Monday, April 22, 2013

Joanne Elder - Entities and Engineering



Hello everyone!  Today on Dreamspring we’re featuring Joanne Elder!  Give her a big welcome and leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Spectra or Entity!

Marion: Here’s a little bit about Joanne Elder!

Joanne Elder is a member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Engineering Science at the University of Western Ontario. During her professional career, she spent several years in the aeronautical and nuclear industries, published numerous technical papers in the field of Metallurgical Engineering and presented at international conferences. She now resides in King City, Ontario with her two teen-aged children and husband and spends her time writing thrillers. Spectra, Elder’s debut novel, and the sequel, Entity, are published by MuseItUp Publishing.

Marion: What was the first book you ever read that really blew your mind, that you couldn’t stop thinking about after you’d finished?

On the Beach by Nevil Shute. It was an early nuclear apocalyptic novel that I read as an impressionable teen. I read it back in the days of the Cold War. It gave me shivers as I truly thought it could happen.

Marion: How do you start thinking about a book?  Is it the characters that first pop to mind, or the setting, or the plot?  Where do you usually start?

I like to explore fascinating concepts in my books, so I start with the concept and shape a thriller plot around it. The concept behind Spectra and its sequel Entity is the possible existence of an intelligent energy life form as the basis of what the human soul might be comprised of. From there I devised the plot and the characters.

Marion: If you could invite five writers, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?

First would be Lucy Maud Montgomery. She was my grandfather’s cousin and I loved reading her books as a child. H.G. Wells and Michael Crichton would have been fascinating men to meet. Apart from them, I’d love to sit down and chat with Stephen King, and J.K. Rowling.

Marion: When was the last time you just had to write, and what inspired that feeling?

Thoughts pop into my mind at the strangest times and I have to write them down immediately out of fear of forgetting them. Recently, I sent myself a text…lol.

Marion: When you’re writing, what game do you most often play during “breaks”?

My favorite break is walking my dog. She’s a standard poodle named Dasher.

Marion: Have you ever tried to shake up your writing routine?  Writing at a different time? Writing in new places?  Writing nude?  *waggles eyebrows*

I’m a creature of habit. I like to be fresh when I write, so first thing in the morning is best with a large pot of coffee.

Marion: What is your absolute favorite sentence--just one sentence--from your book?  Why?
I’m going to cheat and give you a short paragraph. I love it as it’s from the point of view of a very sinister villain and really captures the sense of his true evil nature:

Sam waited in the dark, bathing in the bubbles of fear percolating off the two pathetic bitches that were gifting him with their presence. With eyes shut and chin lifted, he let himself melt into the intoxicating warmth surging through him as each bubble burst onto his skin, flowing in a turbulent wave to his soul. It was like drying off in the noon sun, each bead of water tickling as it took flight.

Marion: What one scene do you think you spent the most time editing?  What was it about it that you couldn’t seem to get right?

I spent a lot of time editing the very end of Entity to the point that I almost completely rewrote it. Entity is a thriller and I wanted to intensify the ending. I was very pleased with the results.

Marion: How do you ‘get into character’?  Are their certain characters you find it harder to write than others?

I’m a person with plenty of insight into people and their characteristics so I find it very easy to see the world from different characters’ eyes. I enjoy writing with a strong voice and point of view, particularly when it comes to sinister characters.

If you could choose one writing related question you never, ever wanted to hear spoken again, what would it be?

It would have something to do with the use of ghost writers. Simply put, I never want to hear that term again. If an author’s name is on a book then he/she should have written it.

What’s your favorite book title?

Eats, Shoots & Leaves…It’s a non-fiction book about correct punctuation. I think the title is very clever since if you remove the comma it completely changes the meaning.

Marion: What project are you currently working on?

Right now I’m just finishing a thriller entitled The Remember Experiment. It’s a story about Desmond Styles, a retired police officer with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Jake Monroe, Desmond’s daughter’s boyfriend is a Ph.D. student working with the cutting edge company Nanotech on a cure for Alzheimer’s disease using nano-technology. When nanobots are injected into Desmond’s body, the improvement in his cognitive condition is remarkable. Later Jake unknowingly gets injected with nanobots and his rosy future shatters as he starts to remember a past life. Most disturbing is his last memory from that life—Desmond Styles murdering him.

About how long does it take you to get from first draft to polished manuscript?  What does that process look like?


That process involves outside input. I usually give the manuscript to several people to read for content and typos. After that, the final revision takes about two months.

Marion: What’s your best book-related memory?  Your worst?

Getting my first book, Spectra, published. Holding the print version in my hands for the first time was tremendously rewarding. The worst memory would have to be the rejection letters that flowed in from agents when I began the query process. You quickly develop a thick skin.

Marion: Name a book that, if you find out someone likes it, you know you will get along with that person.

The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. They both kept me flipping the pages.

Marion: Is there a writer whose style or talent you envy?  What is it about their writing that draws you in?

I enjoy reading Stephen King. He has an imaginative way with words that leads to very effective imagery. His talent speaks for itself.

Marion: Any parting words?

Spectra and its sequel, Entity, are science fiction thrillers and are published by MuseItUp Publishing. Spectra received a TOP PICK rating from RT Book Reviews Magazine and was a finalist in the 2013 EPIC eBook Awards. Entity has received rave reviews from RT Book Reviews Magazine, Mid-West Book Reviews and Book Pleasures. It can be read as a sequel or a standalone book. The trailer for Spectra is available for viewing on the author’s website www.sciencefictionthrillers.com. Like The Spectra Series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Spectra.Series. Follow Joanne Elder on Twitter @JoanneElder.

Marion: Thank you Joanne for joining us here today!  And remember readers, Joanne is giving away copies of both Spectra and Entity to two lucky commenters!