Today’s post is an interview with a talented author, editor, and proofreader, Joy Lennick. I have known Joy for several years as she is a member of WordPlay Writers’ Forum, Spain. Joy, is also the leader of a creative writing class, an off-shoot of the U3A (University of the 3rd Age). She set us a task in 2014 to write a modern fairy story, based on a classic. I chose to write about ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ calling my story ‘Little Scarlett Hudson’. It inspired me to publish ‘A Twist of Fairy Tales’. Nine stories in total, including completely new fairy stories written by me. I have dedicated the book to Joy Lennick, for her continuing zeal and inspiration. She has given me permission to quote her email address, which is: firstname.lastname@example.org so if any of you want to get in touch with her as an editor and proofreader, you can.
Now to the interview.
1. Please tell us something about yourself.
I’m a – mentally 40 year old – octogenarian, wife and mother of a Major, Minor, and Minimus; an optimist and mostly happy person, and was born in Rush Green, Romford, Essex. Reading and writing were a must from a young age: I joined the library aged seven, and wrote a modest play which was staged in junior school. An evacuee in World War II, I’m a dreamer and a realist; and like thinking outside the box.
Trained as a secretary in Pitman’s College, London, I was a ‘temp’ for a few years; also worked for ABC Film Studios, Lloyd’s of London, a solicitor, and publishing company Kaye & Ward in the City of London. While living in Toronto, Canada, for eighteen months, I worked for the Canadian Reinsurance company. Further careers, were in shop-keeping and being an hotelier. I am at my happiest being with my husband and family, and writing eclectically: poetry, travel, articles, short stories and books.
2. When did you know you wanted to be an author?
It didn’t strike me like a bolt of lightning – I gradually sidled into the role and was actually asked by a publisher to write my first book, which was a lovely shock!
3. What conditions do you need in order to write?
I prefer to write in my office, alone, but with music in the background. However, I often scribble notes in the car or jot down ideas which occur in the early hours.
4. Please share your books with us and a synopsis of each.
I was commissioned to write RUNNING YOUR OWN SMALL HOTEL by Kogan Page Ltd., of London, after my husband and I sold ‘Heatherdell’, our Edwardian hotel in Bournemouth. The book was a factual account of the day-to-day running of a hotel encompassed the A to Z process of managing such a business. The book went into a second reprint.
Next came JOBS IN BAKING AND CONFECTIONERY, which involved interviewing people in the business, and research work, all of which was fascinating. I also updated two other author’s books for Kogan Page Ltd. My third book was a true adventure story: HURRICANE HALSEY, covering the successful solo crossing of the Atlantic in a 28ft cigar-shaped rowing boat, by an epileptic seaman, Andrew Halsey. It also covered two further attempts – in one of which he nearly lost his life – trying to beat the fickle and dangerous might of the Pacific. Capsizes and killer whales also featured. Published by Libros International.
Then came a Memoir, MY GENTLE WAR, published by WordPlay: an account of my years during World War II as an evacuee in Wales and Derbyshire. Many colourful and interesting family members and friends people its pages, plus excerpts from my father’s war diary, written while in the Royal Air Force in France.
THE CATALYST was written last year and stands as my first faction novel. Based on the factual event of the terrible terrorist bombings which took place in London on trains and a bus, in 2005, it pivots on the two protagonists who were injured on the Aldgate train, the aftermath and their eventual recovery. Aided by friends and relatives, they each go through their own, private, hell; finding solace in healing and humour. But did they find each other?
5. How do you come up with ideas for your stories?
It’s a bit like alchemy (‘a universal remedy for illness?!’) or magic….they can suddenly appear anywhere: in bed, walking down the street, in a café, the shower…arrive on a jasmine-sweet breeze, or by just reading something which strikes a different chord, or meeting a unique character.
6. What projects are you currently working on?
My husband’s hand-written memoir: A LIFE WORTH LIVING (fascinating and funny); and ghost-writing the true life story (A SPECIAL MAN AMONG MEN) of an amazing man who was born in the late 1800s (one of 12 children) who emigrated to Canada on his own, aged 17, to become a farmer. It also covers the harrowing tale of his time as a soldier in war-torn France in the Canadian army in World War I, when he sustained terrible wounds culminating in the loss of his right arm. No longer able to farm, he retrained as a businessman/accountant, taught himself to type and wore a head device to continue writing his memoir when diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I’m also writing two short stories to be included in future WordPlay anthologies.
7. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I passed my A level literature exam at the age of 66, and am proud of winning two prizes for poetry and lst prize in the first Short Story competition in Torrevieja Spain. I also published CELTIC CAMEOS & OTHER POEMS.
I am a group leader for a Creative writing class for the U3A in Torrevieja, Spain, and an ardent member of WordPlay, an excellent writing group.
I feel privileged to interact with so many talented writers, and would like to encourage people to follow their dreams whatever their age. ‘If you don’t use it, you lose it…’ It is, after all, only a number!
Apart from Twitter and Facebook, I use LinkedIn and Oapchat.co.uk and my web site address is http:/joylennick.wordpress.com/
My book THE CATALYST is available on Kindle and in paperback from Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/JoyLennick/e/BOOJo5CLY as is MY GENTLE WAR ISBN 09781480066632.
You can find all of Joy’s books on Amazon.