I’ve a wonderful interview for you today on Spotlight Interview Thursday’s with Joan Carney about her novel Fated Memories.
This book is scheduled to go on a .99 promotion starting Saturday! So if this interests you, please be sure to check the novel and author out!
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up in the Bronx, the number five child of six and the third daughter. My sisters and I still get together to relive the many fond childhood memories we have of our old neighborhood and friends. Like my sisters, I married young, but moved to southern California to raise my four children, picking up a degree in accounting along the way from night and online classes.
Now that my kids are grown and on their own, my cat, Thea, graciously shares her condo at the lake with me—as long as I pay the mortgage. My coffee addiction is out of control, but I think I’ve gotten a handle on the dark chocolate obsession that used to rule my life.
What inspired you to write?
As a student, I always struggled putting my thoughts on paper. Even on subjects I was very familiar with, I’d sit for hours staring at blank pages hoping for any inspiration to express myself in a coherent manner. But I loved to read.
I’m older now, not necessarily wiser, but a lot more stubborn and determined. Once the story of Kitty, Simon and Maggie formed in my mind, I knew I had to write it down regardless of whether or not anyone else read it. Luckily, Fated Memories has received a warm welcome from the readers on Amazon and Goodreads.
Beginnings are always difficult. I think I rewrote the first ten pages over at least twenty times before I was satisfied with it. Excited about Kitty’s character and the journey I knew she would take, I struggled with giving the reader the right amount of backstory to understand the changes she would go through and still be interested enough to turn the pages.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
Fated Memories is a story of time travel, romance and one woman’s journey to self-realization. When I researched my father’s family tree, I was thrilled to find ancestors who had fought in the Civil War. After reading everything I could find on the daily lives of the soldiers and their families, I wondered how a woman of our time—albeit a neurotic, emotionally scarred one—would fare if dumped there, unprepared. Coming from a society of empowered women, could she survive in a world where women have no status? With a transport method devised, two companions to keep her on track, and a few opportunities for romance, a novel was born.
How much research was involved in writing your book? How did you go about it?
It was important to get the circumstances of the era right, so I used a variety of resources. I read books and consulted old newspapers on the conditions of the camps and battle strategies as well as personal accounts from Civil War nurses and soldiers. The internet provided a wealth of material on medical practices, battle maps, uniforms and the exploits of the Bucktails unit that Simon joins. An excellent resource turned out to be the genealogy websites where people posted letters and newspaper accounts of their ancestors depicting their daily routines and special accomplishments.
“As she washed off the mascara tracks from her tears, she studied her reflection in the restroom mirror, mulling over the misery that was her life. You’re almost thirty years old, Kitty Trausch, what have you got to show for it? A man? Not since Richard dumped me last year. A career? More like a crappy job that’s become unbearable.
Kitty remembered her mom’s mantra “When the world gets rough,” she’d say, “remind yourself of the good things you have.” She thought hard for a positive slant, but only came up with her prized closet full of shoes and salvation from her acne plague. Great, at least that and two-seventy-five will get me on the subway. Oh, and one more good thing. Rooming with Sonia allowed her to walk the short distance to the hospital and not have to ride the train from Tuckahoe to Manhattan. Wow, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude.”
Are you a full time or part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?
There’s nothing I’d like more than to write full time. Now that I’ve started, the story ideas keep itching my brain. Unfortunately, living indoors and eating regular meals requires more steady income than my writing is producing at the moment. So, I have an agreement with my local police department—I agree to show up four days a week and man the radio at the dispatch center, and they pay me enough to cover my mortgage and expenses. It’s a win-win.
How about your favorite books? What would be your top 5?
Stephen King takes the top 2 spots:
11/22/63 – about a man who finds a way to go back in time and tries to stop the Kennedy assassination. Hulu did a very good miniseries on it – except for one sticking point that I won’t mention here because it’s a spoiler. You’ll have to contact me to ask about it.
The Talisman – this is an old one written under the Bachman pen name. It’s about a boy who tries to find a cure for his mother’s terminal illness in an alternate universe.
Ken Follet gets the next two:
Pillars of the Earth – traces the building of a cathedral in early England by a master craftsman – not something I thought I’d find interesting – but the characters were so true to life and their struggles so touching, I couldn’t put the ten pound book down.
Fall of Giants – takes place at the beginning of WWI and follows the lives of five families from different walks of life who share a common bond. Again, it’s all about the characters.
The last one is from an Indie author, Scott Spotson, I met on Goodreads who blew me away with his time travel concept.
Life II – is about a man who is given the opportunity to relive his life while maintaining his current memories. The roadblocks that crop up as he tries to improve his past are mind blowing.
The window in my office faces a serene lake with ducks and seagulls squawking in the distance. When I’m stuck for the perfect word or phrase, I gaze out at the light sparkling on the water and allow the alpha brain waves to flow. If that doesn’t work, I do the opposite and munch on chips, crackers, anything chocolate or high in carbs to stimulate my creativity. The calories are balanced out with long walks around the lake or, if I’ve been especially brilliant, I reward myself with a couple hours trolling the department store racks.
What is the preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
I love hearing from fans and readers and I’m always available for contact by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Time is my arch enemy, so my website, Joan Carney Author is not as up to date as I’d like it to be. But there is a contact form there to reach me.
Or you can like me on Facebook at Facebook: Fated Memories for another avenue with news and updates on my current and upcoming books.
What would your advice be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Jot down every idea for a story that comes into your head so you don’t forget it. Your list will be invaluable when you come up dry or just need inspiration.
I wrote my first draft entirely by the seat of my pants and wound up having to slash off about a third of the manuscript. From this experience I can tell you to outline as much of the book as you can. It’s worth taking the time up front to ensure a well-developed and structured book in the end. Once the outline is complete and weak points and any areas where the pace lags are defined, the story practically writes itself.
Where to Buy:
Many thanks to Joan for allowing me the chance to interview her. It was an enjoyable read! I hope you seek out her book, readers. Plus, you can’t beat .99 deals! – Leticia