JO ANN JONES - THE AUTHOR OF ECHOES FROM MY HEART - A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY WITH POETRY.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
As a young teen, I made up stories to tell the kids that I used to babysit.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like to rhyme words and write about subjects that pop into my head.
How do your books get published?
My book was published by the incomparable Bill Benitez.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I use various media like books, newspapers and magazines.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first book as a young teen. It was about a teenage couple, and the story goes from romance to tragedy. I did not publish it. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
My favorite past time is reading. What does your family think of your writing?
Friends and family are very complimentary.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I learned that others were interested in my creative thoughts.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have only written one book, so that is my favorite!
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I have received positive feedback especially when I share my poems at Bible Study.
What do you think makes a good story?
At my age, I prefer one with a happy ending.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
As a child I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. I liked to play school with my neighbors.
Any books in the works?
Not yet, but I hope to start soon.
What are your plans for the future? I am hoping to write a book, but I need to hurry since I’m 89 years old.
MEET THE BRILLIANT MAN WHO IS AN AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR OF RELATIONSHIPS, AND HOW TO BOOKS. TO ADD TO HIS OTHER TALENTS HE IS THE OWNER OF MIKAEL PUBLISHING - BILL BENITEZ
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? I worked in the City of Tampa housing program and decided that some housing employees could use a how-to book. I wrote a book on housing rehabilitation, and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials published it. That was the first of many how-to books related to housing. They aren’t listed with my more recent books since it was so long ago.
How long does it take you to write a book? It depends on the book. Most of the how-to books take one to three months since they relate directly to my personal experience and I have all the information on hand. The relationship book took much longer because it’s a complicated subject, and I was not as confident as I would be on how-to topics.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing? It’s always flexible. I usually have several things going at once, so I have to stop writing to take care of other things. I don’t experience difficulty stopping and starting my writing.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? Probably my ability to stop and start writing at any time.
How do your books get published? Except for my first book published by NAHRO, I publish all my books.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? The information for all my woodworking and handyman books comes from my twenty-five years of experience in the woodworking and homebuilding and remodeling business. The material for my relationship book also came from personal experience in intimate relationships.
When did you write your first book, and how old were you? I wrote my first book in 1976 when I was 37 years old. Housing Rehabilitation: A Guide For Municipal Programs and NAHRO published it.
What do you like to do when you're not writing? I like to read, go on walks and sometimes work in my shop repairing or building something.
What does your family think of your writing? Other than my wife, Barbara, most family members express no interest in my writing.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? I learned many things, but the two most surprising were how I could share my knowledge with others concisely and how difficult it is to sell books.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? I’ve written ten books during the past ten years and another eight during the seventies. I guess my favorite is Relationship because it is so different from my others.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they? Read a lot. Learn all you can about writing—study grammar. Rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite. Edit, edit, and edit. Have people whose writing skills you respect read your work and comment and then listen.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say? Not as much as I would like. I do get good comments from my woodworking and handyman books. Mostly they’re comments about how the information was helpful and profitable. I got surprisingly good remarks from my relationship book.
Do you like to create books for adults? All my books are for adults, and I prefer to write for them.
What do you think makes a good story? Since all my work is non-fiction, there’s not much attention to a good story. However, in my woodworking and handyman business books, I do share some stories from life experiences.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? I don’t remember. I started working construction with my dad at age 12, and he was a taskmaster. My goal then was to leave his business. I managed to do that at age 22 by going into business for myself. In my 30’s, I used my construction experience to get an excellent job with the government for several years and then began writing books and a newsletter about my experience. I also did consulting for local governments across the country.
Any books in the works? I’m considering a couple of rewrites to modernize the topics but no new books at this time. I spend almost all my time now publishing books for other authors. Since 2008 I’ve published about 100 books with my company Positive Imaging, LLC, and am changing that to Mikael Publishing.
What are your plans for the future? I plan to grow my publishing business, Mikael Publishing. We provide personalized publishing services to authors in all genres.
