Frequently Asked Questions
- Where did you find all the tales in Spun Again? Two I took from well-known mythology and saga, but the others I found in rather obscure places. Several came from books published in Norway, in Norwegian. A few of them I heard while visiting Telemark, province of my ancestors. My greatest treasure trove was a scholarly, English-language compendium of Scandinavian folktales.
- Are you a plotter, or a pantser? I don't write by the seat of my pants. I plot things out well in advance. The story may decide to take a different route than the planned one, but that's okay. Better than okay. The muse has stepped in to help! I go with the inspiration, then sit down and revise the plot going forward. Having at least one sure vision of the path ahead gives me confidence to keep striding on even if I end up far from my intended destination.
- How do you handle writer's block?
I take a walk. I've found that often, in my case, writer's block
is my subconscious warning me that something is wrong with an earlier passage.
It helps to back off and do a mental run over the recently-written material.
We give it a good debate, the three of us: Me, Myself, and I.
Hold a cell phone to my ear so passersby won't think
I'm just a crazy lady talking to herself!
If all else fails, I return to the beginning of the book and read straight through. The overall picture often reveals what to do with the problematic passage.
- What is your writing schedule? My mind is sharper in the morning, so I slate my writing time earlier rather than later. However, if the day has been filled with distractions, I'll stay up past bedtime in order to make some headway. When I have a deadline to meet, I trim household chores to the bare minimum, and I mean bare! Dust bunnies galore, not to mention... well, I won't mention that.
- Do you plan to write anthologies of folktales from other areas? I've begun two other collections. One I've categorized simply as "world-wide," with tales sorted by continent. The other, instead of widening the focus, narrows it, featuring tales from the parish of my ancestors: Kviteseid, Telemark, Norway. However, those anthologies will be years in the making. I've turned my time over to getting my novels in print.
- So you've stopped writing flash fiction?
Not at all! Every weekend I post a new piece on my blog.
Check it out!
"Wildwood Wandering," found at joyceholt.com/blog
Suggested questions for interviews
- What is flash fiction, anyway?
- How did you prepare to write a novel set in Norway, half a world away?
- What sparks the ideas for your novels?
- The main character in each of your novels is female. Why is that?