J S Winn earned a graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Metaphysical Sciences. Her previous mystery novel set in the American Southwest, Kiva Fire, garnered much critical praise. She has had a play produced by the Actor’s Alliance Festival in San Diego, and her poetry has been anthologized by the San Diego Writer’s Workshop in For the Love of Writing. Her play “Gotcha!” was selected for a reading at the Village Arts Theater in Carlsbad, California in May 2012.
She presently lives by the beach in San Diego County, California.
For more information about Out of the Shadow, please visit http://www.jswinn.com or contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org
What inspires you to write?
Breathing. I can’t imagine not writing. To me, writing is one of my most satisfying and fulfilling activities. When I don’t write for a period of time, I begin to feel antsy and empty. And the only way to calm the jitters and feed the hunger is to start writing again. I wish that level of passion and joy in their work for each and everyone.
Tell us about your writing process
There’s nothing esoteric about my writing process. I sit down at my computer in the morning, and, except to work out and eat, I’m usually close by the remainder of the day. Ideas are never far away, but since I’m a slow writer, I have to take one project at a time. Right now, I’m busy marketing my new mystery/suspense/romance, Out of the Shadow, on amazon, which takes hours out of every day. But after I’m done what I have to do, I pull up my next romantic suspense, The Spirit Keepers, and start pounding away at the keys.
When I begin a new book, I take my time doing my research. Then I create character sketches that allows my characters to speak to me, tell me their likes and dislikes and find their own voices. As a retired psychotherapist, I want to understand my character, inside and out. Next, I draft a loose outline of the story in my notebook, so I have a road map, but leave it open enough for me to take off in new and different directions if the story or characters demand it. I couldn’t begin a book without an outline, but I don’t want it to be so solid and permanent that it stifles my creativity and the evolution of the story.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I do both. I want to know what my characters think and feel. I want a familiarity with their backgrounds and relationships. I want to know their families and friends. But, primarily, I want to know what motivates them. What excites them and what frightens them. What they aspire to and run away from. Who attracts them or repulses them, and why. What they would do in any specific situation. How they handle pain, rage, stress and fear, and conversely, joy, love, intimacy and fun. And all the many intricacies that make them unique and compelling characters.
Even though I listen to what my characters tell me, I follow my subsequent insight into how they would react at any point in the story. I have learned to respect their ability to speak for themselves and to let me know what it is they want and need, and my ability to learn from them. It is this respect that allows them to be fully fleshed out within the context of the story.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I read an article about self-publishing and decided it was time to put my books in front of an audience. Since my husband was (is) ill and I needed to stay close at hand while he slept, I had hours to work on writing, revising and publishing my book. It gave me a chance to do something constructive and positive in the midst of a daunting and terrible time. And, since I didn’t have the patience to send off queries to agents and editors, this was my opportunity to put my work in the public arena without having to go through the grueling process of finding someone else to publish me. I had done that before, and had one romantic suspense published a few years earlier, but I wasn’t ready to go through that again.
So far I have found publishing my own book to be grueling and exhausting at times, but also to be so much more rewarding. I love having direct contact with my readers and reviewers and much prefer that to letting a middle person or two intercede in the process.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think this is an exciting time to be a writer… and a reader. The field of publishing is opening up to many new voices and ventures. With the Internet, ebooks and new opportunities for self-publication, the Big Six publishers will no longer rule the market and decide who shall succeed and who shall perish. It is becoming a much more equalitarian enterprise. Much more democratic. Certainly some will flourish and more will fail, but all will have a chance to express themselves and take the risk of putting their work in the hands of others.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print