Yesterday was Women’s Fiction Day. As a woman who reads a wide variety of genres, I hope this ‘day’ is inclusive to all genres not just ‘romance’. It is quite a generalization and one that should be regarded with a pinch of salt.
Of course, we all love to read an idealized narrative with a happy ending but we are more than that. Women have interests that cover a broad spectrum of story lines and types. Gone are the days when the genteel sex was restricted to poetry and light reading. (Thank goodness).
We read thrillers, sci-fi, detective novels and mysteries to name a few. Our reading habits have changed as well as our interests and the scope of our capabilities.
So celebrate our diversity in the written word – no matter the genre.
I was watching an old Agatha Christie movie. And I thought what if my amateur sleuths decide to solve a murder, but with much less skill. My ladies are a modern-day Miss Marple with a bit of bite and a lot of humour.
How did you come up with the title?
I’m an avid golfer, but my golf shot does not always go where I want, like down the fairway. Hence the name Wayward Shot. The wayward shot leads the ladies into a wild adventure.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Life does not end when you reach fifty plus, adventure is waiting for you.
How much of the book is realistic?
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, no one I know, but bits and pieces of personalities I have meant over the years may poke up now and again.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
I don’t know.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
I guess Mabel, she says and does things we would like to, and Violet is the exact opposite, she holds Mabel back from disaster. Well, some of the time.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
Mysteries, I like the puzzle.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
I plan my stories. I start out with a What if. Then I plot out the story line.
What is your best marketing tip?
Your blog for one, you can have a fabulous book. But if the readers don’t know your book is out there. Fabulous won’t help.
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?
So far it has been good to me.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love the what if. I take an ordinary circumstance and then I do the, what if this happened.
What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I started writing in my twenties, romances, but I was never published.
Has your genre changed or stayed the same?
I now write Cozy Mysteries, I found out I was not very romantic.
What genre are you currently reading?
A mystery, but I do read other genres.
Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
Pleasure, but you learn as you read.
If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?
Linwood Barclay, his mysteries are amazing I never figure out whodunit. I love his humour too.
If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
Right here. except when it’s minus crazy.
What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?
A cup of coffee.
Joan Havelange has been writing fiction since her early twenties, beginning with romance stories. Always a fan of mysteries, she is an avid reader and writer of cozy mysteries.
She is an accomplished actor and director of community theater, which lends well to her writing. Joan is a world traveler and enthusiastic golfer. She lives on the Canadian prairies and has three grown children.
Does writing energize or exhaust you? That depends on the day I suppose. Some days I need to get the words out at a feverish speed and others I feel I can’t squeeze a drop. I tend to daydream a lot about my stories before I put them to paper. So, when I do sit down to write its more an exercise of getting the information dump out of my head.
What is your writing Kryptonite? One word: Netflix. Between my other jobs, my kids, and life in general, I have to be very organized to be able to fit in time to write. Sometimes, after a long day I get sucked into the black hole of late-night binge watching. BUT, it can also be my motivation… No more shows until I get that next chapter done!
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? In the beginning, yes. I believe people feel freer to express themselves under a pen name. Becoming an author can be a very humbling experience. People are free to read your creations and express their opinions about them in a very public way. This has definitely toughened my skin. Writing under a fake name might have lessened this and put a greater divide between personal me and professional life. But, in the end, I’m glad I write under my real name. I own every moment of it.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? I have a long list of writer buddies, but the ones I converse the most with are: Adam Dreece, Kelly Charron, and Chris Rothe. These three have really helped me become a better writer by sharing their industry knowledge and being honest about my work. Two things I’ve learned from these guys: No writer ever improves without criticism, and there is no ‘one-way’ to publish a book.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? My current book, Harmless, is part of a proposed three book series. I enjoy reading series, so that’s what I write. Sometimes one book just isn’t enough to really tell the character’s stories.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? My book trailer. It literally sells books for me. I hope someday it inspires someone to make a movie from my book. You can check it out here. http://bit.ly/2oIDWwL
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? This question could fuel an entire thesis paper. Of course language has power. Entire civilizations are built on it. I don’t think I could pick just one experience to tell you about the power of it, but I think we all live it every day.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? I have many books that have held my favour. A lot of which are fairly well know: Saga (graphic novel), I Am The Messenger, The Fifth Wave, I’ll Meet You there.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? Perhaps my spirit animal would be a deer. I wrote so much about it in my book I feel I’ve adopted it as my own. A deer represents intuition, gentleness and is viewed as a guardian or messenger.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Currently, two. I have forty-thousand written on the sequel to Harmless, titled Mavens. And a start to a dystopian novel. I’m a slow, methodical writer. I’m hoping to have the first drafts done soon, but we’ll see what the universe brings.
What does literary success look like to you? That’s a very different thing for everyone who writes. I consider myself very successful at what I’ve published so far for a number of reasons. Number one: Friends, family, and total strangers have gone out of their way to tell me how my story has moved them. Having strangers do that was the coolest part of all! Second: Sales have been pretty good. Well, sales have been good for a first time, unknown author. Third: Not to toot my own horn, but my first book I’ve ever written, won an international award! Harmless received fourth in the category of Young Adult Thrillers in the International Readers’ Favorite Awards. You can check it out here: http://bit.ly/2CfTAsO
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? After I wrote the first draft of Harmless I got on a plane and flew to the town of Hazelton, BC, which is where the story is set. I had researched it thoroughly before I started writing, but felt I really needed to experience the place before I completed my final edits. When I was there I even hired a local guide to give me an authentic tour of all the places I wanted to see. I wanted to make my fiction book seem as non-fiction as possible. I think I succeeded at that.
