I am very please today to welcome, author, Joy Wood. Joy is not only a fellow writer but also a good friend and she’s here to talk about her writing including her latest novel launched today, April Fool. First of all let’s find out a little about her.
Joy Wood was born in Cleethorpes Lincolnshire, and has returned to her home town since retiring as a nurse, to pursue her love of writing. Joy gets her inspiration from walking along the seafront and watching the tide turn, and thinking about various characters, before rushing home to get them written down before she forgets!
Joy has independently published 3 novels, (April Fool being the 4th), and spends a lot of time doing public speaking events about the transition from a working nurse to a writer (From Bedpan to Pen!) She tried to interject plenty of humour into the talks which the audience seem to appreciate. Joy has been known to write ditties/slogans for consumer competitions and loves nothing better than receiving prizes, however large or small. Again, humour seems to be the key to catching the judge’s eye!
Hi Joy, thank you for joining me today. Congratulations on the launch of your latest novel, April Fool. Can you tell our readers what inspired you to write it?
Hi Tricia, thank you so much for having me, I’m delighted to be here. In answer to your question, the 3 previous novels I have written have been contemporary romances with a few twists and turns along the way. I wanted to write something slightly different this time, and the more I thought about my main character, April Masters, the more she grew on me. I like strong, capable, talented women, and tenacious April is certainly all of those. So I thought about all the able women out there, trying to juggle all the balls we have to, and had an idea they might enjoy April too.
I understand April Fool is a move away from your normal genre, is that correct? What prompted you to take this step?
My purpose has been to test myself a little to see if I could write in a different way, but at the same time producing something I hope the readers will enjoy. It is difficult as the temptation is to stick to the tried and tested format that works. I’m keeping everything crossed I’ve succeeded in writing a story the readers will enjoy. There is a definite change from my previous books so we shall have to see how it’s received. The proof of the pudding and all that ……….!
How long have you been writing and do you write anything else besides novels?
I’m afraid I don’t, unless you can count ditties/slogans for competitions, I’m fairly successful at doing those! I do a lot of proof reading and informal editing for friends though, and not always novels. I help friends/ex colleagues with nursing academic work which I do enjoy. Also, this year I facilitated an author day inviting the public to attend. As a result of that, I’m helping a couple of people to try and self-publish their work. I have been writing for 3 years.
Do you have a special routine for your writing?
Not at all. I write when the mood takes me. It could be morning, afternoon or evenings. And some days I don’t write at all. And of course there is all the social media that has to be done if you want to succeed as a writer. It can be a huge distraction though. Once I get interacting on Facebook and Twitter, it’s hard to break away. Writing is solitary so some days, you feel a bit like ‘Billy-no-mates,’ so it’s easy to slip on social media while you’re taking a coffee break, but then hard to get back to the writing!
Why did you opt to self-publish rather than traditional?
Ah, the million dollar question. The thought of a traditional publishing contract is very exciting, but when I wrote my first novel, I wasn’t sure if it would even sell hence self publishing it and not attempting to get a publishing deal. I quite liked the process of trying to make sales. It was hard work but I enjoyed it and each book I sold, excited me. So the following year, I repeated the process with my second novel and independently published that. Of course by the very nature of having 2 novels, I sold more books. So the process worked well for me.
In terms of submitting to a traditional publisher – never say never! I’m quite impatient though, so once I’ve finished a book, I’m keen to get it out there and I’m guessing with a traditional deal, the process is much slower. That’s not to say I’ll never submit or try to get an agent, I think that would be marvellous. However I’m realistic and recognise it could be quite a challenge.
What advice would you give to writers contemplating self-publishing?
I would strongly suggest they get their work critically edited before anything. We all think we write excellent novels that readers will love, but it isn’t always the case. And because we are very close to our work, it is hard to see it objectively. Criticism can be difficult to take particularly when editors have their critique hat on, even though that is what you are paying them to do. It’s all about looking at their criticism, and changing your novel accordingly, or not as the case may be. It is the writer’s novel at the end of the day, but editors want your novel to be a success so they aren’t out to scupper you in any way. They want your novel to shine.
