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Meet Joan Medlicott

 

From NAWW WEEKLY - ISSN 1534-3693 9/29/03

This Week: Joan Medlicott

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
A
: I started writing at age 58 quite by accident. A therapist friend and I researched and wrote a non- fiction book called Celibate Wives: Breaking the Silence. With a great deal of national publicity due to publisher indifference, the book went nowhere, and I got angry. I decided to write a novel about a woman living in a celibate marriage. I had never wanted to or dreamed of being a writer, and I certainly was ignorant about the craft of writing. I was the absolute worst writer in my first and even second writing group. But that didn't deter me. I read, studied, took workshops and classes, went to writers' conferences, picked up a bit of this and a bit of that here and there, and began to learn.

Q: How and when did you make this dream a reality?
A:
I was working on the celibate wife novel and in my bathtub one evening, I began to get the story about the Ladies of Covington. I saw them and heard them and after three nights of this I went to the computer to make a few notes and never stopped writing. Without a plot in mind, the story simply unfolded, and it never occurred to me I would not get published. It took two and a half years to write the first novel The Ladies of Covington Send Their Love. I followed the rules: sent out 25 query letters and received 24 rejections, but it only takes one, and one day the phone rang and it was Nancy Coffey, a NY agent, who said, "I love the ladies and would like to represent you."

Q: What's the most important lesson you've learned so far in your writing career?
A:
Revise and revise again. Edit and edit again and again. Get the book into the best possible shape you can before sending it off. Never give up. Do not send out queries one at a time, but many at one time. Never stop learning. I continue taking classes and reading. I belong to a very fine writers' critique group who help me edit and prepare the book before it goes to an agent.

Q: What are you working on right now?
A:
I am under contract for a series of six Ladies of Covington novels. Book four, The Spirit of Covington will be in bookstores in October. Book five will be published next July. I have also finished two non-ladies novels. One of them, Three Parker Women will be published by Pocket Books in trade paperback--that's the larger paperback--next year.

Q: What excites or ignites your soul?
A:
Writing excites me. Writing has become my passion. Some days I write all day. Some days not at all. My office overlooks my garden, and that's a real treat. The beauty in nature, hills, cows on the hillside, the river, a sunset, all thrill me. I am a photographer and an afternoon spent in that activity delights my soul, as does an afternoon spent with a good friend.

Joan with Daisy

 

Copyright 2004
Joan Medlicott

Joan Medlicott's photo
by Chris Clevenger
Courtesy of the Times News, Hendersonville, NC

 

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