How many hours a day/week do you write? Between life, kids, and work I’m not left with much. On a really good week I might get in eight hours. This doesn’t discourage me though. It might take me longer than some to produce a book, but I’m very proud of the writing I do get out.
How do you select the names of your characters? A few of my characters are named after my friend’s kids. Other than that, they are their own people, purely made-up from the daydreams in my head.
What was your hardest scene to write? Hands down, the field of totem poles after the dance scene in Harmless. My editor suggested that the character, Mason, needed more reason to act the way he did. And that the reader needed to side with him, even though what he did was deplorable. By far that was the most emotional and real scene I’ve ever written.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them? Right now, I only write Young Adult Thrillers. This first book, and the planned books are all thrillers. I have a YA dystopian idea in the works, but we’ll see where it goes. I like the big feeling and big problems of young adult stories.
How long have you been writing? I started after I moved back to Calgary, so I guess that would be around eight years.
What inspires you?Everything! I often say if anyone were to read the notes on my phone they’d think I was crazy. I have so many random ideas in there, mostly short notes that no one but me would understand, but bring me back to the moments I captured them in.
How do you find or make time to write? Having a to-do-list helps. Put it on there and make it a priority.
What projects are you working on at the present? Currently, I’m working to get my new website up and running. I’m a very creative person who needs many outlets. My new site incorporates my graphic design work, writing, and a line of natural stone jewelry that I sell. It should be live in the next few days. You can check it out here: katherinedell.com.
Katherine Dell is a young adult fiction author fascinated by the supernatural and the stories that surround them. She began her writing endeavours in 2011 when she wanted to reinvent herself from her previous career as an event planner. When she’s not writing, she can be found in cold hockey arenas sipping coffee, working on her tan at little league games, or trying to keep her dog out of her many gardens. She lives with her husband, two boys, and fur babies, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Pastiche – definition: 1) a literary, artistic, musical, or architectural work that imitates the style of a previous work; 2) a. an artistic composition made up of selections from different works. b. a confused mixture.
Please welcome Marcia..she is an author of thrillers and is following in the footsteps of her literary heroes.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?This is difficult but I would say DCI John Meredith. Good looking, intelligent, and a little bit naughty which I love, but unpredictable, arrogant, and a little bit naughty which I shouldn’t, but he does draw women in. Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
Crime thrillers and murder mysteries are my favourite, I have dabbled elsewhere, but not yet for publication. What do you enjoy most about writing?
The escapism, the ability to be in any situation anywhere in the world with anyone you choose. I also thoroughly enjoy the challenge of having several storylines that either come together or overlap.
What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline? Another glass of wine … but more seriously the relief is reward enough.
Have you got a favorite place to write?
The small back bedroom overlooking the garden, its compact but when I look up I can see trees! Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
I always know how they will begin and end, just not sure about the middle bit. So I’d say a seat of the pants. What inspires your stories?
Misplaced Loyalty was a television news item, Ill Conceived was a newspaper article, and Murderous Mishaps was based on true stories and gossip. The Wrong Shoes is therefore worrying I have no idea where it came from. Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?
I don’t as a rule, don’t like sticky fingers on the keyboard, but if I’m writing in the evening and it goes past nine o’clock I have been known to have a glass of red.
What are you currently reading?
Since publishing Misplaced Loyalty I find I have had little time to read, but I managed to get through twelve of my ‘to read’ list on a recent holiday. The two at the top of my list now are by fellow indie authors, One Pair of Rose Colored Glasses by Shay Ray Stevens, and from Beer to Eternity by Bill Carson. I’m looking forward to both.
With no financial limits where would you vacation and why?
Anywhere exotic that I have yet to visit due to the cost. I love Cuba a beautiful country with beautiful people, it’s like stepping back in time. I would also tour America, Chicago, New England and Seattle being top of the list. Do you have any odd habits?
No odd habits, a few bad ones, but I don’t think they’re odd, unless knowing that you are doing something that damages you is odd!! I intend to give up smoking AGAIN this year. Do you have any pets?
As a family we always had a dog. We now have a house bunny! My daughter has recently moved back home for work and brought her new pet with her. Sketch has taken over the household and is very cute if a tad destructive. My husband dotes on him. Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
I used to go to a local group but it doesn’t match my working hours, (the type where you leave the house and go to an office). So not anymore, which is a shame as I loved it. What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I started writing stories almost as soon I could write, but as I got older life and babies got in the way, I’m glad to be back. Do you have a book published? If so what is it called & where can readers purchase it?
I have three – I have listed them below with the links for US and UK.
If you could meet one favorite author who would it be and why?
Agatha Christie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Blimey that’s a long list, but I suppose Agatha Christie would be near the top. I’d love to know where she got her inspiration for so many wonderful characters, and great plots to go with them.
If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
Ideally somewhere warm, overlooking a beautiful beach and the sea. Menorca would fit the bill. In reality I doubt I would ever leave England, so perhaps one day a holiday home…. What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Just as with books, I don’t think it’s possible to have only one, therefore based on genre. Musical: West Side Story. Romance: Love Story. Tear jerker: The Green Mile/The Bucket List. War: The Deer Hunter. Not to mention all the Godfather films and …. Where can readers find you ?
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?
I am currently working on the third in the Meredith & Hodge series the working title being The Wrong Shoes. Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
First has to be my poor often abandoned husband, Geoff, closely followed by my editor Steph at edit-my-book.com