MEET THE FASCINATING AND FABULOUS BARBARA FRANCIS, THE AUTHOR OF THE FANTASTIC SHADOW'S WAY
MEET BARBARA FRANCIS, A FASCINATING WOMAN WITH A RICH HISTORY, A GREAT IMAGINATION. SHE IS A TALENTED WRITER, AND BRINGS THE READER INTO THE WORLD SHE HAS CREATED LIKE ONLY A MASTERFUL AUTHOR CAN DO.
SHADOW'S WAY IS A STUNNINGLY CRAFTED SOUTHERN GOTHIC MYSTERY. I CAN HARDLY WAIT FOR HER NEXT BOOK. Barbara Frances has plenty of stories and a life spent acquiring them. Growing up Catholic on a small Texas farm, her childhood ambition was to become a nun. In ninth grade she entered a boarding school in Our Lady of the Lake Convent as an aspirant, the first of several steps before taking vows. On graduation, however, she passed up the nun’s habit for a college degree in English and Theatre Arts. Her professors were aghast when she declined a PhD program in order to become a stewardess, but Barbara never looked back. “In the Sixties, a stewardess was a glamorous occupation.” Her career highlights include dating a very gentlemanly Chuck Berry and “opening the bar” for a planeload of underage privates on their way to Vietnam. Marriage, children, school teaching and divorce distracted her from storytelling, but one summer she and a friend coauthored a screenplay. “I never had such fun! I come from a family of storytellers. Relatives would come over and after dinner everyone would tell tales. Sometimes they were even true.” The next summer Barbara wrote a screenplay solo. Contest recognition, an agent and three optioned scripts followed but, weary of fickle producers and endless rewrites, she turned to novels. Shadow’s Way is her third book. Her first, Lottie’s Adventure, is aimed at young readers. Her second, Like I Used To Dance, is a family saga set in 1950’s rural Texas. Barbara’s fans can be thankful she passed up convent life for one of stories and storytelling. She and her husband Bill live in Austin, Texas.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? In my mid-forties, when my girlfriend told me I needed to write because I had a vivid imagination and loved to analyze people. Earlier, as a middle school theater arts teacher,, I was writing plays for my students because I couldn’t find anything that was age-appropriate and I had a student tell me, “Miss, you’re a genius. You should do this for a living.” However, I didn’t start writing until I retired from teaching. Not enough hours in the day to do both.
How long does it take you to write a book? Depends on the book and the frame of mind I’m in. Sometimes the muse is slow and sometimes she goes so fast I can hardly keep up with her. My first book took about a year, more or less. My second took about two years, more or less. And my third book took about a year. The one I’m working on now is taking eons, it seems like. The muse has been on vacation on the other side of the world.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing? It depends on my mood. As I get older, I hate schedules more and more. Lived by the bell for too many years. So some days I write 2- 3 hours; others 30 minutes to 45 to an hour. And some I don’t go near the computer or my office.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I want everyone to LOVE my writing, very unrealistic.
How do your books get published? I’m living with a publisher, but not “in sin.”
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? There’s life and then there’s imagination. I drink from both fountains.
When did you write your first book and how old were you? In my mid-to-late 40’s. I’d rather not be specific and I’d rather not say what year that was.
What do you like to do when you're not writing? I love to decorate/beautify my home, my garden, myself. I love to cook as long as it’s not day in and day out. I love to be with my husband and friends and be silly and wise and amazing.
What does your family think of your writing? My husband and son love my writing. My daughter is embarrassed by some of the things I write. She doesn’t like to think that her mother knows anything about sex, much less describe the act.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? That maybe I have a talent!!!!!
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? I’m on my 4th, so that makes 3 I’ve completed. They’re all my children and I love them the same and like a good mother, I don’t have favorites.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they? Not really, except don’t be afraid to follow your instincts and listen to your muse no matter how crazy she may be.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say? Fortunately, I do and the ones I hear from really enjoy my writing. I’ll send some of the reviews.
Do you like to create books for adults? yes
What do you think makes a good story? Interesting, multi-layered people living their lives, no matter how conventional or unconventional that may be.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? Get the hell out of the small hell-hole town I was in.
Any books in the works? Yes, the title is Silent Crossing.
What are your plans for the future? To live through this pandemic and the trump administration.
Marta Moran Bishop is an award-winning author, poet. A radio show host and one of the team for Owl and Pussycat promotions.