Enjoy another Author Interview! This week with Colleen June Glatzel. Hey, Joey Journal is Colleen’s first novel. Colleen is a writer from Waukesha, WI. She writes mostly fiction, but is interested in exploring other categories now that her first book, Hey, Joey Journal, is published. When Colleen isn’t writing, she deals antiques, acts, performs improv comedy, makes collages, paints and spends time with her family.
I loved the book! I opened my review of it with these words: Climb in. Buckle your seat belt—and the chest harness. Cinch them tight and hang on! I end the review by saying: But few books deal with mental illness in a manner as impressive as this author did. She strikingly shows the prevalence of mental illness in a progressive, accepting, nonjudgmental manner. Life is life. We are each unique. We are each of value. Check out my review at my website: http://billmathiswriteretc.com/recommendations/ or on Amazon.
1) Please describe your book in 6 to 10 sentences.
After the psychologically scarring death of her father, wild child Rosie Dwyer is introduced to journal keeping. She initially considers this writing form to be cliche. Before the death, Rosie valued chaos and rebellion- from “protest-peeing” in class to shoving a twinkie in a classmate’s eye. However, once Rosie gives into this mode of writing, a cathartic obsession begin.
Her entries often focus on her childhood enemy, Logan Fields, after he becomes Rosie’s permanent peer editor in creative writing class. While Rosie loses touch with both loved ones and reality, an unlikely friendship builds between her and Logan. Together, they must try to find the meaning behind insanity- in the school theatre, in the public library, and in the middle of a false Apocalypse.
2) What was the impetus to write it?
I got one sentence stuck in my head one late summer day. “He had a twinkie in his eye when I first met him, and I was the reason it was there.” I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I finally wrote a short story with that sentence as the first line. I started writing more short stories from the perspective of the character in the first story. Finally, after a month of this, I realized I was writing a novel. Starting was a very organic process.
3) What were the hardest parts or issues in writing your book?
I had a problem with keeping things chronological in the beginning. There were a few too many flashbacks. The end product still has flashbacks, but I organized it by numbering how many days it’s been since the tragic event that happens to Rosie. That way the reader knows how much time has passed between events.
4) How long did it take to write it from first word to publishing?
I started writing it in August 2012 and it was accepted by Rogue Phoenix Press in November 2016. I took long periods of time between drafts, though.
- How many drafts?
About four on my own and two under the guidance of Kathie Giorgio.
5) Are you a full time writer?
- If not, what other work do you do or have done?
I’m an antique dealer and worked many odd jobs during the writing of the book- from dog walking to babysitting to volunteer work.
- When do you find time to write?
With the first draft of the novel, I wrote during the day. With the final drafts, I worked on it at night and during slow periods while working at the antique mall. I always read it back in the morning when my mind was clear.
- Music when writing? Coffee or tea? Booze J? Computer or pen & paper?
I listened to music when writing new material. When I edited, I turned off the music and read it out loud. The music I listened to was mostly instrumental. Penguin Cafe Orchestra and Vitamin String Quartet were favorites of mine. There’s actually a scene in the book where a character says he listens to instrumental music because “it takes the words out of your head instead of putting them there.” They go on to listen to Penguin Cafe Orchestra while driving, a nod to what I was listening to. As for pen and paper, I write a little bit with pen and paper while I’m on the go, but if I have computer access, I go on my word processor first. And coffee. Definitely coffee.
- Did you outline the book first or write it by the seat of your pants? Or…?
Once I realized I was writing a book, I tried to write an outline, but it only was one page long and I didn’t use it all. Almost nothing was used. Most of my main plots were discovered as I went along. For example, the death of Rosie’s father wasn’t even in the book until I got to page 90 and realized I hadn’t mentioned him once. I was left to question why he wasn’t around, and the main plot of the book was born by answering myself. I honestly wrote by the seat of my pants, in random order. I find rigid outlines take the fun out of the process. Without questions and a bit of mystery, I wouldn’t have been interested in continuing.
6) What else have you published? Where?
I’ve had poems published in Blue Heron Review and Tipton Poetry Journal. I got a recent poetry acceptance from Cherry House Press.
7) If a novel, how do you make your characters so alive, so deep; their emotions so real?
Although my characters are fictional, I draw upon my real emotions. Certain situations in this book are directly based on real experiences. I remix the scenes to make it new. I also examine my fears and write about what makes me afraid. I think fear is the rawest of all human emotions.
8) If a memoir, how did you get to the pain, the joy, the humor without losing your sanity?
9) What was the publishing experience like?
Before joining AllWriters, I didn’t know how to query or how to write a synopsis. Once I became a part of the group, Kathie Giorgio taught me much about who to submit to and how to go about doing it. I became more comfortable when I finally asked experienced people advice. When I tried to do everything on my own, I felt overwhelmed. Once the book was accepted, it was a waiting period, but the editing process was fast. I’ve learned a great deal and wouldn’t trade the experience in for anything.
10) Describe your experience working with AllWriters Workplace and Workshop in your writing of the book?
I started writing the book when I was almost nineteen years old and didn’t start with AllWriters until I was around 22. Learning on my own during those years was difficult at times. I definitely had a decent product going into my coaching with AllWriters, but I had a case of writer’s blindness. There are just some things a person won’t notice unless somebody else points it out. My problems with keeping the timeline clear was one of those notes I was too close to the piece to see on my own. It’s nice to have another pair of eyes.
11) Please list three of your favorite authors and or books?
Catcher in the Rye, The Alchemist, and The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
12) Any advice to aspiring writers?
There will be a great deal of rejection. It will make you stronger if you let it. Also, you don’t have to do it alone. There are so many people trying to do the same as you. Why not get to know them?
13) Where can your book(s) be purchased?
It’s available in eBook and paperback.
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Amazon Kindle, All Romance, Barnes and Noble Nook, Google Play, and Smashwords (who also distribute to Apple, Kobo, Inktera, txtr, Baker and Taylor Blio, Library Direct, Baker-Taylor, Axis360, OverDrive, Yuzu, Gardners Library and Extended Retail, Flipkart, Odilo, and Scribd).