Name: Jo An Brown
Genres: Urban Fantasy / SciFi
If you could offer one piece of writing advice to a novice author, what would it be?
Learn that writing happens in steps and then pace yourself. First –just write it! You don’t have anything to work with until your story is written. Then of course, there’s story editing, line editing, format editing, publishing in print, publishing eBooks, promotion, marketing, uploads, downloads, websites, social media, and oh, let’s not forget: the benefits of a WRITING COMMUNITY!
What have been some of the biggest helps for developing your writing skills?
There is so much free information available out there that at the least, it will direct you to what you need. For myself, I have benefitted greatly from Fictionary Storyteller software to build the story and character elements and I use ProWritingAid for editing software.
What’s the best piece of writing-related advice that you’ve received?
“The point of the story is the conflict.” Stephen King. I don’t read Stephen King, but I saw an interview and his advice just stuck with me. So now, I start with a conflict for my protagonist and use the story to find a solution. That piece of advice is good even when filtered down to each scene; conflict and resolution is why a reader sticks with it. The hardest part for me is distilling a story down to the conflict, but it’s the most rewarding.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading and how often do you read?
I read constantly; a book a week on average. Reading inspires me. My typical day is writing/editing, reading, thinking about writing/editing. I love stories with magic, so Fantasy and SciFi fill my library –but truly, I’ll read anything that stretches my imagination and often that includes spiritualism and New Age. I enjoy any well-written story and most fiction genres, but I shy away from non-fiction and “real-life”.
What made you consider writing in the first place?
Remember the always reading confession above? One time I slammed a book shut and declared, “I would NEVER end a story like that!” My husband’s response was: “Would you just write your own and be happy?” So apparently, I had made that complaint before. I wrote my first book without editing, and when finally printed it was over 700 pages. Hence, having to learn about editing! I spent several years writing screenplays because it honed my discipline to not ramble for 500+ pages, but ultimately, I returned to novels because I had world-stories to tell. I’ve often heard writers say they like their characters flawed. I personally prefer my characters perfect –and then put them in flawed situations.
What is your goal/dream as an author?
I’m a pretty disciplined self-editor, and I credit this to my constant reading. Still, I love it when someone will critique me and have found the smallest comments to be most helpful. But I haven’t solicited very much for a beta-review team. I consider it an important part of the process of writing and hope to find that in this community. I am woefully behind in social media because it takes so much T I M E!!! So, having just completed my latest trilogy, social media -Here. I. Come!
JB Penrose published her first trilogy: DayStar, HeartStar, then DreamStar, through Amazon between 2012 –2019. Her three current novels: Lady Babalon series, will publish as a set by end of 2022. Writing has always been her passion, and in the 90’s, Jo An was a member and then board member of the Austin Writer’s League, active in their annual writer’s conference as well as the first Texas Book Festivals beginning in 1996. She worked during COVID with a pair of young writers to publish their novel on Amazon and continues the mentoring with their second novel.
Jo An currently lives in Sun City, Georgetown with her husband of 47 years. And if she’s not writing, her additional interests include writing and playing music, or gardening flowers and food.