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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Emma just turned fifteen. Her powers have spiraled to include unusual magic, and she gladly relies
New friends around Emma surprise her. They appear to be like nothing she could have imagined, and their goals stir more disturbance than their presence until she bumps into the scourge of her existence: entities who wish to control what humans do and say. She learns they are powerful, vindictive and will stop at nothing to obtain what they want. Will Emma be able to protect the people she loves?
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We welcome you to My Bookish Pleasures! Can you tell us how you got started writing fiction?
Walking on the beach in Miami, Florida with my little dog, Chief. Sometimes I would walk with a friend, but since I enjoyed to catch the sunrise, Chief and I often walked alone, listening to the ocean’s surf and giving into the aura of peace surrounding us. There, one morning, characters for the first book I ever wrote began to talk and argue and live out their lives inside my head. I got back to the condo and started typing as fast as I could. Luckily, I’m a fast typist, because, in 45 days, I had 200,000 words down and a completed novel. Of course, I couldn’t catalog the story’s genre or realize the novel had too many words at the time. I just wrote the story as it unfolded in front of me. Even all those years ago, you might have called the novel an urban fantasy, grounded in current, everyday reality, submerged in mystery, and displaying paranormal tendencies—not to mention a touch inspirational.
My husband has reread the manuscript three times, at least, and says he would like to see me publish this one. The story will be a trilogy when I complete the hat-trick. My husband also states this happened to be the loneliest time of his life. Good thing my nineteen-year-old son still lived with us at the time. The company helped.
Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?
I don’t plot. Tried it once as in all the courses I have taken since the episode in Miami, and teachers tell me it is imperative to plan, well the good teachers at least. I can’t. Catastrophe ensues when I do. The story never goes remotely in the direction I predicted. I plot by amassing pics of my characters, their location, their education (schools, universities) their families their likes and dislikes pics of their pets and cars … The story unfolds from there.
Of course, I also discovered how my location is important. I need to hear and see the story unfolding in front of me. Listen to the characters thoughts, wishes, and words. I found some areas give me better reception than others. At first, people around me thought this was crazy. When you analyze the concept, this does sound a little out there. Even to me. In Miami reception came through loud and clear. Amazing. Then in Montreal Canada where we lived, nothing, or a bare trickle. Took me a year or so to decipher the impression of a novel and I would be sitting at the typewriter facing a void of silence. When my son moved to Alberta, and he asked me when we were also moving since we moved so many times in our lives, I laughed and joked that we would soon be there. I was in the throes of Exhale and Reboot, another book I wrote. When we visited him and his family, I realized that reception in Edmonton, Alberta was phenomenal. Didn’t know why. I still don’t know why. No ocean close by and the ground elevation is quite higher than it was in Montreal. However, impressions, thoughts, and plots unfold at incredible speed. A little like some portable radio you turn and twist to get more channels and better reception. I had started the book I’m launching now, I Can Find You in Montreal. When I arrived across the country in Edmonton, I finished the book in less than thirty days. Then when I reviewed from beginning to end, I needed to redo the first ten chapters I wrote somewhere else. I have since found out I'm not the only one with this reception problem and a famous writer I know of also moved from Montreal to somewhere near the Chesapeake Bay to get better reception.
Can you tell us about your most recent release?
I Can Find You is the second book in the Emma Willis Series. Emma is now fifteen years old, and she still has her friends, Amelia Swift who knows nothing of her powers and Thomas Carson who does, and who attempts to curb Emma’s use of them. OBE, for instance, gets Emma into trouble now and again as she can transport corporeally through after life portholes. Emma can also conjure, something she usually refuses to do as the magic put her in danger more than once. Going through the portals, she connects with new friends and discovers their goal and their reason to be here on Earth, frightening. What are all these aliens from other worlds doing here on Earth? She still helps Hank Apple, the detective who was promoted Captain with some of his difficult cases and likes the company of Christina Tyler, her fifth-grade teacher who has become the older sister she never had. While helping Hank, she discovers incredible talents in her grasp. Gifts once dormant are emerging and Emma wonders about her origins and their stunning potential. When she reaches for the big book of spells her grandmother left her, the book many of her ancestors contributed to writing throughout the ages, she can’t find any reference to some of the talents Emma just discovered she owns. Emma packs of a lot of action and adventure in this book.
How did you get the idea for the book?
Good question. In fact, I Can Find You brings us another adventure in the life of Emma Willis. The first book came to me while I was doing a course, a 48-hour course of complete and total devotion to a story, any story. As the trainer outlined what I needed to do, I did, and from this course sprung I Can See You. Although, I was never keen on writing a series. All my author friends were writing up series, some two and three at a time, and I just wanted to write a story and be done with it. Why? Simple. Emma is always with me, discovering new ideas, mumbling in my head what she intends to do next. I’ve already started the research for Emma Willis Book III, I Can Help You. Once I finish the research, the story will write itself. In fact, familiar characters take over your life a little. They are never far behind—and sometimes invade my life.—or even quiet about their intentions. Thank God, Emma is a gentle, sweet person. Otherwise, I would not be able to curb the enthusiasm of a bossy character.
Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
Impossible to pick one character over another. The exercise would be like picking a favorite, child. Here are some of my favorite characters. Emma Willis, in the series of the same name. Barnum, in a book soon to be published: What About Barnum? Hank Apple in Emma Willis Series, and Kat Bonner in Mirror Deep. I also like Candice Newman in Exhale and Reboot. She is a sophisticated and elegant character.
What advice would you offer to new or aspiring fiction authors?
Don’t wait like I did. I needed an ocean to prompt me to write. There is never a perfect time to start writing even if you just jot down the preliminary ideas of a book. These notions will brew and percolate, and at a moment’s notice when you least expect it, you will find the inspiration to write down your story. In the meantime, you might like to join groups of other writers. One of the ones I joined was called The Next Big Writer dot com. It’s a free group of more than five thousand authors that are submitting their chapters for review by others. When you do a review, you amass points, and this allows you to post your writing and get it reviewed. A most friendly group, they helped me tremendously before I began to write. I am still with them, and I like to run chapters by them as I’m writing. Also, get Grammarly dot com. You cannot write without it.