Author Interview – Joy V. Smith
This will be our first-time to chat with Joy and judging by her bio, she’s going to be lots of fun. We are excited to interview Joy V. Smith, so let’s get this show on the road.
Joy V. Smith has been writing stories since she was a kid and made her own little books. Her stories and articles have been published in print magazines, ezines, and anthologies; and her SF has been published in two audiobooks, including Sugar Time. Her books include Detour Trail; Taboo Tech; Strike Three; Sugar Time, a collection of her published short stories; and five e-books. Back in the day, she had a boarding kennel and then an antique shop. (Taking care of pets is a 24/7 job!) She lives in Florida with Blizzard the Snow Princess, Pemberley the tortoiseshell cat, and Samwise a Chihuahua cross, in a remodeled house. (She’s been practicing building and remodeling.)
Interview Conducted By Sherry Terry.
TNR: Are there any other genres you read besides the one you write in?
Joy: I enjoy science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, and practically anything that looks interesting and different. And reading Japanese manga from back to front and right to left makes a nice change.
TNR: How interesting that you read Japanese. Do you write in more than one genre? If so, what are they?
Joy: I write fantasy, westerns, romance, children’s stories, humor, light horror, and non-fiction.
TNR: Wow. So many different genres. Makes for good diversity. When you develop characters, do you already know who they are before you begin writing, or do you let them develop as you go?
Joy: I make notes on what they do…
TNR: How much research do you do?
Joy: It depends. You wouldn’t think writing fiction would need so much research!
TNR: I know! I love the research. Do you work to an outline or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Joy: I only outline when writing non-fiction.
TNR: How do you go about world-building for your stories?
Joy: I usually start out with a story and then fit in the background–planet and culture. Some planets are simple, with little description of the moon(s), wildlife, etc. (I don’t want to worry about tides or how things evolved). I spent more time inventing planets like Snakebite in Hidebound, which also included the hero’s planet (one even nastier than Snakebite ); I made this planet interdicted. The planet in Velvet of Swords (more nasty flora and fauna as the result of genetic engineering) was colonized by humans and aliens.
Other interesting planets are found in What Price a Friendly Freep to explain the aliens; Pretty Pink Planet and Hot Yellow Planet, which was begun, as I recall, as an experiment in writing a series story with similar titles (I had fun with the colors in Pretty Pink Planet, and I love the cover art created for it in an audiobook anthology); and Royal Guardians (I think this is an alternate universe). Time/space portals from Terra to other planets or time machines to other times are fun too.
For some stories, I had to create maps to keep track of where my characters are running amuck and keep track of directions and distances. If you’re writing a story about Mars or the moon, however, you can use NASA maps, available in books, on websites, or even as posters. There are also Mars and moon globes. Nowadays, there is less invention in stories set there.
TNR: That sounds like so much fun. What’s your favorite method for coming up with names for your characters and locations?
Joy: I have two notebooks and write down interesting names when I come across them; they can pop-up anywhere!
TNR: How are you publishing your writing and why?
Joy: I prefer finding a publisher; then they can create the cover, edit, and do some promotion. (Writers need to do their own promotion and marketing too.) However, I also self-publish and create my own covers–sometimes with help, but mostly I look for photos in the public domain, also NASA and NOAA. Lots of sources out there..
TNR: For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hardback books?
Joy: I prefer print and when I come across a book that I think I’d like, I have to check and see if it’s available in print. Sometimes I wait for it to come out in print.
TNR: What marketing strategies do you find most helpful?
Joy: I believe in papering the planet. I send out press releases, use social media, and keep an eye open for opportunities. You never know what will work so I do everything I can think of. Don’t forget to send press releases to your home town and other newspapers, your alumni bulletin, local magazines. I’d use a trailer if I could find out how to do it, but that takes time.
TNR: Book trailers can really enhance a story. I wish I knew how to make them. How much do you like or dislike marketing?
Joy: It’s tedious.
TNR: Right! Now, to close up with a couple of personal questions. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? What was it about?
Joy: Ah, I made my own little books (folded paper) with covers–in color. I recall something about horses. (I may even have it in my old papers.)
TNR: Do you remember the first story you ever read?
Joy: Possibly Coaly Bay, the Outlaw Horse–something like that; it was in the Book of Knowledge, as I recall. I didn’t read most children’s stories until I took Kiddie Lit in college.
Thanks so much for stopping by and giving us a peek into your life! I had a blast.
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