In 2008, Joanne Guidoccio took advantage of early retirement and launched a second act as a writer. Her articles and book reviews have been published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Joanne writes paranormal romances, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
Tell us about yourself.
Reinvention is a recurring theme in my life and in my written work. Twelve years ago, I retired from a 31-year teaching career and launched a second act as a writer. I have written over 500 articles and book reviews and six novels that have been traditionally published. I have also contributed to several anthologies.
My primary goal—you might even call it my mission—is to feature more boomers and their older siblings. To that end, I have introduced an eclectic group of female protagonists, among them a middle-aged, ex-mermaid who has been abandoned on the fog-drenched shores of southwest England, a 50something lottery winner who is the primary suspect in a murder investigation involving four dead blondes, and an octogenarian who continues to inspire her family and friends.
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
While sitting in high school English class (circa 1973), I dreamed of writing the great Canadian novel. I even considered taking a gap year or two (unheard of during that time) and actually writing the novel. My parents and teachers were relieved when I decided to pursue a career in mathematics education. But in my heart of hearts, I knew that someday I would resurrect that writing dream.
What genres do you like to read? Are these the same genres you write in?
I have eclectic tastes and love to curl up with women’s fiction, cozy mysteries, historical fiction, memoirs, psychological thrillers, and self-help books. My favorite authors include Louise Penny, Ann Patchett, Maeve Binchy, Julia Cameron, Joanna Trollope, Anna Quindlen, and Adriana Trigiani. I’ve just finished reading and highly recommend The End of Her by Shari Lapena.
I’ve written in four of my favorite genres: women’s fiction, cozy mysteries, historical fiction, and memoirs.
Is your book for adults, young adults or children?
I would classify No More Secrets as women’s fiction with historical elements.
What is your current release or project?
No More Secrets—A tale of forbidden love, tragic losses, and reinvention.
Tell us about the key characters.
Angelica Delfino – Protagonist. Angelica is determined to help her three nieces, whom she affectionately calls the daughters of her heart. She senses that each woman is at crossroads and uncertain how to move forward. Hoping that the younger women will be more forthcoming, Angelica plans an all-girls weekend where she will share her own secrets, secrets she had planned to take to the grave.
Bellastrega – Angelica’s psychic companion. Attached to her employer, Bellastrega, aka Lynn Miller, has misgivings about this all-girls weekend. Bellastrega doesn’t want the nieces (or anyone else for that matter) to create unnecessary stress for Angelica.
Father Antonio – A charismatic, gladiator-priest who has a profound influence on Angelica’s life trajectory.
Tupperware in all the pastel shades. Head-to-toe clothing and accessories in the same hues. Who does that? Bellastrega shook her head at the avalanche of plastic that accompanied Velia Russo into the kitchen. She was already on her third trip back from the car, puffing and panting as she placed her food gifts on the kitchen table. Bellastrega could feel her jaw clenching at the thought of all those white devils—heavy sauces and creams and pounds of sugar—contaminating the kitchen.
Velia held one finger. “One more trip,” and then she was gone.
Bellastrega turned her attention back to the hearty vegetable stew that had been simmering on the stove. She sighed contentedly as she breathed in the aroma of the rosemary and Italian seasonings. Angelica’s favorite. As she glanced at the appetizing array of vegetables, she mentally calculated how long it would take to finish cooking. Everything was on schedule, and dinner would be on the table at six o’clock. Why had Velia decided to arrive three hours early?
From the start, Bellastrega had her misgivings about this all-girls weekend. She had listened while Angelica lovingly described each niece and shared her concerns regarding their unhappy lives. At first, Bellastrega had humored her, not realizing Angelica was intending to help her nieces get back on track. Her duty as aunt, she had explained.
Bellastrega had formed her own judgments regarding the three younger women. Usually right on target, Bellastrega had been surprised when this particular incarnation of Velia Russo arrived, laden with her food gifts. From Angelica’s descriptions, Bellastrega had expected a younger version of her mother, Rosetta, a heavy-set hausfrau and gossip, not this glamour-puss who could pass for a younger Martha Stewart. But first impressions could be deceiving.
“Help. I need your help.” The whiny voice interrupted Bellastrega’s thoughts. Sighing, she lowered the heat and made her way to the living room.
Bellastrega resisted the urge to laugh as she took in the comical sight before her. To save herself another trip, Velia had decided to lug in a large Pullman using her left hand, carry a pastry box in her right hand, and use her teeth to hold on to her purse.
All this for a weekend get-together? What would she have packed for a longer trip? Bellastrega forced a smile as she took the pastry box from Velia.
Do you have a favorite scene?
I took extra care with the chapters surrounding Angelica’s arrival at Pier 21 in Canada. I tried to incorporate the feelings experienced by my parents and grandmother as they prepared for their own transatlantic journeys in the early 1950s. Starting a new life in another country takes courage, and I hoped to convey some of that grit and determination to the readers. Whenever I reread those chapters, goosebumps rise on my arms.
What advice would you give a beginner?
Use your “waiting time” effectively. While waiting to hear from agents, editors and publishers, start writing the next book in the series or an entirely new project. Alternatively, you could take an online course, attend workshops, or enter contests. Keep your skills sharp!
Social Media Links
Website – https://joanneguidoccio.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/joanneguidoccio
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.ca/jguidoccio/
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/joanneguidoccio/
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