A teacher and author, Joanne is a member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, and Romance Writers of America. She writes paranormal romance, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario. Welcome, Joanne!
Tell us a little about yourself. For most of my life, I was a poster child for left brainers. I gravitated toward degrees in mathematics and education and found teaching to be a good career fit. But after thirty-one years, I was ready for a change.
So, I put pen to paper and I revisited a writing dream from my high school years. A writing practice slowly emerged, and I watched with delight as my articles and book reviews started appearing in newspapers, magazines, and online. Buoyed by this success, I took on the challenge of revamping A Season for Killing Blondes, a manuscript I had written during my “cancer” year.
While shopping the cozy around, I wrote Between Land and Sea and was thrilled when Debby Gilbert of Soul Mate Publishing offered me a contract. The following year, Johanna Melaragno of The Wild Rose Press offered me a contract for A Season for Killing Blondes.
Tell us a little about your book. A Season for Killing Blondes is the first book in the Gilda Greco Mystery Series. Based in Northern Ontario, these books feature a fifty-something Italian woman, her relatives, deserving and undeserving men, and food.
Logline: A brunette lottery winner never has an alibi when dead blondes turn up in dumpsters near her favorite haunts.
What inspired you to write it? While receiving cancer treatments, well-meaning friends gave me inspirational and comedic books. They meant well, and so did the healthy professionals who advised me to cross-read and challenge myself. By reading new and unfamiliar material, I could create new neural pathways in my brain and reduce the likelihood of developing the dreaded chemo brain.
But all I wanted to read were cozies, those delightful murder mysteries that include a bloodless crime and contain little (if any) violence, sex, or coarse language. I read voraciously, often finishing a cozy in one sitting. Toward the end of treatments, I came up with a storyline for my own cozy.
When did you first start writing? In high school, I dabbled in poetry and dreamed about writing novels. But I listened to my practical Italian side and put my dream on hold as I pursued a teaching career. While teaching, I imagined different storylines but didn’t put pen to paper until my “cancer” year.
What genres do you like to read? I have eclectic tastes and enjoy reading contemporary women’s fiction, cozy mysteries, thrillers, historical fiction, self-help, and memoirs. Some of my favorite authors include Ann Patchett, Ann Lamott, Ken Follett, Jane Green, Maeve Binchy, Gail Bowen, Louise Penny, Adriana Trigiani, Louise Hay, and Dr.Christiane Northrup.
Where do you like to write? Why? Originally, I had designated my den as a writing space, but I felt too confined and relocated to an empty space in my large living area. Whenever I need a break, I swivel my chair and take in the majestic trees outside my window.
In what genres do you write? Right now, I’m alternating between cozy mysteries and paranormal romance. On the back burner, I have a collection of angel short stories and a memoir of my cancer experience. While it may sound like dabbling, there is one theme that connects all of my work – reinvention. And the protagonists are all boomer women. In short, I write boomer lit.
Do you have other publishing credits? Since 2008, my articles and book reviews have appeared in newspapers, magazines, and online. Some samples can be found on my Website. In 2013, Soul Mate Publishing released Between Land and Sea, a paranormal romance about a middle-aged ex-mermaid. The sequel, The Coming of Arabella, will be released in August 2015.
What is your current writing project? I have two WIPs in different stages of completion – Book 3 of the Mediterranean trilogy and Book 2 of the Gilda Greco Mystery series.
If you have a blog, what subjects do write about? I pursue a number of topics on my blog, among them writing craft, Toastmasters, and Super Soul Sunday. Two months before the release of Between Land and Sea, I introduced a “Second Acts” series on my blog. My original intention was to feature the reinvention stories of ten to twelve women and then turn my attention back to writing novels. Instead, I found myself researching and attracting more spectacular acts. To date, I have featured over ninety women from Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, and the United States. Last month, I introduced a Power of 10 series.
What do you wish to say to your readers? Thank you to all the wonderful readers who have supported me throughout my writing journey. I appreciate all the comments and feedback you have provided on my blog, articles, and novels.
Joanne: Molte grazie, Tina, for hosting me on your lovely blog.
Tina: It has been my pleasure, Joanne.
BLURB: Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation.
When three more dead blondes turn up all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders. Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends.
As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.