Saturday, August 1, 2015


Q: Johanna...what made you become a writer?

A: I don't think you can be a writer without having, if not talent, then an inherent verbal ability. You have to love words. Nearly every writer I know loves to read. In addition, you have to have something of a decent imagination that can come up with entertaining concepts that, even if they aren't new, have something special about them. The decision you really have to make is whether or not you want to become a professional writer. It's a huge commitment because no matter how much raw talent you have or how many unique and fascinating stories are in your head, if you don't know the craft, no one will enjoy your work. That means dedicating yourself to learning how to write so an audience can understand and fully appreciate what you're giving them. You need to know grammar and punctuation, how words work on a page. On top of that, there's character building, world-building, plotting, dramatic tension, etc. It's not easy and it takes a lifetime.

Q: What is your typical writing day like?

A: I write daily, although everyone needs a day off. I work in three groupings––early morning, afternoon, and after midnight. Some days there's too much else to do and I don't beat myself up when I haven't worked on my current document that day. Of course, when deadlines rear their ugly heads––or inspiration strikes––I work for much longer. I've been known to pretty much have a 24-hour writing session with short naps and meal breaks.

Q: Do you outline? If so, how extensive are your outlines?

A: I always have a general outline for the book, but some sections get more details than others.  Sometimes I'll have actual lines, paragraphs, or short sequences, but usually the actual book has scenes I didn't necessarily plan for.

Q: How many revisions will you typically do on a novel?

A: I like to do three. One of my own, one after I've had a beta-reader/proofreader review it, and then another after I've let the book sit for a while.

Q: What is your best tip for editing a manuscript?  

A: As a professional editor and proofreader, it really is necessary to get another eye on your work because otherwise you'll miss the little things. When you're too familiar with something, typos and other errors become invisible. Also, always give yourself at least a week away from a manuscript before revising it.

Q: Which writing habits and/or tricks of the trade have made you a better writer?

A: Have something to drink and a snack nearby. Make sure your set-up is comfortable. Sometimes I'll give myself a half hour just to write and then do some short task before returning to the computer.

Q: Do you ever suffer through writer’s block? If so, how do you fight it?

A: I'm a professional hypnotherapist and created a whole program for that very purpose. When it happens to me, I check to see what sort of stress is going on around me. I very well may have other things in my life that are more important at the moment. 

Sometimes you have to sit down and mentally review the entire story from what you have to where you're going. Then just send it all to your subconscious mind. That's the part of you that comes up with the story and the words. Then step back and give it a day or two before going back to work, but don't start where you left off. Clean up an earlier scene or write out one to come. Usually that will get things sorted out and you'll just know what needs to be done. Or I'll sit down and write stream-of-consciousness from a character's point of view or a scene that happens, but isn't in the book. 

Q: What drew you to write your preferred genre(s)?

A: I really don't know why I usually write Science Fiction/Fantasy/Speculative. I just started writing those kinds of stories.  However, my latest novel, Why Hate the Billionaire? is a sexy romance, my first in that genre and it was written on a dare. I've enjoyed writing it and it has done so well that I'm sticking with this genre for a whole series called "The Delanys."

Q: Do you utilize beta readers?

A: As often as possible.

Q: In your most recently published novel, what’s one scene you really enjoyed writing—and why?

A: It was probably the last scene––and not because it meant I was finished with the book! It had a bit of everything in it from love and humor to violence plus some twists that I hope surprise the reader.

Q: What makes the main character(s) of your most recent novel so special?

A: The genre I'm writing in has some conventions that do bother me. Most Billionaire books are based on wish fulfillment––"If I only had an incredibly sexy man who was obsessed with me, could buy me everything I wanted, and took care of everything, then I'd be happy." As a therapist, I know the best relationships have an inherent balance. I wanted a heroine who was strong and independent enough to say "no" to the usual attractions and a hero who had to learn that what he thought was important in life wasn't.

Q: What is your best advice for author self-promotion?

A: Do as much as you can. Use everything you can, especially on the Internet, but research first. Go to the Author Café page on There are a lot of knowledgeable writers there talking about what you need to know. And remember, if you don't publicize your work, no one else will.

Q: How do you deal with negative reviews?

A: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Some people are simply not going to like what I write or it won't be the appropriate kind of story for them. That's true for submissions, critic/blog reviews, and reader reviews. 

Q: What is your favorite aspect of being an indie author?

A: Being in control of everything.

Q: What is your least favorite aspect of being an indie author?

A: Being responsible for everything!

Q: What is your current writing project?

A: I'm working on the sequel to Why Hate the Billionaire? called Why Trust the Billionaire? which will be out in the fall. The third book, Why Love the Billionaire? will be out in the winter, hopefully by January, 2016.

Q: What are three of your favorite novels?

A: There are too many, but I do think that Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is an almost perfect book in that every word counts in every direction. There's nothing that doesn't illuminate the rest of the story. You may hate the style or have trouble with the language, but it's a perfect melding of art and craft. I'm also a sucker for the Alice in Wonderland books, especially the annotated ones.

Q: If you could have lunch with any novelist, living or dead, who would it be? What would talk to them about?

A: It would depend. If I wanted to talk about being a successful writer, then Charles Dickens is the man. Jane Austen knew the power of the word better than anyone. But for fun, I'd probably go with Fanny Burney or Mary Shelley. They lived in the middle of history, knew the important players, and wrote about them.

Q: What is your best piece of advice for budding authors?

A: Hone your craft in whatever manner works best for you. Some people like classes or workshops while others study the craft by themselves. And always remember to rewrite, rewrite, rewrite!

Q: What is your favorite inspirational quote?

A: I hate inspirational anything!


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  1. Hey Jim! Thanks for doing an interview with me. It was fun catching up with you and talking about my book. Congrats on your first novel! Jo

  2. Hey Jim!
    Thanks for doing this interview with me! I really enjoyed your book and I'm glad you've gotten inspired enough by the world of indie publishing to start this new blog! Jo