Indie Author Spotlight – Joan Curtis and her upcoming novel “The Clock Strikes Midnight”

Indie Author Spotlight – Joan Curtis and her upcoming novel “The Clock Strikes Midnight”

I’ve got a great indie author for you this morning – she’s Joan Curtis, author of “The Clock Strikes Midnight”

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Joan is an award winning writer who has published 5 books and numerous stories. In her newest mystery/suspense novel, The Clock Strikes Midnight, we meet Janie Knox, a tormented young woman who escaped her home and family after a jury convicted her stepfather of killing her mother. Full of twists and turns, readers learn of a trail of long-hidden family secrets that plague the lives of both Janie and her older sister, Marlene. Not until the last page do all the secrets reveal themselves and the web of lies finally release its hold on the two sisters. 

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 nonfiction related to her work.  She does not read fantasy, horror or romance.  Her passion as a reader lies closer to literary writing with a commercial bent. Her debut novel, The Clock Strikes Midnight,  is scheduled for release in the Fall 2014. This mystery/suspense book is exactly the kind of book Joan loves 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.

You can follow Joan at her website – joancurtis.com.  And while you’re there, you can sign up for her email newsletter AND get the first two chapters of “The Clock Strikes Midnight” free!

You can also follow Joan on Facebook.

I’ve got a great interview with Joan…

 

Who is your favorite author?

Because I read so much, identifying one author as my favorite is hard. But, I would say that Colette is one of my favorite authors. I devoured the Colette Omnibus (collection of her works) and was hungry for more.

How do you describe your writing style?

My style is crisp and clean, more like Hemmingway than Faulkner. I write with a lot of action and dialogue.

Why should we read your book?

Read my book if you want to be held in suspense throughout. If you want entertainment with twists and turns, my book is for you.

Have any of your characters been modeled after yourself?

I’d say there’s a bit of me in most of my female characters. In The Clock Strikes Midnight, Marlene, the older sister, is more like me than her sister, Janie.

If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day, which would you choose and why?

I might select Jenna in the e-Murderer. I’d exchange lives with her for one day, just to experience her quirky curiosity, to love on her two cats and to meet her handsome detective.

What books have influenced my life?

Difficult to say. Many books have given me inspiration to write. I love beautiful writing as well as strong character development.  I read Colette’s Cherie two times as well as A Woman of Independent Means by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey. I wouldn’t say they influenced my life so much as my writing.

 Which book would I rewrite and add my own unique twist on?

I would not want to presume to write as well as F. Scott Fitzgerald, but I would love to change the ending to the Great Gatsby. Why does Gatsby have to die and the bad people (Daisy and friends) get away unscathed?.  Granted the point of the book was to show how shallow people are but perhaps that could have been done without killing Gatsby. So, I’d kill off Daisy in the end at the hand of the devastated husband. After all, Daisy was responsible for the hit and run.  I’d play with that idea to create tension and see where it led.

Beatles of Monkees? 

Beatles

Who should play you in a film of your life? 

A young Marlo Thomas (ha, ha)

 

And last, but definitely not least, Joan has provided us with an excerpt from “The Clock Strikes Midnight”…

            The Yellow Star Café sat on the corner of a back street not far from the Emory University campus. She caught a glimpse of herself in the window as she neared the café. Her hair hung loosely around her face. She couldn’t remember the last time she had added highlights. She tucked the droopy strands behind her ears and pushed through the door.

Inside, several college-age boys in jeans and T-shirts lolled around the counter, drinking coffee and munching donuts. They didn’t even look up when Marlene sauntered by. Instead, they elbowed each other and snickered when an attractive girl in skinny jeans passed by the window.

She spotted Janie in a corner booth. From this distance her sister hadn’t changed much. She easily recognized the curly blond head glistening in the beam of sunlight from the window. Janie wore a gray suit with a white blouse buttoned high at the neck, very un-Janie-like.

She neared the table, wobbling on her three-inch heels but managing to keep her balance. When Janie rose to embrace her, she quickly slid into the booth, avoiding her sister’s attempt at a hug.

“Want some coffee?” Janie asked, settling back in her seat.

“Yeah,” She answered and caught the waitress’s eye with a motion for a cup.

Marlene clenched her jaw, not sure how to begin. She studied the waitress who poured from a steaming pot. The woman’s tired face was marred with wrinkles running across her forehand. She wore an apron, splashed with coffee and mustard. The waitress haphazardly poured fresh coffee into both cups without saying a word. Janie mopped up the spilled coffee with a napkin.

“Looks like you could use a nice breakfast,” Janie said.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Janie blinked. “You look tired. Your eyes are all red and puffy. Are you okay?”

“Fine and dandy.”

Janie recoiled as if struck by a rattlesnake.

“What’s the matter with you?” Marlene asked.

Janie sipped the coffee. “You just look different. I’m trying to adjust. That’s all.” Her sister’s hand shook when she replaced the cup on the saucer.

Marlene let out a loud, ugly laugh. One of the boys from the counter glanced in her direction. “You don’t look so hot yourself.”

Janie didn’t answer.

“Well?” she said, after tasting the coffee.

“Well, what?”

“Come off it. You disappeared, vanished without a trace, and you pop in this morning as though you never left after almost twenty years of silence. How can you just sit there? Talk, tell me what happened. Why didn’t you write? Why didn’t you send me something, anything, to let me know you were still alive?”

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