Made It Moment: Joan Hall Hovey
Joan Hall Hovey’s Moment–or MomentS–contain some very inspiring words. Words to live by as a writer. The book world is changing all around us–out from under us in some cases. Joan is an inspiration as an author for the way she mines riches from each new leg of her writer’s journey.
She also happens to write some mean WIJ (Women in Jeopardy) novels. If you like psychological suspense, check out Joan’s books. You’ll enjoy a night spent reading late–one pleasure that no matter how the world changes I think we will always enjoy.
My obvious made it moment would have been when I sold my first book Listen to the Shadows. I’d been writing for years, short stories and articles, but mostly stories for the confessions magazines, which didn’t give you a byline. I wanted my name on my stories. And I wanted to write a publishable novel.
I began a suspense novel. And two years later, in November of 1991, I sent it off. I’d done a lot of research and had a good feeling about it. I was right. In February, the phone rang. I was at the kitchen stove cooking spaghetti. It was Ann LaFarge, senior editor of Zebra, in New York calling. I was wild with excitement, but managed to restrain myself from doing my version of ‘You like me, you really like me’. There could be only one reason for them to call. They were going to publish my book. And they did. Though first I had to weave in another 25,000 words to bring the book up to the 100,000 word count they wanted. So one might say that was my made it moment. I got written up in our local paper, I did book signings (where I didn’t have to cart books with me) and went on TV. I was a celebrity. At least in my home town.
Zebra went on to publish my second book Nowhere To Hide. Things were going swimmingly. Then I wrote Chill Waters, which they turned down. I was lost, back to square one. It seemed like square zero. Back to sending out the book and receiving nice little notes of encouragement, but still rejections. I was a midlist author and that wasn’t a good thing to be, I learned. I decided to publish with an ebookpublisher at a time when I was just hearing about ebooks. The experience was less than great, but a learning experience.And certainly humbling.
I’m with a new publisher now, a Canadian publisher, Books We Love Ltd. owned by Jude Pittman and Jamie Hill, both of whom are authors themselves. And very smart women. I’ve embraced the new technology in full measure. At this stage of my life, traveling, doing book signings and all that goes with it, holds little appeal for me, so being an author with a small primarily ebookpress that makes my books available in print as well as download, works well for me. And when I received my check this month, well, that was another made it moment. I’m like Maggie Muggins: “I don’t know what’ll happen tomorrow”. And you never say never.
Made It Moments come at many junctures in our lives. Often, when we least expect them. My first was in grade school when I read my ghost story aloud in class and I was very aware as I read that there was not a cough or a shifting in the seats to be heard. I held them in the palm of my hand, as the saying goes. When one girl gasped, I knew total triumph. And of course when I sold my first short story, that was a made it moment.
The lesson is to keep writing, keep learning. Never give up. Because it’s really always about the journey.Rarely the destination. You can have a made it moment next month or next year. Anything is possible as long as you’re alive, and striving for excellence.
Joan Hall Hovey was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. In addition to her suspense novels, her articles and short stories have appeared in such diverse publications as The Toronto Star, Atlantic Advocate, and Mystery Scene. Her short story Dark Reunion was selected for the anthology investigating Women, Published by Simon & Pierre.
Ms. Hovey has held workshops and given talks at various schools and libraries in her area. For a number of years, she has been a tutor with Winghill School, a distance education school in Ottawa for aspiring writers.
She is a member of the Writer’s Federation of New Brunswick, past regional Vice-President of Crime Writers of Canada, Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.
She enjoys playing the piano (albeit badly) and spending time with family and her dog Scamp. And especially her 2 year old grandson, Liam. She currently working on her next novel.
Great interview, Joan! I think you’ve done really well with your career! Congratulations!! And keep on writing!
Comment by Markee Anderson — February 27, 2012 @ 10:24 am
Thank you for sharing your story. It is heartening to see that someone can find a new niche that works for them! I love your encouragement to focus on the journey. Good luck in all that you do!
Comment by Pamela Brennan Albacete — February 27, 2012 @ 10:48 am
So true – life itself is made up of thousands of “made it” moments. May you keep on making them!
Great story. Thanks for sharing, Joan. And thanks to Jenny for bringing you to us.
Comment by mountainmama — February 27, 2012 @ 10:55 am
What’s important about this Moment is the writer sharing a way she has made publishing work for her, rather than the other way around.
Comment by Judy — February 27, 2012 @ 11:07 am
“Square zero.” I love that–and totally identify.
Comment by SavvyBlue — February 27, 2012 @ 11:18 am
I like this gal! I agree so much with the last paragraph, because the journey is the best part of this crazy adventure!
Comment by Connie J Jasperson — February 27, 2012 @ 11:19 am
What a lovely story, and so encouraging. I just finished reading Listen To The Shadows and absolutely loved the book. It kept me up at night, but I loved it! I’m looking forward to reading Night Corridor next.
Comment by Kate Kelly — February 27, 2012 @ 12:03 pm
Whether it’s one Made It Momemnt or several, it’s still a great thing to happen. Keep on writing!! And thank you for sharing your story with us.
Comment by Kellie — February 27, 2012 @ 12:11 pm
I love the idea that Made It Moments come in all shapes and sizes. It sounds like you’ve had some amazing ones!
Comment by Johanna — February 27, 2012 @ 1:52 pm
You’re right, Joan. You can enjoy a lot more than one Made It Moment. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed your story.
Comment by Marja McGraw — February 27, 2012 @ 2:12 pm
Hi Joan – wishing you continued good fortune with your writing journey which started out scarey with a ghost story!
Comment by "Doctor Barbara" - Barbara Ebel — February 27, 2012 @ 2:20 pm
Comment by Pamela DuMond — February 27, 2012 @ 3:36 pm
Thanks everyone, for all your wonderful comments. They are more appreciated than you know. And thank you so much to Jenny to inviting me to her blog home; it’s been a pleasure.
PS: My novel “Night Corridor” is free right now on amazon, today and tomorrow, compliments of my publisher and Kindle Select Program. I hope you’ll take advantage.
Comment by Joan Hall Hovey — February 27, 2012 @ 4:52 pm
I love that last paragraph because those are words I’ve lived by for the past fifteen years. The day I give up and quit writing will be the same day they pry the keyboard from my cold fingers.
Comment by Carolyn J. Rose — February 27, 2012 @ 7:40 pm
Thank you, Carolyn. We’re kind of like the cowboy dying with his boots on. -:)
Comment by Joan Hall Hovey — February 28, 2012 @ 8:43 pm