It’s Midsummer weekend here in Stockholm and pretty soon I will be drinking more schnapps and eating pickled herring and all that jazz we do up here in Scandinavia. 😉
But enough about wacky Swedes and Midsummer, let’s get down to business: today’s author in the Getting to know… spotlight is Joanne Dannon! Joanne writes to give her readers the experience she still loves to savor—indulging in a sigh-worthy-happily-ever-after, being swept away from the everyday by diving into a delicious romance novel. Make sure you follow Joanne on Facebook and her website www.joannedannon.com.
Joanne, tell us a little about yourself. I know the readers would love to know where are you from, what you’re interested in, etc.
I’m an Australian romance writer and live in Melbourne with my husband and out two little heroes-in-training. I love spending time with my family, seeing friends and also cooking. Because I sit and write so much, I make time to walk outdoors every day.
I also enjoy cooking and can be often found trying our new recipes. My favourite new ingredient is quinoa and I’ve been trialing new salad recipes.
I might have to ask you for some salad recipes. I always end up making the same ones over and over again. I also hear you’re an avid reader. What are you reading now?
I run a romance book club where we read at least two romances each month and meet up to talk about the books. We’re all avid readers and it’s a wonderfully, social way to see my friends. Since I get to select the books each month, I chose from a range of different sub genres. This month we’re reading, Rachael John’s Outback Sisters and Jane Costello’s Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel.
A little birdie told me you’re going to be working on a new book soon! Could you tell us a little about it?
I’m about to head in to the writing cave and write a couple of Christmas stories. I’m really looking forward to immersing myself in my magic of the holiday season and how wonderful it is finding love where and when you least expect it.
Do you have a favorite writing space?
I just love reading in bed and my favourite is having a lie in on the weekend with a coffee and good book. This is a real treat for me and rarely happens since my young boys are up early and raring to go by 6am.
When I first started writing, I did nearly all of my writing and reading in bed in the middle of the night. A good lie in is wonderful! I live for them.
What is your favorite part of being a writer?
I love being a romance writer. For me, I’m living my dream job where I can work from home, drop my children at school and pick them up in the afternoon. After years of working in a corporate role, racing to the city and relying on before/after care for my sons, it’s a brilliant opportunity to have a job that is so family friendly.
My favourite part of being a writer is writing. I just love being transported in to a story of romance, hope and redemption.
I also love hanging out with other writers on Facebook and also chatting with readers. I can’t tell you the joy I get when a reader tells me they enjoyed my book. It makes me want to do the happy dance.
Every writer has a soft spot for one of the characters they’ve created. Joanne, which of your characters is your favorite?
That’s like asking me which is my favourite child J I love all my characters, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t write them.
I do however, have a soft spot for my latest heroine Daisy in Wanting Mr Right (Book 2 of the Alex Jackson series). She was the heroine’s BFF in Book 1 and at the end, I couldn’t let her go. I’d fallen in love with her brash and outrageous personality and had to write a happily ever after for her. I love this book because I already knew Daisy and the words just flowed. Feedback from my friends and readers tell me this is their favourite book of mine, they all love Daisy.
What do you think of about authors having to be active on social media? A lot of people say that authors can’t survive without Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, etc if they want to make it these days in the literary world. What’s your take on it?
I think social media is very important for writers to not just promote themselves but creates a place where they can connect to their readers and other writers.
I recently attended a fab talk about social media and was recommended to pick two platforms and focus on them. I love Facebook and Instagram so that’s where you’ll find me chatting about romance, fab reads and all things vintage.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about how fiction should reflect reality and address topical social issues. Some readers say they only read to escape and don’t want to be reminded of racism, social inequality, etc when they open a book. What’s your take on this?
Everyone has different tastes in what they want to read. I write romantic escapism. I want my readers to sit back and enjoy a page-turner and have a contented sigh at the end of the book.
Many friends and family love what I write but I do have friends who don’t like romance and prefer other genres.
I like that there is a wide variety of genres available and that readers can choose from a vast range. Also, some readers like variety, choosing romance one day and a thriller another day. If a writer is good and has honed their craft, they can write about anything. They will be able to draw the reader in to a story that will interest them.
My husband reads books which are not for me. He recently read one where the father pimped his young daughter to his friends. The blurb on the back made me ill but for him, he liked reading something that I found offensive and controversial.
I know what you mean. I’m one of those people who likes romance with a dose of realism, but there are those moments when all I want is to escape. So tell me, what advice would you give to novice writers?
Read and learn your craft. It takes time to learn how to write a good book. Don’t be in a rush to publish. There is more to writing a book than writing it.
I spent years studying, reading craft books, attending conferences and working with other romance writers before my writing was ready for publication. It’s hard work.
There are some writers who are gifted and can just write a book. But for most, there is a steep bell curve of learning.
Many thanks to Joanne for hanging out with us today! 🙂 Don’t forget to check out her books on Amazon! Happy Midsummer, everyone! 😀