Monday, August 10, 2015

Spotlight on Joan C. Curtis

Today we're spending our time getting to know Lightning Quick Reads author, Joan C. Curtis. 

Four times business book author, Joan C. Curtis, released her first mystery/suspense title, The Clock Strikes Midnight.
Her first-place book awards include: Best mystery manuscript in the Malice Domestic Grants competition and best proposal for nonfiction in the Harriette Austin competition

Joan has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember.  She reads all kinds of books, including women’s fiction, mysteries, biography, and memoir.  Her passion as a reader lies closer to literary writing with a commercial bent. She writes books she would love to read.

“I write about characters who remind me of myself at times and my sister at times, but never fully so. My stories are told from a woman’s point of view. Characters drive my writing and my reading.”

Having grown up in the South with a mother from Westchester County New York, Joan has a unique take on blending the southern traditions with the eye of a northerner.  She spent most of her childhood in North Carolina and now resides in Georgia.

LQR: Welcome, Joan. Thanks for visiting with us today. Can you tell our readers a little about you?

Joan: I’m married with three step children and four step grandchildren. My career before writing consisted of public speaking. I was a leadership development specialist with an emphasis on communication. I led many workshops and retreats and wrote four business books around these topics. Personally, I love to read. I’m also an exercise junkie, a cat lover and a person who wishes she lived in Italy.

LQR: If you had to pick only one moment that spurred you to write professionally, what moment is the most inciting?

Joan: A number of years ago, I submitted a story to a national contest sponsored by Reader’s Digest and McCall’s Magazine. My story won second place, and the Reader’s Digest editor called me. A year later my story was published as an original piece for that publication. That experience led me to believe I could write professionally. It was the first time I was paid for something I wrote.

LQR: Does the majority of your work focus around or within a single theme? If so, what is it?

Joan: No, my work contains various theme. For the most part I write stories that include some component of mystery or suspense. But the theme of The Clock Strikes Midnight is very different from that of The e-Murderer.

LQR: Tell us about your newest release.

Joan: My newest release is The e-Murderer which will launch September, 1st. This is the first in a series starring Jenna Scali and her friends. The early manuscript of this book won first place in the Malice Domestic Grants Competition. Currently I’m working on the second book in the Jenna Scali series. I’m also working on another stand alone story that is too early in its creation to discuss.

print book available August 31st

LQR: What is one of your favorite authorial moments from your career so far?

Joan: One of the hardest things to do in this world of publishing is to get a fiction piece accepted. My nonfiction books were quickly picked up by Praeger Press. But, fiction is another story. When I received the letter of acceptance from MuseItUp Publishing for The Clock Strikes Midnight, I was stunned and elated. That had to be a favorite moment for me as an author. It meant someone believed in my work.

LQR: Share with us a five year goal for your writing career.

Joan: My five year goal is to see both Jenna Scali mysteries published and a third on the way. I’d also like to see The Clock Strikes Midnight made into a movie (ha, ha) and publish my current standalone book. My dream is to live in Italy for a period of time where I would write book 3 of the Jenna Scali mystery. Imagine her going there to find her ancestors and she stumbles on a murder…

LQR: Do you write what you read? Watch? What are your favorite television shows and movies?

Joan: I write books I’d love to read. Do I write what I read? I’m not sure about that. I am sure I don’t write what I watch although my favorite TV shows are mysteries including all of Masterpiece Mystery. I also love Masterpiece Classic (including Downton Abbey). My favorite movies vary. I loved Kings Speech and ART. I also loved all the Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo movies (Swedish version) and books.

LQR: If you had one week away from any and all responsibility what would you want to spend your time doing?

Joan: Setting is critical. So, I’d be in a small village in Tuscany, Umbria or Puglia. I’d spend the morning sipping coffee at a local café and talking with the locals. I’d spend the early afternoon on a bench watching people, studying their habits, noting their gestures and recording those details The latter part of the day, I’d take off for a tour of the region. That evening, I’d spend time reading and sipping a hearty red wine.

Winner to be announced in October. Congrats & good luck Joan!

LQR: That sounds wonderful! Anything else you’d like to add?

Joan: It’s been great fun writing the short stories for Lighting Quick Reads. Being a mystery writer, I try to give the stories some kind of surprise. I’ve also enjoyed reading the other authors’s stories. Short story writing is very different than novel writing and has enabled me to stretch my writing skill.

LQR: That’s great to hear, Joan. Thank you. Where can readers find you online?

Joan: Readers can find me on my website I’d love for them to sign up there. They’d get my bi-monthly newsletter as well as all the updates on upcoming releases. I’d also love to see them on my blog There I post lots of writing tips, author interviews, book reviews and much more. And of course, I’m on Twitter @joancurtis. I have a Facebook author’s page

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