About Joanie Chevalier:
Hi! I was born in the L.A. area and our family moved up and down the West Coast for most of my childhood, finally settling in Washington State when I was about 12. After living many years in Washington State where it is gray and drizzly 350 days of the year (might be an exaggeration but it’s close!), I finally decided I needed more vitamin D and moved to the San Francisco Bay area. I pay more taxes in California but I call it the “Sun Tax,” so it’s okay! Since I didn’t know anyone when I moved here, I decided that I would write in (all) my spare time. My writing continually gets interrupted with a full-time job as a litigation legal secretary in San Francisco. I love camping in my teardrop trailer in and around California, as well as all the surrounding states where I have found beautiful camping sites and National Parks. I’m lucky that I have one fantastic boyfriend who loves traveling with me, along with my feisty Chihuahua Frankie. My son. who lives with me, is an awkward teenage boy/man who does laundry when he can’t find anything clean to wear from his floor.
What inspires you to write?
My first attempt at publishing a book was a self-help dating book. I knew the ropes and thought that others would want to know too without going through all the stupid mistakes I went through. So what inspires me to write is helping others. With regards to my subsequent fiction stories, I get inspired by knowing that readers are able to get away from their lives for a while and get immersed in a tale other than what they are dealing with every day. Being able to escape for a time in a good fiction book is what inspires me as a reader so I hope that is true of their thoughts about my books.
Tell us about your writing process.
I work full-time so my time to write is in the evening and Saturday morning. When I get an idea about a story, I can go gung-ho and write quite a bit all at once. I edit during my commute and lunch hour. Having to schedule my writing into my full-time job, weekend relaxation and my Chihuahua playtime takes dedication. Finding ideas is the easy part (just watch the news!). Finding time to write and edit is harder to schedule.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
A few of my characters are very quirky and it was scary how easy it was to write in their voice, ha! Often I would begin a book with one thing in mind but as I write it and delve into the character a little more, it seems that the character often goes off onto a trail I hadn’t thought about before, or gets into a predicament on their own and I have to figure out how to get them out of it! It’s funny how characters lead the author instead of the other way around!
What advice would you give other writers?
That famous motto: “Just Do It!” is so true! For the longest time I thought, “What if no one likes my story?” “What if I get a bad review?” The “what if’s” were holding me back. Now, I write for myself. I wrote for those few who love my stories, no matter how its doing in sales (hi, mom!). All I can do is to do my best. For you writers out there: Take time to edit, hire a proofreader, get your manuscript out to beta readers to get their opinions, get a good cover. You don’t have to spend a whole lot on these services. Beta readers are free through Goodreads. There are great proofreaders and people who make book covers on Fiveer.com. Once you have the best product you can make, publish it. Then, on to your next project! The trick is to don’t stop!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I am all for self-publishing. Going through a publisher to me seemed like a waste of time. I notice there are now more and more small publishers out there so that might be a good way to go, but I love being the CEO and Publisher of my own books. I can make the decisions. I can change the information at any time. I can change the price, I can switch genres, I can change the description, I can decide whether to market it free. This is a no-brainer. I am in charge from start to finish! One of my short stories is in an analogy which was published by a small publisher. But they came to me and I didn’t have to do any of the work of putting it together, which was nice. But I didn’t have to solicit publishers. To me, if you have a story that you worked on for months, and then have to spend months spending time looking for a publisher, that is time that should have been writing your next book, or marketing your present one. You need to learn how to be proficient with your time in this business.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Self-publishing will definitely be very strong in the book publishing business. My fear though, is that because anyone can publish, there’ll a few who publish crap, not because their stories are bad but because they are full of typos and the grammar is awful. That gives the indie authors who care a bad name in general. The indies who take the time to edit and have a good cover hopefully will be the norm.
What do you use?: Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print, Audiobook
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.