Thursday 26 September 2013

Questions From Readers - Part Four

A few weeks ago, Joey asked on her Facebook page for anyone with questions to email her about her books, being a writer, being disabled and anything else. This is the first batch of answers, feel free to send your own questions to Joey via email to and she'll include them in the next post she does.

Why doesn't Tara lay down when she knows she's getting a vision?
That's a good question and it was actually this one that sparked my decision to ask for more questions. I was recently asked by one of my beta readers why, when Tara knows she's going to get a vision, doesn't she lie down? I explained that although she's smart enough to know that she's going to have something like a seizure and could end up with a lot of bruises, it's never been something that I've thought of before. I can say that the area in which she has her visions in Mike's office has been cleared so the only things there are her chair and the floor. I realise that I may not have made it clear in the books and will make a note to mention it in later books. I guess I could also say that sometimes she's caught up in the moment. One such example is in THIRD WISH, when she was at work and no one else knew that she would have seizures. Lying down wasn't something she could do without drawing attention to the fact that she'd know that she was going to have one. I do admit to the mistake though in regards to the ones she brings on herself either in private, or when working a case with Mike.

Is there any particular order to your books?

This is another question I got before opening the floor up for other questions. The standalone books, such as BLACKOUT and LYNNE & HOPE don't have any particular order. Although there is a little Easter egg in LYNNE & HOPE that would only be spotted by those who have read BLACKOUT, they are written completely separate and can be read in any order. However, the DYING THOUGHTS series books go in a particular order, and are numbered, although I do hope that they could be read out of order and not confuse the reader too much.

When is the next book going to come out? What's it about?

The next book is scheduled to be released in June or July of 2014. It's a different kind of book, as it doesn't fit into the crime and mystery genre. It is young adult, but is more of a romance book and it's about two teenagers who come from completely different lives. One is well off and in a loving home, the other lives in a tiny village and faces both bullying at school and some emotional and mental abuse at home. They meet online and under the guise of rescuing the other, they meet up.

Where's your favourite writing spot?

I don't really have a favourite spot. I feel that I can write anywhere if the mood takes. The bulk of my work is done on my home PC in my office, but I can also be found writing at the local Starbucks, Costa and soft play areas. I have made myself pretty much mobile because of the time I find I spend in hospital and I don't like that to stop the flow of creativity.

What's favourite part of being a writer?

My favourite part is that I get to tell stories for a living. I can create people from nothing and make them do what I want. I can plot and carry out murders, and I can also make sure those who commit them usually pay for their crimes. As I wrote in a recent guest blog, I've done many things as a writer and I love the creative side of it most of all.

Why do you write your books so far in advance?

As most of you will have read, I am disabled and chronically ill. Some weeks I'll write a chapter a day and other times, I'll only manage half of one in a fortnight. My life is so up and down because of the conditions I suffer from that I find it easier to write when I can and part of that means writing when the inspiration strikes and not restricting myself too much.

How long does it take from finished book to editing to publication?

Ah, well that will depend on the book. Generally speaking, once I finish a book, I save it and leave it until a year before it's due to be published. At which point I will go through it and make sure it's telling the story the way I want it to. After that it goes off to my editor, Kim, who reads through it and sends back corrections and we have many a discussion over Skype about any issues such as plot holes or grammar stuff. Once that's done and all the corrections have been made, I'll offer it out to advance readers, who not only get a free copy of the book, but also get to tell me if there is anything in it that has been missed by either me or my editor. Kim does an excellent job - you should see the state the books start in! Once it's gone through all of those stages, we decide on a publication date - usually within a month - and go from there with promotion and all of that.

How much time do you spend writing every day?

As I said above because of my chronic conditions, it really does depend on how good I'm feeling. However, an average good day involves at least some writing. It's not all book writing though, some of it is blog pieces or guest blog posts. Interviews come under that heading too as well as making posts on Facebook to connect with readers. If I'm having a bad day, then it's very rare that any writing gets done. I try to do four chapters a fortnight and generally speaking, I usually manage it. Sometimes I do more and declare those as "bonus" chapters, other times it's a struggle to get the first four done.

Do you have any tips for developing an idea into an actual book?

This is a hard question to answer. I know how I go about developing ideas, but I do believe that you have to find what works for you. Ideas for me start as just a general outline, if they are going to be turned into books then I need to know that they are big enough to be moulded into chapters and a storyline. Some ideas stay as just that, whereas others start out with a load of notes and planning and then never get past the first few chapters because the story is not fleshed out enough. I usually do come back and use the characters or try again to do something with it. It's mostly trial and error and you have to keep pushing yourself and trying new ways to flesh the ideas out before you give up completely, or find something that works for you.

What do you prefer, indie or traditional publishing?

I think both have a number of positives and negatives surrounding them. It really is a personal choice, I prefer being an indie author because it gives me a lot of control over release dates, prices, formats and the people I work with. That said, traditional publishing takes a lot of the pressure off the author because you have a publishing house behind you who are able to do the promotion, the cover design, the editing and so on. I think that as a lot of people are discovering that indie publishing works just as well, it is coming into its own, but that doesn't mean that I think every writer should go indie just because I personally find it works for me. It is a matter of weighing up your options and making a decision based on your own circumstances.

What's your favourite animal?
I am torn between monkeys and primates. While I love monkeys and think they are all adorable, I also find primates to be very cute. I am planning on visiting the monkey sanctuary in Cornwall in November if possible because I know they cater for both. Friends have adopted monkeys from zoos in the past for birthday and Christmas presents. I have also sponsored primates through the WWF. On my bucket list I plan to own one hundred stuffed monkeys and I'm halfway there already, but of course I included primates in that ;-)

What kind of books do you prefer to read?

I love to read crime/mystery books, but I also like "Chick-Lit" and romance novels. I'm not really into vampires and other supernatural or fantasy books, but if the cover catches my eye, I'll usually give the back a read at least.

What kind of shows do you watch?

I watch mostly crime procedural shows as well as some medical shows like Grey's Anatomy. I am a big fan of shows like NCIS, NCIS: LA and Castle, but I do like some sci-fi shows like Doctor Who, Torchwood, Fringe and Warehouse 13. I like some reality shows, but ones like Nothing To Declare or Sun, Sea and A&E - the ones where people are doing a job, not the ones like X-Factor or Britain's Got Talent. 

What kind of tablet do you have and what writing software do you use?

I have a Versus Touchtab 10.1 and I love it! It's lightweight and easy for me to slip into my writing bag and take out and about. I have used a few writing programs, one of which was Kingsoft Office, which is free from the Google Play Store. My only reason for switching was that it didn't import all the punctuation from the Word documents. Now I use Office Suite Professional 7, which was about £10, but I have found it works well for me and keeps the formatting that I want.

Those are all the questions for today. If you want to send any for Joey to answer, feel free to submit them to Follow Joey on her Facebook page or here on her blog to be kept up to date with all the latest news regarding Joey and her books.

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