Help me welcome my friend and Sister of Suspense sister, Jo-Ann Carson to Tuesday Author Chats. Jo-Ann and I met when I discovered her delightful blog where we chatted about a lot of things. Last year, when she came down to San Antonio for the RWA conference, my husband & I drove down to meet her and her husband in person. It was like we’d known each other a long time. The internet is quite cool. Let’s just jump right in.
Where are you from and did you always want to be a writer? Did you do something else before your writing career?
I’m Canadian. I was born in a small town in northern Ontario and grew up in Toronto. I headed west to finish my university in Vancouver. From there I headed up to the Haida Gwaii for thirteen years where I met and married my husband and started a family. Later we moved down to the coast to live on Gabriola and then Vancouver islands.
I’ve always loved stories, but it wasn’t until I was in university studying for an English degree that I decided I wanted to be a writer.
Do you have any special time management tricks for working in writing time and living a “normal” life?
I wish. I try to keep balance by priortizing my time. Family is always first, then friends etc.
What is the best advice you’ve received about this journey?
“Patience.” Toni Anderson said you need to have patience when you self-publish. Whenever I get frustrated, I remember her words. It’s not a race to be won in a day or with one book. It’s a marathon.
What process do you use? Are you more of a plotter or pantser?
I’m a hybrid. I like to plot my major twist-points and then pants it the rest of the way.
What’s next for you?
I’ll be editing Ain’t Misbehavin’ for the next couple months and then launching it in late April. Meanwhile in the back of my head I have a Christmas thriller simmering nicely.
What’s your latest release? Tell us a bit about it. Is it a part of a series?
On January 15th I released Black Cat Blues a suspense with strong romantic elements. My elevator pitch is: Maggy Malone, a curvy, blond, blues singer with a sultry voice and a razor sharp mind is starting her life over after a lousy marriage… when a dying man tells her a secret. A deadly secret. It is the first book in the noir series that focuses on Vancouver Canada. The sequel Ain’t Misbehavin’ will launch soon. I haven’t plans for a third book in this series yet, but I never say never.
Are all of your books stand-alones?
The books I have published can all stand alone, but they also belong to series.
What can you say you’ve learned about the process between publishing your first book and the most recent release? Has anything gotten easier?
As I publish more books my life gets more complicated. It’s very similar to having more children. One of them always needs attention.
How do you manage the time you have to spend on social media?
Not well. I keep hoping to be more efficient, but it’s hard. If someone is asking me something I still feel I have to answer right away. I’m hoping I’ll get better.
Now for the more personal stuff. LOL
Name a habit you’ve started or stopped.
Drinking excessive amounts of water. Following one diet after another I got into the habit of drinking a lot of water, because they all recommended it. But I was always running for the loo. Lol. I now drink water when I’m thirsty.
If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life what would it consist of?
A turtleneck sweater, yoga pants and a sweatshirt.
Where is your favorite vacation spot and why? If you will, share a photo.
Still looking for it. 🙂 I love the beauty and history of Europe, which I’ve only visited twice, but the serenity of nature also calls me to the beaches and forests of the Pacific Northwest.
Please share the blurb, an excerpt for your most recent release, book cover, bio & your picture, and links to tell us where we can find you.
Black Cat Blues
A nightmare waits in the alley…
Stabbed in an alley behind the Black Cat Blues bar, private investigator Jimmy Daniels clings to life just long enough to tell Maggy Malone a secret.
Maggy, a curvy, blond, blues singer with a sultry voice and a razor sharp mind is starting her life over after a lousy marriage. Reluctant at first to get involved with a murder, she tells no one the secret.
But when the murderer stalks her, she changes her mind.
Maggy teams up with Jimmy’s brother, Logan, a handsome suit with a tidy view of life. They figure out the killer is looking for gold buried on Gabriola Island by the notorious, cult-leader Brother XII.
The body count rises. Will Maggy catch him? Or will she be his next victim?
And the lady sings the blues…
Black Cat Blues
An Award Winning Romantic Suspense set in the Pacific Northwest.
Vancouver Blues Suspense Series, Book 1
Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. Berthold Auerbach
Walking through a dark alley at three-thirty in the morning wasn’t smart, but Maggy Malone didn’t have a choice, or at least not one she liked. A bone-numbing, cold wind off the Salish Sea hit her face as she opened the back door of the Black Cat Blues Bar. Pulling her jacket close to her body with one hand, and holding her guitar case in the other, she descended the stairs into the inky darkness of the night. But after her first step, she checked over her shoulder.
Vancouver in November—endless gray skies and drizzle. The waning moon slipped behind layers of dark clouds, leaving little light to help her on her way. She quickened her pace. A warm glow beckoned from the street lamp, just a hundred yards away. Her scalp tingled as if a dozen spiders slipped across it. She took a deep breath of the salty night air.
What the hell. She could handle a few minutes of fear. Singing in the best blues bar on the coast had been her life dream. If it meant getting up close and personal with the creepy, back alley on occasion, then so be it. Her shoulders tightened.
Stepping over dirty needles, used condoms and Micky D wrappers left behind by the people who shared the alley—the prostitutes, the addicts and the homeless—she tried not to let the sadness of their lives reach inside her. But the stagnant stench of rotting garbage and urine turned her stomach. If only it would really rain, then the city would be washed clean.
Where are the street people? Usually there’d be one or two around at this time of night, huddled against the cold, brick walls with only a blanket to keep out the cold and misfortunes of the night. Something felt wrong. She couldn’t put her finger on it . . . but something. She looked over her shoulder again. No one.
A chill crawled slowly up her spine. She adjusted the weight of her canvas guitar case into her other hand and prepared to run. She wasn’t sure what she would be running from, but just in case. A woman in an alley has to be ready.
It had been a long night. She should never have descended into this God forsaken alley. Friggin Frank. It was his fault. She took a deep breath as her eyes darted in every direction. The feeling of darkness, much darker than the night around her, picked at her senses. Her throat tightened and she couldn’t swallow.
I’m just scaring myself. The lights of the street were only a few yards away. Everything will be fine.
Then she saw the body lying still in a pool of blood. A silvery spike protruded from his chest.
Jo-Ann Carson has lived most of her life on islands off the west coast of Canada, surrounded by snow covered mountains, lush rain forests and pristine beaches.
Growing up, she dreamed of traveling the world like James Bond, searching for relics like Indiana Jones, and finding true love, so it’s no surprise that in her Mata Hari Series she combines elements of adventure, danger and steamy romance.
In her Vancouver Blues Series she slides into the realm of Urban Noir and explores the dark side of the city. These books are mainstream suspense with strong romantic elements and are very-Vancouver.
Want to learn more about Jo-Ann Carson and her books and her social media links? Check out her website.
Thanks so much for coming, Jo-Ann. It was a pleasure hosting you.