Joss Landry has worked as a consultant for more than twenty years, writing copy for marketing firms and assisting start-up companies to launch their business. She recently made the switch from composing copy and promos, to writing fiction and prose. She is developing her style through courses and the support of other writers and is presently working on honing three other novels for publication.
Blessed with four children and six grandchildren, she resides in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband, a staunch supporter, and enjoys spending time biking, rollerblading, playing tennis, and swimming. She loves creating stories as she says they fulfill her need to think outside the box.
Her latest book is the urban fantasy/paranormal, I CAN FIND YOU (Emma Willis Series #2).
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What first inspired you to write or who inspired you?
I guessed I’d been thinking of writing for a while. I stopped reading in my twenties because by then, I kept correcting the plots, remaking the characters. I guess at that age I might have made a good editor. I’d been reading novels since I was eight years old, in French. When I wasn’t biking or playing dodge ball or roller skating, I was reading. When I started a book, I had to finish it. Then as a teenager, I began reading in English. My first collection of books was The Whiteoaks of Jalna by Mazo De La Roche. Bought the whole collection while visiting Paris, France, and the Hachette library on Boulevard Concorde only had them in English. I’ve been reading in English ever since.
At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Surprisingly, I loved to cook and bake, and I made all my clothes for the longest time. Everything. People around me liked what I word, so I began making clothes for other people. However, never was I tempted to write. I did my brothers’ and sisters’ essays from time to time and some of the girls’ compositions in my class. Then friends would ask me for help with their English papers, but this was not something I enjoyed.
I was already a grandmother when my first story sideswiped me. Dialogue was going on in my head, prompting me to write it down. If nothing else, I thought it might be the base of a funny anecdote. I was fifty-six when I first discovered I was happiest when sitting down to write fiction. Writing fiction allows me to think outside the box and create the people the way I like them.
Do you take notes when reading or watching a movie?
Funny you should ask. I have never taken notes while watching a movie or reading a book. I am blessed with a photographic memory and the same with an auditive memory, I see words. However, when my children were young, in their early teens and the youngest was five, I noticed my young one had a terrible auditive memory. So lacking in fact, he refused to go to school. Eighty percent of his first-grade year was spent at home, “taking care of mommy,” he said. So, since we all enjoyed watching the same movies more than once, (I must have watched Peggy Sue Got Married with my fourteen-year-old daughter thirty times. She could not let it go), we started playing a little game. We would talk using movie lines, and the children would have to name the film. “Everyone, remember where we parked.” Star Trek Four. My second born, Ian would jump on it rather quickly and identify the movie. Once I said, “Dad!” My son Ian responded, “European Vacation” before anyone could even think. Well, this prodded my youngest to memorize stuff on television, even commercials, and the lines of his favorite movies. Of course, he attended his second grade a little over fifty percent that year, and by the time he reached grade three and understood that going to school meant hanging with friends, we were good. Still, his report cards kept us playing this game. We still do. We can hold a conversation only quoting lines from the movie When Harry Met Sally.
One of my daughters once whispered: “How to spell Espresso or Cappuccino.” From Groundhog Day to one of her teachers attempting to explain one of her answers in a test to get a higher grade. When she related the incident, I laughed. We often talk in code, and no one else around understands. For years people would marvel at this and told us we should invent a game titled “What Movie?” Someone beat us to it, but I digress. So, against all odds, my youngest went to University, and never had to take a note throughout his entire academic presence, and passed with distinction. His auditive memory served him well.
Has writing always been a passion for you or did you discover it years later?
In a nutshell, I discovered the passion years later. In my late fifties to be more precise. The fact all my children were grown, independent and thriving helped me
relax enough to start writing, I guess.
Can you name three writing tips to pass on to aspiring authors?
Yes. I can.
* Join some writer’s group to help you get started and get used to reviews. Such a group will also prepare your writing a great deal. One of the groups I joined was The Next Big Writer dot com. A phenomenal group of writers and authors that will lift your spirit and provide you with valuable knowledge. Here is a great article on this published by New York Editors: This will hand over the 11 best writers’ groups.
* Grow your Facebook and Twitter presence with the people you expect to have as an audience. If you’re going to write horror, then this type of audience should find its way to your social media group. I write paranormal and inspirational, so these are the people who would normally surround me.
* Make time to write every day. In fact, if writing is your calling, you’ll want, or at least wish to write every day. I know problems occur in everyone’s life that we can't prevent. Still, make an effort. Improve your writing skills through online grammar tests and such. There are many great master courses also given on being a great author.
Do you let unimportant things get in the way of your writing?
Importance is one of those words I consider relative to whoever provides the answer. For instance, my husband’s answer might be that keeping the grandkids for the whole weekend may curtail on my writing. I would disagree, at least for my peace of mind. And the list goes on. I am a fanatic about not being a fanatic about anything, well, except this last little one. I love a well-balanced life and so I make time for other things, as most people do. During the Christmas Holidays, I wrote a 92,500-word manuscript. We counted the days and there were 30 of them I spent writing the book. So, I still cooked and baked and went Christmas shopping (online of course), while writing my new story. I don’t quite know if this answers your question, but I hope my élan is self-explanatory.
What hours do you write best?
Morning. Always Morning. Dawn is when my mind is awake and ready to go. I move with the sun. Up with the sun, moody when there is no sun, upbeat when the sun finds its way into my office to shine ever so brightly. Sometimes, when I imagine the beautiful day ahead of me, I will be able to write late, very late at night. Or I’ll go to bed, and dialogue from my characters keeps me awake. More so in the summer. Here in Edmonton, we enjoy eleven o’clock (p.m.) sun to outline those grand days of June.
How often do you write?
An easy question. Every day.
Are you an avid reader?
Yes. My problem is when I begin a book I have a hard time putting it down before it’s finished. If a book is interesting enough to have me read all the way through, I don’t care about the grammar or the spelling. This story receives a 5-star rating. I read a lot to provide reviews.
I also read because reading is in my DNA. When the kids were little I watched every heartwarming movie with them (the only ones we watched), and my catch-phrase was, “quick, get me into somebody else’s life.” The sentence would make them laugh, and no one ever wondered if this was because I didn’t like my life. Not even my husband. Getting into someone else’s life through a book or a movie helped me deal with mine, and provided me with the information I needed to improve on my life.
What are you reading now?
Book III for the Emma Willis Series. The title is I Can Help You. Emma is now nineteen years old attending Rutgers in Psychology and logging case hours with people for licensure requirements when she graduates. On top of all this, Dr. Fred Manson comes back to the foreground asking her for help.
Right now, I’m doing the research, the legwork. Once I’ve compiled all the relevant material, I will sit and write out the story.