MICHAEL McCARTY: Why did you decide to become a novelist in the first place?
JOAN MAUCH: As a lifelong lover of reading, from an early age I wanted to write a novel but when I first sat down (under a tree by Lake Michigan) to write, after the first page, I ran out of words and discovered there was more to it than I thought. Years went by, life intervened and I put that desire on the back burner. Finally, after retiring, I had some free time and my desire to write a novel resurfaced along with the realization that I didn’t know the first thing about novel writing. At the time I was living on Chicago’s North Shore and found out about a fiction-writing class in which I promptly enrolled. The rest is as they say, history.
MIKE: Your book “Halifax” is set in both Florida and Canada. Was there any particular reason for going from extreme hot to extreme cold locations?
JOAN: Before even thinking about writing the novel, I had gone to Nova Scotia on vacation and visited all the locations mentioned in the book. When I came up with the idea for the novel, and the protagonist was going to flee, I thought Halifax would be the perfect place for her go. Like me, I assumed most of my readers had heard of Halifax but were unfamiliar with where it was or what it was like, so, in my mind at least, the setting added an element of interest to the novel. By the way, when we were there, which was in the fall, the weather in Nova Scotia was similar to autumn weather here, which is to say, delightful.
MIKE: If we are unmasking Joan Mauch, what would we find?
JOAN: A person who is somewhat conflicted. I am a very private person who avoids the spotlight and enjoys solitude, but at the same time I love excitement. For example, I went skydiving with my son a few years ago, ran two half-marathons and someday would like to go bungee jumping. On a more normal scale I enjoy hanging out with family and friends.
MIKE: Any advise for beginning writers?
JOAN: Writing a novel is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. What I mean by that is, as a young woman I thought I could just sit down and whip off a novel. After all, in college I always got A’s in creative writing courses and was often told I was a good writer and should write a book. Well, as I mentioned above, when I sat down to actually write, I quickly discovered after only a page, I couldn’t think of anything more to say. So, if you’re a new writer just starting out, I would advise you to take a few courses or workshops on novel writing. If that’s not possible, read some books on the topic. Then you need to accept the fact that novel writing is a life-long pursuit, it is hard work that requires discipline. It’s not a weekend activity to pursue when you’re in the mood or have nothing better to do. Only then will you succeed. I hope this doesn’t discourage any of you who, like me, longed to write a book, but you do need to face the reality of what’s involved.
MIKE: Last words?
JOAN: Yes! Would-be writers who are reading this blog also need to know that most published authors are kind and more than willing to help struggling writers, so don’t be afraid to ask. I, myself, have emailed famous authors for their input on various topics and received responses. Authors are human too and most have at one time struggled to get their work published so they know what you are going through.
If you’re a reader, be sure to look up my work on my website at joanmauch.com or on Amazon. And after you read any or all of my novel, please leave comments or reviews. They needn’t be more than a few words. Those are gold for writers at any level and much appreciated!
The link for the complete blog interview is: