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FAQ #2-Everthing you wanted to know about Joy Harding...

...but never asked. Here is the second set of frequently asked questions. (And yes, I've been asked all of these at one time or another.)

Me at one of my favorite places on the beautiful north shore of Lake Superior---Gooseberry Falls


Answer 1: Before I can answer that I need to clarify some terms. Do you want to know how many hours a day I spend writing new material? Or do you want to know the total number of hours I spend writing between new material, re-writing existing material, and editing? Also, I have to tell you that number varies depending on the day and my life circumstances at the time. As with everyone else, unexpected things happen in my life that can change a writing day into a car repair day, or a picnic day, a migraine day, or a family/friends need help day. So I've learned to be flexible.

This is not to say I'm casual about my writing schedule. Indeed, to succeed as a writer, I believe one has to be disciplined, because otherwise the blank page will win. There are so many distractions, especially on days that the words just aren't flowing. Even computer games start looking good (in general, I'm not a fan. If you are, that's okay, we can agree on the fact that they suck up time.) I can spend hours cruising Facebook, participating in my writer's groups, and even (gasp!) cleaning house if I'm avoiding writing. Never mind that I have a deadline, or that my editor is waiting for a response, there are days I just want to be a free spirit.

When this happens, (most of the time) I firmly remind myself that writing is what I've longed to do for years. Then I pray, because my current series is really God's story, given to me one morning late in January 2020 in a truly extraordinary way. I awoke with an entire story arc in my head. Not word for word, of course, but the characters, the setting, and the general progression were there. I started transcribing those thoughts and I haven't stopped. I'm now writing the third book in the series and am nearing 240,000 words for the year. After I pray, I pull up my manuscript on my computer and if I still can't get the words to come, I turn on text-to-voice and proof read, or re-write, or edit. At least my focus is on the book rather than bouncing down bunny trails.

So, how many hours a day do I spend with my book (editing, re-writing, and writing)? On average six to seven hours. If things are going well, I may spend up to fifteen or sixteen hours writing (sometimes even more), those days help make up for the days when I garner a goose egg in the writing department.


Answer 2: Write! In another era I would say put words down on paper, but in this electronic age, keyboard something to fill the blank space on your screen. Sit in front of your computer, your typewriter, or your ruled pad---indeed anchor yourself there---until words are on the page. Even if you don't end up using what you write in your final product, the mere act of storytelling allows you to get closer to your characters, allows you to know them in a deeper way. Your readers will benefit. The prequels on this blog started as a part of Boundary Waters Search and Rescue: Beyond Belief (Book 1). They didn't make it into the final copy, but they sure helped me get to know Jack, Liz, Dan, and Beth.


Answer 3: I pray God will use them to reach people for His glory. I know, I know, that sounds made up and wayyyy too noble. But honestly, I wouldn't be where I am without a God-given story. The day before I woke up with this story in my head, my focus was on possible career moves, my health, and on my needlework. (pre-pandemic concerns) The next day I was keyboarding like a crazy woman. I secured a publishing contract for the first book in the spring, a second one for the second book a month ago, and now, I'm editing book 2 and I'm about 3/4 done writing the third book in the series. It's been an amazing year. So yes, I pray first that God will do as He will with these books. Now, would I mind if they are successful and I can keep writing about these characters and their families and new worlds? No. I would love that. I want everyone out there to love these fictional folk like I do, I want them to root for them, and to rejoice in their hearts over the miracles of love and family---to see the possibilities.


Answer 4: Okay, one thing I need to say is have a little mercy, I'm new at this and as it turns out a Christmas 2020 book release was a bit of a stretch. Yes, I got a timeline from the publisher, but I had no idea how the editing process would proceed, how long things like typesetting and cover design take, and that perfection is an impossible dream. There are a lot of details when it comes to publishing a book---go figure. Right now, Boundary Waters Search and Rescue: Beyond Belief should be out around the end of February 2021. Boundary Waters Search and Rescue: Beyond Imagination (Book 2) should be out at the beginning of summer 2021. Boundary Waters Search and Rescue: (Subtitle forthcoming) (Book 3) should be out at the beginning of Autumn 2021.

There we go, the second 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.



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