Interview: By Joyce T. Strand (Blogger and Writer)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Q: One of your reviewers says of THE BBQ: FIREWORKS SPARK that it is a “great depiction of relationships good, bad or indifferent. At times, I forgot that these were just characters because their story was real life to me.” How did you create such compelling characters?  What made them so real?  How were you able to depict such real relationships?

My depiction of real characters are an observation of true to life personalities. They are based on personal references of strangers, friends, co-workers etc. As a writer you are always absorbing life in “Real Time” as you are going about your day to day experiences. I was able to dig into my reservoir of imagination to combine what I knew and my “Crazy-zany” imagination to create relationships that people could truly identify with.

Q: You are quoted as saying, “I absolutely loved and hated the process of writing this book.” What was it about the writing process that you disliked? I know that you also write poetry, which do you prefer writing: poetry or novels? Why?

There were portions concerning the editing and research process that was very new to me and not calculated as a new writer, this became my “Achilles’ heel.” I definitely prefer writing novels!! Writing novels allowed me to go deeper than just the surface and challenged me to be more than one dimensional. I had to do my homework. Working with a plot and setting required location, description and it was very time consuming but I would not trade it for poetry.

Q: Does the concept of “villain’s vs heroes” apply to The BBQ Series?

What makes a good villain? Absolutely, it applies to the BBQ Series. I believe all stories must have good and evil plots or characters to bring the readers interest into play. My concept of a good villain is one that you can say you may know a woman or man just like them. They must invoke extreme intense feelings. They are the ones that you long to see get what’s coming to them.

Q: How helpful is humor in developing your character’s relationships?

Humor, for me is crucial as it brings special kindredness and relatability to a character. This causes a reader to develop an affection for the story and have more personal interest in how things turn out.

Q: How did you come up with the title The BBQ series and FIREWORKS SPARKS?

I chose this title because it represented something so simple but so engaging simultaneously in regards to the nature or setting of a BBQ. It didn’t become a series until I came to the last chapter. I just couldn’t let it go at that point.

Q: What do you consider to be the most important elements of a compelling story?

Choosing characters that are loveable but imperfect, or villainous, but not heartless. The story line must keep you on the edge chapter after chapter. Having a plot that can be believable without being predictable.

Q: How helpful are back-story and setting to telling your story?

Could your book have occurred anywhere at any time? For me, they create a beneficial narrative that allows the reader to understand the characters persona. The BBQ, I feel is more for today’s contemporary woman but it is certainly not limited to this era.

Q: Do you develop your stories from an outline and stick to it; or do your characters push you around?

I make outlines and then make adjustments as I develop my characters.

Q: What’s next?

I’m writing the final volume three as book two launched last year, February 14, 2014 – The BBQ: Lover’s Holiday. I will be completing the trilogy around Memorial Day. I have many other books on my desktop including a series called “Here Comes the Bride” about five friends and their journey of love relationships. I also have a book that I will be working on called “My wife, my mistress.”

Q: Tell us about Joyce Stewart. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to teach and mentor women. I’m very active in my church and also am writing, directing and producing plays.