Good Morning, and welcome to another writer and or blogger interview. I’m excited to share with you an interview with a newly published author, JoAnne Macco. I think you’ll love her blog and her book as much as I do. As per usual, this interview will also be featured on my blog Mandibelle16.
JoAnne’s blog site is JoAnne of the Forest: Anything is Possible with Faith, Hope, and Perseverance.
1. JoAnne, Please Tell Us About Yourself?
On WordPress, I’m best known as JoAnna of the Forest and I live in North Carolina on the east coast of the U.S.
In January, I took a leap of faith and retired from a 30-year career as a substance abuse counselor to spend more time writing and painting angels. My goal is to provide hope through my blog, and my book, Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again.
My long-term goals are to continue to develop my storytelling skills, to write a novel based on my parents, and to travel more. As a military kid, my family moved around a great deal.
I longed to settle in one place, so I’ve stayed near the Carolina coast for most of my adult life. It’s comfortable here, most of the year, although, summers can become hot and humid. It helps that my little urban cottage is 15 minutes from the ocean and surrounded by trees that provide a lot of shade.
2. When Did you Begin Writing and Blogging? For What Reason and What Does Writing Mean To You?
I wrote poems and songs in high school and I’ve journaled, off and on, for most of my life. Writing has always been therapeutic for me, which is probably why I wrote more when I approached menopause as a single mom with a 13-year-old daughter.
Writing helped me find perspective and meaning during those rollercoaster years. When I wrote my book in 2012, someone told me I needed to blog as well. Blogging has broadened my world tremendously and I’m thankful to be part of this supportive community on WordPress. I believe that when we all share our experience, thoughts, and feelings, we discover that we have more in common than we might have realized.
“In January, I took a leap of faith and retired from a 30-year career as a substance abuse counselor to spend more time writing and painting angels. My goal is to provide hope through my blog, “Anything is Possible,” and my book, Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again.” – JoAnne Macco
3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write and Blog? Why Is Writing Significant to You?
I’ve learned a lot in my 60 years of life and I’m still learning a ton. I hope to share my experience and give people hope that even when your world seems to be falling apart, things are going to work out if you hang in there and work on you. Plus, writing helps me organize my thoughts and process my feelings. It helps me explore what I want to understand better about myself and the world.
4. Do You Have Particular Writing and/or Blogging Habits? What Do You Enjoy Most About Writing?
Since I’m a night owl, my natural tendency is to write more in the afternoon and evening. But when I was working on my book, I found I had to write in the morning to keep from being distracted and staying up too late.
I’d force myself write in the morning for at least two hours before looking at any social media or email. Then, after checking those, I’d return to writing a couple of more hours in the afternoon.
I loved those long stretches of working on my book and becoming absorbed in the process. I look forward to doing that again with my next book. For now, I’m writing most of my blog posts at night.
“I hope to share my experience and give people hope that even when your world seems to be falling apart, things are going to work out if you hang in there and work on you. Plus, writing helps me organize my thoughts and process my feelings.” – JoAnne Macco
5. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects with Your Blog and Outside of Your Blog?
On my blog, I’m searching for positive and inspiring experiences to share with others, whether these experiences are global, local, or personal stories about overcoming challenges or about meaningful coincidences.
I want to engage readers about relationship issues and personal growth topics that come up a lot in Trust the Timing, my book on Amazon.com. Outside of blogging, I’m beginning to research and collect materials for future books I want to write.
6. Have You Published Your First Book? Do You Plan To Publish More in the Future?
I’ve just published my first book, Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again which is told from the alternating perspectives of two high school sweethearts. It became available on Amazon.com in July 2017.
As well, I’m planning to write and publish at least two more books, one about Doodle, the problem step-dog (who makes an appearance in my first book). Also, I’m writing a novel based on the lives of my extraordinary parents. At some time, I would also like to publish a book of poetry.
“On my blog, I’m searching for positive and inspiring experiences to share with others, whether these experiences are global, local, or personal, stories about overcoming challenges and about meaningful coincidences.’ – JoAnne Macco
Trust the Timing: A Memoir of Finding Love Again
7. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process? Did You Self-Publish or Go Through and Agent or Publishing Company?
When I first started writing, I edited too much as I went along. Now, I think about a story or blog post in my head for a while first. When it comes to the writing, I’ve learned that a stream-of-consciousness style, without editing, makes my writing more interesting and fun.
I try to draft a chapter or a blog post without editing as if I’m talking to a friend. Then I’ll go back and edit the chapter or post later. Although, I don’t know if I’d want to write an another entire book like that. As I mentioned earlier, it’s better if I write before I peruse social media. I have to keep reminding myself of that!
