WRITE: Interview with Joyce Magnin
Joyce Magnin loves stories, video games, cream soda, Parcheesi but not laundry or elevators. She is a frequent conference speaker, the mother of three amazing children, three grandsons, and a parakeet who thinks she’s a chicken. Her previous Bright’s Pond releases include The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow (Library Journal’s Top 5 Christian Books of 2009; ACFW Carol Award nominee) and Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise.
Note from Marti: I’m back after a wonderful few days at the Florida Christian Writers Conference and another few spent with my parents while my dad had cancer surgery. I know you’ll enjoy this interview with Joyce Magnin, author of last week’s READ review, Griselda Takes Flight.
You and I share the experience of falling in love with writing during our elementary school years. Would you please describe your beginnings as a writer?
It all started in the third grade. My teacher, Mrs. Nichols asked us to write a story. I wrote about Martians who invaded Earth to knock over Fort Knox. Apparently Martians eat gold—who knew? She loved the story and asked me to read it to all the classes in the school. She then told me that I had been “gifted with words.” I was smitten because it was at that moment I felt God’s hand on my shoulder and knew that I knew that I knew she was right.
How did you decide on the fictional small town of Bright’s Pond as a setting?
I enjoy small towns. Bright’s Pond is really an amalgam of a bunch of quirky, little towns in the Wilkes Barre/Scranton part of Pennsylvania. There is just something unique and wonderful about small communities that feel more like family than neighbors.
Your work, although often humorous, also touches on deep issues. How do you decide on the struggles your characters will face?
They come that way. Truthfully, I don’t think I have ever sat down and had to think or consider what sorts of issues my characters struggle through. But, that being said, all you have to do is listen to friends, read prayer requests for your church, eavesdrop on a few conversations at work or the grocery store and you get a clue for what people are handling every single day.
You’re keeping busy these days as a full-time novelist and part-time editor/conference teacher. What upcoming projects can readers expect?
Oh boy, well on the writing front after Griselda Takes Flight
there are four more Bright’s Pond novels coming. Blame it on the Mistletoe
will release in September. Also in September my first Middle Grade novel for Zonderkidz, Carrying Mason
, is releasing and I also have novels coming out with Zondervan including Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus.
On the teaching front I will be at the Montrose Writer’s Conference
in Pennsylvania in July and The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference
in August presenting my now famous or perhaps infamous “So you Want to be A Published Novelist” clinic. It’s not for the faint of the heart. But fun. And I continue to present Discovery Writers Workshops out of my home. I will be unveiling some exciting news about this in the weeks and months to come.
What’s the best writing tip you’ve ever received?
“Don’t Flinch!” I had the honor of attending A Highlights Children’s Writing Conference a few years ago and an editor from Penguin told me that. She said, “Don’t flinch, Joyce.” What she was saying was, keep writing this paragraph, keep your energy going, earn every word, stay glued to the page, the paragraph the sentence and squeeze all the goodness out of it, no matter how painful the feelings or recalcitrant the character, Don’t Flinch.
Please share with our audience anything else you’d like to answer that I haven’t asked.
Here’s the thing, not many people out there get to live their dream. I’m doing that now, thanks to God’s relentless blessings, my hard work, perseverance and trust. But I would be nowhere without my readers. I love you all and hope that I can continue to provide stories that make you laugh, make you cry, make you think, and make you wonder.
Thank you, Marti for this opportunity and for your continued loyalty to Bright’s Pond and Joyce Magnin. And if anyone would like more information on my writing workshops or speaking, please visit my website, www.joycemagnin.com