Author Joni Sauer-Folger writes cozy mysteries and romantic suspense under her own name and urban fantasy and paranormal romance as J.G. Sauer. Today she sits down with us for an interview. Learn more about Joni and her books at her website.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
Took me a while. My background is in theater, which to my mind is another form of telling stories – just someone else’s stories. We all play ‘pretend’ as children, and acting allowed me to continue that into adulthood, but writing is also a version of ‘pretend’ – just making up my own stories. I had a creative writing professor in college who was an avid theater fan. She told me one night after a performance that she loved watching me on stage but hoped that I never stopped writing, that I had an incredible gift. Those words meant a lot and have always stuck with me. It just took me a really long time to embrace the writing bug – sometimes life gets in the way.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
It took about eight years to get that first book deal once I started to really pursue the craft.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
My original contract was a 2-book deal through a traditional publisher for my cozy mysteries. I’ve since gotten my rights back for both books and am almost ready to re-release them independently. All of my other books are Indies. Indie publishing allows me the freedom to write the stories in my head in my own way without limitations.
Where do you write?
I have a corner of my family room set up as my office.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
Oh, definitely silence! I have author friends who set play lists for each novel they write, but I can’t concentrate with so much as music playing quietly in the background. I guess I need to hear my story unfold in my head. Even soft music would disrupt that for me.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
Most of my characters are derived—in part—from folks I know, behaviors I witness. I tell my friends, ‘Be careful what you say to me…you may end up in a book.’
Describe your process for naming your character?
Don’t know that I have a process for this. Although, I did take the first name and hometown of a friend to name the vineyard foreman in my cozy mystery series. My friend’s name is Neil, and he’s originally from Paige, TX. I named the foreman Neil Paige. My friend tagged me later and all the tag said was, ‘Seriously? Neil Paige???’ We had a good laugh about it.
Real settings or fictional towns?
I use both. However, fictional towns are easier—you have more freedom and can take more liberties. The town in my cozy mystery series is based on Bastrop, TX—where I lived for a time—but I named it Delphine so that I could take those liberties. When I close my eyes and envision Delphine, it’s Bastrop that I see. Conversely, I use real places in both my Immortal and Guardian series, here in the U.S. and abroad.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
Wow…that’s a hard one. Mostly because I don’t think of them as quirks, just more like behaviors…perhaps an odd sense of humor or interesting hobby. Elise, the sleuth in my cozy mystery series has a thing for shoes…and her cat (which is based on my sister’s 16 lb. Siamese) has a shoe fetish as well, but only takes one shoe of a pair at any given time.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
Why…I don’t have any quirks, pal! LOL I suppose Elise got her shoe thing from me, as I LOVE me some fabulous shoes. And my characters are very real to me but just live in my head. Is that a quirk? Ha!
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
I have VERY eclectic tastes when it comes to the written word. Maybe the six books which make up the Cassandra Clare Immortal Instruments YA fantasy series? So intricate and fascinating. I would LOVE to see her office and how she kept all the details separate yet connected. Really amazing. Maybe Stephen King’s The Stand – love the way his mind works. The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. Those who write historical romance astound me…so much research to get it just right. Every book in the ‘In Death’ series by J.D. Robb – incredible world-building within a familiar societal frame…and the perfect alpha male. Oh man, so many more to choose from that it’s hard to pick just one.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
Oh, definitely that I would’ve embraced writing at an earlier age—it took me waaay too long to realize how much I love it and how it would change my life and my views of the world.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Hate-speak and the lack of compassion for others…
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
An endless supply of cold beer, an endless supply of books by my favorite authors…and Roarke from the JD Robb ‘In Death’ series—the perfect guy to spend an eternity with.
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
I don’t know that I’ve had any reeeaaally terrible jobs, but I did work at DQ for two weeks in high school. Two weeks was all it took for me to realize that it wasn’t for me. When I quit, the manager told me that I wasn’t ‘DQ material’. And I thought, ‘You think???’ LOL
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
Nope…couldn’t EVEN choose! I do have a couple that I read again every couple of years, but the minute I say one, another pops into my head. Just too many to choose from…
Ocean or mountains?
Ocean…no question. I do love the mountains, but I was born by the ocean and it calls to something inside me. Always has… I am fortunate that I live in Oregon between the Coastal mountain range and the Pacific Ocean. Best of both worlds.
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
I was born in a small town on the Oregon coast just a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean and have lived in small towns around the country. So I guess I’m a country girl at heart. However, I’ve also lived in big cities: New York, L.A., Dallas. I love the frenetic energy of the big city. There was a time that it appealed to me like nothing else, but the older I get, the smaller I want. At this point in my life, I crave the quiet—a slower pace.
What’s on the horizon for you?
I’m just about to begin work on Sandman’s Lullaby—the second book in my urban fantasy Guardian series—which will release in summer 2017. I’ll follow that with an idea that’s been rattling around in my head for a few years. It’s a holiday romantic fantasy that I’ve wanted to put out for Christmas for the last 3-4 years and haven’t gotten to it. After that…the fourth book in my cozy mystery series. It seems, when you have voices in your head, the work never ends. Ha!
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
I’m very blessed. I live on a third of an acre outside a small town on the Oregon coast with my three very spoiled feline babies. (they give me such joy) My town has a very good community theater, so I get to indulge my love of the stage—both acting and directing—along with my writing. I’ll be directing another play in September 2017. All of that on top of working at a day job 40 hours a week. I know…crazy! Life is good…
Immortal Dory Winthrop hasn’t been the Chosen One for long, but she’s already discovered that the responsibility doesn’t come without its share of trials and triumphs. Now, she and her Warrior—the man she loves, face a new threat: someone is targeting Immortals, and they aren’t excluded from the list. Together, they must discover the motive behind the deaths and unmask the killer before the lethal plan spills over into the mortal world placing humanity at risk.
New Immortal, Warrior Kaden Crenshaw, is an ex-cop abruptly pulled into a compelling and mysterious world filled with limitless possibilities, a world he’s just beginning to explore. But with this new threat on the horizon, there’s not much time to get up to speed. He’ll need to adapt quickly and lead his team with fierce determination, if he wants to protect the Chosen One and ensure the safety of all.