Tuesday, November 7, 2006

A recent interview:

Joy V. Smith has been writing since she was a kid; her stories have been published in print magazines, webzines, and anthologies, including The Ghost in the Gazebo, Scoundrels and Rascals, Kings of the Night II, Magistria: Realm of the Sorcerer, and WomanScapes, a charity anthology; her SF has also been published in two audiobooks, including Sugar Time (time travel tales). Her recent non-fiction includes her book, Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook, an interview with Lyn McConchie, and articles on writing.
Upcoming are stories in Magistria: Shards of the Goddess and Tales from the Big Black; her novelette, Hidebound, will be an ebook (pretty soon, she hopes).

1.How much time and energy do you spend researching for your book?

JVS: Often I do my research after I've started a story and discover what I need to know. For my short story, Carnies (genetic engineering of carnivorous plants), I used my sister's carnivorous plant books. For my house book, I kept an ongoing diary as the house was built, and I collected a folder full of notes and stacks of house books and magazines. I was so happy to get them out of my closet when I was finished!

2.What makes your book stand out from the rest?

JVS: Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook includes diary excerpts, which give the reader an idea of what to expect; anecdotes from a number of people, including the construction crew; house plan and photos; and things I learned, including mistakes to avoid, and advice that covers a lot of territory. The book was Reviewer's Choice on the Midwest Book Review (February 2005) and is on this Barnes & Noble top ten category list: Barnes & Noble.com Books - Architecture, Domestic->Amateurs' manuals Barnes & Noble.com Books - Architecture, Domestic->Amateurs' manuals

3. What do you like most about being a writer?

JVS: Sleeping late. Really. I'm not a morning person, plus I save a lot of money by not having to commute to work, and my dog, Xena, can sleep under my desk. And, of course, I love sharing the stories and characters I create. When someone says, I love Chiing (an alien in Pretty Pink Planet in WomanScapes), I am happy.

4. What was the road to getting published like for you?

JVS: I was first published (an article) in college, and I wrote a little over the years and was published now and then, but when I was finally able to focus on writing, then I had to wonder--Will I ever make a good living at this?! I'm still wondering, but I am getting published. Sometimes I also wonder how I wrote all that I have.

5. What are you working on now?

JVS: I have at least two sequels I should be working on; I am focusing on Velvet of Swords, a short story which was published a long time ago. I want to make that into a novel.

6. How difficult are deadlines?

They make me work; I appreciate them.

7. Where have you promoted your work i.e. bookstores, websites, etc. where can we purchase your work?

JVS: I've done book signings at festivals, given talks to local writing groups, and donated my house book to home shows as a door prize. I have a website and a blog, and I send my publication updates to writing zines and bloggers I know, and I send out a lot of press releases; I have a file with live e-mail addresses of local newspapers. When I see an opportunity, I grab it.

You can purchase my house book on amazon, the Barnes & Noble website, and a plethora of websites who've picked it up, possibly because of the title.

8. Who has influenced your writing the most?

JVS: Andre Norton and James H. Schmitz, two of my favorite science fiction writers. They wrote exciting stories with heroines and heroes that I cared about.

9. Where is your favorite writing place and why are you inspired there?

JVS: I've "written" while making lunch, and I once wrote a poem for a story at an estate auction, but when I'm stuck I usually lie on the futon on the back porch and think.

10. What would you like to say to aspiring writers?

JVS: Persevering is important; and I'd also suggest reading books you enjoy--like the ones you want to write--and read a few writing books. They can inspire and teach you things, such as what works for one writer may not work for you. Don't look for a formula! Come up with a new twist.


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