Welcome to Joanne Guidoccio. Joanne is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime, She writes paranormal romance, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
What inspired you to become a writer? From an early age, I loved curling up with a book and losing myself in the stories. In high school, I looked forward to English class and dreamed of writing the great Canadian novel. Instead, I followed the conventional advice of the times and pursued a career in teaching. But, in my heart of hearts, I knew that someday I would resurrect that writing dream. When I took advantage of early retirement in 2008, I decided to devote my second act to writing.
What do you find most challenging about writing? A linear pantser, I write brief character sketches, plot the first three chapters and the last, and then let the words flow. At some point, usually around Page 80, I encounter the murky middle, that nebulous place where I find it difficult to continue or sustain the tension of the novel. In short, I’m lost with no clear trail or direction in sight.
In the early days of my writing career, I struggled to regain my motivation, wondering if I should abandon the novel. Thankfully, I discovered strategies that have lifted me out of the abyss.
After giving up her tail for an international banker, Isabella of the Mediterranean kingdom is aged, weathered, and abandoned on the fog-drenched shores of southwest England. She faces her human journey as a plain and practically destitute fifty-three-year-old woman. With the help of a magic tablet and online mermaid support, she reinvents herself as a career counselor, motivational speaker, and writer of self-help books. Along the way, she encounters a cast of unforgettable characters, among them former mermaids, supportive and not-so-supportive women, deserving and undeserving men, and several New Agers. As Isabella evolves into Barbara Davies, she embraces her middle-aged body, heals her bruised heart, and learns to love again. This contemporary version of The Little Mermaid offers hope and inspiration to anyone who has been dumped, deceived, or demoted.
What inspired you to write Between Land and Sea? On a whim, I attended a series of workshops facilitated by science fiction writer Sarah Totton. Impressed by her work ethic and persistence—she entered the “Writers of the Future Contest” seventeen times before winning—I listened attentively to her writing advice.
Driving home one evening, I toyed with the idea of writing fantasy and thought back to The Little Mermaid.
A beautiful mermaid is transformed into an overweight middle-aged woman?
Would the man keep her or abandon her on the fog-drenched shores of southwest England?
Inspired by this premise, I started writing.
What is the most surprising thing that you discovered while writing this book?
Halfway through writing Between Land and Sea, I started dreaming about Isabella and the other characters. Interestingly enough, the characters behaved very differently in my dreams. This inspired me to introduce a subplot involving Kendra Adams. Originally, I had intended to limit her involvement to a few chapters, but the psychic ex-mermaid had other ideas and started disrupting my dreams.
On the day of her engagement party, an ex-mermaid’s life is disrupted by the unexpected arrival of another mermaid—a sister she has never known. Under normal circumstances, Barbara Davies would be overjoyed, but her special day is already wrought with tension. While Barbara is not the first mermaid from the Mediterranean kingdom to settle in small town Ontario, she has yet to reveal her origins to her fiancé. So, when Arabella, the gorgeous sister whose disturbing black eyes banished her to the island of Crete, saunters into her life, clutching the arm of Barbara’s discarded lover, a powder keg of emotion is released.
Relationships falter and careers stall as envy stirs in the hearts of the sisters. On the verge of meltdown after her fiancé leaves Canada for a teaching job in Vermont, Barbara flees to Arizona hoping for a reprieve. There, she finds solace at a retreat for ex-mermaids and a second chance at love with a charismatic preacher. As she contemplates a new life in the desert paradise of Sedona, shocking secrets emerge and tragedy strikes. A stronger and wiser Barbara rises up to face these new challenges and embrace the best parts of her mermaid heritage.
Find Joanne at: Website