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Welcome! Today I’m hosting a spot on the Great Escapes Virtual Blog Tour for Another Man’s Poison by Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa. I’m featuring an interview with the author! Goodreads, Purchase, and Rafflecopter Giveaway links are located below the interview.


Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa

Question #1: Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?  Do you enjoy your day job?  I no longer have a day job and am able to devout myself completely to writing, running errands, playing Spider Solitaire, watching Criminal Minds re-runs (isn’t Thomas Gibson an absolute hunk?), and on rare occasions cleaning.

Question #2: Do you set aside time to write every day or do you write more sporadically? I write every day, though many times it ends up sporadic. When you write, do you aim to complete a set # of pages or words? I never set a word or page goal – I go more by “scenes” that need to be completed. How does music/other noise affect your concentration when you’re writing? I love listening to music while I write, especially if the songs are in sync with the character’s age or musical preferences. If the story takes place during a specific period in time, the 60’s for example, I’ll write listening to The Beach Boys or The Beatles.

Question #3: When you’re writing, do your characters seem to “hijack” the story or do you feel like you have the “reigns” of the story? My characters always hijack the stories, in addition to the story lines! Similarly, do you outline your book first or just sit down and write, seeing where it takes you? Mostly I’m a “seat of my pants” writer. I sometimes write a rough outline, but I rarely follow it. When I write, the story goes off into different (and sometimes more interesting) directions!


Question #4: How did you break into the publishing world? I started off writing short stories for small literary magazines and publications. During that time, I thought I needed more writing discipline, so I applied to a local newspaper as a reporter. Based on a sample of a mock story I came up with, they actually agreed to hire me! How many rejections did you go through before finding a publisher? Plenty! I kept a long list of rejections in Excel and still have it. I attach it to the emails I send to writing friends whenever they complain about how hard it is to get something published. Did you ever think about quitting? If so, what did you do to keep yourself hopeful? I did quit writing for about a year, but it was impossible to never write again. Writers have to write, whether or not someone wants to read their stories or publish them. We’re born to write.

Question #5: In general, how many revisions do you go through before a book is published? I go through at least three revisions. Do you have beta readers or is it just your editing team and their suggestions? I have one trusted beta reader, and two other writers who critique. As a group, we all critique/gently suggest/nudge/encourage and discourage each other. Do you set your books aside for a period of time and then pick them up and edit them? Absolutely! I don’t open the file for at least two weeks after I’ve finished a manuscript. Even with all that editing and critiquing, it’s impossible to catch every single error. Our minds play tricks on our eyes and we automatically insert words that aren’t there but should be. After that, I leave it to the publisher’s editing pros to pick up whatever might have been missed.

Question #6: A good villain is hard to write. How did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book. I have such a twisted, miserable dark side! There are so many things I’d love to do but won’t because it’s immoral or illegal. It’s so much safer to assign this bad behavior to a fictional villain/alter-ego. Was there a real-life inspiration for him/her/it? As Another Man’s Poison is about a poisoning, there are plenty of real life, famous villains I used for inspiration. They are mentioned in the book after the crime is solved – but I’m not doing a spoiler!

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© Graphic Garden

Question #7: Do any family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. end up showing up in your work or are your characters all truly fictional? I’m sitting at my desk laughing my *ss off right this minute because all my relatives, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, both living and departed, have shown up in my Jersey Girl series in one way or another. I am Colleen Caruso, even my newspaper editor tells me so. My mother is Colleen Caruso’s mother. Colleen’s siblings are mine. Ken Rhodes is my husband magnified. Colleen’s best friend is a combination of two of my closest friends. I use actual family names, occupations, and personality quirks! I’m sure my brother and sister want to strangle me for doing this – and wouldn’t that make a great story?

Question #8: If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction, contemporary/historical who would you write about? Why? I’d love to write about Molly Pitcher (a local hero in my Central Jersey area) or Eleanor Roosevelt. I’ve always admired very strong women, and it would be an honor to write about them.

Question #9: What are some great books you’ve read recently? I haven’t read much fiction lately, and rarely do when I’m working on a book. Last week I re-read The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls when I learned the book was made into a movie. If you really believe you had it tough growing up, read this account of a frightening childhood and stop whining.


Question #10: What books have influenced your life the most? I can’t think of any book that actually influenced my life. I’ve read many that gave me a broader perspective such as 1984, Lord of the Flies, and The Color Purple. As for non-fiction, I re-read Man’s Search for Meaning periodically to remind me that you can survive just about anything if you have a reason to live.

Question #11: If you could spend one day with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day? Aww! Ken Rhodes, without a doubt! And it wouldn’t be a day. I’d rather have a very long, lovely, sensuous night. You already know what I’d be doing.

Question #12: Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Have you ever learned anything from a bad review and incorporated it into your future work? I sometimes do read my reviews, and was surprised by some and honestly perplexed by others. I had one review that irked me, but I would never think of responding. Purposely miserable people aren’t worth the effort of a response.  Most of my reviews are, thankfully, positive and extremely funny. I was pleased that one reviewer loved a young cop in the Jersey Girl books, James O’Reilly, who is a secondary character, and he’s fast becoming her favorite in the series. I purposely modeled him using the personalities of my own sons (same age group), so it’s a thumps-up for my kids!

