...BUT NEVER ASKED. Here are my first set of FAQ's= 5 questions. (And yes, I've been asked all of these at one time or another.) Photo of me in my writing lair.
Question 1: How long have you been writing?
Answer 1: That question has a three pronged answer.
a. The Academy Years: I started in high school, transitioned to university, moved on to graduate school and finally, to law school. Along the way, many fine teachers and professors honed my ability to write in the academic vernacular. Among my favorites, AP English, a university class that devoted an entire semester to 'Hamlet', a Labor Law class in graduate school, and Federal Jurisdiction in law school. I've had several academic papers published.
b. Writing for myself, just because I wanted to read the story: My flirtation with fiction began about 20 years ago (yes, I'm dating myself). I was enamored by a certain set of characters, but in my opinion, no work of fiction had done these characters justice. I added in some of my own characters and really enjoyed the process. Then I moved on to writing a book with an entire cast of original characters. That first attempt was a trilogy (that was actually 4 books because it had a book-length epilogue) that came in at over 1600 pages (yikes!). I still love the story, the writing---not so much. The second novel came in at just over 100,000 words. (Still too long, but more reasonable, and far better written.)
c. Writing for publication: That came about in a rather miraculous way starting early in 2020. Boundary Waters Search and Rescue: Beyond Belief will be published late this year. (Yes, I'm excited). I love these characters so much that I've already written a second book in the series Boundary Waters Search and Rescue: Beyond Imagination (anticipated publication date-Spring of 2021), and am working on a third book (part of the series but still unnamed). The original story arc will be complete after Book 3 (anticipated publication date-Autumn of 2021).
Question 2: Is Joy Harding your real name?
Answer 2: Nope. However it is related to my real, legal name. My pseudonym honors my grandmother and my mom and dad.
Question 3: Why Northern Minnesota?
Answer 3: Why not? I grew up in Duluth, MN, a port city at the head of Lake Superior. Northern Minnesota and the north shore of Lake Superior are both beautiful places to be and to grow (yes, even in the winter). Ely, Minnesota, Duluth, Minnesota, and Grand Marais, Minnesota, are among my favorite places on Earth. I know them well, have lived and vacationed in their environs, and they make a perfect setting for my first set of published novels. If you need a push to visit where the books are set, just PM me (no I do not work for any Chamber of Commerce). Photo is of the Grand Marais harbor, AKA 'the Norwegian Riviera.
Question 4: What's your real job?
Answer 4: Ouch! Writing is a real job. It takes time, patience, and a willingness to share 'my baby' with editors who want to um, change things and beta readers who bring up annoying points like holes in my plot. Don't get me wrong, those folks are invaluable and my books are much better for their care. Still, I had to develop a thick skin. So yes, I'm doing this as a job. However, until the books are published, there's no salary involved. (Alas, no 100K retainer---maybe one day. LOL) That brings me to a caveat in my statement that writing is my job. I have wonderful husband who works to keep a roof over our heads, put food on the table, and who is still willing to be my first proof reader on each manuscript that I write. Writing as more than a hobby would never be possible without him.
Question 5: Pencil, Pen, Manual Typewriter or MS Word?
Answer 5: Okay, I'm going to be brutally honest. As much as I love the romantic notion of writing novels longhand with a beautiful fountain pen---there's no way. Nope. Not going to happen. I get Word and Word gets me. I love moving blocks of text around (sometimes even between books), I love the spelling and grammar checks. I love that my editors can easily send reams of red ink with explanations of why their way is the right way (I took some convincing on that whole Oxford comma thing, but I'm now a believer). I can also correct aforementioned errors easily (no white out involved). So the closest these books are going to get to my fountain pen (provided the electricity stays on) is when I sign them for readers.
There we go, the first installment of FAQs is in the history books. I'd like to do more of this so I would love it if you all would comment and share questions that you'd like me to answer. Pretty please, with sugar on top, and cream (not skim milk, mind you, but real cream).
Thank you for joining me. My prayers are with you.