I got Jo to answer a few questions, so go ahead and check out the article below:
From Idea to Reality…
What a process, writing a book! I never knew I had it in me. When I finally held the finished book in my hand it was a surreal feeling. The process had felt long, but in reality from start to finish it was relatively fast. I couldn’t believe I had done it, a real book; a bona fide book I could show to people with my name on it! Of course in reality it was a team effort. My friend Sandi, my publisher, worked tirelessly; I have no idea how many hours she put into making my dream happen. I really don’t even know the process because she took on the lion’s share of making it happen. I feel blessed that I can just write.
Every step of the process I doubted myself, I really believed my story wasn’t that good and wouldn’t really sell. The fact is, I started writing it about twelve years ago and shelved it after nine chapters, because I just didn’t think It was good enough. Then to have a friend read it and beg for more and more until the book became a series, was quite something. I never expected it and when I started writing it all those years ago, I never really thought it would happen.
I remember seeing the cover art for the book; the final copy and pinning it up on my pin board. I’d look at it every day and it felt so unreal! This was mine, I had done this. The talent of the graphic designer was amazing too. That he caught my vision was remarkable; it turned out so much better than I ever thought it would!
I’m immensely thankful to the people who made it happen for me – my publisher, the graphic designer, people who’ve read and edited my stories. I never would have got it past my computer had it not been for them. I love just being able to focus on the writing.
Many people have asked me how I come up with ideas or how I get the story to flow but I really am not sure of the answer? For me, it started with the character Abigail. She lived in my head for a few years before I put anything on page, it was like the story grew around her. I would sit at my keyboard and just put myself into Abigail’s mindset then the words would tumble out. I would dream about her and the things that happened to her.
I read widely in the genre I write in and I’ve watched many tv shows and movies too set in the same kind of era. I feel like I’m familiar with it, despite being in another country and time. Sometimes I feel like I know the 19th Century better than my own. The struggle I find is really what to leave out of the story; sometimes I wake up and think ‘no my character wouldn’t have said that or done that’ and I go and correct it. I’ve so loved developing characters, especially my feisty heroines! Some are based on people I’ve encountered in my life, and some are entirely fictional, but I feel like they’ve become friends and family to me in some ways. When I finished writing about the Collins family, I felt like I’d lost family. I’ve decided I’ll write more about them, their legacy is so real to me now.
I’ve started a second series based on a Mountie and his life, learning to juggle between his duty and his commitment to family. It’s called “Twixt Duty and Love.” It looks like it will be three books at this stage. Watch this space!
I have a few other stories floating around in my head that hopefully I’ll get onto the screen at some point. I don’t have as much time to write as I’d like, some days I wish I could insert a flash drive into my brain and download all the ideas!!
Has writing a book changed me? Yes! It’s an exciting and humbling experience, it has helped me to believe in myself. Having people tell me they like my story has been incredible, people can relate to the characters and all the things they face. It may be set in the 19th century, but all those situations are still faced today. Woven through the first book is a lot of my own story and that’s made me feel quite vulnerable at times, putting my heart out there on the page and running the risk of people poking holes in it. I’ve been hugely surprised though at who has been touched by it.
I get to fill in the ‘occupation’ box on forms with ‘author’ now and it’s very surreal, but I’m hooked! I love to write now and the stories just seem to grow. I usually have a start point, an end point, a main character and a title when I begin and it just grows from there into something, even I find extraordinary. It’s a God-given talent, it can’t be anything else. He gives me the words that I hope will encourage and inspire others to persevere and hold onto hope in life, no matter what it throws at you.
I look forward to book two coming soon and I hope my readers love them as much as I do!!