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Synopsis of “Another Man’s Poison”

Has our Jersey Girl finally bitten off more than she can chew?
Crime reporter Colleen Caruso has an appetite for romance … and trouble. When someone tries to poison Ken Rhodes (her handsome boss and boyfriend), Colleen vows to hunt down the culprit and serve them up to the police. She’s whisked away into the scrumptious world of restaurants and gourmet food as she tangles with four culinary divas from Ken’s past.

Trouble is, Colleen doesn’t know when to turn down the heat.  Is this Jersey Girl’s investigation a recipe for disaster? Or will the poisoner get their just desserts?

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Thanks for joining me today for this latest blog tour stop for Another Man’s Poison by Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa. If you wish to visit other stops on the tour, just click on the banner below. The banner will take you to the main tour page with a list of all participants!

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Interview with Vina Arno

As I stated a few posts back, I want to try to do some interviews with authors that I review. I’m grateful, that Vina Arno, author of “In His Corner”, was more than willing to answer the 15 questions I sent to her!  I didn’t quite manage to stay away from all the cliché questions, but I did try to mix in a few less common questions. I sincerely appreciate Ms. Arno taking the time to answer them!

Question #1: Are your characters based off of real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

Ms. Arno’s Answer: The hero in my book, “In His corner,” is a boxer known as the Juggernaut. He is my homage to Tom Hardy’s cage-fighter character in the movie “Warrior.” I prefer boxing to mixed martial arts and I wanted the prestige of the Olympics, so I made my hero an Olympic gold-medalist boxer. My heroine is named Siena because she was inspired by the Italian city of the same name, which I visited in 2013.


Question #2: As a child, what do you want to do/be when you grew up?

Ms. Arno’s Answer: I thought I wanted to be a stage actress! But I realize now that what I always wanted was to create and be immersed in a creative environment.


Question #3: As a new author, what is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process? What is your least favorite? 

Ms. Arno’s Answer: My favorite part is the actual writing and building a story sentence by sentence. You start with a blank screen and end up with an entire manuscript. Even rewriting, which is difficult, gives me joy because it’s part of creating the story.
My least favorite is everything outside the writing process (querying, marketing, promotions, etc.)!


Question #4: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?

Ms. Arno’s Answer: I didn’t go out to do research for this book. For my boxing hero, I watched documentaries and read books about the sport. For my ER-doctor heroine, my experience as a public relations specialist at a hospital came in handy. I drew inspiration from my interactions with doctors and hospital workers.


Question #5: Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in the future? Conversely, did you make any marketing decisions that had an immediate impact on your sales?

Ms. Arno’s Answer: Every little thing helps in marketing, so even the less successful attempts are still useful.


Question #6: Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages each day or do you just set aside writing time and whatever comes out, comes out.

Ms. Arno’s Answer: No, I don’t have a word-count quota. However, I do write every single day, year-round. For me, what’s useful is the actual habit of writing. It’s part of my routine and it’s something I look forward to every day.


Question #7: Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?

Ms. Arno’s Answer: I’m a copywriter and editor for a software company by day.


Question #8: Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate, or longhand? Why?

Ms. Arno’s Answer: I write my novels on a computer, but I write random thoughts and notes in a notebook or any piece of paper available.


Question #9: How did you break into the publishing world?

Ms. Arno’s Answer: It was a serendipitous process that began with a trip to Siena, Italy. I wrote about my publishing breakthrough for Forbes. If you’re interested, you can read it here: 3 Career Reinvention Tips from a Reporter Turned Romance Writer.


Question #10: If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction who would you write about?

Ms. Arno’s Answer: General Douglas MacArthur, the iconic World War II military leader. In fact, I recently completed a historical novel about him, which my literary agent in currently shopping to editors.


Question #11: If you could spend one day with a character from your book, whom would it be? What would you do during that day? (PG-13 please)

Ms. Arno’s Answer: I would love to spend time with both my hero and my heroine, but if I must choose just one, then I would shadow my heroine, Siena Carr, at the hospital. She’s an intelligent, big-hearted doctor, who’s beautiful inside and out. I was surprised that some readers misunderstood her, big time.


Question #12: Were your parents reading enthusiasts who gave you a push to be a reader as a kid?

Ms. Arno’s Answer: Unfortunately, no. And that’s why I’m a late bloomer. I didn’t discover the joys of reading until I was in high school. I didn’t start writing until I was in graduate school.


Question #13: What are some great books you’ve read recently?

Ms. Arno’s Answer: I’m not a science fiction fan, but I finally read Ray Bradbury’s classic novel, “Fahrenheit 451”, recently. I was blown away by his writing. I loved it so much that I wrote about it on my blog. You can check it out, if you’re interested: Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” Transcends Science Fiction Genre.


Question #14: What books have influenced your life the most?

Ms. Arno’s Answer: In high school, I discovered how powerful fiction can be after reading “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger. Many years later, reading Amy Tan’s “The Joy Luck Club” inspired me to start writing fiction. Nancy Horan’s “Loving Frank” gave me courage to write my historical novel about Douglas MacArthur.


Question #15: What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was the least useful or most destructive?

Ms. Arno’s Answer: Writing is a very humbling process. I learned that I can always improve my writing. “Don’t be precious” – this is what I tell myself when I’m writing. I can’t think of anything truly destructive. So far, even my negative experiences (such as rejections) have brought me positive lessons.


Again, many thanks to Ms. Arno for taking the time to answer these questions for me and for all of us! I hope the rest of you enjoyed the questions/answers as much as I did.

Being my first interview with an author, if anyone has feedback or has ideas for questions that you think would be good, please feel free to either comment here or message me. Thanks!