So, this morning I pick up this week’s featured author and since she shrugged her shoulders on an interview site, i decided to hit an all night coffee bar in Des Moines. Of course, I don’t drink coffee, but they have a wonderful selection of teas. We’re ensconced in a back room so the jazz quartet out front doesn’t disturb us.
Onto the interview…
1. Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
I’m a writer and author. I wrote the Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery series and do freelance work. Also, I’m a teacher, a school librarian, a story teller, a landlady, a Realtor, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a tennis player, a hiker, a world traveler… I’m an explorer.
Memoir isn’t my genre, but I use many of my own experiences in my writing. Other cities have Amy Tan, Michelle Obama, and Roger Federer. But when people see the ways I stretch my own experiences and the experiences of others into mysterious and witty stories, they are sure my brain is the most fascinating in Kansas City.
2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to) what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
Since a main character in my mysteries is a cat, and since I’ve had cats in my family for always, people will be shocked to learn my rather deep, also very irritating, secret—I’m a bit allergic to cat dander.
3. What interested ou to become a writer rather than something else, such as a rocket scientist?
I’m a generalist and could never decide on one subject. I want to know about everything. I became a librarian and a story teller, and always a reader. Writing is an extension of those interests. I can inform, entertain, and learn about all sorts of things when I write.
4. Writers are raders. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
I’d love to share dinner with Dave Barry, because I love to laugh. If I could go back a few years, I would have loved to visit with Lilian Jackson Braun over dinner, because she must have been sharp as a tack and witty to boot. There are many others. I wouldn’t eat during those dinners. I’d listen.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a 4-hr. layover at the airport, why would your books be great company?
You’d get lost in the trials and tribulations of my characters, laugh at the exploits of Psycho Cat and the klutzy landlady, and test your deductive skills trying to solve the mysteries. Time would fly by faster than the planes in the clouds above your island or airport.
6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people or make it up on the spot?), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.
In brief: I use the story arc to develop the plot and dialog, action, and inner speak to develop the characters. I write an initial outline, which changes as I go along, I use Google often, visit places many times, but also make up settings once in a while. Anywhere from one to twelve hours of my day are devoted to writing. No strict schedule. But if you meet me and I seem to be off in another world, I’m probably thinking about a plot or character. I rewrote, edited, and revised my first mystery countless times, my second book somewhat fewer. An article or short story gets two or three revisions—more if a word limit is imposed. I’m still learning. (Aren’t we all?) I’d be glad to recommend books about the writing process.
7. I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?
Start writing and keep writing until you love the result. Then find a good editor.
8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
Explore, create, and leave the world a better place.
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing. What’s next for you?
I’m working on the third book of my Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery series. Also, I have some articles in mind for a local magazine, and I love to submit short stories for publication. If any readers have a good idea for a short mystery, please let me know!
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
Find more information about me and my books, CATastrophic Connections and FURtive Investigation, on my website: http://joyceannbrown.com, or on my author page.
Please like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, connect on Google+ and find my author page on Goodreads. Follow my blogs: http://retirementchoicescozymystery.wordpress.com/ and http://hikingkctrails.wordpress.com /.