Joanne Huspek is an empty-nester who writes about everything: food, travel, gadgets, politics, culture, relationships, now combining all of the above for a foray into novel-writing land. My first e-published novel, VIRTUALLY YOURS (VIRTUALLY YOURS is the offbeat and humorous journey of the on-and-offline relationships of six women who met and maintained a lasting friendship on the Internet. The Virtual Moms embrace a newbie – with a secret – and the dynamic is changed, adding an unexpected twist to the lives of the friends.), was released in March, 2012. Genre best described as MOM-LIT, depicting the lives of us sassy former chicks. VIRTUALLY YOURS placed in a Query Tracker contest.
Currently, I am working on the sequel, VIRTUALLY YOURS FOREVER, which will be a little darker in content.
I also write contemporary, and (hopefully) will release FINDING CADENCE this year. FINDING CADENCE placed in the San Francisco Writers Conference Contest, and also did well in a Novel Rocket Contest in summer 2012.
Member, Romance Writers of America, Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America. Received RWA PRO pin November 2011.
Joanne Huspek lives in the now-frozen tundra of Southeastern Michigan with her husband Brad, Boston terrier, Grace, and the recalcitrant black and white (to match Grace) cat, Kitty. In addition to writing, she enjoys cooking and creating twisted wire jewelry, which means her housekeeping skills are practically non-existent.
PO Box 207
Royal Oak MI 48068
Email: jlhuspek [at] msn [dot] com
I enjoy writing (in no particular order):
Essays about life
Literary fiction that (I believe) appeals to women
Mom-lit (since chick-lit is supposedly dead, here is the definition: Stories revolving around modern women who are friends, have children, and who may have been sassy chicks in their not-so-distant past.)
I am trying my hand at:
Romance – tough. I love that my characters suffer, and happily ever after just isn’t possible every time.
Short stories – I’m too full of words. They often morph into novels.
Flash fiction – I’m horrible at it, but I keep trying. It’s a good exercise to try to be succinct in 1000 words or less.
Poetry – Ah, the words of my youth.
Member: Romance Writers of America, Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America
Received PRO pin, Romance Writers of America, November 2011.
An Interview with an Aspiring Author
by the Aspiring Author
What makes you a writer? What is it that they say, if you tell yourself something long enough, eventually you’ll believe it. I tell myself I’m a writer. I write. I’m not perfect, but I do believe writing is what defines me.
How long have you been writing? My earliest memories are of my mother giving me a pencil and a piece of paper. I think I was four. My first self-published, homemade book was produced shortly thereafter, sometime during second grade. (Actually, I’ve only been “seriously” writing for the last 2.5 years.)
What are your major influences? What? In second grade? I believe it was a school project where each grade level was responsible for a part of the book. (Back story: my school was a two-room Catholic schoolhouse in rural Arkansas, 1st through 12th grades. The older kids did most of the illustrations.) I grew up during the period of primer readers. Dick, Jane, Spot, the stories were great for learning to read, but there was no angst, no conflict, no antagonist with an ax to grind. The illustrations were basic. You had to read the words to imagine the settings and characters. Kids today, meh… they don’t know how good they have it.
What about later on? What books inspired you? If you are my age, you would know we went straight from primers to real books. There was no Middle Grade or YA genre. Usually they were the classics. I was a voracious reader and I loved to spell, so I was many grade levels over my peers when it came to reading and comprehension. I remember reading The Yearling and Ramona. This was before middle school. In high school, I dove into philosophy. My favorite book of all time is The Prophet by Khalil Gibran. I still go back to that one.
Any writing during this period? Yes, but the creative writing was pretty spotty. I was a super-whiz at term papers and reports. I did write for the junior high and high school newspapers, mostly editorials and music reviews.
And later? During high school, I learned to play the guitar and wrote songs, this even though I despised writing poetry. This period was devoted to painting and drawing. I thought I had talent. *laughs* On a lark, I wrote a short story for the Junior League (of Colorado Springs) Creative Writing Contest during my junior year. It wasn’t a serious effort. In fact, I unearthed it recently and typed it into my computer. It’s terrible! but I won second place (HOW?) for short story. This was a county-wide contest.
College? I attended two years at the University of Minnesota, until I ran out of money. At the time I figured eating was more important than an education.
What was your major? I started out as a journalism major, but I learned very quickly that a true journalist reports in a non-biased fashion. I couldn’t do it, so I switched majors to Studio Arts, with a concentration on painting and drawing.
