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Advice from IR Approved Author Joanne Wilshin: “If you are there for your book, it will be there for you.”

The Findlings: A novel based on a real event received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Joanne Wilshin.

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

The Findlings: A novel based on a real event, published April 26, 2021

What’s the book’s first line?

“Before I begin, I need you to know that I am not alive, not in the carnal sense.”

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

Four young siblings, three sisters and a brother, destined for talented lives become separated in a horrid drowning incident in 1949. One sibling, Anna, takes it upon herself to reunite the other three once they’re adults by leading them to their birth mother. While Delilah and Victor search to no avail, Bibi, the radio-head sibling most capable of finding their birth mother, refuses to do so based on myriad logical and psychological reasons. But Anna pins her hopes on Bibi, providing esoteric clues Bibi can’t ignore, which culminates in her opening a box of letters and photographs, including letters written by her birth mother Grace. Simultaneously, Delilah invests in a detective to find Victor, and Victor struggles to find himself. The true event anchoring this work of fiction is: The morning Bibi meets her birth mother for the first time in over thirty years. With a multi-generational cast of 20th century characters, The Findlings is a story of abandonment, abduction and reunion which explores suppressed memory and the themes of family, fate, hope, and truth.

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

I was inspired by the day I met my birth mother for the first time in thirty years. An experience like that has such long ranging effects on one’s life and perspective that I felt the need to share it. Interestingly, the Anna character was/is real. She indeed fed me information to help in my search. And, as written in the last chapter of this novel, she is a relative of mine.

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

My hope is that people who have undergone a traumatizing abandonment experience, or know someone who has, find kernels of help in the pages of The Findlings, and that those kernels help them move forward in their life and their healing. I also hope my readers gain from watching the various characters alter their convictions and actions as new evidence shows up. Lastly, there are many of us who are radio heads, people who know things through intuition, as well as the other senses and intellect. I wanted intuitives to see themselves on the page.

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

The most distinctive thing about the main character Bibi (Beatrice) is that she has figured out how to live a so-called normal life despite the layers and layers of trauma she has experienced.  She also did not have the advantage of being raised around and by her own talented gene pool, and thus has never been shown her latent possibilities. Yet in many ways, she is them. She’s intuitive, artistic, and analytical. She reminds me of Ayla in Clan of the Cave Bear and Patti Smith.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

Julia Garner – Bibi; Meryl Streep – Anna; Timothée Chalamet – Victor

When did you first decide to become an author?

Thirty years ago. Writing non-fiction came easily to me. Writing a novel required a lot of me. I’d been a painter most of my life, so writing a novel required quite the learning curve.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

No. I’m a quester. After each of my quests, I’ve written a book. The first book I wrote was Take a Moment and Create Your Life in 1997. It has been updated and retitled The Happiness Path. This book came after my quest to understand why we have emotions, and how it impacts our ability to create our futures. My second book came after my husband and I cruised our boat by ourselves from Puget Sound, through the Inside Passage, to Alaska. The only way I’d do this bucket list item was if I understood the boat, navigation, provisioning, the waters, the weather, etc. When we came back unharmed and very much alive, I wrote The First-Mate’s Guide to Cruising the Inside Passage: Thriving and surviving the waters from Olympia to Glacier Bay. I had to share my knowledge.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

We do a lot of cruising in the Pacific Northwest. I design websites, paint, read, invent things, and fresh water fish.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

When I’m writing for a specific purpose, I sit down and keep going. My husband is lucky he gets dinner sometimes.

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

I did not set out to be an indie, but I realize that I don’t write about mainstream fiction or non-fiction topics. I really like being able to publish work using Kindle Direct Publishing because there is no need to store thousands of books, and I think it’s good for the planet.

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

Your book has an urge to live and a sense of purpose. There are people who, for whatever reason, want or need to read it. Talk to your book. Ask it what it needs and wants. If you are there for your book, it will be there for you.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?

If so, why? I’m not sure. It would depend on what would be required of me and of them.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

I am motivated by being happy, which is personal to me, and can change in every moment. I work to consciously creating that which makes me happy, but while also fully aware that I want others to be happy also. So I’m creating for them too, without having to know what will make them happy. If they’re not happy, I’m not happy. It’s been a very interesting life since I got clear about this.

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

Donna Tartt.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

Call of the Wild.


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