Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and fifty-fourth is of science-fiction novelist Joyce Elferdink.
These are a few of Joyce’s favorite things: science fiction (and most other books, too); stimulating conversation (she admits that should be at the top of the list); any shades of pink and purple; and trying new things and visiting new places (especially with her grandchildren).
This is what she thinks you may want to know: She has a masters’ degree in Communications and Urban Studies from Michigan State. The Urban Studies component enabled her to be an economic development director, bringing jobs to communities. The communications focus has allowed her to teach public speaking, English and writing at the college level, starting with a public speaking class at a military base. She says she never planned to teach public speaking because she didn’t take the course in college—out of fear. Neither did she plan to go into the Peace Corps but volunteered after her children left home and was in the first group ever to go into Kazakhstan.
Elferdink returned to her birthplace, Holland, Michigan, three years ago from Detroit where many of her friends were nuns and other activists. She is now an adjunct instructor at Davenport University where she challenges her students to take up the tools of verbal and written communication, our greatest resources for “being the changes we wish to see in the world” (Gandhi).
And now from the author herself:
Why do I write? I couldn’t answer that question until I came to terms with why I haven’t written. Even that must be clarified: I have always written, but never even thought of writing a book until I started writing Pieces of You. I wrote in a journal as a child, but it was primarily about my parents’ conflicts. Then I took up journal writing again as a divorced adult, but my second husband destroyed that book. (Evidently he thought the memories of my former male friends would be erased if the pages on which they lived were eliminated.)
I wrote for work—annual reports, marketing material, curriculum, and other such works required of a bank manager, economic development director and then college instructor. I remember a former boss, the head of Battle Creek Unlimited, commanding me to write a book while in the Peace Corps.
I did not. I had nothing to say.
Yes, I had many amazing experiences while in Kazakhstan and while living a life that was never the typical fairy tale. I was always busy trying to accomplish—and to escape. And I always read novels–to escape and/or to learn, so I could accomplish more. But I didn’t find the inspiration to share what I was learning… until my friend’s death.
In trying to answer the why question, I have concluded that, for me, writing a book is about sharing what has changed me enough to believe (or at least hope) I can answer questions others have, too. When the model for my protagonist died unexpectedly, I had lots of questions: Where was he? Why did he have to die just when our relationship was becoming something very special? Why weren’t prayers answered? To answer some of those questions, I had to do considerable research, soul searching, and creative thinking. As I detected answers, I began writing his story—or what I believe could be his story.
Why do I write? More specifically, why did I write my first novel at 60 something? I finally have something to say. When I faced my haunting questions, I found some incredible answers.
In February of 2012, after four years of writing and revising Pieces of You, I met editor Linnet Woods through LinkedIn, the professional networking site. Although we’ve never met—Woods lives on a schooner in the Balearic Islands of Spain—as a team, we quickly completed the seventh version of the manuscript and are now discussing further collaboration on a sequel tentatively entitled Battle of Jericho 2025.
More information about the author can be found…
- on her Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/jelferdink
- blog: http://harmlessjoyce.wordpress.com
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/harmlessjoyce
- and Pieces of You can be purchased as a Kindle eBook or in paperback through Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Pieces-You-novel-based-story/dp/0615664490.
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with poet Clayton Bye – the six hundred and fifteenth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.
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As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do, and a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words (and post stories of up to 3,000 words), or posted for others to critique (up to 5,000 words) on the new Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me posting it online in my new Red Pen Critique Sunday night posts, then do email me. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry and Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group.
Four new online writing groups:
- Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group (http://novelwritinggroup.wordpress.com / http://www.facebook.com/groups/508696639153189)
- Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group (http://poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com / http://www.facebook.com/groups/388850977875934)
- Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group (http://scriptwritinggroup.wordpress.com / http://www.facebook.com/groups/319941328108017)
- Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group (http://shortstorywritinggroup.wordpress.com / http://www.facebook.com/groups/544072635605445)
We look forward to hearing your comments.