Please help me welcome Joanne Guidoccio to Tuesday Author Chats. Joanne and I are a part of the Sisters of Suspense Blog, a fun group of 20 authors who write romantic suspense. Let’s 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 was born and raised in Sudbury, Ontario. During my high school years, I dabbled in poetry and dreamed of writing the great Canadian novel. As graduation approached, I considered more practical career choices and obtained degrees in mathematics and education. Teaching was a good fit, but after thirty-one years, I was ready for a change.
So, I put pen to paper and revisited my writing dream. I watched with delight as my articles and book reviews started appearing in newspapers, magazines, and online. Buoyed by this success, I took on the challenge of writing novels.
Do you have any special time management tricks for working in writing time and living a “normal” life?
During the early months of my retirement, I found myself with the opposite problem. I had large blocks of unscheduled time and experienced the tyranny of the blank page on a regular basis. I quickly realized that I couldn’t wait for the muse to appear. So, I put on my teacher hat and came up with a writing regimen. Nothing too dramatic, but it works for me.
I still enjoy a leisurely breakfast is one of my retirement perks, but I do not linger over that second cup of coffee. If I choose to have more than one cup, I do so while checking email and social media. At nine o’clock, I start writing. My goal is 1,000 words a day. At first, I used the oven timer to keep me on task, but that annoying sound reminded me of incessant school bells, so I invested in a bird clock. Each hour, one of my feathered friends, among them the Downy Woodpecker, Belted Kingfisher, and Great Horned Owl, chirp and remind me to pace myself.
What is the best advice you received about this journey?
“It’s okay to fall out of love with your manuscript.” I received this advice from Brian Henry, a creative writing instructor at Ryerson University. During one of his workshops, he recommended putting manuscripts aside before starting the editing process. He didn’t specify a timeline but stressed that we can’t improve our work until we fall out of love with it.
What do you wish you’d known before you began?
While I received immediate feedback whenever I submitted articles and book reviews, I had to wait much longer to hear back from agents and publishers. I wish I had used that “waiting time” more productively and started the next book.
What process do you use? Are you more of a plotter or pantser?
I’m a linear pantser. I like to start with a character sketch of the protagonist and a rough draft of the storyline. While the beginning and ending remain constant, there are several plot changes along the way. And I let the characters misbehave.
What sources do you use for inspiration?
I take online courses and attend writing workshops. I also enjoy reading craft books. Two recent favorites: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and Writing with Quiet Hands by Paula Munier
What’s next for you?
I’m working on two WIPs – Too Many Women in the Room (Book 2 of the Gilda Greco Mystery series) and The Making of a Mermaid Psychic (Book 3 of the Mediterranean trilogy)
Now for the fun stuff:
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
While writing occupies the lion’s share of my time, I also enjoy reading, yoga, scrapbooking, blogging, movies, artist dates, and meeting friends for leisurely brunches and lunches.
If you could only eat three foods what would they be and why?
Fish for protein…Pasta for comfort…Chocolate for endorphins
What would you like to do other than writing if talent/skill didn’t matter
I’d love to paint seascapes.
What is your favorite vacation spot and why?
I’m at my happiest and healthiest whenever I return from the eastern shores of Canada. Very few locales can compete with this winning combination of scenic beauty, fresh air, and small town warmth.
Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation.
When three more dead blondes turn up all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders. Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends.
As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.
Carlo had removed his suit jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his light blue dress shirt. His tie lay on the desk. The rumpled look suited him to a tee. And his large black-rimmed glasses accentuated those unforgettable blue eyes. Bluer than blue. Sky blue. Cornflower blue. Robin’s egg blue. Years ago, Adele Martino and I had come up with thirty-seven descriptions of Carlo Fantin’s eyes when Mrs. Gillespie assigned one of her Monday morning English composition exercises. As I tried to recall the other thirty-three, I realized that Carlo was speaking to me.
“…he’ll be taking notes as well.”
Darn! Another officer in the room, and I had missed his name and more importantly, his title. Was he a detective or a constable? I’m sure Sofia would know. In the meantime, I better stop daydreaming and start listening. I nodded in the direction of the beefy officer. Dark hair. Dark eyes. Expertly trimmed moustache. A big bear of a man who reminded me of Magnum P.I.
Carlo cleared his throat. He was ready to get down to business. Police business. “It appears that Carrie Ann was your first client. You haven’t opened this office for business yet. How did that happen?”
My heart raced as I spoke. “After Sofia and my mother left…I’m not certain about the time…um…I…I heard a knock at the front window. I looked up and saw Carrie Ann. Hadn’t seen her in ages.” I paused and then added, “Still wearing the same pageboy hair style andthat blonde color—”
Carlo waved his hand. “Stick to the facts, please.”
I felt myself reddening as those piercing blue eyes bored right through me. “Oh, sorry. Um, I let Carrie Ann in.”
“And?” Carlo said when I hesitated.
I shrugged. “We just talked for a while, then, uh…” I closed my eyes and tried to recall the
conversation. But nothing concrete came to mind, only Carrie Ann’s infectious laugh and bubbly compliments about the decorating scheme. When I opened my eyes, the other officer offered me a water bottle. I thanked him and gulped down half the contents.
“You scheduled her for a session tomorrow morning,” Carlo said as he held up my appointment book. “Carrie Ann is…was considered one of the best interior designers in town. Why would she need counseling from you?” His dark brows drew together in a suspicious frown. “Were you planning to tell her to give it up?”
Amazon (Canada) – http://is.gd/t0g1KZ
Amazon (United States) – http://is.gd/jADjPp
Amazon (United Kingdom) – http://is.gd/8mknFJ
Amazon (Australia) – http://is.gd/r843iX
Kobo – http://is.gd/BpO9gY
Where to find Joanne…