An Interview with Joy Wood
I am so happy that my friend and fellow author, Joy Wood has stopped by today to discuss her reading, her writing and her books. Over to you Joy.
1 Please tell my readers a little about yourself?
I have been a nurse for most of my life until my retirement. I’m passionate about the NHS and now run it from my armchair! My daughter is a nurse also, as was my late mother and late mother-in-law – it must be in the blood!
I began writing 6 years ago, but it took me a year to finish my first book, ‘For the Love of Emily.’ I sat on it for such a long time until I was brave enough to send it to an editor for his opinion. He asked for 3 chapters first of all to see if he wanted to take the book on. What a day that was. I checked the computer so many times waiting for his feedback. I never envisaged he’d have other work on – I just thought I’d sent my precious chapters and he would contact me within the hour!
2 What inspired you to become a writer/author?
Simply because I wanted to see if I could. I’ve always loved the spoken word and English language. I used to write poems when people were leaving work try hard to encompass their little idiosyncrasies which used to having colleagues roaring with laughter.
Another great success I had was slogan writing. I used to love doing those sorts of competitions and winning prizes. I won a trolley dash around Morrisons once which was quite an experience. I had 3 minutes to get as much into my trolley as I could – but they started me from the front door of the shop so I really had to sprint to get to the first aisle.
To enter, you had to buy some British Lamb (to provide a till receipt) and complete the question in 15 words or less. I but British Lamb because . . .
For Sunday lunch, kebabs or curry
Perfect meat for mum in a hurry!
3 What is the best thing about being a writer/author?
It’s nice that I can pursue it as often as I want, but take a break when I don’t want to. I’m not a dedicated writer by any means. I just like writing when I fancy doing so. If I don’t, then that’s fine. There are plenty of other books around for readers to choose from!
4 What is your writing routine like?
Hit and miss really. I write each book straight from start to finish but in a very basic form. I mainly get the speech in first with little by the way of actions. They when I’ve got a beginning, middle and end, I fill in the rest. I write any time, morning, noon or night – whenever the mood takes me.
5 How much time is spent on research?
My books are pure fiction and not set in a particular place that would have the reader thinking ‘that isn’t right.’ But like every writer, you have to have a degree of accuracy, for example, I wrote about a nut allergy in one chapter of a book so that has to be precise.
6 How much of the book is planned out before you start writing it?
Very little I have to say. I sort of have an idea, then build it from there. I make it up as I go along, literally.
7 What do you think is most important when writing a book? Characters, plot, setting, etc
I would say character, if you don’t get that right, then the reader won’t invest. Likewise, if you don’t get the plot right, then the reader gets bored. So both I would say. Setting is good if for example if you write about a specific place ie Glasgow, Tuscany – the reader is looking for accuracy, but I write fiction so I would say setting is slightly less important for me. That said, you do want the setting to be believable and transport the reader there.
8 What is your latest book about?
My current work in progress is about an affair and the disastrous consequence of it.
9 What inspired it?
I thought up a fabulous twist one night in bed (as you do) and built the story and characters around it. I don’t want the book billed as ‘with a twist you won’t see coming’ as that often has the reader frantically trying to work it out and spoil the surprise. The reason I know this is – I do it all the time!
I actually have previously written a book (April Fool) and nobody in a million years would guess the twist. I pitch it on twitter ‘April Fool has been designed, to stimulate the readers mind – but you’ll never guess the ending? The only reason I tease like this is, the reader won’t spot it. Nobody will.
10 Why did you pick the genre or genres that you write in?
It picked me really. I’ve always enjoyed romance. I’ve read stacks over the years so it seems the natural thing for me to write about. But it’s a competitive market (as most genre’s are) so I’ve moved slightly to romance/suspense with my latest novel, ‘Who’s Smiling Now?’
11 How did you go about getting a publishing deal? Or how did you become self-published?
I have been offered traditional publishing deals for two out of the five books I’ve published. One was through the pitch madness (#PItmad) on Twitter which I loved doing. However, while both offers were legitimate deals, they weren’t what I’d call ‘biggies’ so I independently published my books and I’ve been happy doing that. I’m very fortunate with the support I get, especially locally. And by self publishing, I’m not under any pressure which I like. That said, if I was fortunate to be offered a deal that ticked all the boxes, I’d jump at it –
Are you there, Bookouture!
12 Any new books or plans for the future?
My current work in progress is shaping up – I’m struggling with the title though. That and the blurb (back cover) are so difficult. Sales certainly depend on getting that right. And the cover of course – covers definitely can make or break a book
13 What authors have been an influence on your writing?
I read so many books, it’s hard to say if they’ve influenced my writing. It’s probably best to say I take a bit from each of them. I’ve read many fantastic books that I couldn’t put down and remember well to this day however many years ago I read them, and a significant amount very good books which I’ve raced through and loved at the time, but they haven’t made a significant memory.
14 What writing advice would you have given yourself when you started?
Just write. But don’t sweat over it. If you get a better offer and prefer to do that, then go for it. A balance is good. Your writing will always be there.
15 What writing advice would you give to an aspiring writer or a new author to the block?
Writing is such a joy, so do it often. You don’t have to be all the time thinking of a huge story, it could be a short story, a poem, a journal or even a letter. It’s the power of words that mean so much. I’m a great advocate of leaving your work and going back to it. Sometimes it amazes me when I re-read something after weeks and remember it was me that actually wrote it!
16 What has been your favourite book so far this year?
Verity by Colleen Hoover. I’m still puzzling over the ending. Did she or didn’t she. What a phenomenal writer.
17 What is your all-time favourite book and why?
That’s tough as there have been so many. I think maybe ‘The Other Side of Midnight,’ Sidney Sheldon which is a very old book. I think it’s been re-written over the years, but I recall the first which I read when I was twelve. It was one of those stories that I’d heard my mother and her friends talking about and was keen to find out more. My mother said no, I could read it when I was older. But when has a twelve year old listened to that sort of talk? I managed to snaffle the book from my mother’s room and read it. I devoured it actually. The storytelling was amazing, but it was the ending which stayed with me for a very long time. Even now, (too many years later to say!), I can still see that ending in a court room – wow, just wow. Probably really dated now, but I loved it.
18 What genre do you read most often?
Romance and Crime. I will read other stories particularly if I’m trying to support a fellow author.
19 What are you currently reading?
‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Lies’ by Rob Ashman. Boy, oh boy, can he write. I’ve been lucky enough to meet him on a couple of occasions and he’s infectious about his writing. He has such a story to tell how he got into it.
20 Anything else you would like to add?
I don’t want to sell books for the monetary value (nice as that is) – I want readers to savour and enjoy each story and feel passionate about every character and storyline. I once went to a book club to listen verbally to the reader’s feedback on one of my books. As I listened to them debating and getting passionate about a certain character and his actions, I smiled inwardly at the fact this man actually lived inside my head and wasn’t real! That’s what makes writing such a delight.
The kindness shown to me since I’ve been writing is wonderful, and the genuine desire for me to do well is truly humbling – I’m very lucky. I only have the two little words, ‘thank you’ to express my gratitude for all the support I receive, but I mean them most sincerely from the bottom of my heart.
I appreciate you taking the time to read about me, and thank you so much Val for giving me this opportunity – I’ve enjoyed coming up with the answers.
If anyone is interested in reading any of my books, there are 5 to choose from.
For the Love of Emily (Romance with adult content)
Knight & Dey (Hospital thriller with adult content)
Chanjori House (Romance with adult content)
April Fool (Romance and crime)
Who’s Smiling Now? (Romance, suspense and crime)
e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter – @Joywoodauthor