Name Joni Keever
Where are you from
I was born and raised in Amarillo Texas and only recently moved to the Dallas Texas area.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I have a wonderful husband, Joe, and between us, we have six children, eight grandchildren and two Westies.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My first book, SCARS OF THE HEART, has been published by Kindle Press and is available on Amazon.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
It seems I’ve written for as long as I can remember; poetry, short stories, journals. I tried my hand at writing a full-length fictional novel about 25 years ago then that dream became buried under the more time-consuming responsibilities of child-rearing and corporate-ladder-climbing. The stories and characters were always clattering around in my brain, like ghosts in the attic, refusing to be ignored. About a year ago, I had the opportunity to retire early and pursue this life-long dream. I feel so blessed in that regard.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Hmmm, that’s an evolutionary process, but I suppose the moment I actually got paid for writing. When someone thinks your writing is good enough to publish and be paid for, that’s validation.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My friends and I were avid readers, and too often we’d be disappointed in the writing /plot/character development. I’d think to myself, “I could do that, and maybe do that better.” Then there were other books/authors that would inspire me and I’d think, “I’d love to do THAT!”
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I suppose every writer does, after all, the written word is an outpouring of the author’s heart and mind. I think my writing is very descriptive. I write what I see in my mind’s eye, what I ‘feel’ from my characters.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
SCARS OF THE HEART was simply the title from word one. We all have them, those scars, those old wounds that sometimes define us, sometimes cripple us, sometimes make us stronger. It’s all about how we choose to deal with those old hurts, how we let them impact our future.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
A couple of messages, actually that intertwine, one driving the other. Those scars that I mentioned above often have a way of creating resentment within us, causing us to form preconceived ideas or prejudices that prevent us from seeing the truth, from pursuing our destiny, from finding happiness. In SCARS OF THE HEART, Kade and Carly have those scars, those ugly incidents in their pasts that are dictating their present and jeopardizing their future. This story is about how they reconcile those past injustices, dissolve those prejudices, and hopefully, live happily ever after.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I believe the entire book is realistic. Everything that happens, COULD happen. I did a great deal of research to bring as much authenticity to the era, people and places as I could.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not specifically, though I do feel very strongly about not letting negative people or events in your life control you and about not harboring preconceived ideas about individuals based on their race, social standing, education, etc.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
In my earlier years, my biggest influence with regard to fictional romance was Johanna Lindsey. I literally carried a list with me when I went shopping so I knew which of her books I had and which I still needed to purchase. As I began trying my hand at novel writing, I was fortunate to land in a critique group with Jodi Thomas and DeWanna Pace; both are NY Times Best Selling Authors. Not just accomplished authors, very sweet ladies. I learned a great deal from them with regard to the craft of writing, work ethic, perseverance and chasing your dream.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’ve been reading a lot of David Baldacci lately but am about to start the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’ve just completed a historical fiction I’m calling BLOOD BETWEEN BROTHERS. I’ll be parading it by agents very soon and am hopeful it will find a worthy publishing family.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do. It’s my hope that I get better with each book I write, that I grow and develop and continue to provide readers with both entertainment and escape as they lose themselves in the pages of my novels.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
BLOOD BETWEEN BROTHERS is a historical fiction set on the western frontier in 1889. It’s a story about two Scottish-born brothers, twins who were separated shortly after birth and grew up completely unaware of each other’s existence. The staggering deathbed confession of their father, the chieftain of the powerful Campbell clan, sends his son Robert to America in search of his brother. When he finds Tavis Walker and tells him the unbelievable story, Robert doesn’t divulge one very important fact. Tavis was actually the firstborn son, the heir who, by right, should inherit the title, power and fortune that was passed to Robert. As the brothers vie for the affection of the lovely Madeline Stewart and try to best each other at every turn, Tavis is left with an uneasy foreboding. Has Robert come to claim the twin he grew up without or to kill the one man who can rightfully claim all that Robert inherited as the presumed heir?
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Cover credit for SCARS OF THE HEART goes to LLALS Cover Art.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part of writing for me is NOT writing. When writing a historical, I feel very strongly about adding authenticity, integrity and interest by including actual events, people, towns, etc. The main characters and their stories are fictional, but I want the era and the environment to feel real for my readers. So I do a great deal of research. That always feels tedious to me, like I’m not actually being productive if I’m not clicking away on the keyboard. I know it’s necessary and makes the novel better, but I have to continually remind myself of that fact.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
You hear writers speak often of writer’s block, and it is a very real state of mind. My advice is JUST WRITE. Put something on the screen, even if it’s bad, even if you end up deleting it all later. Maybe it’s just skeletal fragments of the next scene, like; John enters the room, sees Mary with Bob, becomes enraged, starts a fight, the commotion draws the attention of a detective at the bar. Then go back and add the layers. What time of day was it? What did the room look like? What was Mary wearing, drinking? What did John see – Bob’s hand on her thigh? Bob whispering in her ear? Etc. Just add the layers until you’ve made your way through the scene. You may delete it all tomorrow, but at least you made yourself move forward.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Absolutely . . . THANK YOU! Without your support, this isn’t a career, it’s a hobby. Thank you for buying my books, for reading my work. It’s my sincere desire to entertain you, to offer an escape from everyday life and to perhaps educate you a bit regarding some part of history.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Human achievement / loss gets me every time, especially if it involves someone achieving a goal they fought hard for or a parent being proud of a child, someone losing someone they love.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I don’t want a headstone. I want to be cremated. I don’t like the idea of being stuck in a dark, hole in the ground and loved ones feeling obligated to go visit the plot or keep up with the flowers.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
My husband and I stay pretty busy. We enjoy a wide range of activities; live music, sporting events, wineries, great restaurants, travel, and spending time with family and friends.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love The Blacklist! So clever and quick. I also enjoy Scandal and home-improvement shows. My husband and I binge-watched Justified. Great characters and sharp dialogue. Some of my favorite films are Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, Turner & Hooch, Bull Durham and the Jason Bourne films. The Notebook, Stepmom and Pretty Woman rank right up there too.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Foods – I’m always up for a good steak and loaded baked potato or a juicy cheeseburger or brick-oven pizza with lots of meat!
Colors – just about everything but green
Music – very eclectic taste; love jazz, especially sax artists like Richard Elliot, David Sanborn, and Candy Dulfer. I like a lot of the Motown stuff too. Other favorites include John Mayer, Stevie Wonder, Zac Brown, Bruce Hornsby, Eagles, James Taylor, Jason Mraz, Sugarland, Lionel Richie, Doobie Brothers, Little Big Town.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I ran my own daycare for about 15 years, while my children were young. I also worked as a photographer and Assistant Manager of a photography studio. I spent about 20 years in corporate management. Enjoyed aspects of all of all those jobs. Learned a lot. Met some great people.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?