What happened afterward? I’m sure this is a cliche that people hear all the time. LIFE. Got a job, got engaged, got married. Had two kids. I run a business with my husband and that’s time consuming. There was very little time for writing. Heck, there wasn’t enough time to clean the house. Most of my experience was in writing notes to the teacher or business letters. Have you ever shuttled kids from one activity to another? It’s a lonely life on the minivan trail, my friends. They didn’t call me the Taximom for nothing!
How did you start writing again? It was a total accident. I was invited into a web site, Gather.com, through another web site, Bzzagent.com. I was supposed to take a tour, and for that I would get some points and money. Gather was a place for creative people to post writing, photography and video. There were some excellent minds on the site, many I call my friends now. How could I not jump in? I realized that I had something to say, and I said it often and loudly. After a few years, I suicided from Gather (too troll-like, even with the moolah) and went to other sites that weren’t so time sucking. I missed the money, but hey, sanity is worth a lot more, ya know?
How do you write? Do you have a ritual? A favorite place? A favorite time? I do have a Real Life, but I try to set aside at least two to three hours in the afternoon. I have written while at work, but it’s not my best effort. I can’t do the late-night thing; I can’t stay awake past 9 p.m. I like my room, with my favorite stuffed chair, no TV, no radio, no noise. The darker the better. I write a lot if my husband is out of town. (DUH. He needs to leave town more often. 🙂 ) I seem to be most prolific if I’m not at home, i.e. on vacation. I can even write on airplanes and in airports. I’m partial to San Francisco – the climate is temperate and my preferred beach side motel is quiet. Although, come to think of it, I can write just as much in SoCal. The farther away from my Real Life, the more I can get accomplished.
What inspires you now? That’s easy. Other writers. I love to read, not only completed works, but also blogs. I like the exchange of ideas. I somehow fell into a Simon and Schuster mailing list and now I get free books all the time. The one thing about most of the published authors I’ve met is they are the nicest people. They respond to you on Facebook or Twitter, and if you can start an email conversation, all the better. They cheer you on. The really good writers, the technical geniuses, like my friend The Little Fluffy Cat, aren’t afraid to tell me when I’m going off the rails. Believe me, if you flog me when I’m wrong, I’ll be your bestest friend for life. I just want to learn.
A No-No to ask, but what peeves you about the books you read? I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as a bad book. There are books that are more difficult to ingest than others, but I’ll read them. There has to be some worth or they wouldn’t be published now would they? I never thought I would say this, but now that I’m (re)learning the rules, the glaring errors jump out at me. It doesn’t happen often, but when I see a misspelled word or a misuse of homophone, my eyes are riveted to the text. Same goes for too many adverbs. That’s not the fault of the authors, of course, but of the editors. I can cut some slack. After all, I’m the worst proofreader I know.
What are you reading now? Here’s my list from Goodreads. I’m slowly but surely reading Atlas Shrugged and the Federalist Papers, but those are the two weighty tomes I read in between the entertainment reads.
Care to share any tips for writers? Keep going. Don’t get discouraged. Study your craft. Reach out for help when you need it. (There’s plenty of help online.) Read. Write something every day. If you can do 500 words, that’s a good start. Hmm… I should print this out and stick it on my laptop.
The Old About Me
I am a middle aged woman with a dream. I dream of publishing my novels.
I’m a rabid letter writer (to congressmen, editorial pages, and businesses with dubious practices), and at times have dabbled in poetry and song writing.
Then came marriage and children, and for many years the most I wrote were Christmas newsletters and excuse notes to teachers.
My novels are fictional, “chick-lit” but not romance novels — no one gets hooked up, although the characters are happier in the end. I draw from the personal experiences of myself and others, but this is not about my life.
There are several things that interfere with my dream of publishing my works in book form. First off, I own a number of time consuming businesses with my husband.
Secondly, I have two children. Granted, they are somewhat grown up adults, living on the other side of the country, but that does not mean I don’t worry.
Thirdly, there’s the dog (Grace) and the cat (Maxx).
Writing is my illicit lover with whom I’m having an affair.
It is also in my blood.
I live in a north Detroit suburb where pandemonium reigns supreme. Why they haven’t made a reality show from my life is beyond me. All I know is that I will continue to write, now that the fire is lit for good.