Moreover, after considerable research and weighing the pros and cons, I decided to self-publish with Create Space because I enjoyed the control it provided me. I think my next book maybe done with a small publishing company.
“When I first started writing, I edited too much as I went along. Now, I think about a story or blog post in my head for a while first. When it comes to the writing, I’ve learned that a stream of consciousness style, without editing, makes my writing more interesting and fun.” – JoAnne Macco
8. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Genres?
In college, I took journalism and technical writing and my previous career required a lot of factual reporting and clinical notes. As a result, when I began writing my book I had a strong nonfiction framework. Also, I’ve enjoyed learning more about creative nonfiction over the past five years, working on my memoir.
Additionally, I’ve always been talented at making up stories in my head and I’m looking forward to writing more fiction. Also, my reading habits lean towards inspirational nonfiction, by authors like Anne Lamott and Elizabeth Gilbert, with an occasional sci-fi novel thrown in for fun.
9. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Bloggers and Writers Starting Out?
I think I started writing and blogging being too serious. Maybe it was my journalism and technical writing background? I thought I knew how to write, but creative writing is an entirely different process than what I was used to writing.
To begin, I took online classes and engaged with supportive critique groups. I learned that it’s vital to be conscientious and caring but not to forget to have fun when you’re writing. Also, I’ve learned not to write blog posts that are too long as five hundred words are plenty (unless of course, you’re doing an interview). Moreover, I’ve learned to use photographs in every blog post I publish.
My writing experience outside of blogging is primarily with my memoir. What I’ve learned from that is to write from your heart. Don’t be afraid to delve into those feelings if you’re in a stable place emotionally. It can be difficult and you’ll probably need to take breaks. I’m sure writing fiction can bring up emotional baggage too. If you’re not ready for that, write for fun. Write poetry to yourself or write in a journal.
You can also keep a notebook handy for ideas that pop-up in your head so you can jot them down and allow these ideas to flow and transform into some kind of writing later on.
“I’m sure writing fiction can bring up baggage, too. If you’re not ready for that yet, just write for fun. Write poetry to yourself. Keep a journal. Keep a notebook handy for ideas that” – JoAnne Macco
10. Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share About Yourself or Your Writing?
In my short biography, I describe myself as an open-minded, tree-hugging Christian. Like Madeleine L’Engle, I don’t consider myself a “Christian writer” but a writer who happens to be a Christian. I like to explore spirituality and connections between things that don’t seem to be connected.
11. Just for Fun. What Are Your Top Three Favorite Blogs? What Do You Enjoy About Them?
It’s so difficult to name only three! I could easily name 10 favorites or more! But here it goes:
- Sacred Touches – Natalie Scarberry always has something to comfort or inspire me with vibrant colors and natural delights.
- SmileCalm Home – David’s gentle, loving wisdom comes through in every post and makes me smile deep down in my heart.
- Behind the White Coat – “Behind the White Coat” is written by a smart doctor with a big heart. Her posts can be informative or entertaining, hilarious or heartbreaking. Her honesty makes me feel like I am not alone.
“In my short biography, I describe myself as an open-minded, tree-hugging Christian. Like Madeleine L’Engle, I don’t consider myself a “Christian writer” but a writer who happens to be a Christian. I like to explore spirituality and connections between things that don’t seem to be connected.” – JoAnne Macco
12. Please Share With Us Some Of Your Blog Writing.
“If We Lose Electricity”
If we lose electricity
in the storm,
We will still have power.
We have the power
To check on our neighbors,
To ask for help,
To move to higher ground.
The power to tell stories,
To sing lullabies.
The power to write a poem,
To mend what’s torn,
To read by candlelight.
The power to hope and pray,
To hold hands in the dark.
The power to clear a path,
To rise from ash,
When we say we’ve lost power, it minimizes the power we still have. If we lose electricity, let’s say we lost electricity. We still have power, at least over our thoughts, words, and actions.
I send prayers for safety and comfort to all those in the path of the storm.
13. Here are Some More Blog Links to JoAnne’s Writing:
- A Letter to my Divorced self in 2001 by JoAnne Macco
- A Sticky Mud-Sucking Adventure by JoAnne Macco
- Angel Signs In a Brick, Or Am I Just Seeing Things? by JoAnne Macco
- Patience and the Kindness of Strangers by JoAnne Macco
Thank you so much to JoAnne for her patience with this interview. I loved learning about her writing and her background as a writer. I also think it’s neat how she is, particularly, a nonfiction writer. I also loved her quote about being a Christian writer who doesn’t necessarily, do Christian writing.
If you’re a blogger or writer, or someone who blogs about a cause, please feel to contact me if you would like to be interviewed. My contact page is HERE. See you when I see you!
©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.