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Author Janice Coy: “The best part about being an indie author is that I’m able to write the stories that interest me on my timetable.”

North of Eden received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Janice Coy.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

North of Eden, published August 2017

What’s the book’s first line? 

“Ruby’s heart stilled at the awful screech; her toes curling in her shoes.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

Ruby’s nose for news is twitching. As a hard-charging investigative reporter, it’s served her well in the past. But this time, will her penchant for discovering the truth do more harm than good?

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

I was inspired to write this story about Ruby, her grandmother, Evelyn, and Lawrence by two particular events: the first, a panel discussion I attended where a young woman discussed her marriage; the second, a friend who sings at assisted living facilities.  I’d been mulling over the idea of truth after I heard the young woman speak. When my friend suggested a potential story set at an assisted living facility, I was excited about how the two stories could be intertwined.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book? 

I hope readers will not only find this book a pleasurable read, but also think about whether telling the truth is always the best option.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of? 

North of Eden has three main characters: Ruby, who is relentless in her pursuit of the truth; Evelyn, who is very much a product of her age – a loving, faithful wife with a terrible secret; and Lawrence, who is living a life that might not live up to the truth of who he really is. I worked as a newspaper reporter in my early career, so I identified with Ruby’s black-and-white thinking when she’s on the trail of a story. Her motto could be: the truth at all costs, anyone who gets in her way be damned! Evelyn reminds me of some older women I know at church. I’m not going to say who Lawrence reminds me of as it will give away an important plot twist.

When did you first decide to become an author?

I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer. We did a lot of camping as a family, and one of my best memories is snuggling in my sleeping bag at night. Our parents would still be sitting up by the campfire, so there would be the warm safety of the firelight flickering on the walls of the tent, the shape shifting of shadows. We would lie in our sleeping bags, and I would whisper stories to my little brother. I was fortunate in my early career to be a newspaper reporter, then a feature writer. Now, I’m thrilled to author novels. I grew up reading fairy tales from around the world and Nancy Drew, so I suppose it’s no surprise I write suspense with a touch of romance.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

North of Eden is my fourth novel. My first is A Grave in the Vegetable Garden (inspired by true events), my second is A Table on Kilimanjaro inspired by my own journey up the fabled African mountain, my third is The Smallest of Waves which was a 2017 suspense finalist at the San Diego Book Awards Association contest.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

Each novel takes me about two years to complete. My first draft basically acts as an outline. I generally write about seven or eight drafts, setting my manuscript aside for weeks at a time and getting feedback from beta readers.  By the time I’m “done,” I know where everything happens in the novel.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?   

The best part about being an indie author is that I’m able to write the stories that interest me on my timetable. I strive for excellence and improvement with each of my novels.  I enjoy learning and researching. The hardest part about being an indie author is that I don’t believe indie books have quite reached the same status as books that are traditionally published. Maybe it’s more of a underlying bias against a hometown author. I find readers (who know me) are often surprised at the quality of my writing.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

Keep striving for your best. Keep learning and improving as a writer. I’ve read many books on writing, and I think the best advice I read was to write at least fifteen minutes every day. The reasoning for that was if you spend fifteen minutes writing, you won’t lose the thread of your story. So often, writers wait until they have hours to spend on their story. But when that chunk of time rolls around, they have forgotten what they previously wrote. Much of their time is then spent on reviewing. If you’re writing fifteen minutes every day, you’ll find you’re also thinking about your story throughout the day. When, you sit down to write, you’ll be ready to get your plot moving forward.

Is there something in particular that motivates you?

The story and the characters are what motivate me to keep writing. People fascinate me, and will often say or do something that peaks my curiosity enough that I want to either write a story about it or give one of my characters that interesting quirk. When I’m writing, I’m eager to find out what the characters will do next and how the story will evolve. I usually have a general idea, but the writing process is a creative adventure for me when it comes to specifics. For instance, in the novel I’m currently working on, I started with the idea that it would have one main character. But when I began writing a secondary character, I really liked her and gave her a promotion.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

Sue Monk Kidd. I marveled at her book The Invention of Wings . Reading authors like her, Anthony Doerr, Kate Morton, Liane Moriarty or Kristen Hannah inspire me to do better with my work. I also am inspired by the poetry of Mary Oliver.


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