AUTHOR INTERVIEW – Joyce T. Strand
ABOUT THE BOOKS
The Reporter’s Story
Available June 16, 2016
A house burglary in 1912 San Francisco that the victim denies happening piques Emma Matheson’s reporter instincts. Why would a businessman deny that recovered loot was his and forego collecting his $8,000 worth of stolen jewelry? Why did he fire his maid and butler who originally reported the theft? The more she pursues the burglary that wasn’t a burglary, the more she sees it as a major story, involving murder, intrigue, and smuggling. Can she solve it and write the story that could project her to become the world-famous reporter she so covets? Or will she become one of its victims?
Landscape for Murder
A friend’s murder. An unconnected cast of suspects, including the victim’s missing adult daughter. As if that wasn’t enough, Brynn Bancroft’s winery has been broken into. Can she deal with her co-owner ex and help the police find her friend’s murder so she can finally overcome her own troubled past and enjoy family life with her teenage ward?
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
What initially got you interested in writing?
Throughout my career as a public relations professional, I always found the writing part of the job therapeutic. Maybe because in a world of constant interruptions and multiple changes it was something I could almost control. However, I became interested in writing fiction when, following a layoff, for the first time in my life I could not find a new job. So in 2009, at the suggestion of my late husband, I turned to writing fiction. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it – now I get to create my own characters and plot. And I’ve written seven novels since then. Oh, it was such fun!
What genres do you write in?
I write contemporary and historical mysteries, which all take place in California. My contemporary mysteries are inspired by real criminal cases; and my historical mysteries are based on the lives of actual persons.
What drew you to writing these specific genres?
I write mysteries because I read mysteries. Since my first Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie mysteries to the latest John Grisham legal thriller, I have enjoyed figuring out the puzzles no matter how many red herrings are thrown at me. So when it came time for me to write, it was all about creating a sleuth who could peel back those red herrings and find a solution to the puzzle.
I also thrive on learning how people lived in the past, which led me to write historical mysteries, including my most recent book, The Reporter’s Story, to be released June 16. What fun it was to research the lives of reporters in 1912 San Francisco and then entangle my protagonist in the issues of her time to slow her down as she tried to solve a burglary that wasn’t a burglary.
How did you break into the field?
I am impatient. I could never have succeeded in the traditional publishing world. It just takes too long to get a book published. I have benefitted from the arrival of Amazon and e-books, which enabled independent publishing. In addition, I received assistance and continue to receive assistance from the World Literary Café (WLC at http://worldliterarycafe.com), founded by author Melissa Foster, where I learned about marketing through social media and found vetted editors, cover designers, and proof-readers at reasonable prices. In addition, I learned much about the business and art of writing at the annual La Jolla Writer’s Conference (http://lajollawritersconference.com). And I had tremendous support from family and friends.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
Above all, I want readers to care about my characters and be entertained as they enjoy solving the mystery along with my amateur sleuths. Sometimes my characters have an issue they want to mention, but on the whole my books are about departing reality and entering a fictional world of mystery.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
I enjoy the process of conceiving a plot, figuring out the scenes to get from the crime to its solution, and giving the characters their. But in the end, there’s nothing more rewarding than holding the finished book in my hands with its awesome cover and printed pages.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
For me I find two challenges that continue to plague me: first, I have difficulty ending my stories. I tend to want to conclude my mysteries in the manner of Miss Christie’s Hercule Poirot by inviting the reader into my last chapter parlor as I offer an explanation of the puzzle. Second, for my historical mysteries especially, I become fascinated with the research and find I want to include interesting tidbits of history that result in my editor’s red ink and cutting 5,000 words in The Reporter’s Story. When I read, I do enjoy back story, but I respect my editor’s advice that too much does get in the way of the mystery.
What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?
First, if you want to write, just do it. Remember the first draft is just that, a first draft. It’s intended to be edited. But completing it is an important first step. (I typically write at least six drafts.) And do make sure to have a professional editor and book cover designer. Especially if you publish yourself, your cover is important to introduce your work. And listen to your editors but still be true to your story. And don’t forget proof-reading. If someone is paying for your book, they deserve it to be error-as-free-as-possible.
What type of books do you enjoy reading?
I read all kinds of mysteries and thrillers, by authors such as John Grisham, Mary Higgins Clark, Stieg Larsson, Michael Connelly, Erik Larson, and Linwood Barclay. However, my most favorite novel is James Clavell’s Shogun, which puts me in the middle of medieval Japan and the intricate chess-like moves of the characters.
Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?
“Interesting” is somewhat subjective but I do enjoy using my writing skills to help promote the fast-growing wine region of the Ramona Valley near San Diego. We now have more than 30 wineries with tasting rooms for award-winning wines. And my most favorite entertainment is going to live theater, particularly Broadway musicals.
What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?
The best place to connect is my web page along with Facebook, Amazon author page, and Goodreads—and following me on Twitter.
Web page: http://joycestrand.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joyce T. Strand is the author of who-done-it contemporary and historical mysteries set in California. Upon release of The Reporter’s Story on June 16, 2106, all of her seven novels are inspired by actual events and/or real people, although they are definitely fictionalized.
Her first three contemporary mysteries feature protagonist Jillian Hillcrest, a public relations executive who encounters murder and mayhem at her Silicon Valley company. Jillian’s boss, Brynn Bancroft, solves the next two mysteries when she leaves her position as Chief Financial Officer to run a winery in Sonoma County near San Francisco.
In Strand’s first historical mystery, a Superior Court Judge strives to discover the truth behind the mystery of a robbery-murder in a small California town in 1939. In her newest mystery, The Reporter’s Story, a house burglary in 1912 San Francisco piques a young reporter’s instincts that leads to intrigue and murder.
Strand headed corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in California’s Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike her character Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder in her career. Strand lives with her collection of cow statuary in Southern California, and enjoys exploring and writing about the fast-growing wine region in the Ramona Valley near San Diego.