Joy Preble Talks to Jenny O'Connell

Lucky me! I had a chance to ask Joy Preble some questions and I loved her answers. Read on to learn more about her thoughts on writing, the thrill of seeing your book come to life on a cover, and why writing what someone else wants you to write isn't the way to go. Enjoy!

Of all your books, which has your favorite cover and why?

Well, I honestly adore all my covers and I have been very lucky in that regard, because as you know, authors don't always have much say in the matter. But I'm currently quite fond of the cover for the upcoming FINDING PARIS (April 21, 2015, Balzer and Bray)! I think it gets both the literal and the metaphor of the book just right. In fact, I got to talk about that recently on the Barnes and Noble Book Blog, in an interview I did for author Melissa Walker and which you can read here:

Which of your books was the most difficult to write and why?
Well, I could tell you that the current proposal I'm working on has actually been the most difficult, but in terms of books that are out already or on their way, I'd say that FINDING PARIS was both the most rewarding and the hardest -- but only because I'd had the story idea for awhile but was trying to please a former editor by writing a romantic comedy that just wasn't working. And I spent six months writing a book that I didn't want to write in order to please someone else. So once I realized how fruitless that was and began the story that became PARIS, it flowed out of me pretty quickly. Of course then I revised like eight times, but that's another story!

Which of your books was the easiest to write and why?
THE SWEET DEAD LIFE (Soho Press) is the book where the voice came to me immediately. Jenna Samuels has always been very easy for me to channel. I almost always know absolutely how Jenna sees the world and all its weirdness. Jenna just seems to want to let me tell her stories! 

You’ve written a series as well as standalone books. Do you have a preference, and why?
I enjoy both, but I have to say there's something fun about stand alines because you know going in that the story will be complete when you write THE END. And so you're not focused on this overriding plot arc for a series but just this finite amount of pages. Having begun my career with a three book series, I can say that this is quite pleasurable. I'm not fond of re-reading my books once they're on the shelf, but with a series, you have to keep reading over and over to make sure the world is consistent in every way. So it's hard not to think, Oh crap. If only I'd written that first book in this way or that way...

I think writing a series would be SO hard, how do you keep thinking of new ideas when each book naturally “ends?”
 With both DREAMING ANASTASIA, which is a trilogy, and THE SWEET DEAD LIFE, which at the moment is a duology but one never knows, I did have a plot arc for more than one book for the main characters. I knew the eventual end, for example, of the Anne and Ethan love story, which is one of the engines that drives the series. Particularly with SWEET DEAD LIFE, there was actually some very early film/TV interest, and so my editor and I hammered out a basic series synopsis of where we'd see the stories going if there was anywhere for them to go. Not that anything has happened on that front, but if it did, then we're ready! 

What piece of advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Read. Read. Read. Write every day if you can, even if it's only 10 minutes. Study your craft. Watch episodic television and lots of movies. And develop a thick skin. If you're going to work in the arts, you need to be able to take a lot of rejection and keep following your dream!


  1. Love the writing advice! So true about both reading and the need for a thick skin.

  2. TOTALLY know what you mean about writing to please other people. Never works. Nevah, nevah, nevah...

  3. It's awesome that you were able to finally write the book YOU wanted, not someone else. It's really hard writing something you don't connect with.


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