Writing in Shorts- Joanna Campbell Slan

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This is the fourth of fourteen interviews to celebrate Happy Homicides 6: Cooking Up Crime.

Introducing the fabulous Joanna Campbell Slan. She is the national bestselling and award-winning author of more than 30 books. RT Reviews has called Joanna Campbell Slan “one of mystery’s rising stars.” In her work, Joanna likes to explore mysteries of the heart.

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I have know Joanna for over a decade and I’ve interviewed her before. So, you’d think I’d have nothing new to learn about her. Wrong. Lemon Poke Cake. I didn’t know that was a thing. I thought it was a typo for Lemon Poppy. But Joanna would never make a typo like that. She is a sharp editor and grammarian. She is also a crafter. Scrapbooks, miniatures, needle crafts, zentangle, and more. She even has has a coloring pages for grown-ups group you can join. Always working on a new project, I wish I had a smidgen of her energy and focus.

Onto the interview–

When and why did you begin writing “in shorts?”

Traditional publishers always had a long interval between books, and I realized that during that interval I was losing my readers’ attention. I figured that short stories could bridge the gap. I now have about 50 short stories that go with various series.

Is it harder or easier than full-length novels?

It depends on the short story and on the book. In some ways, a full-length book actually feels easier because you have more room to develop a plot. But that also makes it harder, because there’s more material to deal with. In some ways, a short story is easy because you have to limit the number of characters, scenes, and so on. But that also makes it harder, because you have to be so economical with what you write.

What is your favorite short story anthology besides the Happy Homicide series?

I remember when I was growing up, my parents had a tattered copy of the Norton Anthology of English Literature. I loved that book! Opening it was like opening the door to another world. So many authors, each with such a different world view, and all available to me because I could read.

I have to agree that Norton has amazing anthologies. And I love the thinness of the pages. 

As an author, what has been your most embarrassing moment, typo, or gaffe?

I think it was the time the Barnes & Noble manager announced, “We have a special guest in our store today. Joanna Campbell Slan is the author of the Kinky Lowenstein Scrap and Crap Series.” I laughed until I thought I’d fall face first into the carpet.

Oh, Kinky! You will never be Kiki again.

What is your favorite spot to be in shorts?

On the beach in Florida. I was born in Jacksonville, and we live on Jupiter Island, so Florida is my happy place, always and forever.

Since this edition of Happy Homicides is food themed, I have to ask—What is your favorite comfort food?

Sadly, my list of comfort food is long. (Too long.) Snickers Bars, Malbec wine, mashed potatoes, homemade vegetable soup, chocolate chip cookies, Wesleydale cheese, Gouda cheese, fresh cherries, and lemon poke cake are probably somewhere at the top of the list.

Do yourself a favor and follow Joanna on your social media platform of choice. She has tons of giveaways, contests, and freebies. 

 Twitter & Facebook

See all her books on Amazon

Read one of her books absolutely free

Share your love of books with her on GoodReads

Join her community of readers for fun, special offers, contests, and more.

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your long weekend of family, friends, and food. Psst… a long weekend is a great time for reading and also a wonderful excuse to get away from the house guests. 

Happy Homicides 6: Cooking Up Crime is just a download away.  

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To Live & Write in FLA– Joanna Campbell Slan

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I have known Joanna Campbell Slan for almost ten years. We met at SleuthFest in 2006. She was folding origami while we waited in the audience for the panel to begin. Whenever I think of her, the picture of a woman always making something pops into my mind. Creative is not a strong enough adjective to describe Joanna’s skills and talents. Not only is she a well-known scrapbook aficionado and miniaturist, but she weaves amazing plots. I love the Kiki Lowenstien series, now at book twelve. Kiki is a complex woman of strength, a lot like the author. Joanna has a series on its third book, Cara Mia Delgatto,  which is set in Florida. She has intertwined the two characters in her latest release  the Kiki and Cara Mia Christmas Collection.  And then there are the anthologies she edits and her historical series and … As you can see this lady is a  tidal wave of talent. So, on to the interview–

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How long have you lived in FLA?

Actually, I was born in Jacksonville, but my parents moved us to Indiana when I was a baby. I’ve been back as a full-time resident of Jupiter Island since 2010.

Where do you write and when?

Anywhere, everywhere, all the time.  Seriously, I do.  I use a notebook computer for its portability. Because I’m on the computer all day, I like being able to move from room to room, or even to go outside.  I write every day unless I have an event or a project. Right now I’m working on my entry for the 2016 Creatin’ Contest, a miniature contest, so I’m not putting in my usual hours at work. That said, this year I’m releasing four original books and four anthologies with other authors, for a total of eight titles.

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Joanna won Honorable Mention in 2015

for her “Big Wave Dave’s Surf Shop”.

 

What is your biggest failure and what did it teach you?

You don’t have room or time for me to list all my big failures. I fail nearly as much as I succeed. But I can’t remember one specific failure that outranks all the rest, and here’s the reason for that—it doesn’t matter. What matters is getting up, starting over, and moving forward. That’s the lesson I’ve learned over and over. You’re only “out” if you stay down.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?  Or do you have some personal writing advice to offer?

Wendy Corsi Staub once told me to keep writing that next book. Each new book sells the old ones. She was right! Plus, you get better and better as you rack up more experience. The more I write, the better I get.

Who is your Dead Dream Date and why?  (Literary or otherwise)

I’d love to have lunch or dinner with Terry Gross or Diane Rehm because they’ve interviewed the most important people of our generation.

Oh, please invite me to that dinner party. Both those ladies are great.

Favorite cocktail or N/A drink and at what Florida bar?

My favorite is Campari and orange, and I prefer drinking it while on a yacht, because I first had one on a yacht at the Cote d’Azur.  It was such a thrill that I still order this cocktail as a way to bring back a fun, once-in-a-lifetime event.

I love Campari with grapefruit juice but I’ve never had one on a yacht!

You’ll find all of Joanna’s social media links on her website along with links to her books. She often has contest, giveaways, and freebie short stories. So, stay connected with her via her newsletter.

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Where have I been?

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Sorry to have been M.I.A. since November. No excuse other than Book Fair, Art Basel, Holidays…… and coming up I have Sleuth Fest. Sleuth Fest is the annual mystery writer’s conference put on by the Florida chapter of MWA. This year not only am I volunteering again but I am moderating/sponsoring a panel. Wow, November through February seems to be my busy season. So, why do I think it is not? Probably because I feel most creative during the cooler months. I tend to start new projects during this time of year. Case in point, I took on a monthly column. I’ll share the details once it goes public in publication.

To tide you over until I can get back to my regular interviews and posts I give you this:

Yes, my secret is out! I haven’t been busy with the “Lit Life” in actuality I’ve been busy printing money! Well… miniature money.

This is the donation jar for the miniature cat cafe I am working on.

Follow along with the progress on my Tumblr – Never too late

I promise to post cat pictures. (Well.. miniature cats.)

Go be creative~~~