PHOTO BY NELDA HOLDER
MEET JOAN MEDLICOTT
LARGE PRINT / AUDIO
From NAWW WEEKLY - ISSN 1534-3693
This Week: Joan Medlicott
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.
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."
What's the most important lesson you've learned so far in your writing
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.
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
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 Medlicott's photo
by Chris Clevenger
Courtesy of the Times News, Hendersonville, NC