Thursday, October 10, 2013

How Authors Write- Joy Spraycar

Today I am hosting Joy Spraycar. We met through James Crowfoot, and Joy was kind enough to send me a copy of her newest release, Changing of the Glads for my review, which you can find here.
Thanks Mary for doing this interview.

You're welcome! I'm glad to have another victim, I mean volunteer (:-) ) to share their writing process with us. And thank you for giving me the opportunity to read and review your book.
Of course. I love when bloggers want to review my books. I also have a free copy of Glads to give away for whomever you thinks leaves the most entertaining comment. Sound good?

What do you write?
I write what is now called New Adult Paranormal romance. New Adult is written for the young adult audience, but the main characters are out of high school, usually in their twenties. I really enjoy this genre, because you aren’t tied to the school theme, and yet the characters are still finding their way in life. A would also classify my books as action/ adventure, because there is always a quest of some sort going on at the same time the characters are finding love.

Do you use 1st person, 3rd person, multiple POVs?
My book, Phantom Wolves was written in 1st person, but you really have to be careful not to get trapped in the 'I did this and I did that'. I think I hit the balance in that book, but it is not my favorite. I enjoy close 3rd person and multiple POVs. I love to let the reader know what the characters are thinking, and then have them root for the hero and heroine to discover the secrets, and sometime I want the readers to see that normal people can act like villains when they are trying to fight for what they want.

How do you get started with a book – is it an idea, a character, vary from story to story?
I would have to say that my books all come as ideas. I do tend to base characters on people I know. My daughter had an experience with a ghost in our old house, and the book, Tawny’s Ghost,  sprang from that.  Quicksilver, my first novel was based loosely on a character I loved in the soap ‘Dark Shadows’ and of course my love of werewolves. Go team Jacob! I regress. Glads was brought about by an old idea from a few years ago. And Phantom Wolves was based on my eldest daughter and her sassy personality. So I guess there are some of each thing in every book.

Do you draft quickly?
I’m what most editors refer to as a pantser. [Ah, another pantster, just like me!]  I sit down and just start to write. I work a job so writing takes a back seat to work and home, but I usually finish a story for the first time in about three months. Then I go back with and editor and hammer out what needs to be fixed in flow and grammar. I have written books faster, Quicksilver only took three weeks for the first draft, but that story had been boiling in the pot for many years. Now the average is the three months.

Do you do research before your first draft, during?
It depends on the story. I usually do some before, but still end up doing more during the writing. Especially, (since I’m a pantser, sometimes my characters do unexpected things) if something comes up that I hadn’t considered, such as in Quicksilver a witches cleansing spell. No, I hadn’t heard of it before, but imagine my surprise when I looked it up and there was such a thing. (whew! Dodged the bullet of having to make something up) Writing paranormals gives you greater leeway than some of the other genres, but you still have to stick to what people are willing to believe.

Do you outline? How?
No. I don’t outline at all. Okay, I guess I have a vague outline in my head. That is to say I know the conflict and how it gets worked out. But as I write scene by scene, more often than not that outline goes more places than I intended to take it. I’m quite often sitting at my computer, saying, 'What? Why are you doing that?'
Then I have to really look at that character in a different way. I seem to discover them along with the story as I write. But I don’t have a written outline, a scene board or anything like that.

Do you name everything up front when you are drafting, or do you leave comments for yourself to go back and fill in later so you don’t lose the flow of what you are working on?
I name everything as I go. The hero and heroine are named up front. And usually the antagonist is named, but as I go along I name things as I write. For instance, in Glads, I wanted it to read oldish. And although it is technically set in the future, I wanted the Roman feel to it. So I researched Roman names when I named my Hero and Heroine, and of course that gave my lots of names to work with when I was writing other characters in the book. I have had to stop a couple of times because my characters decided to do something unexpected. In Phantom Wolves, Kat decided to go to New Mexico, because that was where her birth mother was from. (Something I didn’t know when the story began, LOL) So I had to stop and look up what sort of Native American tribes lived down there, and look at Google maps to see what was near where my character wanted to head. Fortunately, it was exactly as Kat thought, isolated farms sitting on old Native American lands. (Lucky for me)

Do you work with CP’s or Beta’s? How soon into your draft do you let them see your work?
I do both. I have a couple of critique groups. I met our mutual friend James Crowfoot on my online group, I was the 2nd place novelist there in 2010. I also have a sit down every week critique group. I let my critique groups read my story as it is being written. That really helped me when I wrote Tawny’s Ghost. Fellow writers were guessing where the story would go next, which helped me make it totally unpredictable, which actually made it a better book.

I also use Beta readers. After the book has gone through the editing process, then the Betas get their hands on it. They pick up on things that have slipped through the cracks. I highly recommend all writers use as many people as they can. It only helps. [This is GREAT advice!! Just be careful how you deal with the feedback. If everyone marks a place as a problem, you should look at it closely. If only one or two mention it, then it's probably personal taste/opinion.]

What books/websites have you found most helpful to helping you write your best?
I belong to the Romance Writers of America. I’ve gleaned so much from their online university. I also love the Hero’s Journey, and Heroes and Heroines Sixteen Master Archetypes, and Fallen Heroes: Sixteen Master Villain \Archetypes both by Tami Cowden. If you haven’t read Tami’s books, I highly suggest you do. They are really valuable in characterization.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing?
I wish I had known more about the publishing industry. Now, everything is different, but if I had known then what I know now, I probably would have saved myself some heartache.

I also wish I had known how to market. This is also a constantly changing venue, what worked last year doesn’t necessarily work now. But having your platform set up before you start putting out books is always the best idea, then you’re not playing catch up. Like you, Mary, having a blog is one way to get yourself out there. I hate to blog, and would rather spend my time writing, but I’ve forced myself to do some of those nasty tasks we all need to do. [Ah yes, the ever changing scene of marketing. I think we all struggle with this.]

What do you have out now, or coming out? Any upcoming events? A website we can find you and your books at? An author photo? A book trailer? Anything else you want to share?
Changing of the Glads is my latest release. It is the first in a three book series, the second scheduled to come out next fall. I also have the first book in The Keepers series, a six book series,  scheduled to come out around April 2014. This first one is Keeper of Hell’s Island, where the Hero’s job is to let the Hounds of Hell out every night. [Oh! That sounds really interesting. Love mythology retellings!}

I’ll be in Park City, Utah, on Oct 12th at the Silver Baron Lodge doing a book signing with multiple friends and romance authors. If anyone is around come up and see us. I’ve included the poster if you’re interested. 

Also you can check out excerpts of my books and , or check them out at Amazon, or on Goodreads. I love to hear from anyone who reads my books. 

Also, I’m running a contest for the first five reviews for Glads on Amazon, you get a free audio book of Tawny’s Ghost. And don’t forget to leave comments on here so Mary can award the signed copy of Glads.

Thanks Mary. I appreciate you, and I’m looking forward to seeing more from you also.

Thanks, Joy! I wish you well with all your upcoming releases, too! Don't forget Joy's appearance this weekend!!!


  1. Nice post! It's always great to see how other authors bring the whole thing together. Too bad I can't commute to Utah. The signing would be awesome!

    1. Thanks, Tam! Wish I was closer and could go, too!

  2. Interesting interview! I was glad to see that a panster can be so productive. Her books sound great! And I think it's intriguing that her daughter had an experience with a ghost.

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. It was nice getting to know Joy a little more through the interview!

  3. Great info! I agree, beta readers, critique partners...different people notice different aspects, so get as many opinions as you can!! :)


Thanks for dropping by. I love reading comments and will respond by e-mail as soon as possible.