Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
As an author, I’m a late bloomer. It wasn’t until my responsibilities eased up that I decided to put together a cookbook as a wedding gift to my oldest child. I collected old photos, wrote captions, and then started to relate family stories. My “gift” ended up as a 250 page, spiral-bound cookbook photocopied (no such thing as apps back then) 50 times to hand out to all my relatives and friends.
From that time on, I’ve done my best to pass on information intended to make life easier for others. My nautical books are loaded with practical info as well as hard facts. I’ve never stopped developing and writing down recipes, so it made sense to share them in my Empty Nest Cookbook. And, after surviving three clustered weddings, I just had to pass helpful info to other mothers. I have just contracted to write a comprehensive book on boating.
Several years ago, I joined a group of romance writers and earned my keep by venturing into fiction. My debut novel, Green Fire,came out in February 2013. I am overhauling a paranormal romance, finishing up another romantic suspense, and plotting a single title contemporary romance.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
In 2012, my non-fiction book for mothers of the bride or groom, Oh, No, They’re Engaged! After experiencing a whirlwind period of weddings in our family, I wanted to help ease the process of supporting a child’s dream while keeping tabs on the bucks.
Most recently, I bridged the gap between non-fiction how-to books and fiction with my newly released romantic suspense, GREEN FIRE. The story is set in Bogota, Colombia, the heart of the emerald trade. Miners call the lust for emerald “green fire,”.thus the title. The plot, smuggling emeralds in lilies, was devised from an article about cocaine smuggling in flowers.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Right now, I’m sipping a glass of wine. Does that count? But, no, actually, I just get to it.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Hard to say. I read so many different kinds of books–and my writing is so varied, that I have to be pompous and say I emulate myself. No one else.
What are you working on now?
Right now I am heads down writing a non-fiction book for the Smart Guide series, due this summer. (Yikes!)
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I now have two websites: www.joysmith.net covers all 5 of my books. I have recently begin a new site just for romance novels, www.joysmithromance.com. As far as marketing, I have done several blog interviews, and have a fan page on Facebook. In the past, I’ve done live booksignings, but found them unproductive. Social networking and web promos are the best way to reach a ton of people –without setting foot outside my office.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Yes. Believe in what you write, learn your trade, and be persistent.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
I attended a writing conference and heard Susan Orland speak (Orchid Thief) at a time when I was frustrated my first book, a non-fiction on boating, was getting rejected. She said something to the effect of:
If you are blocked, you haven’t done the research; and, if you are still blocked, you haven’t done the thinking.
I took her comments to heart and dug in. The Perfect First Mate: A Woman’s Guide to Recreational Boating sold in 1999, and is now, in 2013, its 2nd edition and still going strong.
What are you reading now?
A romantic comedy my Kristan Higgins. Her newest book (I love all her books), The Best Man. Terrific!!!!
I read for pleasure. On my (digital) bookshelf I have a mix of paranormal romances, mysteries, and traditional romances.
What’s next for you as a writer?
As soon as I’ve met my deadline on a boating book, I’m going to dive back into the fiction pool and write more books like GREEN FIRE.
What is your favorite book of all time?
You’re going to laugh. The Raggedy Ann & Andy series. I still have the well thumbed copy I loved as a little girl, and have given copies to all 7 of my my grandchildren.