Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a wife, mother, and social justice advocate. I live in Blaine, Minnesota with my spouse where I write to create awareness about the wrongfully convicted; innocent people convicted of crimes they did not commit. In June I published my first book on the topic and in November, my book was selected as winner of a national book award for non fiction/true crime.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My book is titled Reclaiming Lives; Pursuing Justice for Six Innocent Men. I was inspired to write it when I learned of a specific case involving six Green Bay, Wisconsin men convicted of a 1992 murder that may never have happened. The distinct possibility that innocent people could be in prison along with an element of bullying by law enforcement are aspects of our criminal justice system I found quite disturbing. I could not dismiss what had and was still happening to these men and their families. Having been bullied as a child became my emotional connection to them and their plight inspired my mission to advocate for the freedom of the men.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Oftentimes, my best writing comes to fruition at 3:00 in the morning.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
The book that literally changed the course of my life is called The Monfils Conspiracy; The Conviction of Six Innocent Men which is the precursor to my book. This book is a documentation of the facts in one of the largest travesty of injustices in Wisconsin history with aspects similar to the Steven Avery wrongful conviction case. It questions the legitimacy of six murder convictions because of the absence of any credible physical or eye witness evidence.
What are you working on now?
My book represents actual people and true events with a definite aim to spur a more just outcome for innocent people still in prison so I’ve committed to an aggressive promotion of this book at this time.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
The fact that this topic is very relevant with the inception of DNA technology since the early 1990’s, opportunities to promote my book are vast. Maintaining my blog, being a guest writer for various sites, doing interviews, engaging the public at book signings, fairs, and book festivals and my favorite; giving PowerPoint presentations for various groups, keeps me quite busy. My website which provides background and additional information about the case as well as broader information about wrongful convictions is: http://joantreppa.com/.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Writing a book can become laborious and tedious at times and bringing it to fruition typically takes many years. Make sure you are passionate about your topic because there will be times when you want to give up and chuck the project altogether. I found my persistent passion pulled me out of my slump and put me back on track many times over.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Get your initial thoughts written down no matter how lame they sound and worry about cleaning them up later. No writer is perfect. Even the best of them need editors.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading a self-published book called Injustice Is Served by Lynn Moller. Moller was a daycare provider accused of abusing a child while in her care. People who had placed complete trust in her for many years turned on her almost overnight because of a false accusation with no plausible evidence to back those claims. She committed to reliving her nightmare to create awareness about her situation, to teach others about the pitfalls of our legal system, and to point out dire mistakes innocent people make when unlawfully targeted by law enforcement. It’s a book everyone should read because it screams of the fact that being falsely accused and convicted can easily happen to any one of us.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m definitely leaning toward another book that will reveal an eye-opening and very disturbing overview of our criminal justice system through my close-up observations told from my non-legal perspective.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Any books addressing actual aspects of our criminal justice system would do, but Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, Mark Godsey’s Blind Injustice, and Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow are at the top of my list currently.