Good morning, Joy, I’m delighted you’re visiting my blog. Let me introduce you to my readers:
Your books include a non-fiction book for writers, Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity (Headline Books, Inc. 2020,) and two historical romance novels (The Wild Rose Press, 2010 and Boroughs Publishing Group, 2020) . Your articles have appeared in magazines, newspapers, and poetry journals, to an awesome number of nearly 1,000 publications.
We became acquainted when you featured me on your Books By My Friends Blog. What led you to create this series?
Great question, Loretta. Several factors contributed to my creating the Books By My Friends blog series.
1) It’s been a rough and challenging two and half years for authors in many ways. Foremost among them is the serious reduction in opportunities to interact with readers at events such as signings, readings, conferences, workshops, etc. I normally maintain a robust schedule of book events, but that literally came to a standstill because of COVID 19. I created BBMF as my humble way of doing my part to help other authors who wanted exposure for their books. The pandemic didn’t stop us, me included, from writing and publishing, but it sure put a serious dent in marketing and publicity.
2) BBMF is also part of my work to be a good literary citizen and give back to the industry and my fellow writers. I don’t have piles of money to share, but my blog and my time are small efforts at sharing the internet space with others.
3) Lastly, I like meeting and chatting with other authors such as yourself! I learn so much by being open to hearing the stories and experiences of other writers.
I love the succinctness of your writing. Did this quality come naturally to you, or did you work to develop it?
Thank you for the compliment! It’s another great question and one that gave me pause (in a good way) to ask myself how this came about.
1) I’d say that my nonfiction is written more succinctly than my historical fiction.
2) I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism. We learn that there is only so much space in a newspaper or a magazine, and we must do our best to report as much as possible in as little space as possible. We also learn that advertisers are more valuable to the publication than writers. Oh, well.
3) The advent of blogging helped me write tight as well. People’s attention spans are like the copy space in a magazine. There’s only so much before the reader moves on to something else. Blogging taught me to get to the point quickly so as not to lose a reader. But oh, how I love me a long, flowery sentence sometimes!
What advice do you give writers who have identified a weakness in their craft toolbox and want to “grow”?
My first response to a writer who has identified a weakness and wants to “grow” beyond it would be, “Congratulations! And welcome to the world of revision because it’s in
re-seeing our work through the eyes of others (for example editors) and our own persistence that we grow as writers. Butt-in-chair now and commence rewriting.”
Why Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity?
Lovin’ your questions, Loretta!
Writer wellness was what I identified as my niche in the writing world. I had a successful part-time freelance career while raising my children and other writers asked me how I did it. Like your question above, I stepped back and documented my personal processes for a month. I discovered that I habitually followed certain practices such as journaling, regular exercise, meditation, good nutrition, and creative noodling. These helped me stay focused, relaxed, healthy, and productive. The result was a workshop then a book. Writer Wellness is in its third edition with a workbook coming out in 2024.
What historical periods attract you for your historical Romance novels and why?
I tend to prefer writing about American history but reading about European history. I write strong-willed women because I believe that women played a bigger part in forging America than was documented. Therefore, I scour research libraries, special collections, and museums for actual diaries, correspondence, publications, etc. by women in early American history. I read their stories penned by their own hands and quills and marvel at what they achieved and endured so we could have a cushy existence 200 and some years later.
Where are you teaching now?
I’m an adjunct faculty member in the English Department at Ohio University, and I teach online for various writer’s organizations as well as my own online courses.
What is the least known aspect of your life you’d like readers to know?
I love Saint Bernard dogs.
If you were to throw a dinner party with seven creative genius guests, living or dead, who would be on your list? What do you serve?
The guest list:
1) My daughter Aurora who is an amazing, genius choreographer and stage director.
2) My daughter Kitri who has a design eye that blows me away with her creations in art, clothing, and graphic design.
3) My grad school mentor Barb who has been a published romance author for 25 years and has a genius level ability to develop a plot.
4) English author who hooked on historical fiction Catherine Cookson (1906-1998) because I’d like to pick her brain about writing.
5) Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) because his writing got me hooked on reading when I was ten years old.
6) Elvis Presley (1935-1977) because I love him, and we’d need some music at the party.
7) Eliphalet Remington (1816-1896) who invented the first commercial typewriter; an idea without which we writers would have a tough time!
The menu: I’m not much of a cook. We’d have chardonnay and order takeout.
Contact information and purchase sites.
Thank you so much, Joy. You write on your website that you focused on being a writer from the age of ten. Your multifaceted work and generosity are an inspiration to me, and I am sure to my readers and colleagues.
My pleasure, Loretta!
Be well, write well.
~Joy E. Held