Mastodon The Writing Desk: Special Guest Interview with Author JoAnn Spears

7 January 2018

Special Guest Interview with Author JoAnn Spears

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

You've read all of the traditional, serious and romantic takes on the legendary characters of the English Renaissance. Why not try your Tudors and your Shakespeare with a new and different twist?

Today I would like to welcome author JoAnn Spears:

Tell us about your latest book

Both of my books are about Tudor history, with a comic and very irreverent twist.  The first involved a modern-day heroine meeting the early-generation Tudors on an astral plane.  The second takes the same heroine back to meet the latter-generation Tudors, and incorporates comic but complex Shakespeare conspiracy theory tied to the Tudors. 

What is your preferred writing routine?

I wish I could describe for you a rigorous or romantic routine, but I simply haven’t got one.  As a hobby author, I write in time stolen from full-time work, when and where I can sandwich it in and when inspiration hits.  The sandwiching part has gotten easier over time, and I can do a surprising lot in short bursts of time when I am in the zone, so to speak.  However, inspiration tends to be fitful, which accounts for the gaps between my first (2011) and second (2015) books and my second and recently started third.  I find I am particularly productive of prose on my porch, in airports and on planes.  As for ideas, they inevitably come when I am driving!

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

I don’t know that I’ve succeeded enough in the traditional sense to offer advice, but I can tell you that I have learned to relax and enjoy my writing by coming to think of it as a hobby rather than as a job that I am not making a whole lot of headway with.  Every good review I get makes me happy, and the fact that there are not thousands of them is okay.  The pressure is off.

I have also learned to stop apologizing for being self-published.  Around these parts, anyway-Upper East Tennessee¬–most folks are not terribly aware of, or troubled by, the distinction.  When they here ‘author’ and are told they can find me on Amazon, they don’t question my authoring credentials much.

That being said, I would not discourage anyone from sticking with it and going full-on for successful professional authorship.  I know of another local author here in East TN, Scott Pratt, who has made quite a success of self-published authorship and was recently signed into some kind of deal with Amazon.

I like to think that it is a big world, with plenty of room for whatever kind of writer one wants to be.

What have you found to be the best way to raise awareness of your books?

Truthfully, it was having the marvelous good fortune to have my first novel picked up by BookBub.  That was something of a fluke, or maybe an act of God.  I am hoping they will pick up the second one soon.  No luck so far, but I keep trying!

Tell us something unexpected you discovered during your research

Because my books involve comic twists on history that was well known to me from my reading over the years, my research really consisted of filling in period details.  There were no big surprises about what happened way back then.  One big surprise though was that I did notice, in myself, a heretofore undiscovered interest in jewelry and bling.  Trivia and human interest about several famous Tudor-era jewels, such as the Mirror of Naples and the Lennox Jewel, are scattered through both of my books, and I was quite taken with what I learned.  It is pretty ironic really, as the only jewelry I wear myself is a pair of gold costume hoop earrings, my signature look, such as it is.  Those bejeweled Tudors would not know what to make of a ‘less is more’ person like me.

What was the hardest scene you remember writing?

Quite honestly, I don’t remember any particularly difficult scenes.  The difficult thing for me is actually taking scenes out. I write in what I call a kitchen sink style–that is, everything goes in but the kitchen sink, and then I go back in and purge.  I have had to dispense with some well-loved bits of business because they made a book too long or convoluted, or were too esoteric.  A subplot involving the legend of the ring given to Lord Essex by Elizabeth I, and his aborted attempt to return it to her to earn pardon from his execution, comes to mind.

What are you planning to write next?

I am heading to France in my third book.  Same heroine and scenario, new and different historical figures.

JoAnn Spears
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About the Author

JoAnn Spears couldn't decide whether to major in English or History in college. Life stepped in, and she wound up with a Master's Degree in Nursing instead. A twenty-five year nursing career didn't extinguish that early interest in books and history-especially Tudor history. JoAnn enjoys writing but maintains her nursing license because a) you never stop being a nurse and b) her son thinks she should be sensible and not quit her day job. She also enjoys life in the beautiful mountains of northeast Tennessee, where she gardens, embroiders antique reproduction samplers, and teaches yoga in her Methodist church basement. JoAnn shares her home with three cats and the works of Jane Austen, Barbara Pym, Louisa May Alcott, and of course, Alison Weir.  You can find JoAnn on Twitter

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