Cozy mystery and paranormal romance author Joanne Guidoccio sits down for an interview today. Learn more about Joanne and her books at her website.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
In high school, I dabbled in poetry and dreamed about writing novels. But I listened to my practical Italian side and put my dream on hold as I pursued a teaching career. Throughout my career, I imagined different storylines but didn’t put pen to paper until my “cancer” year.
How long did it take to realize your dream of publication?
In 2008, I retired from a 31-year teaching career and decided to launch a second career as a writer. At first, I wrote articles and book reviews but later gravitated toward novels. I was offered my first book contract in January 2013.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
Where do you write?
Originally, I had designated my den as a writing space, but I felt too confined and relocated to an empty space in my large living area. Whenever I need a break, I swivel my chair and take in the majestic trees outside my window.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
I cannot write amid any chaos – auditory or otherwise. For that reason, I can only write at home.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
I identify strongly with Gilda Greco, the protagonist of the novel. So much so, that I used the first-person POV. Our similarities...Italian Canadian, born and raised in Sudbury, relocated to Southern Ontario, mathematics teachers, career development practitioners, yoga enthusiasts, non-foodies.
One major difference – Gilda won a $19 million lottery. I’m still hoping.
Having lived and taught in different cities throughout the province of Ontario, I felt free to “borrow” characteristics from former colleagues and students to create composite characters. While Gilda is approximately 70% me, the same can’t be said of the other characters. I would be very surprised if anyone recognized himself/herself in the novel.
Describe your process for naming your characters?
I devote the most time to selecting names for the protagonist and her love interest. In A Season for Killing Blondes, I liked the flow of Gilda Greco and Carlo Fantin. For the older Italian characters, I called to mind the names of my parents’ friends and also used the telephone book. I spent some time coming up with the double names—Anna May, Carrie Ann, Jenny Marie, Melly Grace—for the blondes.
Real settings or fictional towns?
A Season for Killing Blondes is set in my hometown of Sudbury, Ontario. My mermaid novels are set in the fictional town of Carden, Ontario with stops in Toronto, Chicago, and Sedona.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
Gilda Greco, the protagonist of A Season for Killing Blondes, is a self-proclaimed non-foodie. Throughout the novel, she refers to this “quirk” in a self-deprecating way.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
I am controlled by a bird clock. Each hour, one of my feathered friends, among them the Downy Woodpecker, Belted Kingfisher, and Great Horned Owl, chirp and remind me to pace myself.
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written), which one would it be? Why?
I have great admiration for authors of historical fiction and would love to write a trilogy. I am particularly impressed by Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
I had planned to pursue a master’s degree but life intervened. If I could go back, I would take a leave of absence in my late twenties and pursue that degree.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Lack of response to emails. I am peeved when I have to send multiple emails.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
Clean drinking water. Compatible companions. Pen and paper (preferably a journal.)
What was the worst job you’ve ever had?
During my university years, I accepted an enumeration job with a government agency. I had hoped it would segue into a long-term summer job. Instead, I spent two weeks knocking on the doors of apartments in a high-rise building. Updating information was a tedious, frustrating, and annoying task.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
So many books come to mind! The best book I’ve read this year is Circling the Sun, a fictionalized memoir of Beryl Markham, by Paula McLain. I was drawn into the fascinating lives of the British expats living in Africa in the early twentieth century. A must read!
Ocean or mountains?
Definitely ocean! I’m landlocked in Ontario.
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
City girl...I like the bustle and activity.
What’s on the horizon for you?
Right now, I’m working on Too Many Women in the Room, Book 2 of the Gilda Greco Mystery Series and The Making of a Mermaid Psychic, Book 3 of the Mediterranean Trilogy.
A Season for Killing Blondes
Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation.
When three more dead blondes turn up all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders. Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends.
As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.