Ready to learn more about Joy? I'm delighted she's here at Bird's-eye View today, answering your questions. She'll also be giving away a copy of her latest book, DON'T GET MAD...GET EVEN, to two lucky commenters today (Oct. 11) only.
Speaking of lucky commenters, at the end of the post are the winners of Jeanne Bannon's INVISIBLE and Kate Walker's backlist book. And now, here's Joy!
Have you always written romances, or did you get your start in another genre?
I've been reading romances from as far back as I can remember; however, the first novel I wrote was a coming-of-age story about a super-intelligent 11-year-old girl.
People seem to find the island and the ways of its people interesting. Of course, I have to dilute the amount of patois I use so that it's not gibberish to a non-Jamaican. I've been fortunate to find excellent critique partners who have knocked it into my head to always include Jamaica as a character. That has helped to create a unique experience for readers.
What messages in your book do you hope will most resonate with your readers?
After reading one of my stories, I hope people will think about how they make the choices they do, nurturing the relationships they're in and appreciating the things they have and the people in their lives.
What do you like about having been traditionally published?
It's said that writers have fragile egos. I know this from experience. The affirmation that came from having a publisher say yes meant a lot to me. Much as indie writers may hate this, those contracts gave me legitimacy as a writer. It's awful that we need external approval for what we do, but that's how the writing world is structured and how writers are programmed to feel. I wouldn't have self-published before taking the regular route. Nowadays, I'm thinking differently.
What are you looking forward to with self-publishing?
The most important goal was to see whether I had the discipline to get my first project edited and published on schedule. I should be doing much more in terms of marketing and expanding my reach. I want to put my stories into more readers' hands and do whatever is necessary to reach as wide an audience as possible. I look forward to trying different methods to selling books—something I can't do with a traditional publisher.
I've been lucky and haven't been raked over the coals as yet. However, I've been told I can be wordy and that smart writers use five-dollar words rather than ten-dollar ones. In my defense, I'd say that the Spanish and British have left Jamaica a legacy of Latinate rather than Anglo-Saxon words. I've had to unlearn the way I construct sentences and simplify my writing. As to the best compliment, it's when people ask what's happening with my unpublished characters, as if they're real people.
Can you share a little about your current work with us?
I'm editing DISTRACTION, my 2008 NaNo project, which is a story about three female friends. Two are in extra-marital relationships, and the third is a magnet for unsuitable men. As a result of their choices, they face disastrous consequences. DISTRACTION will be released late this year. I'm also working on the stand-alone sequel.
What do you do when you aren't writing?
Church activities, along with my son's social exploits, prevent me from becoming a hermit. Otherwise I go from home to work, back home and then I spend hours in front of my monitor. That cycle repeats itself each day. Editing and reading time has to be on the bus to and from work. I have a book blog too, and I'm always reading something for review. The rest of my time I spend watching Law & Order, NCIS, The Closer and documentaries based on strange subjects. I really need to get a life.
What is something about you or your writing that might surprise your readers?
Would you believe me if I told you I can't remember the last time I added a chapter to any of the books I'm supposed to be writing?
J.L. Campbell lives in sunny Jamaica and is the author of CONTRABAND, DISSOLUTION and DON'T GET MAD...GET EVEN. When she isn't plotting and researching new projects, she enjoys lollygagging on her blog, The Character Depot, and on Twitter.
Thank you very much, Joy, for stopping by today. For a review of her latest book, DON'T GET MAD...GET EVEN, visit Amazon or Smashwords.
BOOK GIVEAWAY WINNERS
The winner of an eBook version of Jeanne Bannon's debut novel, INVISIBLE, is Denise Z. Congratulations, Denise!
The winner of romance author Kate Walker's backlist book is Joanne DeMaio of Whole Latte Life. Joanne, Kate has a surprise for you; she'd like you to visit her Web site to see which of these nine backlist titles you'd like to choose: