What do pink fuzzy slippers, old black and white movies and school libraries have in common? This superhero! Read on and find out more…
If you were to write the
‘origin’s episode’ of your writing what would be the most important scenes? What did your early efforts look like? Are they still around to be used as bribes and blackmail material?
While in elementary school, I developed a love of biographies, history, and adventure stories. It was my goal to read every book in the biography section of our school library. I accomplished my goal by 6th grade. By the time I hit the ripe old age of 12, I wanted to write my own biography. The problem with that was I hadn’t lived a very exciting life to that point. I did start journaling in a notebook which was a 3-ring binder with lined paper we used in school. All my early efforts found their way to a garbage dump decades ago.
All superheroes have their mild-mannered secret identity. What is yours? (I promise we won’t tell!)
To be honest, it never occurred to me to be anything but me. I don’t use a pen name, because it didn’t cross my mind to try to think one up. So, I’m very much “Joy” by day and night. I’m a bit of a Pollyanna-type person in real life and, as several reviewers have commented about my stories, I’m a Pollyanna-type writer as well.
Who are your partners in crime? What are their superpowers?
My husband, John, is the head of my crime-fighting organization. He has long, strong arms (David Gandy arms) that I can nestle under when I get a negative review, that provide a gentle push when I need prodded along to be more productive, and that help carry my loads of responsibility.
Jennifer Joy, my daughter, is a cohort. She is a gentle soul that can corral my imagination so that it moves forward. She is also a punctuation and grammar queen. It has become a challenge to me to keep the red marks on my manuscripts to a minimum. She’s brutal.
I’ve seen the need to surround myself with others who have skills that I do not possess. Copy editors, story editors, cover designers, narrators, translators, media developers, and marketing coaches. It has been worth it financially for the peace of mind they give me.
Where do you get your superpowers from?
Besides my family, I think it is from old movies. I know, that sounds corny, but it’s true. I grew up watching the good guys prevail time after time after time. I learned from a very young age, back when TV’s were only in black and white, that every story can be written in such a way that there’s a happily ever after. Even my reading of school library biographies was that way. No matter who the man or woman was, they always came out a hero. So, I became invincible (in my own mind).
Where is your secret lair and what does it look like?
My desk is a wooden platform built right into the space between the dining room and the kitchen. It’s right out in the open in a high traffic area where I am easily distracted. I’m not going to provide a picture because it’s cluttered. I will share some pictures that are on my wall next to my computer. They are inspirational.
What kind of training do you do to keep your superpowers in world saving form? How do you insure they are used only for good?
I am in constant contact with several other Jane Austen fan fiction writers that have sharpened and honed my skills and continue to do so. This is a wonderful community that, although not without imperfections, is capable of banding together to cross-promote to where other romance genre readers and writers are sitting up and taking notice. It is critically important for me to be supportive of new and existing authors, since I’ve personally benefited so much from them.
Being named “Joy” is hard at times. One of my all-time favorite scriptures in the Bible is the Golden Rule at Matthew 7:12. I try to treat others like I would like to be treated. Is it challenging at times? You betcha!
Granted, you probably don’t get to wear your superhero costume a lot, but if you did, what would it look like?
Oh, you mean the black leather one that makes me look like the original Cat Woman on the old Batman series? Sure! I wear that every day. NOT!!! I start my day in baggy cotton night gowns (365 days a year) with pink fuzzy slippers with white hearts on them. Please don’t tell anyone, Maria Grace, but oftentimes I don’t match. Shhhhhh!
What is your kryptonite? What are the biggest challenges you face in your writing?
This is the easiest question to for me to answer. My kryptonite is other JAFF books. I’m a fast reader that gets 100% involved. Once I start a good book, everything else stops around me. It’s highly unproductive for my own writing.
What was the supervillain that threatened to stop your latest project and how did you vanquish it?
Sigh! It’s Bingley. Yes, poor, immature, vacillating Charles Bingley. I’m on the 3rd or 4th draft and I still have a love/hate relationship with the young man. I’m not fairing much better with Jane Bennet either. My supervillain was other stories that have been screaming to be written. There are a total of five such stories that will not leave me alone. I’ve completed three of them, have a good start on the fourth one, and collected the research information I need for the fifth. In between, I work on Bingley/Jane.
What important lessons have you learned along the way?
It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. I’ve learned that it takes a village to produce a good finished book.
What have been the best/most memorable experiences along the way?
It has to be when I get letters and messages from readers who tell me they were moved to tears, or they wanted to throw my book against a wall, but couldn’t put it down long enough to do so.
Sharing in this new career with my only child. I am so proud of Jennifer. She has always been very creative and is encouraging that in her six-year-old twins. My granddaughter loves to color, draw, and paint, which she calls “arting”. My grandson is a story-teller. Jennifer has said that she wouldn’t have written Darcy’s Ultimatum had I not pioneered the way in this indie-publishing world. How can that not be memorable for me?
Getting my #1 banner for One Love – Two Hearts – Three Stories in German. Why that thrilled me so much confounds me, but it does
If you did this again, what would you do differently and what would you not change?
I would have hired a cover designer and formatter from the start. When I look back at what John and I put together for A Father’s Sins – it’s just SO EMBARRASSING!!! I would not change that I write my stories for me. I write what I want to read. I’m satisfied with that.
What is the best writing advice you have ever gotten and why?
Do you remember the movie “Field of Dreams” with Kevin Costner? In it, he was told to build a baseball diamond in the middle of a corn field. It seemed so unreasonable and unrealistic to do so. “Build it and they will come.” With my new writing career, I was told to write it, perfect it as good as you can, and publish it. Then, the readers will come. And, it happened just like that.
Tell us about your new book and why we need to drop everything and get it now.
One Love – Two Hearts – Three Stories is a combination of three “feel good” stories about Darcy and Elizabeth. Personally, I wouldn’t drop everything to get it, especially if you have a hot dish straight out of the oven, folded laundry, or a piece of chocolate. Wait until you want to escape into the world of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, relax your mind and heart, and have your soul soothed. That’s when you want One Love – Two Hearts – Three Stories.
What’s in store for you in the future? Do you have any other big projects on the horizon?
Besides the Bingley/Jane fiasco, I have a work-in-progress called Compromise! Elizabeth inadvertently puts Darcy in a bad position and they are forced to wed before they really have a chance to get to know each other. Some parts I’ve written so far have made me laugh out loud. Other parts make me sigh. I’m loving this story and my Mom says it’s my best. But, she’s my Mom. She’s supposed to say that, isn’t she?
Maria Grace, my sincerest thanks for inviting me to stop by. Or, did I invite myself? Faulty memory!!!
You can find J. Dawn King at: