Sunday, 23 October 2016

Getting To Know Susan Joyce As She Talks To Sarah Jane Butfield #RPBP

Hello and welcome to a very special guest blog feature. 
Author, editor and publisher Susan Joyce has been a guest here before, but today we have some probing questions for Susan about her life, writing and her award winning travel memoir Good Morning Diego Garcia which is on 99c Sale now - so be sure to grab a copy!

Welcome Susan and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat to us today.

Susan Joyce, Age 9, Tucson, AZ
Thank you Sarah Jane, it's wonderful to be here.
I'd like to start by finding out more about your childhood and how it impacted your writing career. When did you decide to become a writer?
At age nine. After many years of struggling to read and write so that I could be understood by others, I wrote a story about my dog Brownie and his bad liver breath. My class loved it and my teacher helped me enter it in a writing contest. I won and the win convinced me to write on.

What were you like at school?
Curious. Asked lots of questions.

Were you good at English?
No. I had to work at it. I had dyslexia and my words got mixed up when I read or spoke so my mother helped me learn words by making up simple rhyming riddles; teaching me to become more aware of how the sounds in words work. Years later I put her ideas into a series of books for children called Alphabet Riddles.

The incredible personal journey, which you have experienced is excellently documented in your first memoir, The Lullaby Illusion, but what else have you written?
I've been writing for many years. Short stories, poems, blogs, educational books for children, songs, plays. And now a series of memoirs.

Susan Joyce, Kyrenia, Cyprus, 1974
What genre are your books?

Memoir, true life travel adventures.

What draws you to this genre?

I've had a most unusual life and I love hearing other true stories.

What are you working on at the minute?
I'm working on two different projects. One is about soul connections and how these eternal links of light help us manifest our highest potential. I'm also writing about a recent trip my husband and I took to visit ancient civilizations and sites in Peru and Bolivia.

How much research do you do to add depth to your memoirs?
I do research to verify information written in my travel journal is correct as I recalled it. For example in Good Morning Diego Garcia, I wrote about arriving in India on Day One of a declared Emergency. Research proved my recollection was correct.

Have you written any other books in collaboration with other writers?
I haven't collaborated with other authors but sounds like a fun idea to toss around. I would love to collaborate on a screen play.

Susan & Doug, Book Signing, Germany, 1985

Can I ask what is the hardest thing about writing?
Starting a new project.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest memoir?
Taking time to digest new information that came to me shortly before the book was finished and incorporate it in the story.

What is the easiest thing about writing it?
Having notes from my travel journal on hand.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?
One to two years. My goal is to get better and faster.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

When I get stumped, I take a walk or watch nature in action in our garden. Or take a power nap which includes a dream with solutions.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To write a screenplay and more books. For me quality is more important than quantity. To continue to do my best as a writer.

Which actress would you like to see playing you in your most recent book if it was adapted for the big screen?

I would love to see it on big screen. How about Jennifer Lawrence? A super actor.

Which writers inspire you?
Writers who continue to grow. Penelope Lively is one who comes to mind.

Do you write full-time or part-time?
Full time. Except when I travel.

Is there a special time for you to write or how is your day structured?
I don't have a set time. I usually start writing after my first cup of coffee.

Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
I write daily. Sometimes for only an hour. Other days I spend hours writing.

Are you target driven, do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
No! Unless the assignment is for a set amount of words.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
Computer and longhand.

Good Morning Diego Garcia is part of a series, can you tell us a little about it?
I've lived a most unusual life and through my travels and adventures have witnessed history in the making.
The first book in the series, The Lullaby Illusion: A Journey of Awakening, tells of my decision at age 20 to take a year off and explore the world—a choice which blossomed into twelve years of journeys through the world, influencing my evolving sense of self.
The second book, Good Morning Diego Garcia: A Journey of Discovery documents the process whereby I grasp for something greater than stability and comfort, only to find myself nearly losing everything - a second time.

