For your pleasure, I interviewed author Joyce Henderson. Joyce is an outstanding person, and I’ve mentioned her in an earlier blog here. She is one of my favorite authors, as indicated in the left sidebar under “Authors I Love,” and her most recent book, Promise the Moon, was one of the first books I purchased with my new Kindle.
Joyce Henderson is a member of Romance Writers of America, a charter member of Southwest Florida Romance Writers, Florida Romance Writers, Published Authors Network, and Published Authors Special Interest Chapter, as well as Novelists, Inc. Her books have been nominated for National Readers’ Choice Award and George Romance Chapter’s Maggie Award. During Joyce’s 27-year writing career, she has mentored dozens of writers.
MC: Thanks, Joyce, for taking the time to answer my questions.
JH: Thanks for having me, Marisa. As you know, I can runoff at the mouth endlessly! So, let’s get to your excellent questions…
MC: When you’re not writing, what’s your preferred way to spend time?
JH: Other than writing? Reading, because I read everything except erotica, YA, and inspirational. That’s not to say I never read those three since I judge more writing contests than I should (about 10 per year), and oftentimes contest coordinators need judges for those sub-genres, so I help out.
Schmoozing with friends is a fun way to spend an evening or afternoon at the pool. Adult libation anyone?. 🙂
However, I find myself at the computer schmoozing with friends and fellow writers far more often than I can get to the pool at our condo complex. We’ve lived in this condo for 22 years, so we have met a ton of folks who’ve come and gone. I tend to keep in contact with friends by way of the internet. As an example, I have a friend I went to high school with who lives across-country. Oh, and my school days came to a screeching halt waaay back in 1952 when I graduated from high school, and married 11 days later. Now you know…I knew dirt while it was still a rock. LOL I’m also on 10 writers’ loops, and I’m never shy (Can you tell?) about hopping into discussions.
Back to reading… I’m an eclectic reader, which means I read everything, burning through two or three to a half-dozen books in a week. Depends on how long a novel is. BTW, I’m a night person. Right now I’m reading Nora Roberts’ Chasing Fire. That woman is a phenomenon. No matter her subject, one would swear she’s been there, done that! It’s astonishing. Since I write historical that’s my first love for pleasure reading. It’s also the sub-genre I fell in love with from the get-go.
MC: If you could eat only five foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
JH: Well, I was raised in a meat-eating home. That’s red meat. My husband would like it if I made more strictly veggie meals, but that ain’t gonna happen, folks. Veggie affectionados, I do like veggies so don’t get your dander up! I grew up working in my folks’ grocery store, my dad the butcher; in today’s lingo, a meat-cutter. I grew up eating the best of cuts, T-bone, New York strip. If you don’t know what sweet-breads are…a bull would no longer be a bull without them. Got it?
Mexican dishes are my favorite cuisine, nachos, tacos, chimichangas. I make a bi**hin’ salsa! I’m not much on sweets. So many writers I know get orgasmic over chocolate. I can take it or leave it. Chocolate martini? No thanks. But I love colorful salads, so if I have them available I include nasturtim petals, along with cheery tomatoes, different types of lettuce, onion…green or red…celery, shaved carrot. You name it, it’s in my salads. I can make a meal of salad. I often do in a restaurant.
MC: Share with me about your writing career. Have you had more ups or more downs?
JH: After wearing many career hats, I began a writing career in 1984, with the thought, shoot, I can write one of those. My rash thought came from reading icons of the romance genre like Kathleen Woodiwiss and Bertrice Small. Piece of cake…right? WRONG. Took me awhile to discover there are techniques to writing fiction, which I spent an inordinate amount of time learning because I wrote from ’84 to 1989 before I realized I needed to take a class or three in writing for publication. (Uh-oh. One of my critique partners is going to jump on the run-on sentence.) I was 20 years getting published. Not surprising, is it?
One might think during all those years I’ve had more downs than ups. Au contraire. I’ve never done anything without enrolling in the “school of hard knocks,” but I’ve learned sooo much that way. In the process I’ve attended a gazillion workshops, dozens of conferences, and secured lifelong friendships; people who are like family. No matter where I go in this life, besides my husband I’ve been married to for 59 years, those friends will always be my strength, never farther away from me than this keyboard.
JH: Writing is a career…a job. I’m “most” productive when I plant the fanny in the chair and write…every day. It doesn’t really make much difference what time of day. Although, I tend to run out of steam around 3:30- 4ish in the afternoon. I’m fortunate to have two critique partners (Did I tell you I have lifelong writer friends who are like family?), two excellent writers that I admire and who are really sisters of my heart after upward of 15 years together in the writing trenches. (Ack, another run-on sentence that she’s gonna jump me about. LOL) We have been fortunate to get away once or twice a year for weeklong writing retreats. One lady has a second home in South Carolina, the other in Georgia. We usually manage to get to SC in the spring and GA in the fall. All three of us have verra supportive husbands. And isn’t that nice?
MC: If you could give advice to your younger self (the age when you first began actively pursuing a career in publishing), what advice would that be?
JH: I was in my mid-fifties when I began writing. Okay, I suppose that was a younger self. 🙂 Had I been privy to the pitfalls in this business, I would have taken classes and hopefully found Romance Writers of America sooner than five years into the process, more or less spinning my wheels those first years. And I would have submitted more often than I did. I’d sometimes go for a year between submissions. Not the way to get published anytime soon, was it?
Joining RWA was the best thing that ever happened to a romance writer who was trying to find her writer’s legs. It’s an unsurpassed organization that is 10K strong. Aforementioned Nora Roberts and Bertrice Small are but two excellent writers who give so much to wannabe authors. Kathleen Woodiwiss was also a member until her death. We miss her in our ranks. Ann Stewart! She’s one of the best workshop presenters in the universe!
MC: If you have a nifty tidbit or anecdote you’d like to share, please do so!
JH: I’m pathetically inept at techie stuff. Fortunately, I can call Michael, another writer, who gets me through many shaky moments, oh heck, days, of wearing myself out trying to understnad this “magic box” we call a computer. Don’t get me wrong. I love that I can write, delete, rewrite so easily. I began writing on a legal pad with pen. Btw, some longtime published authors still write first drafts with pen and paper. Fortunately, Michael is my web master or I’d not have that presence on the internet. I guest blog like I am doing today, but have yet to bite the bullet and try to write my own. I don’t twitter either. Am I shootin’ myself in the foot promotion wise? Probably. Still, I like to write, I like to interact with fellow writers, and if I sell my Native American and Americana historicals in the process, I figure I’m a part of the best of all worlds.
MC: Thanks, Joyce. I love having permission to ask probing questions!
JH: Thanks again, Marisa. I love your blog, and it’s an honor to have been a guest. I like to interact with fans, too. By all means, visit my web site: www.joycehendersonauthor.com
Cheers everyone. I wish you all happy reading and productive writing!
Please don’t hesitate to leave comments or questions for Joyce! I know after each response I had a million comments and follow up questions!
Joyce will give a free pdf of Promise the Moon to one lucky person who comments, so if you comment, be sure to check back to see if you are the winner. Winner will be announced when Joyce says so, but probably on or about two weeks from today.
CONGRATS TO MIA MARLOWE FOR WINNING JOYCE HENDERSON’S BOOK!
MIA, JOYCE WILL BE IN TOUCH WITH YOU SOON. THANK YOU FOR COMMENTING ON MY BLOG.
You can purchase Promise the Moon here, or you can click on the book’s image.
Hope you enjoyed my author interview with Joyce Henderson!