JOAN CURTIS: MY HOPE IS READERS WILL LAUGH AT TIMES AND CRY AT TIMES
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Our next guest Joan Curtis is experienced writer with several business related books published. Her first full novel The Clock Strikes Midnight (Great title!) will be released on November 25. We’ve got a chance to learn something more about it in advance and to have sweet chat with Joan. Enjoy!
– What is your next book The Clock Strikes Midnight about?
– The Clock Strikes Midnight is a story about a young woman, who is faced with her impending death, whereupon she decides to return to her childhood home to finish what she could not do when she left at age 17—destroy her mother’s killer.
– How you decide to write the story?
– It’s hard to say how anyone decides to write a story. It comes to you as you write. At least that’s the process for me. The original book took a very different bent. Once completed, I re-wrote and re-framed it and suddenly the story took off.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Often the biggest challenge in the writing process is finding chunks of quiet time to write. Many authors write very early in the morning, but I can’t do that. I prefer to write during the day. That makes keeping a day job, managing a household and balancing life’s other little demands hard.
– Tell us something more about your main character? Is it close to someone from your real life?
– Janie Knox is the main character. Her sister, Marlene, is the secondary character, but both are important because the story is told from both points-of-view. The original book focused more on Marlene who I would characterize as more like me. The new version focuses more on Janie. She’s a more complex character and more interesting. I’d say she’s a bit more like my sister as an adolescent. But, neither character is like people I know. Usually characters become a conglomerate of many people.
Janie is a late-thirties young woman with a very successful entrepreneurial business. She is in a long-term relationship with another woman. At the beginning of the book, the reader learns that she has 3 months to live. Janie is a very private person with a haunting past.
Marlene, her sister, is about forty years old. She’s married to a very successful attorney. She has no children but many friends. She has spent most of her life being harassed by her stepfather. She’s become addicted to alcohol in order to deaden memories from the past.
– How much time you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– It takes me very little time to get a story written. Usually I can create a first draft in 3-4 months. What takes many months and often years is the polishing and tweaking. The Clock Strikes Midnight went through many revisions. Once it was completely ready, it took about 2 months for a publisher to accept it.
– Who are you?
– I’m an avid reader, turned writer. I have a doctorate in Adult Education and have spent my working career as a communication consultant/coach and seminar leader. My writing prior to the publication of The Clocks Strikes Midnight was business oriented. I published four business books related to communication and leadership.
I’m married to a psychiatrist and I have three stepchildren and four step-grandchildren. I have four cats and one dog and many friends. I am half-Italian and have visited Italy many times. In recent years, I’ve learned the language.
– What are your writing habits?
– I write fast. I like to get my thoughts on paper quickly. Then, I spend time revising. I read everything I write out loud and in printed form before I send it out. I have several Beta readers who give me honest feedback. I like to have at least 2-hour blocks for writing in a quiet setting.
– Are you satisfied by the pre-sales of the book and do you plan another one?
– I can’t answer the first part because I don’t know. I have a contract for a second mystery to be published by MuseItUp Publishing in the Spring 2015. The title is e-Murderer and it will be the first in a series.
– What are you doing to promote by the best possible way your books?
– To promote my books, I’ve set up a Facebook Author’s page and an active website. I tweet 8 to 10 times a day. I have boards on Pinterest. I belong to a number of writer and reader groups on Goodreads and LinkedIn (but I do not inundate them with sales information). I blog at least two times a week. Soon I will embark on a virtual blog tour. I have 14 radio interview scheduled and am a guest on 12 blogs (beyond the blog tour).
– Your book Hire Smart and Keep ‘Em: How to Interview Strategically Using POINT received very positive feedback from readers. Tell us more about it?
– Hire Smart and Keep ‘Em teaches leaders about the interview/hiring process. In my work as a communications consultant I learned that many people were frustrated because they spent a lot of time interviewing and still hired the wrong people. My book discusses a strategic interviewing process to help managers ask the right questions. It is full of examples. Anyone who wants to improve the hiring in his/her company would benefit from reading this book and following the step-by-step approach.
– Why you decided to change the genres for your next book and why so late you show courage to write a mystery book?
– Actually I was writing fiction the entire time I was writing and publishing the business books. Because it is so hard to get fiction published, I focused on business/nonfiction writing for a number of years. That said, when one business book was in the final stages and before I started another, I would return to fiction. I enjoy both. But, with four published books in the business genre, I’m ready to spend more time creating puzzles in the mystery genre.
– Give us a resume of your other writing works.
The Clock Strikes Midnight, MuseItUp Publishing, November, 2014.
Hire Smart and Keep ‘Em: How to Interview Strategically Using POINT, Praeger Press, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA 2012.
The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media, Praeger Press, 2010, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA
Managing Sticky Situations at Work: Communication Secrets for Success in the Workplace, 2009, Praeger Press, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA.
Strategic Interviewing: Skills for Savvy Executives, 2000 published by Quorum Books, Greenwood Press.
Butterflies in a Strawberry Jar, Sea Oats Review, Winter, 2004
A Memoir Of A Friend, Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul, 2003 and Flint River Review, 1996
Jacque’s Story appeared in an anthology titled From Eulogy to Joy, 2002
The Roommate, Whispering Willow Mystery Magazine, April 1997 (introduced Jenna Scali)
A Special Sort of Stubbornness, Reader’s Digest, March 1997
My Father’s Final Gift, Reader Digest, November 1994
– Ask yourself a question (And don’t forget to answer!)
What do I hope readers will say about The Clock Strikes Midnight?
I wrote The Clock Strikes Midnight to entertain. My hope is readers will laugh at times and cry at times. My hope is they will say they hated when it was over.
Take a look at her books
The Clock Strikes Midnight
Hire Smart and Keep ‘Em: How to Interview Strategically Using POINT
The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media
Managing Sticky Situations at Work: Communication Secrets for Success in the Workplace
Strategic Interviewing: Skills for Savvy Executives