Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Name J.L. Canfield age is still be determined.
Fiona; Where are you from?
I was born in Jacksonville Florida, raised in Wilmington, NC.
Fiona; Little about me:
Well considering I’m only 5 feet tall on a good day there is little to tell. I hold college degrees in Speech Communications, Broadcast Journalism. I was married for 24 1/2 years and have been divorced for almost 2. Single, with two dogs who are the joy of my life. I have their pictures on my web pages.
Fiona; Latest news:
Just finished rewriting a woman’s fiction manuscript and it is in my editors hands. Hopefully it will be picked up by a publisher and released next year. It’s about a youngish woman who finds out that the fairytale marriage she thought she had did not exist in her husbands world. It’s a strong read on how life throws unexpected things at us and about the tough choices we must make if we want to overcome difficulties.
Fiona; When and Why did I begin writing?
I wrote my first play when I was in second grade. The teacher, Mrs Swain, let it be performed in class. After that I wrote a play a year for the class to perform until I was in 7th grade. From 7-9 grade I was into journalism with dreams of becoming an investigative reporter. In high school, I got involved with technical theater and in college I studied theater as a minor along with history and psycholinguistics. I took a couple of creative writing courses but was told by my mother not to major in that since I would need to land a paying job upon graduation.
Fiona; When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Last week. My book was released in August and I haven’t been able to call myself an author yet. Maybe by the time my fifth book is released, I’ll be able to wear that title.
Fiona; What inspired you to write your first book?
When I finally admitted I was not happy in my marriage, nor with the person I had become, I had to searched within me to find what I loved, what I had lost, and what I wanted and needed if I desired to be happy again. My first love was always writing. So I got a laptop and took classes, began going to conferences, worked to become what I had always wanted to be; a writer. Since I read tons of mysteries, I geared my story telling towards that genre.
Fiona; How did you come up with the title?
The original working titled was Hidden Treasures. As the story progressed and I was getting back into creative rhythms, the title became “What Hides Beneath?” It played on some underlaying threads woven throughout the story. Recently it was chosen by Southern Writers magazine as one of the most symbolic titles of all time.
Fiona; Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your genre or style you find particularly challenging?
I’m not sure what my style is at all. I have fabulous fashion sense but alas little writing sense.
The one challenge that comes to mind is overcoming the fear of finding a publisher out there who is willing to take a chance on my work. Is there a reader somewhere who will like it and recommend it to others?
To me the writing is the easier part. The marketing of the work both before it is picked up and after a released date is set, is the challenge.
Fiona; How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your life?
The Japanese warrior did exist and everything said about him is true except for the minor embellishing of his being an artist as well.
The other characters are pure figments of my imagination. I have never found an unknown piece of artwork nor have I have met someone who has. But if you want to delve past the literal and into the psychological aspects, then I would say that deep with in all of us resides a different person than is presented to the world. We all have within us a hidden desire, love, longing, opinions, likes, etc that we keep secret from most people. Mainly we do this to protect ourselves from being teased, bullied, ridiculed. So something is hidden beneath in all of us.
Fiona; To craft your works do you have to travel?
No, I do not have to but I love traveling. I do have a planned nonfiction piece and for that I will be traveling before hand and maybe some during the writing. It depends on where the story line takes me.
Fiona; Who designed the covers?
The cover for What Hides beneath was designed by the in-house creative genius, David, who works with my publisher, Black Rose writing. Not to sound to eerie but what he sent to me to proof and ok was the same image I had in my head as I crafted the story. Weird huh!
Fiona; Is there a message in your novel that you want your readers to grasp?
One of the themes woven into the story is this: What are you willing to sacrifice for love? Is your sacrifice worth the cost of that love? Is love only a fleeting emotion or is it more? Does it make us a better person when we feel it or can it make us evil when we don’t? How do you handle a lost love?
Fiona; Are there any new authors who have grabbed your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about there work that really strikes you?
Unfortunately, I have not had the time to read as much I would like, but I do have a few books stacked up to read from new writers and my goal is to read them next year.
I have so many authors who works I devour but my favorite of all time would have to be Maeve Binchey. She has a beautiful way with words. Her stories make me feel like I am there. I love how she has created a village with some extraordinary people and weaves them together in various books. Each book reads as a stand alone but she brings to each elements of every story line so that you get a feeling of being part of the community.
Fiona; Out side of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to becoming a published author.
My family had no idea I was pursing this. (I kept it hidden within me). The one person who did know about this manuscript was a dear friend who I asked to read the rough draft and tell me her honest opinion. She, Coreen Button to who I dedicated my book, gave me the courage to work hard to get it in publishable salable shape. This book exists because of her.
Fiona; Do you see writing as a career?
