hello Joan Hall Hovey!
I know you have written not only a number of books to date, but
also articles and short stories in addition to being a writing
instructor, busy gal! Please, if you will, tell us which of your
books you are most happy with. And why.
I'll answer your question
in a round-about way, Molly. Because I trust in the muse a lot,
I begin with an image or a situation. With NOWHERE TO HIDE I
had an image of a room in an 'home for girl', where the girls
slept. I could see the child and the lamb picture on the wall
above one of the beds: I viewed the scene through the killer's
eyes. These little girls already had a number of strikes against
them, and now they were in dire danger from a madman.
When I began to write my first
novel, LISTEN TO THE SHADOWS I had a situation in mind. A "what
if?" Katie's fiance went missing in Vietnam years earlier.
As you has finally begun to accept that he is dead, frightening
evidence that he might still be alive, (and not as the sweet
boy you knew) begin to show up. I like to work up the suspense
slowly, building and building so that my reader is turning those
pages in anticipation of what is coming next.
As to what book I'm most happy
with - I consider my best work so far the book I'm presently
writing. A cliché answer, but that's because it's true.
I'm totally immersed in my characters and their story right now.
The stories I've already published belong to my readers. But
all my books are my babies, and I love them equally, although
for different reasons. I hope readers will too.
to both LISTEN TO THE SHADOWS and NOWHERE TO HIDE on my website.
E-Book editions available at http://www.wordwrangler.com/joanhallhovey.html
Do you use a non de plume
Joan? If so would you tell us the reason why you chose this
particular pseudonym? If not, please tell us how you decided
One reason some writers
choose to use a pseudomn is because it gives them more freedom,
at least psychologically, to delve into more deeply personal
issues (or maybe erotic, etc. I think Lawrence Block used to
write soft-porn, which was probably pretty tame stuff back then.)
And then there are those like Stephen King whose publisher thought
he was too prolific, and thought he should have a penname for
some of the books - hence, Richard Bachman. And sometimes it's
for tax purposes. Being business-challenged, I have no idea why
that's a good idea.
As for me, No, I don't use a
pen name, Molly. I've never really considered it, perhaps because
I want to be able to connect with my readers on a more personal
level on occasion. I like receiving those fan letters addressed
to me. I also want those nasty girls in my highschool class who
chose me last (and with a sigh of resignation) for the basketball
team to know who wrote those books. (Smile.)
Chuckle, I do know the
feeling! Joan, your books are filled with rich details, how much
time do you usually spend doing background research before you
begin a new book and what does your research involve?
I do the research on
my books on a need to know basis. For example, in LISTEN TO THE
SHADOWS I needed to know about the native Indian's use of straw
in making baskets, etc. - whether that straw needed to be dry,
etc. It was enjoyable and interesting fun learning about that.
While research is necessary for the books, it also increases
my own knowledge of things and people in the world. I learn the
most fascinating things in the process of researching.
In NOWHERE TO HIDE I wanted to
know about body bags - color and so on, so I simply phoned our
morgue here. Voila, all the information I needed. The story also
required that I find out the strategic details on how firefighters
deliberately demolish a building, and contacted a firefighter
at our fire department. He was most helpful and generous in explaining
the procedure, and answered all my questions. It's been my experience
that folks love to share their expertise. Most people are fascinated
to know a real author and eager to help you get it right.
Your exciting suspense
filled tales are becoming so well known to readers Joan, have
you tried writing other genre as well?
When I first start out
writing, too many years ago to count, I wrote many true confession
stories, but even they generally had a dark thread of suspense
running through them. I am drawn to the dark side of humanity
so I suspect I will always write in the suspense genre, albeit
with a touch of romance. It's gives me the opportunity to be
fully creative. I like to probe those cobwebby corners of our
minds, the full range of our emotions. We all know love, hate,
anger, jealousy, greed, envy - it's a matter of degree.
Yes, that is certainly
true. Please tell us what are you writing at the moment? And
how soon do you think your latest project will be finished.
I've just finished a
third book with the working title, "I've Been Waiting For
You" and in the process of finding a good home for it. Here's
a brief premise:
I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU
Tossed aside by her husband for his blond, young assistant, a
devastated and lost Rachael Warren Timmins retreats to the old
beach-house once owned by her grandmother, the artist, Emily
Warren. Rachael's own mother having died only days after giving
birth to her, left her to be raised by a silent, dour man who
wordlessly blamed Rachael for her mother's death. It was only
at Jenny's Cove, with her grandmother, that Rachael felt safe
Now, all these years later, she
instinctively gravitates to Jenny's Cove, a wounded animal seeking
a warm, dark place in which to lick its wounds. But there is
no comfort to be had in Jenny's Cove. Something else entirely
awaits her. Instead of the tranquility she seeks, she becomes
a target for a madman whose own dark past weaves a deadly bond
between the two.
And sets Rachael on a collision
course with a crazed killer.
Have already begun the next book,
which is one I've been wanting to write for many years; until
now the time was never quite right. It is in large part autobiographical.
The plot involves an older woman, an actor named Melanie Wilkins,
who returns to her childhood home determined to clear her father's
name in the murder of her mother which occurred when Melanie
Sounds fascinating! Look
forward to reading them both. Joan, do you have upcoming plans
to do book signings and where will you be appearing soon? What
do you enjoy most about book signings?
I've done many signings,
and when the new book finds a home of course I'll be doing lots
more of them, as well as radio and TV interviews, etc. I always
see book signings as my gold star for persistence and belief
in the story I'm telling. I feel exhausted as I put a period
to that final chapter in my book, drained, but also wonderfully
free. The signings are my reward for hanging in there through
the long months of hard work, struggle and self-doubt. I now
have a book that I can hold in my hands. One that has my name
written on the cover. As you well know, Molly, you have a sense
of accomplishment; there's no high quite like it.
It's exciting and fun to meet
readers; as I said, my reward. They ask me all sorts of interesting
questions, keep me on my toes, and give me all that wonderful
attention I probably craved as a kid. Providing of course they
show up. Now that's a really scary premise. It's never happened
so far, although I've had to fill in a little time signing books
and trying to make eye contact with curious passersby. All 'grist'
for the author's mill.
Thank you for a delightful
insight into such a prolific and interesting writer Joan!
Joan Hall Hovey's books: 'Listen To The Shadows' and 'Nowhere
To Hide'/EPPIE AWARD WINNER 2001 available at online bookstores
or by special order.
Be sure to visit Joan's