1.Tell us about your latest release, Where Dreams Are Born.
It was supposed to be a win-win situation—a safe environment in which to raise a son for single mom Vicky, housekeeping and childcare for widowed Jack. Neither one wants or expects anything more. As is often the case, life has more in store than either expects.
When Jack learns his best friend fathered Vicky’s son and now wants partial custody, he feels threatened. He’s come to care deeply for both, and doesn’t want to lose the family they’ve become. In desperation he offers a radical solution—marriage.
Vicky knows she can do worse than marry Jack but wonders how successful their marriage would be when its only reason for being was to keep from losing her son. Add to this a troubled child with a secret about her dead mother and a former foe bent on revenge, and complications abound.
Since acquiring the rights to my first novel, Serendipity House, I’ve recently published it myself with a new cover. I also have a new novel, Tomorrow Blossoms, coming out from L & L Dreamspell at the end of this year or early next year. And, if I have any time left after doing the necessary promotional spots, I work on sprucing up a story I wrote and set aside many years ago.
3. How long have you been writing?
I hate to say how long I’ve been writing in fear you’ll think I’m a creaky, old woman. As far as I can remember, I’ve always had a library card, filling my spare time with stories instead of toys or games. When I ran out of new reading material, I improvised. Other people would read at bedtime, but I made up stories in my head. Too many times I couldn’t fall asleep until I came to “The End”. About 30 years ago, I decided to put those stories on paper, thinking I might get more sleep. Boy, was I wrong.
4. Where do you find inspiration for your writing?
My inspiration comes from everywhere. It could be a news story, another book, or people I’ve read about who’ve found themselves in interesting situations. Of course it grows from there. Mostly, it comes from a desire to live vicariously through the pages of a book.
5. Who were your favorite authors as a child? Do they have any impact on your writing today?
To be honest, I can’t remember that far back. I will say that I read Nancy Drew mysteries as a pre-teen. As I grew into my teen years, my tastes changed to Frank Yerby, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Janet Dailey, and Danielle Steel. Then I discovered LaVyrle Spencer whose combination of story and romance probably had the most influence on my writing.
6. What is a typical writing day like for you? Do you have any habits or established routines that work best?
There’s nothing typical about my day. I write when the inspiration strikes. When it quits on me, I quit and do something else. I think my brain needs a cooling off period before it gears up again. If I try to force it, I run the risk of writing something that doesn’t work. Then it all ends up on the chopping block, and my time was wasted.
7. How do you promote your work? Any tips for other authors?
I promote by participating in online forums, but with the abundance of forums available, I only post if I have something useful to add that hasn’t been mentioned previously. I also do interviews like this and submit my work to reviewers’ sites. As for tips, I would say it’s not wise to start silly threads or post meaningless comments in forums just to get your books and links shown. People know why you do it, and it doesn’t sit well with others.
8. You started out writing “category romances” but quickly surmised that wasn’t the genre for you and turned to women’s fiction. What was it about that particular genre called to you?
I turned to women’s fiction because I can’t write to a formula. I want to let the story grow, and I can’t do that if I’m limited to a certain word count or timetable for hero to meet heroine, etc.. I also like more meat in my stories. As important as love and a lasting relationship is, there are other aspects of life to explore. I think my books mirror many families today as they try to balance life, love, and family responsibilities. You’ll always find chaos of some sort in every family, but at its core you’ll also find love. Having a certain amount of years behind me also lends credibility to the problems my characters face, either as young people searching for that special someone or as parents of troubled children.
9. Who or what has been the biggest influence in your writing career and why?
I would say my biggest influence was my love of the written word. Eventually, that developed into a desire to write stories that moved people and touched hearts.
Since my first writing attempt is still sitting in a drawer, I’d have to say everything has improved. But the biggest change in my writing was abandoning any and all variations of the word, “said”. I have to laugh when I remember how my characters “opined” instead of said. Yes, I made all the mistakes most novice writers make—head hopping, telling instead of showing, using passive voice instead of active. You name it, I was guilty of it. I like to think I’ve improved considerably since that first disastrous attempt.
11. Tell us a little bit about where you live.
I live in Southwest Florida with a canal in my back yard. Hubby likes to fish, a pastime I wrote about in my short story collection, Midnight and Holding. That short is called Mad Dogs and Fishermen and describes how he took my innocent suggestion that he find a hobby to extreme.
12. Mark Twain said, “Southerners speak music…” Do you have a favorite southern saying you can share with our readers?
This question stumped me because I’m not really a southern writer. I was born and raised in the northeast and lived there for many years. But I did come up with an answer, and it’s actually two quotes made famous by southern writer, Margaret Mitchell. In Gone With the Wind, Scarlett is known to put off problems by saying, “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about it tomorrow.” Sometimes, as writers, we reach a spot in our story that seems to hit a dead end. When that happens, I’ve found it best to force your conscious mind to stop dwelling on it. That allows the sub-conscious mind to take over, and the solution hits you another day. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me.
The second quote from GWTW is particularly relevant to writers who wonder if they’ll ever achieve the success they seek. “Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect.” I think everybody can relate to that.
In conclusion, I’d like to thank everyone at Dames of Dialogue for giving me the stage for a few minutes. If anyone would like to visit more, I can be reached through my website, http://www.joycedebacco.com. I’m also on Twitter @joycedebacco.