Welcome to the seven hundred and eighth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is contemporary and historical mystery author Joyce T Strand. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further… but not before you check out the giveaway that Joyce has kindly offered – details after the interview. My thanks go to Della of Dellagate for arranging this interview…
Morgen: Hello, Joyce. It’s great to have you back.
Joyce: Thanks for having me on your blog. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about my contemporary and historical mysteries that I write to entertain the whodunit fans.
Morgen: I love whodunits, although I rarely get them right. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Joyce: I currently live in Southern California near San Diego, although I lived most of my working life in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is why many of my mysteries are set there. Before writing fiction, for more than 25 years, I spent most of my career writing by-lined articles, whitepapers, press releases, and fact sheets. When I lost my job in 2008, I had difficulty finding a new one and decided to write fiction. It was an interesting transition!
Morgen: San Francisco’s certainly a popular location for writers. A few of them have visited this blog. You write contemporary and historical mysteries, have you considered other genres?
Joyce: With The Reporter’s Story, I have now written and published two historical mysteries and five contemporary ones. Not only do I write mysteries, but I also really enjoy reading all kinds: cozy, thrillers, historical, and procedural. If I were to change genres, I would probably write historical novels. Clavell’s Shogun is my favorite novel, and to be able to write like that would be incredible. I felt like I was actually in medieval Japan and was drawn into the chess-playing plot of intrigue.
Morgen: History was one of my worst subjects at school; trying to remember all those dates. 1066, 1665, 1666 and the twentieth-century wars is about as good as I get. You’ve self-published, what led to you going your own way?
Joyce: I have self-published. Three circumstances led me to that route. (1) I am impatient. The traditional process just takes too much time. (2) My background and career in public relations exposed me to publishing and marketing, giving me just enough background to make me think I knew something. (3) The ability to produce e-books at low-cost and publish them on Kindle and Nook at no up-front charge. Eventually the proliferation of social media added to the marketing quiver. However, I believe that the clout of a big publisher still carries considerable punch to the widespread success of an author.
Morgen: I’d agree and so I’ve self-published but am also planning to submit to publishers… the best of both worlds. You mentioned eBooks (Kindle and Nook), how involved were you in that process? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Joyce: I confess that I took to the e-book tablet very quickly. I am not one who needs printed-paper pages to enjoy reading. I find the e-book format convenient and alluring. I carry my Kindle with me everywhere and seldom mind waiting in doctor’s offices or in lines because I can pull it out and read. Of course, I have at least fifty books loaded and beckoning me. At the same time, I get very excited when I receive the print copies of my own books—the cover is so enhancing, and flipping through the pages seeing my words in print is exciting. OK, so maybe I still do enjoy the printed pages a little!
Morgen: Me too. I prefer eBooks to read, especially when Mrs Kindle reads to me (very useful when checking my own writing). Which authors did you read when you were younger and did they shape you as a writer?