The Writer’s Corner… an Interview with author Jo-Ann Mapson (part 1)

authors, writers, writing, best sellers, Interview              Do other writers sometimes find themselves  at 4 in the afternoon still in their pajamas, writing furiously?  Do all of their #2 pencils have to be sharpened before they can begin?

I thought my readers might enjoy hearing about other authors writing processes.  So I created a Question & Answer-type Interview.  The response has been wonderful and I can’t wait to share it with you.

  In this three-part post, my second interview is with best-selling author, Jo-Ann Mapson.  She is one of my favorites and I always wait with bated breath until her next book comes out.  Her characters, (men, women, dogs, horses), are vivid and believable and they often return in a new book.  Jo-Ann takes them down the same roads we have all traveled….love, loss, grief, death, friendship; stumbling along through life, gathering what wisdom we can.
I hope that you enjoy her insights, humor and thoughts…….writing, authors, interview, best seller,writers

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, closet, a special space for your writing?

A. I have an office in the smallest bedroom of our house. My desk is small. Objects that inspire me surround me. A felted greyhound statue, my cowboy boots, a photo of my great aunt, this wonderful print “The Land of Make Believe” that is a kind of map of childhood stories hangs above my desk. A writer needs to be able to write anywhere, though. Those kinds of constraints such as special places, complete silences, bingo tchochkees, can cripple, so I find it best to force myself to write anywhere.

Q. Do you have a set time each day to write or do you write only when you are feeling creative?

A. Oh, my gosh, waiting for creativity to visit would never get a page, let alone a book written. I work everyday, mid-morning to dinnertime. This timetable is subject to change, but not the number of hours. I’m not sure why. Some books, like The Wilder Sisters, get written in special circumstances; that particular California summer was so hot that I wrote lying down in bed with my laptop, shades drawn, fan running.

Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write?

A. No rituals other than a cool drink and fan blowing. I usually warm up to writing by answering a few emails. Pre-Internet, I liked to start my writing day by writing a letter to a friend. I miss that. I worry what will happen to history if letter writing goes away forever. It’s such a revealing art.

Q. What is your mode of writing?

A. I write on an iMac. Arthritis (and probably lack of use!) limits how much writing by hand I can do. I have strange handwriting, half-cursive, half-print, very hard even for me to read. Writing on the computer makes things so much easier for me. What works for you is the way to go.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing and for how long?

A. The “zone,” that wonderful, addictive, “I am but a vessel” kind of feeling only comes when it wishes, doggone it, but I always write in pursuit of it. It’s writer cocaine.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

A. From the moment I could hold a pencil, I was reporting on things, writing to understand things that happened, and in my head, whole stories were forming. All writing is serious.

Q. How long after that were you published?writers, authors, interviews, best sellers

A. Thirty plus years, with the occasional poem, short story published here and there in a journal, or newspaper. Really, for most writers, you’ve got to live a little life in order to have anything worthwhile to write about. You can’t fake the kinds of issues it takes to write a book that compels a reader. Take for instance grief. Or the highest moment of happiness you can imagine. Or something as small as a minor injustice that doesn’t sit right with you gathers weight, momentum. If you want to say anything of worth about those topics, you either have to have experienced them, pursued them, or watched them happen to someone else.

Q. …..and the all important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like?

A. I suppose it looks like a messy, disorganized pile of research books, empty coffee cups, talismans, doodles, distractions at the start. Strangely, because writing is so ephemeral these days, it’s kind of invisible. It lives in “The Cloud,” or Carbonite, rarely in concrete pages until it’s fashioned into a book. I print out to edit by hand because I need to have that concrete format………

 Biography  Jo-Ann Mapson lives and writes in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her husband and three Italian greyhounds. Her 11 novels can best be described as slightly Southwestern in setting, character-oriented in execution, and edgy with humor that sometimes goes awry. Among her favorite things are dogs, Old Gringo cowboy boots, reading, making jam, green chile, and laughter with friends and family. Her second novel, Blue Rodeo, was made into a CBS television movie starring Kris Kristofferson. Several of her books have been bestsellers. Many of her books have been Indie bound and Booksense picks. She won the American Library Association’s RUSA award for Solomon’s Oak, and has been honored with awards for research and creativity at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where she is core fiction faculty in the low residency MFA Program that she created with her colleagues. Forthcoming from Bloomsbury is Owen’s Daughter, which features some of her characters from Blue Rodeo as well as the family in Finding Casey (2012). She is currently at work on a new novel.

Part II will be featured in the February  7th blog and Part III February 12th . Don’t miss this fascinating look into a best-selling author’s writing life.

To go to other interviews: click here


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