The Detective’s Wife by Joanne Clancy
Today, it’s my pleasure to welcome mystery writer, Joanne Clancy, to Bookin’ It. Joanne, it’s so nice to have you here this morning. Tell us a bit about how you became a writer. When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career?
JC: I’ve always been passionate about reading–my mother started reading to me when I was just a few weeks old– and for me, reading and writing have always gone together. I started writing stories for my younger sisters and brother when I was about seven years old, so I’ve always been interested in writing. However, I never really saw writing as a viable career option; it was always a hobby, until I decided to take the plunge and become a full-time writer in April, 2010. I’d been made redundant from my job, and it was the height of the recession in Ireland, so jobs were hard to find. I applied for hundreds of jobs, without success, which was when I decided to dedicate myself to a career in writing.
I did an online creative writing course with a correspondence college here in Ireland–Kilroy’s College–and that gave me the fundamentals and the confidence to continue.
BI: Wow. It looks like a bad stroke of luck turned into a blessing in disguise. That’s great. Were you inspired by any particular authors, past or present, and what is it about their work that impresses you, or moves you?
JC: I have read so many amazing books that it’s difficult to choose just one. The book that greatly influenced how I view the world is Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. I read it when I was fourteen, and it helped me realise the importance of empathy and understanding towards others.
The book that most influenced my writing style is Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. I dropped the book when I reached the twist, and that book introduced me to psychological thrillers and inspired me to write books with lots of twists and turns.
BI: I’m guessing it also had an impact on what you read, too, but let’s find out. What genres do you gravitate toward the minute you walk into a bookstore?
JC: I used to really enjoy contemporary romance novels, but after reading Gone Girl, I have become a huge crime fan, especially of psychological thrillers. I still read the occasional romance novel for some light relief.
BI: Aha. I suspected that was coming. I’d like to know a bit about your writing habits. Do you have a dedicated workspace, and are you consistent with the amount of time you spend writing each day?
JC: Yes, I do have a dedicated workspace. There’s a large alcove window at the top of my house, overlooking the bay, and the views are inspirational. I’ve attached a photo, if you’d like to include it.
I try to be consistent with the amount of time I write each day, and usually set aside about three hours for writing.
BI: Wow! That’s inspirational, all right. Thanks for sharing. Do you use visual aids, other than your fantastic view, like inspiration boards, photos, or maps of your book’s setting? What reference books or other material do you consult most frequently as you write?
JC: I’ve recently started using Pinterest boards when I’m writing, where I pin actors and actresses who I imagine look like my characters, and where I pin maps and settings. Pinterest really helps to bring the characters to life for me.
The New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors: The Essential A-Z Guide to the Written Word is my constant writing companion. I find it invaluable for ensuring accuracy and consistency.
BI: I’m a great fan of Pinterest, too. I have to set a timer so I’m not on there for hours and hours. I’m going to check out your boards, too. Tell me, Joanne, When you have an idea for a new book, do you sit down and start typing, or do you start with an outline, and figure out all the major plot points first? In other words, is your working style structured and organized, or more organic and free flowing?
JC: My writing style is definitely more organic and free flowing or what is generally termed a “Pantser”! I like to sit down and write the story as it comes into my head. I’ll take notes as I write, and when I’m writing a book, it’s pretty much all I think about; the characters are constantly floating around in my head. In my last book, the male protagonist was called “Shane”, and I kept calling my boyfriend “Shane”; needless to say, he was not impressed!
BI: Ha! I love it. The hero in my last novel looked just like Thor, but so far, I’ve managed not to get him mixed up with my husband. (I won’t say why.) On to reading habits. Do you prefer reading eBooks, or print? Why?
JC: When the first Kindle was released, I promised myself that I would never buy an e-reader. I was given a Kindle in December 2012, and I shoved it in a drawer for months before using it. My sister ended up downloading some books onto it for me, and out of curiosity, I finally decided to give it a try, and I’ve been addicted ever since. I love the fact that if I hear about a good book on the radio or someone recommends a books to me that I can have it on my Kindle within minutes. I also like the fact that it’s so light, and perfect for reading in bed. So for me, it’s ebooks all the way.
BI: I love my Kindle, too, and find it much more comfortable for reading. But I still collect print books for my library. Sometimes, I even read them. *grin* Okay, time to learn about the books you’ve published, and where we can buy them.
JC: I’ve written nineteen books, which are all available on Amazon. I’ve written nine contemporary romance novels, including the romantic suspense trilogy “Secrets and Lies Trilogy”, which was a quarter-finalist at the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards in 2013.
BI: Congratulations! That’s lovely.
In September, I published my eighth crime novel, The Detective’s Wife.
BI: Wow! All of that in four years? You are a busy woman! Are you currently working on a new book? When do you expect it to be available?
JC: I’ve just finished a Christmas novella, The Gift: A Christmas Miracle, which was published on November 6th at Amazon.
BI: I downloaded that one last week, and plan to read it as it gets closer to Christmas. Joanne, can you tell us what you think is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?
JC: The best thing about being a writer is the creative freedom. I love being my own boss, and being completely responsible for every aspect of my books, from writing, editing, and cover design to marketing. The only slight negative is the unpredictability of the writing business, but I also see that as a positive because it drives me to work even harder to make my books a success.
BI: Bonus Question: Are you self-published, and if so, what have you learned from the process, overall? Positives and negatives?
Yes, I am self-published. I’ve learned to to be completely focused and dedicated. I’ve learned the importance of embracing change, and accepting full responsibility for my work. As a self-publisher I have to be every bit as, if not more, professional than traditionally published writers, who have a whole team behind them. I am constantly learning and evolving as a writer, and I have learned the importance of adapting. Time management is crucial; it’s amazing the amount of hours that can be spent on social media, which should be spent writing.
The only negative for me was that some readers and indeed writers used to look on self-published books as sub-standard, but with more and more writers turning down traditional publishing deals to go it alone and self-publish their books, that mentality is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
The biggest positive for me is that the sky’s the limit, and with enough hard work and dedication I could wake up one morning and be a number one Amazon bestseller!
BI: I couldn’t agree more!
JC: Thanks a million for featuring me on your blog, Marcia!
BI: You are very welcome, Joanne. I’ve really enjoyed learning more about you and your work. I’m looking forward to checking out more of your books, too. And please keep us posted when you have new books coming out.
Folks, if you enjoyed learning about Joanne Clancy and her writing, please remember to share this interview on Facebook, Twitter, or via reblogging. Joanne and I will both thank you for it.
I am an Irish mystery writer from County Cork, Ireland. I’m an avid reader, a self-confessed Kindle addict, and a tea fiend! My books combine murder, mystery and suspense, with a twist of psychological drama, and some romantic suspense for good measure.