Saturday Spotlight 4: Joy V Smith

Complementing the author spotlights I ran from 2011 to 2016, today’s Saturday Spotlight, the fourth, is of Joy V Smith. If you would like to take part in a spotlight, take a look at Saturday spotlights.

Joy and Xena

Joy V Smith has been writing stories since she was a kid and made her own little books (folded with pages and covers). She lived with her family in Wisconsin and went to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where she received a BA in English – and probably spent more time writing – and reading, she confesses, than studying.

She spent her summers working at a dog kennel; that job was interesting and fun – and very cold in winter. After graduating from college, she moved to Boston and worked for a newspaper – The Christian Science Monitor. It too was interesting and fun, and she visited the Boston Common, historical sites, walked downtown and elsewhere (from the Back Bay), and lived through urban renewal.

She continued writing – and later had a boarding kennel for a few years – but the hours were 24/7. This was a long way from Boston; her father had passed on, and she moved to Florida to be near her mother. Eventually, she closed down and remodeled the building into an antique shop, The Frog Pond, and started a newsletter, “Splish Splash.” She wrote collecting and small press articles for that publication. She also wrote other articles – including interviews with editors, artists, and writers – and short stories. The closest she came to writing long stories was sequels to her stories.

Then she learned about NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, which took place every November and had a goal of 50,000 words. She started writing novels then and finished several over the years; there was a lot of editing to be done; Joy owes a lot to her patient editors.

Along the way she also built a house – with help from some great contractors – and later built a house for her mother. And so Joy wrote a non-fiction book, Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook. Some years later, she sold her houses (her mother was deceased) and downsized. She remodeled the next house – and wrote a book about that. Subsequently she remodeled another house – or two.

Oh, she shouldn’t forget her two sisters and all those cats and dogs! One sister worked with her in the kennel and the antique shop while the other sister commuted to an office job and went to auctions and estate sales to find goodies for The Frog Pond; a friend painted a mural on the front of the building – a converted garage. And they all visited the theme parks, the state fair (in Tampa), and traveled around the state – also Georgia, Alabama, and Texas. She picked up dogs and cats in Boston (Angell Memorial) and rescued cats and dogs from shelters.

She also collects books by her favorite authors, pop-up books and, of course, reference books and books on writing. All the houses have been filled with walls of bookcases – and there’s had to be a lot of culling. To say nothing of a big office filled with desks, filing cabinets, and computers. There are dog beds and kitty litter boxes too – and cat tree houses. One desk drawer is full of cat toys – mostly crumpled paper. It’s been a busy life with dogs and cats always wanting attention.


And now from the author herself:

I’ve always written; my first little article was published when I was in college, though I wrote a lot more there. I have a lot of notebooks (years old) that contain pages of works in progress and notebooks devoted to published stories, articles and interviews. I know writers, editors and artists from online and science fiction conventions, especially Oasis. Some of these were published in print and online zines, now defunct. Anyone remember Janet Fox and her newsletter and the Killer Frog contest?

I’ve had audiobooks published too; one is still available (Sugar Time). I wrote some children’s stories also, including Sammy/s Beautiful Tail (about an anole; they can lose their tails to escape). And naturally, stories about dogs, cats, and sabertooth tigers.

I invested in tee shirts with my book covers, book marks, and stickers with my covers. Promotion is non-stop; it has to be. Of course I amuse myself by browsing Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. I can’t cover them all! I even bought a restaurant’s video wall sign; I have no idea if anyone ever noticed it. And I left a few books at a friend’s antiques etc. shop. And I give them to friends, family, and visitors; I keep a record of that. (I have a couple boxes of books in my closet.)

Having an office to work in keeps me from bothering family members in their bedrooms, though I’ve done that before I had an office. Now it’s a dog wanting to go out or a cat rapping on my arm to get me to throw one of her toys. (You’ve got some on your tree house shelves.)  And I can work in the middle of the night. (I rarely go into the living room to see what they’re watching on TV.)

One of the perks of being a writer is meeting other writers and editors. (I’ve done some editing as a favor to friends; I focus on the writing, not on what they’re saying.) Now and then other writers send me a book to review, and I enjoy ARCs; but I’m careful. (It’s not horror, is it?) I’ve added a few of those to my bookshelves.

Speaking of reference books, I have two notebooks with names I’ve gleaned from Olympic names for ethnic characters and some descriptions I loved. However, I’ve never taken the time to browse them to use them. Pity, because there are great descriptions of interesting characters, but I usually just draw on my mental files.

I’ve written articles on writing, including interviews with two editors who helped me with one of my stories for their magazine; and I’ve asked an editor friend for help on occasion because she knows the basics and has written some good books on writing.

I’m critical about books I read, making it hard to enjoy them; I pass them on. One my favorite authors is Terry Pratchett btw. He has a whole shelf to himself. Because of all the books I’ve accumulated, I have to shelve them by size usually. (It depends on how I buy them.) Writing and reading are my favorite things to do.


You can find more about Joy and her writing via…


If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at Saturday Spotlights or email me for details.

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