I do because I don’t know what else to do. I love this crazy writing life and keep hoping that one day it will start paying my bills.
Fiona; If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Hard question! I would definitely change how I marketed it but the actually story line, maybe a few more twists. I’ll have to ask myself that question when I write the next story.
Fiona; Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes. I learned I love writing and hate marketing.
Fiona; If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Funny you ask that. When I was writing What Hides Beneath, I could see it as a movie which helped me with describing scenes, actions, and dialogue. As it played in my head, I wrote about the pictures I saw happening. I imagined my protagonist as William H. Macy and the antagonist as Mariska Hargatay
Fiona; Any advice for other writers?
Take some marketing classes, surround yourself with people who you trust (not family or friends) but professionals who you pay to do things like editing, web administration, proofreading, etc. and see yourself not as just a writer but as a small company, small business and work towards making the business successful.
Fiona; Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Readers are the most valuable piece of the writing game. If you think of writing as chess pieces then readers are the queens. They can make or break a writer faster than an editor or publisher. They are not only the most important asset on the board but they are the ones you should always listen to. Readers do a great service to writers by sharing their thoughts on a book. When they comment to the writer on what they liked, didn’t like, what worked or seemed to improbable to happen, they are giving the writer the insight they need as to how to craft the next story for their fans. If a reader likes or dislikes a book, they should at least note that in the review section of the books web page, even if they don’t want to disclose the whys or whats.
It’s stuff like reviews and opinions from readers that keep writers encouraged and makes a publisher take notice of a writers work.
Fiona; What book are you reading now?
At this time of year, I always read a Christmas themed story. This year I am reading Anne Perry’s The Christmas Guest and on Christmas Eve and Day, I’ll read David McCollough’s 1941 Christmas Story. After the holiday’s I’ll dive into either one of the Philippa Gregory or Bernhard Cornwall that is on my waiting to be read book shelf.
Fiona; Do you remember the first book you read?
Not only do I remember the story but the the art as well. It was Snow White and the book cover was white trimmed in pink with one of those pictures that changed images when you move it around. The inside pages were not illustrated but were photos of claymation figures posed in action. It was very colorful and cheery despite the story line.
Fiona; What makes you laugh or cry?
Life makes me do both. I long to laugh everyday and try hard to.
Fiona; Is there one person, past or present you would love to meet? Why?
Lewis Carroll, Dorothy Sayers and Einstein. Carroll was one of my favorite writers as a kid and now as an adult I like him even more. I want to know if he was high or drunk when he created Through the Looking Glass. The Jabberwock poem is some of the best creative writing either put on paper. Dorothy Sayers was renowned for her round table talks and I would like to be at one. Einstein because for someone so intelligent he was known to have difficulties in ordinary life. How do you communicate to someone who knew how to state both the obvious and the advanced theoretical but had problems with tying his shoes? There has to be great story ideas waiting to be discovered in conversations with these three.
Fiona; Do you have any hobbies?
I love photography but don’t get to it as much any more. I also love to travel, whether its a road trip either spontaneous or planned or a long vacation somewhere, seeing new places, partaking of new cuisines, meeting the locals appeal to me and adds flavor to life. Also I read, as much as possible. Sounds but I cliche love a good book.
Fiona; What Tv shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Poldark. Watching Aidan Turner always makes my day better.
Sherlock Holmes both Benedict Cumberbatch and Robert Downey versions work for me. and of course Victoria.
Revivng Dr Who made me a happy camper. I loved the John Pertiwee and Tom Baker doctors until David Tennant took over the role. Now he’s my favorite doctor.
For American TV I watch, NCIS, Reign, Big Bang Theory
Fiona; Favorite foods . Colors, Music?
I lean towards blue but like purples, greens, too.
Food: Like Italian, Greek, Irish, German, Balkan dishes. Prefer Beef to other meats but really like veggies and fruit the best.
I like almost every genre of music that exists. I listen to anything that fits my mood at the time. Music is an art form and like every other art form, I appreciate and enjoy it because I can not do it.
Fiona; Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Yikes, that’s a nightmare, not being able to write. Writing is the only thing, besides my dogs, that keeps me sane, feeds my creativity, makes me blossom as a person, and gives me a passion for living. I think if I could not write, then I would become a miserable bitter old woman who finds no joy but only hatefulness in life and I would decide there is no reason to live. I never want to become that person.
Fiona; What do you want written on your headstone?
I came. I wrote. The end.
Fiona; Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events, special offers?
For the moment, they can look me up on Facebook/jlcanfield author. Check out my blog site which is:jlcanfieldsrandomthoughts.com where you can post your questions or give me your email so I can add you to my email list. Follow me on Twitter:@julielcanfield.
Amazon Authors page