plot very little and depend in large part on my characters -where they are in the novel, and where they want to go. Not to say they write the novel, although I’ve heard writers say that that happens. But I know what they mean. If I’m totally immersed in my novel, the characters will guide me through to the end. It’s kind of a collaboration between the intellect and the imagination. But it all works out if I let my imagination soar and don’t try to keep too tight a control on events.
Do you work with a writing/critique group?
No. When I was younger I used to belong to a writing group, but truthfully all any of us were really looking for was praise. -:- Although since then I’ve certain become very grateful for a good editor who will point out my bloopers, typos and misspellings. A good editor can save you from looking foolish or less than professional.
Can you remember your first reading book?
Yes, vividly. We were very poor and didn’t have a lot of books in our house. I think I must have been around five when I found one of those big thick storybooks on top of a dump. The covers were torn off. I rescued it, and that book was rarely out of my hands for the rest of that year and beyond.. Those pages contained so many wonderful stories of kings and princesses and frogs and on and on. That book gave me the gift of appreciation of a good story.
No snacks, but I do like to have my cup of tea beside me.
Tidy desk or a bombsite? Describe your writing area with us.
Messy. Probably somewhere between bombsite and tidy.
Are you published in the traditional manner or self published? Share your journey.
After a mound of rejection slips, my first two novels ‘Listen to the Shadows’ and ‘Nowhere To Hide’ were published by a major New York publisher. They rejected my third book, much to my dismay. I was, it seemed, back to square one. Except I now had a track record. I have never self-published. My current publisher is Books We Love, a Canadian publisher of ebooks who also make my books available in paperback. Books We Love is owned by two very hard-working and smart ladies, Judith Pittman and Jamie Hill, who are also fine authors in their own right. They’re a wonderful publisher and I’m very content with them.
It is good to be happy with your publisher.
Who would you say have been the three most influential authors in your reading/writing life?
Charlotte Bronte, Stephen King and Phyllis Whitney, not necessarily in that order. But it’s really hard to say exactly because I read a wide variety of authors and have done so since a child. There are far too many authors to list, so I’m glad you asked for just three.
What advice would you like to share with other writers/authors with regard to preparing a manuscript.
READ! READ! READ! Take everything in. And keep writing. Stay informed about this fluxuating publishing business. There’s no reason not to be up on what’s happening now that we have the internet. At the bottom line, it’s the work and the faith in your work that separates the wannabes from the published. And don’t let anyone tell you can’t do it, because if you want to badly enough, you will. Simple as that. In fact, it’s easier now than ever before for authors to be published. You can self-publish, choose a small press or get an agent so that you have a chance at the big guys. Whatever works for you.
Since I’ve written six novels thus far in my writing career, that would require a number of different actors. But for the novel I’m writing now, Canadian actress Wendy Crewson would be a great choice for my main character Abby Miller. How wonderful that would be.
I was on my way to the supermarket, when … Do you have a tale to tell i relating to an everyday, boring event?
I can only think of one such story. After years of hard work and garnering many rejection slips, my first novel ‘Listen to the Shadows’ was finally to be released from Kensington/Zebra Books, NY. I was pretty high on that as you can imagine. I’d had lots of local praise, newspaper articles written about ‘local author’s dream comes true’, etc. Along my walk I met up with a neighbor who said she heard about my book. I waited for the warm words of ‘good for you’ or something to that effect, which I was becoming accustomed to, but her next words were no compliment. I was stunned to hear her say, “I think I’ll throw something together one of these days’.
It stung at the time, but I smile when I think of it now. Over the years, I’ve learned it all comes with the territory.
Ouch. Unpleasant words. Still, I expect she is still ‘throwing’ things together, and you are thriving, and doing.
Also available at Barnes and Noble, and other online bookstores. Available in paperbook/ebook.
Joan’s website: www.joanhallhovey.com
Thank you for joining us, Joan.