Sunday, November 25, 2012

Talking With Joss Landry

My guest today is Joss Landry, author of the romantic suspense novel, Mirror Deep. I had the pleasure to read Mirror Deep in its infancy, so I'm delighted to see it published. Joss and I have encouraged each other for years, and it's my pleasure to have her here.

About Mirror Deep:
Danger and romance roll like thunder through horse whisperer Kat Bonner’s world, when a known felon comes to the ranch to drop a bomb about her past. Kat turns to Pierce for help; the same Pierce who bucks her every chance he gets, and whose feverish investigation lands them in trouble with the law and directly in the path of a serial killer.

Mystery deepens, fraught with wrong turns, bumbling detectives, old murders, and Kat’s doppelganger no one sees but her, just as she never sees the change in Pierce’s feelings toward her, brewing, mounting, until she can no longer deny them.

Hi Joss, thank you for taking time to talk to us. I know you've been writing for at least a few years, since we met on an online writer's site. How long have you been writing, and how did you start?
Diaries, when I was young, written in long hand. Never had to hide them as no one could read my handwriting, not even me.  I used to write poetry, along with my deepest thoughts to see where they would take me…

What do you like best about writing?
I like bringing people to life, stepping into their world and getting to know them and their story. Pure escapism at its best. When the kids were young and life became hectic, every now and then they would hear me say… “Quick, I’ve got to get into someone else’s life…”

How did you come up with the title of your book?
Surprisingly enough, a premise comes to me for a story, usually very early morning. Sometimes, it’s during the course of the day, when something flicks my imagination. I know it’s a real vein when the plot explodes, the characters are vivid and have names already, and there is a title that flashes through my mind. The surprising part is that I’ve never changed a title. A lot of editing goes on from the time the book is conceived, but the title never changes.

Yes, and it all takes time. Do you have another job outside of writing?

Yes, I do—a day job. Not that I am ungrateful. It’s a wonderful job. I provide answers for clients via e-mail, and from home, in the telecommunication field. Everything from billing queries, to problems with technology, to a gamut of help and questions they need me to answer. 

Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants, or let your characters tell you what to write?
First thing I do is write a short synopsis, using any random order that pictures are thrown at me. Naturally, because I see pictures, the first thing I do after I’ve written down the ideas is hunt for character photos to find the people I’ve just encountered in my mind. I find them online. Then I write 5 pages of data on the main characters, everything from astrological signs to likes and dislikes and favorite foods, favorite sports… on everything. I write history on them and lineage, parents, family, friends, education… Every single person that comes on board, no matter how trivial their role, has at least one page. This is my outline. Then I allow my characters free rein within the story.

When you start a new book, do you know what the entire cast will be?
Absolutely. There are other secondary characters that arrive along the way. But the main characters are all there.

I’m constantly on the lookout for new names. How do you name your characters?
Again, it’s odd, but the names come as easily to me as does the book’s title. I never change their names and… that’s who they are. Katherine Bonner. I saw her, and I saw Pierce, her second cousin. He was also a Bonner. The name of the ranch was there. Bonner-Willow. Actually, the only thing I changed in the book was the fact that in the beginning, Kat and Pierce were first cousins. I changed that to second cousins, which made more sense since Pierce and Kat’s fathers, Bill and Franklin are quite different.

Are any of your characters inspired by real people? Who?
I believe most of my characters are probably an amalgamation of all the people I’ve met in my life. But never just one person, though. Like a fine wine, I feel I need to use several varieties of grapes, I guess, before I can reach the perfect blend.

I'm pretty sure I know the answer to this, but...with which of your characters would you most like to be stuck on a deserted island?
I guess it’s safe to say: Pierce Bonner. Blue eyes, dark hair and a smile that makes me weak at the knees. Sexy man who can have any woman he picks. And he loves horses. What more can I ask?

Is there anything in particular that you do to help the writing flow? Music? Acting out the scene? Long showers?
Two things… movies. I will watch movies or some sitcom that will let me relax. And swimming.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Sports. Tennis, biking, swimming, horseback riding… I like to play outside.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
New York or Paris. It’s a toss up. I’d probably spend my time between the two continents. I also like Lyon and Miami.

What are you working on now?
An urban fantasy that is running around in my mind. I need to finish it. It’s driving me crazy. That’s what happens when I start writing a story. It grabs hold of me and will not let me rest until I finish.

I know what you mean. Do you have a routine for writing? Do you work better at night, in the afternoon, or in the morning?
Morning. Definitely morning. By the afternoon, story has gone. Sometimes inspiration will last a whole day, but only if I begin in the morning.

What books have you read more than once or want to read again? Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain Fournier. It was written in 1909 and is absolutely magical. It was translated in English in 1957 and titled The Lost Domain.

Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.
Favorite scene in Mirror Deep is when Pierce and Kat are dancing, she totally oblivious to how he feels about her, and Pierce wonders how he will keep enough of a distance between them so she doesn’t find out just how much he wants her. That whole scene is touching.

I remember that scene. You're right--very touching. What song would you pick to go with your book?
"Rainy Day People" by Gordon Lightfoot. He’s Pierce’s favorite singer and Pierce plays the guitar and sings as well as he does. “Bitter Green” would be in there too.

Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do when it happens?
I have never gotten writer’s block. I’m not the one writing. They are. So, unless they’re too tired to go on, which never happens, I don’t get writer’s block.

Lucky girl! Thanks again for talking with me, Joss. Good luck with Mirror Deep.

About the author:
With a degree in commerce, Joss has worked as a consultant for more than twenty years, writing copy for marketing firms and assisting start-up companies launch their business. She recently made the switch from composing copy and promos, to writing fiction and prose. She is developing her style through courses and the support of other writers. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and is presently working on honing three other novels for publication. 

Blessed with four children and five grandchildren, she resides in Montreal with her husband, a staunch supporter, and enjoys spending time biking, rollerblading, playing tennis, and swimming. She loves creating stories as she says they fulfill her need to think outside the box.

Follow Joss:
Facebook page
Goodreads author page
Amazon: Mirror Deep, Kindle