The Birth of a Writer Took 50 Years

By Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist. Please sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT 

Above: Kathleen Jones (front row, fourth from right) in Mrs. Eleanor Campbell’s grade 2 class at Central Public School in Windsor, Ontario, in 1967-68.

1967 was a landmark year, a year I’ll always remember. It was Canada’s 100thbirthday . . . and my birth date as a writer.

That fall, I was a 7-year-old entering the second grade at Central Public School in Windsor, Ontario. Up to that point, I had never thought of becoming a writer; in fact, I had never even written anything, even though I was already an enthusiastic reader. I wasn’t even much of a student and didn’t put much effort into my schoolwork.

All that changed when I entered the classroom of veteran teacher Mrs. Eleanor Campbell. An excellent teacher—and a strict disciplinarian—she motivated me to work hard, and my grades dramatically improved. And she made me aware of a talent that I didn’t know I had.

That fall, Mrs. Campbell gave our class a number of creative writing assignments. Even though I wasn’t the hardest-working student at that point, I put a great deal of effort into my writing. I soon discovered that I really enjoyed making up stories and characters, and I didn’t view these assignments as “work” at all. To my surprise, Mrs. Campbell loved my stories and often asked me to read them out loud to the class. She even told my parents that I would become “a famous Canadian author” someday.

Gradually, I began to think of myself as a writer, and throughout my school years, from grade 2 until I graduated from university, I continued to receive encouragement from teachers and professors for my creative writing. Alas, when it came time to earn a living, I had to put my dream of becoming a published writer on hold . . . but I never gave it up entirely. I started writing again at 46, and sold my first novel to a publisher at 57—my 50-year-old dream finally came true.

Mrs. Campbell passed away years ago, but I’ll always be grateful for her for recognizing my talent and inspiring my dream.

Visit Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist, online at https://kathleenjones.org/or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/joneslepidasand sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT Kathleen’s first novel, Love Is the Punch Line, a midlife romance set in the world of stand-up comedy, is available NOW, in trade paperback and ebook from Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/Love-Punch-Line-Kathleen-Jones-ebook/dp/B07BYNX7BM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1525812415&sr=1-1&keywords=love+is+the+punch+line)and Indigo Books and Music (https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/love-is-the-punch-line/9781945181337-item.html?ikwid=love+is+the+punch+line&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0)Visit the Love Is the Punch Line Media Room athttps://kathleenjones.org/media-room/

 

 

 

 

 

Author Interview With Kathleen Jones

(Posted on Qwerty Thoughts on May 22, 2019: https://www.qwertythoughts.com/authors-lobby/interviews/kathleen-jones/5ce29daa589c5d05677bcda9)

Interviewed on May 21, 2019, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Q. How would you describe yourself?  

I am a lover of words who writes from the heart. I’m also a refugee from the corporate world, and a lover of books, dogs, and 1940’s/1950’s vintage clothing.

Q. Tell us something about the books that you have written and the story behind them. 

I published my first novel, “Love Is the Punch Line,” with Moonshine Cove last year. I wrote the novel part-time over a three and a half year period while still employed full-time. When I took early retirement in 2016, I became a full-time writer. After working with a professional editor, copy editor, and proofreader on the manuscript, I submitted it to agents and publishers. Moonshine Cove offered me a contract in August 2017 and they published the book in April 2018.

Q. What place does writing hold in your life, how has been your writing journey so far? 

Writing is a way to express myself and to share my insights with readers. So far, my writing journey has been exciting but challenging.

Q. What is your writing process, a typical writing day routine? 

First, I write a brief synopsis of the book, followed by a detailed outline. I write the first draft then take a four-month break to read over the manuscript, identify problems, and brainstorm solutions. I then write two more drafts. A typical daily routine involves two focused hours of writing by longhand, during which I try to complete at least one scene in a chapter. After I finish writing a chapter, I type it into a Word file, proofread it, print it out, then back it up on two USBs.

Q. What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you? 

The most effective marketing technique is social media: writing guest posts on high traffic websites and offering free copies of the ebook on Goodreads.

Q. What do you think makes a book sell, or makes a reader buy it? 

Readers want to buy books that speak in some way to their own personal experiences.

Q. What’s the most moving or affecting thing a reader has said to you? 

A reader told me that the characters in my novel are real people with real feelings rather than the idealized characters in most romance novels.

Q. What are your favourite three books, and why? 

In “The Grapes of Wrath,” John Steinbeck provides a voice for marginalized people, poor and struggling migrant farm workers.
In “The Woman Upstairs,” Claire Messud makes visible the hidden and lost artistic dreams of a middle-aged woman, dreams that many other people have but never talk about.
Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” although published almost 35 years ago, was perceptive and prophetic.

Q. Who are your favourite three authors and what do you like the most about them? 

I admire John Steinbeck for his great empathy for working people. Claire Messud is a genius at describing the hopes and dreams of ordinary people. Margaret Atwood’s sharp observations and biting sense of humour make her one of the most distinctive authors in the world.

Q. Tell us about the books that you are currently writing and their progress. 

I am currently writing my second novel. The outline and the first draft are finished, and I’ve completed about one third of the second draft.

