Hello dear readers and welcome to our first author interview for the just published anthology, Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey. Our guest today is Author Joanne Costantino.
Joanne Costantino is a member of the South Jersey Writer's Group and has submitted these stories for the Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey anthology, Philly Girl and Leaving the Leaves.
So with great pleasure, let me introduce you to this week's author.
Joanne, tell us a little about yourself.
I am married to my husband Mike (almost 40 years), have 2 grown daughters and 5 grandchildren, and a dog named Tula who is an adopted rescue. My eldest daughter and her family live with us, the nest will never be empty. With that multi-generational two-family household, it can get quite noisy. I love to travel and make sure that I travel at least 2 times a year, to get away from the noise! I currently work for a defense contractor, in these volatile times, it is important work, especially to keep our service people safe in their duty.
What got you interested in writing and when did you start?
I have always enjoyed various creative pursuits, painting, music, sewing, writing, but the focus on writing began during a very tragic time. My parents died within a year of each other and during that time, my infant grandson suffered a brain injury, and then I got breast cancer. I bought a spiral bound journal and would write pages of rants or rage against the universe and sometimes just poke fun at the crap that seemed to snowball. As it turned out, it had been one of the most emotionally sustaining mental health and reality checks I have done. It keeps the record straight and I still have every book from over the years.
What type of stories do you enjoy writing?
My marriage and family are what keeps me grounded and they provide the most material! I am blessed that no matter what the subject, my family loves to hear and read what I write. I've been a wife and Mom since I was 18 and since becoming the 'accidental matriarch' I like to share a woman's perspective on all things I seem to be tasked to oversee. It's the life I claim I didn't sign up for. But I wouldn't trade it for anything else.
Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?
Life's little bumps and big hurdles seem to initially come to mind, but it's just as important to record the nice times and soft moments that linger in our memory, a writer friend of mine calls them, 'God Giggles'. It's something that just strikes you as funny or nice and only you find it so, but it feels so good.
Why did you pick these particular stories for our anthology?
Leaving the Leaves was on of those God Giggles. We lived in the city for so long, I think that my kids felt they had to clean leaves like sweeping a sidewalk, but when my granddaughter jumped into that pile and just laughed and giggled, what else could I do but record it and share it.
Philly Girl in Jersey was about leaving life in the city, something that I've never really resigned myself to. Writing it all down, the mostly good and the barely bad things of this relocation, highlights my personal mantra, Fate puts you where you need to be or where you're needed, deal with it.
What advice can you give to our readers who are interested in writing and getting their book published?
Follow you pen, write every day, even if it's only a phrase or two, just write. It is a process before it's a product. Writing and publishing are not the same thing and if you love to write, you are a writer, just write. If your work is published, then you're a published writer, but you are a writer.
Is it important for a new writer to join a writer's group and why?
Writing requires practice and solitude. Sharing what you have written and digesting the feedback from others helps a writer see a perspective that perhaps the author did or did not intend for the reader. There is a sense of support found in a group that often can re-energize the writer when a dry spell comes on our just simply 'stuck'. In a group, a lot of ideas for yours and other's works can be shared. I think it's that exchange and camaraderie that are some of the best benefits of belonging to a writer's group.
It's been a pleasure doing this interview with you Joanne and I'm sure that our readers enjoyed your thoughts on writing.
You can find Joanne on these sites:
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