After editing, it is vital you get someone to read your novel other than family and friends. By the very nature of your relationship with them, they want you to succeed so will love anything you write. If you are able to get a reader to impartially look at your work, it is amazing exactly what they can pick up. It could be as simple as, “You lost me a bit there,” to “Why are his eyes chocolate brown in chapter 1 and further on they become hauntingly grey?”
You also offer Writer Talks. Can you tell the readers a little about how they work and can anyone book one up?
In a previous life, I did a lot of public speaking. I soon realised this could be helpful in terms of getting new readers, particularly locally. So I devised a talk about my transition from being a nurse to writing (From Bedpan to Pen!). The talk involves a lot of humour about the hurdles I’ve had to overcome such as my first appearance on television to promote my book, which seeing myself made me realise my face is better suited to radio, and funny stories about the public attending my signings and a lady asking me in Waterstones if I knew what time Marks and Spencer closed!
I’ve spoken at various events this year, Women’s Institutes, Ladies lunches, book clubs, and a first for me this week is an after lunch speaker at a Gentleman’s lunch. I might have to regroup on my talk and try and make it a bit more applicable to a male audience. I’m lucky that I’m now booking into 2019 and going further afield than just locally.
Your life must be busy with writing and talks, does that leave you any time for hobbies?
Nowadays, I do spend a lot of time writing, but I also like walking and travelling. And of course reading, if I’m not sat at my computer, I can be found with a book or my kindle in my hand. Oh, and socialising – I do a lot of that!
Can you give our readers a taster of April Fool?
Extract from Chapter 1
They reached the final door – the exit.
“Is someone outside to meet you?” Dr Death asked with a smirk on her face as if she knew there wouldn’t be.
April wasn’t going to tell her anything. “I’m not entirely sure.”
“You’ve money to get a bus, or a taxi to the station; do you know the area and how to get to town?”
“Yes, it isn’t far, I understand.”
“No. Basically you turn right out of the prison and just keep walking. But here,” she handed her a card, “if you’d prefer to call a taxi. This is a local one the inmates use.”
She shook her head refusing the card, “I think a walk might be good.”
Dr Death shrugged and turned to press in the final code which would mean her release. She didn’t rush. It was almost as if she was prolonging the moment on purpose.
April watched as the door to freedom slowly opened, squinting until her eyes became accustomed to the bright sunshine.
Eighty-five long days she’d been incarcerated. And every single tortuous one of them, she’d meticulously ticked off on a calendar. Visually seeing them disappear gave her the momentum to get through another laborious day.
She stepped forward to make her way through the big oak prison door, and deliberately didn’t look back. There was no way she was going to acknowledge Dr Death by shaking her hand on the way out. Prison officers weren’t friends or acquaintances. They had a bit of power because of the nature of the job, but boy did that go to their heads. Not all of them, some were reasonably okay, but not this one. She’d been hateful.
If Dr Death had known who April really was, then she wouldn’t have been quite so punitive and given her such a hard time. And there was a time she would have made her pay for the way she’d treated her, but not anymore.
Nothing was going to get in her way. Certainly not revenge on a jumped-up prison officer. To get to where she was right now had required meticulous planning and attention to detail. The new identity, the change in her appearance, and the stretch in prison had all been absolutely necessary to assist her as she was about to embark on the biggest pay day of all.
How exciting – I can’t wait for more.
Where can our readers purchase a copy of April Fool and your other books?
Click on the above links to purchase from Amazon.
All books are also available by ordering from Waterstones and WH Smith.
Thank you, Joy, for joining us today. I wish you every success with April Fool as I’m sure my readers do too. If anyone has any questions, for Joy, please leave at the end of this blog or contact her via her social media links below.
If your tempted by Joy’s books then click on the relevant above links, I promise that you won’t be sorry. Personally I can’t wait to read April Fool.