Q. What challenges do you think are faced by writers, what’s the worst thing about the book industry according to you? 

The biggest challenge for writers is getting noticed. The worst thing about the book industry? There is a very unfair bias against indie (including small press) authors. Mainstream media reviewers at newspapers and magazines won’t review our books, and libraries won’t order them. Also, indie authors are expected to spend their time and money on marketing and selling our own books, two things that most of us aren’t good at. I for one would rather spend my time on writing.

Q. Apart from writing, what goals do you want to achieve in life? 

I want to spend time with family and friends, improve my health, and travel.

Q. At QwertyThoughts.com, we are trying to bring authors and readers under the same roof, to connect, discuss and socialize over books. What’s your take on this? 

I think this is a great goal. Thanks to the endless number of websites out there, it’s hard for authors and readers to connect with each other. Also, it’s a good way for authors, who are usually isolated, to receive feedback on their work.

Q. What message do you want to share with budding writers? 

Two messages: (1) Write what’s in your heart, and (2) hire a team of professionals (a substantive/line editor, copy editor, proofreader) to polish your manuscript before you submit it to agents and publishers.

 

NEW KATHLEEN JONES AUTHOR PROFILE!

 

Check out this new author profile on Kathleen Jones, author of Love Is the Punch Line, on author Christopher D. Schmitz’s blog, Inside the Inkwell:

 

Author Feature: Kathleen Jones

Posted on February 22, 2019 by authorchristopherdschmitz

 

https://authorchristopherdschmitz.wordpress.com/2019/02/22/author-feature-kathleen-jones/#more-4507

 

A graduate of the University of Toronto and Ryerson University’s Certificate in Publishing Program, Kathleen Jones toughed it out in the corporate world for over thirty (long) years, chiefly as an editor for various Canadian book publishers. Some of the time, she had the opportunity to do the type of work that she enjoyed . . . but too all often, she didn’t. Towards the end of her corporate career, the type of work that interested and challenged Kathleen began to slip away, and she became less and less happy.

Then one day, Kathleen realized something: creative, out-of-the box thinkers like her didn’t belong in the corporate world, and if she wanted “meaningful” work, she’d have to create it for herself.

That was when Kathleen decided to pursue the only work that she’d ever really wanted to do since she was a child: the work of a novelist!

 

Tell us about your stories:

I published my first novel, “Love Is the Punch Line,” with Moonshine Cove in April 2018. The novel is a quirky, funny, and somewhat serious midlife romance set in the world of standup comedy. I am currently working on a second novel.

 

What kind of success have you had?

Against great odds, I was able to sell my first novel to a publisher. Once the novel was published, it received a number of 5-star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Also, a number of middle-aged readers were happy to find a romance novel featuring characters their own age; far too many romance novels are based around young, beautiful, and rich people.

Are your characters pure fiction or based on something/someone.

Some of my characters are loosely based on real people. However, I usually base them on more than one real person.

 

Give us an insight into a time you wrote a scene with feeling.

Josh Steinberg, a plump, balding, and middle-aged male standup comedian who has been unlucky in love, spies Holly Brannigan, an attractive middle-aged woman, while performing his act in a comedy club. When Holly’s cell phone accidentally rings, Josh confronts her, and Holly, who’s also attracted to Josh, becomes upset and throws a glass of water into his face. Holly retreats to the washroom to cry, but when she emerges, Josh is waiting for her. He apologizes for getting angry, she invites him out for a drink, then she takes him home with her . . .

 

Final Thoughts?

This novel appeals to a much broader audience than the traditional audience for romance novels: the characters are realistic and complex, and the book has both strong male and female characters. In other words, it doesn’t fit neatly into the romance genre, or into any one genre.

 

BOOK SIGNING AT EGLINTON SQUARE HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED!

Meet author Kathleen Jones!

Kathleen Jones will be signing copies of her novel Love Is the Punch Line at:

  • Indigo Spirit: First Canadian Place, 100 King Street West, Toronto, Wednesday, February 13, 2019, 12 noon to 2 p.m.
  • Coles: Eglinton Square Mall (Victoria Park and Eglinton), Toronto, Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 12 noon to 4 p.m.

Article on Love Is the Punch Line in The University of Toronto Mississauga Magazine, Fall 2018 

(see https://www.utm.utoronto.ca/communications/sites/files/communications/public/shared/010986%20Hambly_Woolley_UofT%20Miss_revised.pdf)

Write On

Kathleen Jones (BA, 1982) can now tick ‘published author’ off her bucket list. After majoring in English literature, the Erindale College alumna worked for three decades as an editor and technical writer before realizing her own life-long dream of becoming a fiction writer. In April, Moonshine Cove published Jones’ first novel “Love Is the Punch Line” which has earned several five-star reviews on Goodreads. The comic romance chronicles the midlife relationship that blooms between a washed-up comedian and a divorced businesswoman who meet at a comedy club. The Scarborough-based writer is at work on her second novel and posts about the writing on her blog, The Quirky Novelist, kathleenjones.org.