Today’s guest author started writing novels as a result of a kind of dare. Joanne Simon Tailele will tell you all about how she wrote her first book, right after we look at her official bio. Here we go!
Joanne Simon Tailele wrote her first short story at the age of ten. For fifty years, writing was a private release for her soul. In 2010, she accepted the NANOWRIMO challenge to write a novel in thirty days. She admits it took two years of edits to make it print worthy, but the drive to become a novelist was born.
When describing her writing style, she coins the phrase “moral fiction” from her favorite author, Jodi Picoult. “I consider my stories ‘moral fiction,’ the intent to raise the social conscience about people and circumstances more comfortable hidden as family skeletons.” Her brand is mother-daughter stories.
Ms. Tailele has published three Women’s Fiction, two biographies, a children’s book and a travel book. She is the current president of Marco Island Writers Inc. and owner of Simon Publishing. Originally a mid-west girl from Ohio, she lives on Marco Island, FL with her husband.
Betty: How many books have you written and published?
Joanne: 6 total: – 3 Women’s Fiction, 2 Biographies, 1 Travel Book, 1 Children’s.
Betty: What genre(s) do you write in and why?
Joanne: My primary genre is Women’s Fiction with family drama. My brand is mother-daughter stories with lots of angst. Why? I have 3 daughters of my own (and a son). I can relate. I did not consciously realize that my brand was mother-daughter stories until someone made a comment after the third one about it.
Betty: What themes or motifs did you use in your recent release and why were they important to your story?
Joanne: I usually get my ideas from something I see on the news that strikes a chord with me. Again, it always comes back to the complexities of mother-daughter relationships. My most recent book, Rehoming Pigeon is about international adoption and how things are not as simple as you’d hope or think. Decisions can be hard, and you don’t really know what you would do unless you walk in those shoes.
Cecile Boudreaux wanted nothing more than to be a mother. But when she and husband, Armand, adopt six-year-old Natalia from Russia, things don’t go as planned. Natalia wants nothing more than to get back to her brother, Nikolai. Rehoming Pigeon is about international adoption that goes all wrong, about love, and loss, and the discovery of the many faces of family.
Betty: Do you have a specific place that you write? Revise?
Joanne: I can only write in my recliner with my PC on my lap, just like I can only do things like paying bill sitting at my desk. No idea why.
Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?
Joanne: Always a Diet Coke on my table beside me. I prefer dead silence, but I’m pretty good at tuning any distractions out if I’m in the zone.
Betty: What helped you move from unpublished to published? A mentor or organization or something else?
Joanne: I know I would never be published without the support of my book coach, Kelly Hartog, and my writer friends and organizations like M.I.W. (Marco Island Writers), W.F.W.A (Women’s Fiction Writers Association), and F.A.P.A (Florida Authors and Publishers Association).
Betty: What do you think is your greatest strength in your writing?
Joanne: Writing in deep third person POV seems to be where I find my best writing.
Betty: What comes first when you’re brainstorming a new story: setting, situation, characters?
Joanne: The situation starts the idea, like reading an article about adoption disruption, which stirred the idea for Rehoming Pigeon. Then I need to really get into the POV character’s head.
Betty: Do you have a structured time to write or is it more fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations, or do you set aside a block of time?
Joanne: I try to write every day, but I am good at stretching myself too thin and proofreading or editing for others sometimes gets in the way of my own work. I ghost write for Jacobs Writing Consultants and edit for others, plus I still work 2 days a week at m day job, so I am always running out of hours in the day.
Betty: What is one recent struggle you’ve experienced in your writing?
Joanne: Right now, I am trying to polish my recent WIP because I have requests for two fulls and two partial manuscripts from a conference I was at last month. I struggle with confidence that it is ever good enough.
Betty: Do you participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? Why or why not?
Joanne: I participated in NaNoWriMo twice, in 2010 and 2011. In fact, it was the challenge I read about to write a book in 30 days with NaNo that made me try writing novel length commercial fiction. My first novel, Accident, was a NaNo book . . . not that you could probably recognize it now from its very rough start in 2010. I revised it for 2 years, and then recently gave it a new cover in 2018. Since then, I have not had the time to do it again. I think NaNo is great, as long as authors realize that their book is NEVER ready to publish on day 31.
Betty: What are you reading right now?
Joanne: The Reluctant Donor by Suzanne F. Ruff – more for research than pleasure because it deals with kidney transplant, like my POV character in my WIP.
Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?
Joanne: I almost always read Women’s Fiction. I love strong female characters and the emotional journeys they face. Ones that include psychological thrillers, like Gone Girl, are even better.
Betty: What are your keeper books? How often might you reread them?
Joanne: The Girl Who Wrote in Silk, Kellie Estes – I’ve read/listened to this at least 4 times.
My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult – Can’t even count how many times.
Sarah’s Key – Tatiana De Rosnay – My all-time favorite – Wore out one copy and had to buy another.
The Nightingale – Kristen Hannah – 3 times
Betty: When you’re writing, do you read in the same genre as your work in progress or something else?
Joanne: I usually read in my genre, but if the subject matter takes me to a different genre for research, I will go there.
Betty: Do you have a “day job” or do you write full time?
Joanne: Not full time – I am a licensed Realtor but work for a local builder as their office manager 2 days a week. But I also ghost write for Jacobs Writing Consultants, and other writers pay me to proofread, Beta read, developmental edit, format or do cover design for them. I feel like I work 24/7.
Betty: What do you wish readers knew about the publishing industry?
Joanne: It’s hard. You need to know what your needs as a writer are. In the beginning, I was quite satisfied with Indie publishing. Now, my goals have changed, and I NEED to land a traditional book deal for my own goals. But it’s okay to have different goals. Also, know that nothing comes quickly in the traditional writing world. You must learn patience.
Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?
Joanne: Study the craft. Go to as many conferences as you can. Take online courses. Continue to learn. And find a support group that will encourage you.
Betty: Any hints of what your next writing project might be?
Joanne: Sure – here is my pitch. The Crittenton Girls is about a woman that hides a secret for half a century. When her secret is finally revealed, she must choose between the daughter she raised or saving the life of the daughter she gave away.
Betty: What kind of writing would you like to experiment with? Or what’s a different genre you’ve considered writing but haven’t yet?
Joanne: I have a suspense thriller that I’d like to delve a little deeper into and see if I can do it.
Thanks so much for taking time out to swing by my blog today, Joanne! It’s amazing to me how much authors have to juggle between writing, revising, researching, promoting, marketing, and doing all the other things that pay the bills and keep our families happy.
It’s the holiday season and I hope everyone will take time to be with family and friends and relax. Remember it’s a special time of year not because of all the activities and parties but because it’s a time to come together and enjoy being with people you care about.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
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