Not everyone would opt to embark on a sailing trip only to find out too late that it's taking place during monsoon season. Not everyone would jump at the offer to help crew a new boat with a set of strangers when my own experience as a sailor is limited. I'm not even a strong swimmer. And few would survive the storms that batter ship and psyche alike but I came to discover that the illusions in my world were real, and my only hope was to let go of fear and embrace the unknown.
Susan Joyce, Charon, Venezuela, 1998

What are your thoughts on writing a book series.
It's important if you want to sell books. A standalone book doesn't create a following.

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.
I read daily. Usually more than one book at a time.
Susan & Doug, Ketchikan, Alaska, 2015 - Inside Passage Cruise

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I like all of the above. Audio books are also great to listen to when traveling.

What book/s are you reading at present?
At present, I'm reading screen plays since I plan to write some soon.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
I go over them numerous times but get an outside editor to do the final editing.

Do you let the book rest – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
Yes! It's amazing how different it reads when allowed to sit and gel. The proof is in the pudding.

Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
My husband helped with the final edit because after 30 years together, he knows my story well.

Did you format your own book?
My husband did the layout and formatting for the different platforms.

Who designed your book cover/s?
My husband is an artist and book designer. He designed my covers.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
The cover is the first impression of the work. It's very important for it to convey what the story is about and create interest.

How are you publishing this book and why? e.g. Indie, traditional or both?
Our own small independent press. We've been in publishing for 30 years.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
We have the advantage of knowing how traditional publishing works and are learning how ebooks have changed the market.

How do you market your books?
Through distributors and online sites.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
It's a hands-on learning. Take marketing classes. I'm taking one now and am enjoying learning new things.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
Hours and hours. To many.

What do you do to get book reviews?
I have Beta readers and I submit to literary reviewers.

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
Good. I'm happy with the results.

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
Since my works are memoirs, I belong to a group called We Love Memoirs and they are a wonderful group of avid readers who love to review books they enjoy. You can find them at:
Rukia Publishing is also very supportive of authors with their Book Club. You can find them at: An awesome group to work with.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
Both are valid and important.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?
It's necessary.

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?
A Press Release is a MUST. I have done many promos to promote my work and am now trying to figure out how to limit promo time so I can get back to writing. I'm thinking of doing promos only twice a year. Stay tuned.

Why do you think that other well written books just don’t sell?
They don't get noticed in the ocean of books out there.

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
I think it works well if it's given in the market of interest.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Be open to the flow of thoughts and go with them.

Where do you see publishing going in the future?

Attention spans appear to be changing but I believe good quality writing projects with multimedia potential will live on and on. Writers must be creators of multimedia adventures; ones that invite readers to explore their feeling and thoughts, and interact in the trans-media field. Audio books will flourish as will other methods of creative self expression relating to a book subject matter.

In what formats is your book available?
Print, epub, kindle, ibooks, pdf, a Google format, and audio.

Now for some quick fire reader questions!

What is your favourite motivational phrase.
Dream on!

What is your favourite positive saying?
Go with the flow!

What is your favourite book and why?
Illusions by Richard Bach. It's a book about being aware as you traverse through life. A timeless and profound read.

What is your favourite quote?
There is never any hurry on the creative plane; and there is no lack of opportunity."

What is your favourite film and why?
To Kill a Mockingbird. So many great lines Most famous of course is “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view ... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” — Atticus Finch

Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
Living a low profile, tranquil life-- one day at a time, reflecting and writing my thoughts.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Trust your gut feelings. Know thyself.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Arthur Miller. He was a brilliant writer and I loved the way he picked bits and pieces out of the air and explored different avenues of writing.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Illusions by Richard Bach. It has greatly influenced my life and my writing.

Well done Susan great answers under pressure!

Where can readers find out more about you and buy your books? 
My books are available in bookstores and online. They can be viewed on my 
Twitter:  SusanJoyce @SusanJourneys

Thank you for asking these great questions! They made me stop and think. Nice!
Susan Joyce

Don't forget to check out Susan's Book Showcase at Rukia Publishing here 

Thanks for reading, be sure to leave Susan a comment and share the blog post on social media.

P.S. Don't forget to leave a review for Good Morning Diego Garcia.