Interview with Jonna Ivin

Describe your desk
I don't have one. I do all of my writing sitting on my couch with a lap top. Usually one or both of my dogs (boxer/mastiff mix) is smashed up against my side, but I never have the heart to move them.
What do your fans mean to you?
I honestly never consider that I have fans. That's such a weird word to me. I love it when someone connects with one of my books but I never think of them as "fans of mine." I see it more as two people who may not have met but have a common interest in a subject or story. I just happen to be the one who wrote it and they happen to be the one to read it. For me, that give and take, writing and reading is a kind of long distant dialogue. Which is pretty amazing when you think about it.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My next novel is Sister Girl and will be available at the end of 2013. It's loosely based on my life growing up in the seventies with my older sister and single mother, but it is told from my sisters point of view. It's her story really. My fictional take on what it was like for her coming of age during that time.

It's been a lot of fun to work on because, although it is fiction, I had the chance to write myself as a character through my sisters eyes or how I imagined she perceived me and of course as the writer I'm using my imagination to paint this picture of how I perceived her.
What is your writing process?
My writing process is total chaos. There is no rhyme or reason to it. I've read other writers suggest setting aside a time, or having a structure but that doesn't work for me. I turn on my computer to write and maybe work for twenty minutes and then I'm on Facebook, then I'll write a bit more, then I watch a television show, write some, go pick up dog poop in the yard, write some more, look up a recipe and bake something, write, do laundry.... this goes on all day long. I write in small spurts all day long. Almost daily, I'm sitting on the couch with my laptop on to write, my Kindle playing Words With Friends, my phone on Facebook, and the television paused on a show, and I spend the day bouncing from one device to another.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Growing up we moved around a lot and so I was always the new kid at school which meant there were definitely times when I was alone. I think that's when I started making up stories in my head and relying on my imagination for entertainment.

Also, I was raised by a single mother who was very strong, didn't show a lot of emotion and worked really hard to support her family, so I think my female characters tend to reflect that.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The feedback from readers always makes the hard work feel worth it. I've had women write to me after reading my memoir and say that because of the book and my story they ended abusive relationships. That always makes me feel extremely grateful that I finished the book because there were many times I wanted to quit thinking, "Who's really going to read this anyway?"

It's a cliche but it's true, if the book helped one person than it was worth it.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I'm extremely lazy and given the chance I would probably spend every day in bed, but dogs need to be fed and dishes need to be cleaned so like everyone else, the "have to's" of life usually drag my butt out of bed.

The occasions that I do jump out of bed ready to go, are when I'm going to visit my family. I have so much joy and fun spending time with my sister and her wife and my nieces that it's like Disneyland for me. I just can't wait to wake up and go.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
If I'm going to be honest I would have to say it was a complete lack of patience on my part. When I finished writing my memoir Will Love For Crumbs, I didn't want to go through the lengthy process of writing numerous query letters, trying to find an agent, submitting to publishing houses, etc etc.

It takes such a long time and there still isn't any real guarantee that the publishing house will put in the extra effort to promote your book. I've heard so many stories where writers are disappointed that their books kind of fall through the cracks and they end up doing all of the promotional work themselves. I figured if I was going to do all the work anyway, I might as well just get started and do it.

For me it's worked out great. Will Love For Crumbs has been downloaded on Amazon nearly 100,000 times. So I'm happy with my choice.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I love my Kindle. I always thought that I would be one of those holdouts who never read a book on an electronic device, but I was on a flight across country and decided to download a book to my phone. After that flight I was hook on electronic reading. It was so incredibly convenient that when I got home I immediately decided to get a Kindle. As it turned out it was the holidays and a friend bought me the Kindle Fire as a gift. Great gift.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I like writing guest posts for other blogs. I have my own blog but I think writing for others is a great way to expand your audience. Social media has helped a lot and good old word of mouth.
What are you working on next?
After I finish Sister Girl, I may take a break from books for a short time. There was some interest a while back in turning my memoir Will Love For Crumbs into a film. The original deal fell through but recently the idea had been brought up again. I'd like to see that happen.

I'd also like to start facilitating writing workshops for battered and abused women. I think they need a voice and we need to hear their stories in their own words. I think that is something I would really love doing.

I don't know. We'll just have to see where the road leads.
Published 2013-11-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.