Hello, Joyce. Thank you for agreeing to an interview about your writer’s blog: joyceperz.com. I understand you also have an e-commerce website. What can you tell us about that?
JMP: My business website is www.sashikosouthwest.com. I sell sashiko stitching supplies with traditional Japanese patterns and my own designs, inspired by the landscape and cultures in the southwest.
So your web business is a full-time job and you also write?
JMP: No, I would describe myself as a person with two jobs.
What role does the blog play in your writing?
JMP: The blog started out as an experiment. At first I wrote about my garden and places I visited. But at this point, the blog is a scrapbook of writing exercises I don’t picture trying to publish. There is a series of six short stories about the animals on my sashiko designs inspired by Mimbres pottery. One story was written in an airport when I had a long wait because my flight was cancelled.
What are you working on now?
JMP: Last week I completed the second draft of “Red Moon”- a middle grade novel with a female protagonist.I am also working on a first draft of a story with a male protagonist. Those are my two ‘active’ manuscripts. There are other drafts I have set aside for now.
Who writes middle grade novels you especially enjoy reading?
JMP: Off the top-of-my-head: Andrew Clements and Louis Sachar; Lois Lowry (of course) . And two new authors – Grace Lin and Anne Ylvisaker.
What adult novel have you read recently?
JMP: David Lagercrantz’s book “The Girl in the Spider’s Web”- his book follows the characters in Stieg Larssons’ “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy. The original books were wildly popular and I wondered how Lagercrantz would handle the challenge of writing a sequel with another author’s characters and voice. The result is an uneven simulacrum and I didn’t come away with any sense of how he might write subsequent stories that are more his own.
Do you have anything you would like to share about your process?
JMP: Over the past five years I have experimented with plotting and seat-of-your-pants writing. Both approaches have become part of my process. I begin with a character that takes off on their own. These pieces tend to be short and usually there is nothing more to add. Occasionally I follow an interesting character with complex issues. At this point I do some rough plotting to explore plot possibilities. What I am going to do with my next book is write the last chapter first. I heard John Irving speak on a book tour and he mentioned how he wrote the last chapter and then figured out how his characters got there.
Thank you, Joyce. Time for a cup of coffee and I hope we can do this again.