Today's Midnight Ink author subject to my 5 questions is Joanna Campbell Slan. I have had the pleasure of hanging out with Joanna at several conventions and enjoy our conversations about the mystery world, the current market, trends, etc. If you haven't yet entered the world of Kiki Lowenstein, do yourself a favor and pick up Joanna's books asap!
Was there an author or a book that inspired you to write?
There were several. Jane Eyre saved my life. My father was a violent alcoholic, and my mother was an enabler. Jane Eyre encouraged me to believe that I could escape that environment by getting a good education. So I did. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith showed me that I was not responsible for my father’s disease, as he and my mother would have me think. These books taught me that reading offered both an escape and a game plan. Recognizing their powerful influence on my life spurred me to want to become an author.
Your books involve scrapbooking, but also with strong social themes. Was it a conscious decision to go in that direction?
Yes. I wanted my work to matter. I aim to offer my readers entertainment, so they can forget their own troubles, and edification, so they can change their lives. Including scrapbooking was a marketing decision. I am a scrapbooker. I do enjoy it, but my books have strong appeal to those who have no interest in gluing photos onto pages. I don’t write books about scrapbooking. (Not any more. I have written seven scrapbooking technique books.) I write books about a character who happens to like to scrapbook. There’s a big difference.
Do you have a favorite movie, book or artist?
Since I’ve answered the portion about books, let me tackle movies: Michael with John Travolta; Bell, Book and Candle with Kim Novak, Jimmy Stewart and Jack Lemmon; The Ghost and Mrs. Muir with Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison; Cross Creek with Mary Steenburgen, Rip Torn, and Peter Coyote; and Starman with Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen. Oh, and of course, Gone with the Wind. I think you’ll quickly spot the common themes in them. All feature outsiders, who don’t fit in but who manage to make their way in this world.
Do you have a daily writing routine? Is it harder now that you are juggling two series?
I write every day for as long as I can. (I get stopped by aching wrists and back and so on.) I start my day by taking care of my dogs, checking my email, and so on. I try to work in an exercise class, so I can stave off the dreaded “writers’ butt.” Actually, with two series it’s both harder and easier. Harder because there’s more to juggle. Easier because I tend to feel sad when I finish I book and don’t have another assignment. I’m one of the few authors I know who actually loves the process of writing. Everyone enjoys “having written,” but I love the act and process of writing.
If you needed to bribe your editor, what you make/buy her?
I would make her a scrapbook so she could savor her memories of her three growing boys. As the mother of a guy who’s now a senior at University of Miami, I would remind her that they really do grow fast—although at some stages, time really grinds along slowly. And as my old friend Liz Curtis Higgs once said, “You’re the only person who has the title of ‘Mom’ to them.”
Books 1 - 4
Thanks Joanna!! I appreciate you playing along with me today!