Wednesday, January 29, 2014


The joys and perils of the writing life
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Author spotlight: Joyce Brennan
Welcome romance author, Joyce Brennan.
Why do you write fiction?
I came from a small town in Ohio and never felt the need to write memoirs or non-fiction about my life. That said, I pull from my experiences growing up in a carefree atmosphere. I remember the politics of a small community and the gossip about almost everything. It gives me more than enough information to write fiction.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
The Hidden Journal is about a timid widowed woman from an abusive marriage who grows and changes. Jenna Mitchell relocates from Chicago to a small Kentucky community. A designer of greeting cards, logos and advertising copy, she works from home on her computer. Due to the economy, she loses most of her income and is forced to take job in a local antique shop and eventually buys the business. Her life is interrupted when she finds a journal written by a deceased doctor who exposes secrets that devastate the man she plans to marry.
Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I hope to attract readers who have always lived in large communities, readers who have never experienced the closeness of a small town and readers who have lived the experience and can relate to gossip and innuendoes of growing up in a community where everyone knows everyone.
Please describe your writing routine.
When I’m beginning a novel, I write in the mornings. I strive for 1000 words per day, five days a week. I create a character analysis for my main characters. I write everything. Editing usually take longer than the original writing.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
I started out as a pantser, but now I try to have at least an outline. I want to know how the story ends before I start writing. I recommend that you know your characters inside and out. Find out what they want and who or what keeps them from achieving their goals. Give your character the worst possible scenarios and allow them to struggle through the dark times. Make sure your main character has deep conviction, good or bad. Give her/him flaws…we all have them. Sprinkle backstory throughout your manuscript. Don’t hit your reader with character descriptions in the first chapter. Limit your points of view. Most of all, enjoy writing. It will show in your finished novel.
More about The Hidden Journal:
 When Chicago designer, Jenna Mitchell, moves her business to Crestridge, Kentucky, the market collapses. Left without an income, she takes over a local antique shop. Angry words are exchanged when she meets handsome Drew Kelsey. A neighbor becomes matchmaker and brings the couple together.
Despite their rocky start, they fall in love and look to the future. Marriage plans crumble when Jenna discovers a journal that discredits the Kelsey name. Stella Ledbetter waits for the opportunity to take Jenna’s place in Drew’s life.
How to connect with Joyce:


  1. Interesting! Really enjoyed your answers to these questions. Glad to learn more about you, Joyce. My husband was born in Berea, Ohio. ;-)

    1. Bev, I lived in Bay Village, Ohio for a few years and loved the Cleveland area. Your husband knows about "White Socks." :)

  2. I use some of your techniques, but I seem to begin each book with a moral premise and then try really hard to embed that premise into the story so it isn't obvious. Nice post. And congratulations.

    1. I agree it's hard to embed a moral premise that's not obvious. I also tend to tell everyone everything when I write the first draft. Then I edit-edit-edit. My goal is to have the reader turn the pages and smile when they finish the book.