What book or project is coming out or has come out that you’d like to tell us about?
I have a new manuscript I'm working on. It is a fantasy. I have had so much fun. It takes more energy to write a fantasy, I've decided, but what an exciting adventure. The story tells of a young boy who has been taken back in time, to grow up and prepare to defend his father's kingdom. In the realm of a enchanged forest, he is tutored by an eagle, a panther, an owl, two Great Danes, a two-headed lamb and an owl (each one instilling in him, the gifts of their powers that will make him what he must be.) When he is ready, he is returned to his time where he learns who he really is and what he must do to save his father, his mother, and his kingdom.
Tell us about your journey to publication. How long had you been writing before you got the call you had a contract, how you heard and what went through your head.
I had ghost-written two books for a gentleman in California about 8 years ago. It wasn't until two years later, I decided to write my own book. The first publisher liked my work but the book was seasonal and they didn't accept it, but said they would be interested in seeing more of my work. I wanted to see the manuscript published so I made the necessary changes and submitted it to a second publisher. I received a call a month or so, after it had been submitted to the publisher, telling me they had accepted it. I was so excited. The book is "Miracles for Michael" I have written three more books since that time: "Journey of the Promise", "Pages From the Past", and its sequel, "The Silent Patriots".
Do you still experience self-doubt regarding your work?
Oh yes. I wish I didn't. But each book has to be accepted on its own merit. You never know where, on the scale, it will find itself.
What mistakes have you made while seeking publication?
In some ways, I wish I had sent my second manuscript to the first publisher. They are larger and have greater advertisement tools.
What’s the best advice you’ve heard on writing/publication?
To never give up. To believe in myself and my ability to write.
What’s the worst piece of writing advice you’ve ever heard?
You don't make enough on each book to make it worth the stress of writing.
What’s something you wish you’d know earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?
Knowing my rights.
Is there a particularly difficult set back that you’ve gone through in your writing career you are willing to share?
The publication of my last book has not been handled with the same consideration as the other three. There has been some big changes in the company. Those who I have worked closely with, have left the company. They were the ones who promoted my books. I have found that a writer needs that kind of support in order for his/her book to become a success.
What are a few of your favorite books?
I'm, of course, addicted to "Harry Potter" books. (This is one example of having the right kind of publicity because I have certainly read fantasy books that as well written or even more so, yet it is how the manuscript is handled that can determine its popularity.) I also enjoy a good murder mystery.
What piece of writing have you done that you’re particularly proud of and why?
I wrote a musical about the life of Joseph Smith called "That You Might Understand," for a Tri-Stake Young Men and Young Women outing, as well as a short play on the Martyrdom. Off all I have written, these two have touched me the most.
Do you have a pet peeve having to do with the business?
Not so much a pet peeve, but I would like better communication from the publisher.
Take us through your process of writing a novel briefly—from conception to revision.
When I wrote "Journey of the Promise", I started with what I thought was a brilliant idea. At the end of the third chapter, the main character, Callie, McAllister, decided she didn't want to be fifty years old. She wanted to be in her twenties and have a great adventure. So I went back and made the changes needed. Soon Characters began to introduce themselves, and the book began to evolve along its own path. It was exciting to be a part of it.
I learned from that experience to keep an open mind and to listen to the characters as I write and outline the chapters. Once the manuscript is finished I reread and edit, then reread and edit again, until I feel good about how the story flows.
Do you have a dream for the future of your writing, something you would love to accomplish?
I would love to write a book that would be so compelling that it would become a best seller and made into a movie. I would hope that what I write would touch lives, changing them for the better.
Was there ever a time in your writing career you thought of quitting?
What is your favorite and least favorite part of being a writer?
Becoming acquainted with the characters and creating for them a story that would equal their potential, is one of the most favorite part. The least favorite part is waiting for the publishers to decide whether or not they like what I've wirtten.
How much marketing/publicity do you do? Any advice in this area?
I have given away some books. I have done book signings. I'm thinking of creating a website where I could advertize and sell not only my books but also my art work. I would like to receive advice in this area.
Have you received a particularly memorable reader response?
Yes. I had a woman call me and thank me for writing "Miracles for Michael" It helped her through the same experience of fighting for custody of her child when her in-laws demanded custody.
I have had wonderful feedback from readers who read "Journey of the Promise", because they or someone they knew had been through a marriage much like the one Callie had to get away from.
If you want to write, do it. Don't let the little things bog you down. Don't let excuses keep you from putting your imagination to work. I suppose there are alot of reasons a person doesn't persue his or her dream, However, there is only one reason to go for it. That reason is simply because you want it. But you do have to want it bad enough to make the sacrifice to achieve it.
Thank you, Candace.
You may purchase any of JoAnn's books by clicking on the links below.
The Silent Patriot
Journey of the Promise
Miracles for Michael
Pages from the Past