Name: Joan Schweighardt
Book Title: The Accidental Art Thief
Find The Accidental Thief on Amazon.
Thanks for letting us interrogate you! Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?
I enjoy imagining how things might go more than I do thinking about how things did go. “Did go” has one component, the truth. “Might go” is a blank slate, a tabula rasa. Irresistible!
Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?
If you are looking to make a fortune as a novelist, your chances are pretty slim. I don’t know the stats, but I do know that unless you have a big publisher willing to throw a lot of money behind your book, you will be lucky to sell 1000 copies. I may be jaded from having worked both sides of the fence, as a publisher myself some years back, as a writer, and even as an agent. But if you like writing, then the fun perk can be yours. And if you write something meaningful and it touches one reader’s heart or changes one closed-minded bigoted person’s opinion, well there’s that too.
Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?
I felt safer going traditional, with a small publisher who opened her door to me. Since I work for a living, I really didn’t have the time or inclination to get involved with self publishing.
Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?
My sons are both grown, so the only one who has to endure my writing habit is my husband. I read chapters to him as I write them and force him to give me feedback. His suggestions are really good and he seems to honestly like my work, but who wants to hear the same chapter two or three times just because some slight changes have been made? This is what he is subjected to. In return, I spend hours looking at his photos with him on his computer. I love his photos, but I don’t love it when he decides he must crop the edges or adjust the exposure while I’m sitting there waiting to see what’s coming next.
Do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?
My dog Roy will come to my desk and use his head to jolt my arm away from the keyboard until I get up and feed him or let him out. In addition to succumbing to Roy’s needs, I run down the street every weekday at 12:45 to let my friend’s dog out to pee—because she works 9 to 5 in town and would have to give up lunch to take care of this matter herself. I live in fear of getting so wrapped up in what I am doing that I will forget about him. That has never happened with her dog, but years ago, I forgot to check in on my neighbors’ kids because I was busy writing, and once, when my younger son was three or four, I forgot to pick him up from a play date (!!!!) because I was having one of those zingy writing days where every word falls into place: euphoria … until the other mother called to ask when I planned to come by and get my kid.
Are your plants actually still alive?
Barely alive, but, alas, it has nothing to do with my writing.
In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?
When I’m writing well I ignore the phone, unless the caller ID says that it is my husband or one of my sons. As for my job, I am my own boss, so I only have myself to answer to. I’m an early morning person, so by dinner time I’m done, whether I’m writing for a client or working on my own projects.
How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
I wish I could avoid all of them. I always feel like I’m shouting into a room where everyone else is shouting too when I use social media. How can we hear one another? But it’s the way of the world, so I try.
Book sales. Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)? How are you making the sales happen for you?
Doing giveaways with sites for book clubs and general readers is a good way to start.
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
I want to scream at all the book reviewers who will only review a book that is immensely popular and already has hundreds of reviews!
Okay, too much sugar for you today! Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in. Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?
I love the process. It suits me. When I was younger, I loved everything creative. If I had been coordinated and had long legs, I might have wanted to dance. If I could sing, I would have become Gracie Slick. But I’m not coordinated and I can’t sing. I can write, however. So that’s what I do.