Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Linda Vigen Phillips tagged me on a Q & A blog tour – please hop over and read her blog. She’s got an incredible forthcoming verse novel!

My Q & A:

What are you working on right now?
A family saga have titled ROUNDABOUT.  (which means merry-go-round or carousel) The title is connected to a carousel theme within the book but also to the roundabout nature of my character's emotional journey. 
Me on my favorite roundabout in Ocean City, MD
How does Roundabout differ from other works in its genre?
I typically write historical fiction but this book is a hybrid.  My protagonist (Hilly) is a contemporary character on an emotional journey.  Via family keepsakes she discovers the stories of 5 ancestors. As she does this, her own story unfolds and the ancestor's stories add meaning to her own. So this one is historical fiction packaged within contemporary realism.

Why do you write what you do?

Because I can’t seem to help myself. I find history and want to tell it. I discover heartbreak and want to push into it. I have hope and want to share it.

How does your writing process work?

After I’ve bumped into that irresistible bit of history, I read and research all I can.  I imagine a character in that setting and think about conflict he or she will encounter.  I get a general outline in my head. Then I start writing.  

Although I do a lot of reading early on, I continue to research the whole time I’m writing. This involves interviews with experts, travel, museums, movies, food, and hours spent at microfilm machines with old newspaper accounts.  And riding merry-go-rounds, of course!

I write a section, read it back to myself and tweak it often as I go. (This is possibly a habit I should give up since a story benefits from momentum.) When the first draft is finished I give it to writer friends for feedback. I revise based on their critiques.  And then I repeat – sometimes giving it to different critics.  Occasionally I take my manuscript to a workshop for an editor’s in-depth critique.  Eventually I submit!

Any parting words of wisdom for other writers?

Immerse yourself in the writing community. Swap critiques with your writer friends. Revise based on their criticism. Eat dark chocolate and exercise!  


  1. It's always great to hear about your work, Joyce. I had never heard that name for a carousel before. Cool. Looking forward to reading Roundabout when it comes 'round!

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    2. Lovely to hear from you, Peggy. I don't hear roundabout used much either. And I mostly use carousel.

  2. I love these insights into what people are working on. I didn't know that roundabout is another name for merry-go-round or carousel. Hereabouts, they're those circular exchanges at intersections. :D

    1. Oh, yes, those traffic circles. we don't have many of them here.

      I think roundabout has a lovely circular sound, don't you?

  3. There is another blog I read recently that had a post called something like "I wish I had written that." That's the way I felt when I read the description of Roundabout. Wow. What a concept! I will be looking for this one. Thanks for telling me about it.

    1. Ah, thanks, Rosi! Now if I can find a publisher who will get excited about it!

  4. Joyce,
    This one sounds oh so interesting. I look forward to learning more about the keepsakes and their influence.

  5. And Linda, I can't wait for it to be published.