Tho’ I’m a bit late, today I’m hosting an author interview with Joanne Guidoccio, author of Too Many Women in the Room as part of a Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.
Special thanks to Ms. Guidoccio for agreeing to answer my questions and putting up with the ones that have multiple parts!
Q1: Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer?
Ms. Guidoccio’s Answer: When I retired from a 31-year teaching career, I decided to launch a second career as a writer. Nine years have passed, and while I do write during the day, I don’t think of writing as a “day job.” It’s my passion.
Q2: Do you set aside time to write every day or do you write more sporadically?
Ms. Guidoccio’s Answer: After some experimentation, I came up with a daily regimen. Nothing too dramatic, but it works for me. I like to sleep in each day and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. But after my second cup of coffee, I start writing. My goal is 1,000 words a day. After I reach that quota, I’m free to meet with friends for lunch or coffee and plan other outings.
Q3: When you’re writing, do your characters seem to “hijack” the story or do you feel like you have the “reigns” of the story?
Ms. Guidoccio’s Answer: I’m a linear pantser. I like to start with a character sketch of the protagonist and a rough draft of the storyline. While the beginning and ending remain constant, there are several plot changes along the way. And I let the characters misbehave.
Q4: How did you break into the publishing world?
Ms. Guidoccio’s Answer: I wrote the first draft of A Season for Killing Blondes, Book 1 of the Gilda Greco Mystery Series during my “cancer” year and then filed it away. An integral part of my therapy, writing that novel helped me survive and thrive during the most challenging season of my life.
After retiring, I spent a year editing and polishing the manuscript. While querying, I wrote the first draft of Between Land and Sea (a paranormal romance about a middle-aged ex-mermaid) in three months and then spent a year editing and polishing. I was thrilled when Senior Editor Debby Gilbert of Soul Mate Publishing offered me a contract in 2013.
A year later, Editor Johanna Melaragno of The Wild Rose Press picked up A Season for Killing Blondes. The novel was released in June 2015.
Q5: In general, how many revisions do you go through before a book is published?
Ms. Guidoccio’s Answer: After completing the first draft, I put the manuscript aside for at least one month or until I feel I’ve fallen out of love with it. Two more complete revisions follow before sending the manuscript to my editor. Another lengthy revision and then it’s off to my publisher, The Wild Rose Press. Several more revisions follow—anywhere from three to five—and a final proofreading.
Q6: A good villain is hard to write. How did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book?
Ms. Guidoccio’s Answer: In Too Many Women in the Room, the villains are boomer women. As a fellow boomer, I can identify with many of their issues. I just had to go deeper and darker. Reading psychological thrillers also helped me get into that mindset.
Q7: Do any family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. End up showing up in our work or are your characters all truly fictional?
Ms. Guidoccio’s Answer: Having lived and taught in different cities, I felt free to “borrow” characteristics from friends, colleagues, and students to create composite characters. While the protagonist of the book is approximately 70% of me, the same can’t be said of the other characters. I would be very surprised if anyone recognized himself/herself in the novel.
Q8: If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction, contemporary/historical who would you write about? Why?
Ms. Guidoccio’s Answer: I’m inspired by women who launch spectacular second acts. I would love to write a fictionalized memoir about Georgia O’Keeffe, focusing on her early years and what inspired her art. Or a self-help book centered on her quotations, life lessons, and anecdotes.
Q9: What are some great books you’ve read recently?
Ms. Guidoccio’s Answer: In the last six months, I’ve read several memoirs about celebrities and their challenges. My favorites include Settle for More by Megyn Kelly, Between Breaths by Elizabeth Vargas, After All by Mary Tyler Moore, and The Road to Happiness by Linda Gray.
Q10: What books have influenced your life the most?
Ms. Guidoccio’s Answer: In June of 2004, I discovered Louise Hay. I had just been diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer and desperately needed hope and inspiration. I found it in Louise’s book, You Can Heal Your Life.
Q11: If you could spend one day with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during the day?
Ms. Guidoccio’s Answer: I’d love to spend the day with Chef David Korba. Watch him cook, get a few tips about Greek cuisine, and then help myself to his signature dishes.
Q12: Do you read your reviews?
Ms. Guidoccio’s Answer: I read all my reviews at least once. On “blue” days, I reread the excellent reviews. While reading the less-than-stellar reviews, I look for common themes. For example, several readers commented on the number of characters introduced in the first chapter of A Season for Killing Blondes. I kept that comment in mind while writing Too Many Women in the Room, Book 2 and A Different Kind of Reunion, Book 3.
I want to say thank you again to Joanne Guidoccio for being willing to answer my questions. I also wanted to apologize again for getting this post up so late! If you wish to visit other stops in the tour, please click on the banner under the purchase links! It’ll take you to the tour’s main page and you can pick up the schedule from there.
Where to find Joanne…