Pens, Paws, and Claws would like to welcome Joan Hicks Boone to the blog!
Tell our readers a little about yourself and your writing.
My name is Joan Hicks Boone and I am an author from Burnsville, Minnesota. My first book, The Best Girl, published by Koehler Books in may 2018, is a memoir about growing up in a home where Domestic Violence dominated. Prior to becoming a published author, I was served as a registered nurse for thirty-two years in a variety of settings in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
When did you know you were a writer? And how did you know?
I first found the poser of writing in a creative writing class I had in ninth grade. Mr. Hoffman was my teacher and he taught us how writing can be used in both a very personal, and public, way. Once I finished college and started my career and family, I didn’t have much time to write but I took it up again in my late forties and have been writing daily since then.
What are you reading now?
I tend to read about four books at once. Currently, I am reading Dopesick by Beth Macy, The Third Hotel by Laura Van Den Berg, and The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand.
What writing projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on The Choicemaker, which is the sequel to The Best Girl and I Understand, which will be a collection of essays from my nursing career.
Tell us about your pets.
As a child, I had two dogs. My first dog was Midnight, a beautiful black lab mix. Midnight dies by getting hit by a car in our neighborhood and I was devastated. My next dog was a Cocker Spaniel named TNT who was originally bred to be a show dog. He wasn’t able to compete due to crooked teeth, so he became our dog. He died after having him for about a year. I write about both of them in The Best Girl, as I was very close to them and missed them terribly once they were gone.
Currently, my husband and I have two black labs – Tehya (9 years old) and Tesla (18 months old). They keep us very busy and are very spoiled.
How do you use animals in your writing? Are they a character in their own right or just mentioned in passing?
Midnight and TNT are characters in their own right in my books. I grew up in a susubur bo St. Paul and I was out with them constantly. Everyone in our neighborhood knew Joanie and her dogs.
I have also written an essay, Golden that was a finalist in a writing contest. Golden is about my grand dog, Olive, who is extremely self-aware of her golden retriever beauty. The essay showcases her drama as I walk her in the Seattle neighborhood she lives in. The neighborhood has a fair amount of homeless people whom Olive provides joyful, beautiful “golden moments” to. My father died as a homeless person, so I tie his love for dogs into the essay. For those who are interested, the essay is posted on my blog page.
What’s in your “To Be Read” (TBR) pile right now? And how many TBR piles do you have?
Too many piles to keep track of! But at the top right now are My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsberg and I’ve Been Thinking by Maria Shriver.
I am also in the start-up phase of an online book club that will feature books about health care and am cultivating a list for that. This will coincide with the writing of the book, I Understand, a collection of essays from my nursing career.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer?
Keep at it, don’t give up. Life is busy and throws a lot of curve balls in trying to find the time to write – don’t stress out if you aren’t able to write very single day – rejoice in the time you DO have to write and make the most of it.
Start a website and FB page or other social media as soon as you think you may be on to something that will be published. The better following you have going in, the more sales you will have once published.
Obtain Beta-writers as soon as you feel you have something worthy of publishing. I chose three people from different areas of my life – I met with them individually while I wrote The Best Girl and their feedback was overwhelmingly helpful.
Joan Hicks Boone is an author and speaker from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Joan is a former registered nurse who practiced in a variety of settings in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area for over 32 years.
In her memoir, The Best Girl, Joan Hicks Boone takes readers through the experience of growing up in a family struggling with alcoholism, domestic violence, neglect, and other dysfunctions. Throughout the book, readers will see and feel what Joan saw and felt as a toddler, young child and adolescent – and how, throughout all that happens, she holds out hope that by being The Best Girl, her father will be healed, and her mother will smile.
Joan is currently working on her second book, The Choicemaker, a sequel to The Best Girl. For more information about Joan, visit her website at www.joanhicksboone.com.
Synopsis of The Best Girl
Joan’s neighborhood is filled with kids of all ages – a select few are considered her friends, but even they don’t know how violent Joan’s dad is. As she navigates the troubled waters of her home life, Joan becomes adept at reading her dad’s mood, and trying to prevent him from inflicting harm upon her mom. But, time and again, her dad succeeds in his mission. As the violence escalates, Joan is plagued with the constant fear that her mother may die. Repeatedly she asks the same questions: why is her dad so violent and why can’t he be stopped? Throughout the course of her childhood, several heroes enter Joan’s life – readers will cheer for each as they offer Joan gifts of validation, acceptance and hope.
Joan is an exceptional, yet frank, storyteller who brings the reader directly into her home, providing unembellished awareness of the multiple issues that encompass domestic violence. The Best Girl is a story of resilience and survival and, as the book concludes, readers are left with feelings of possibility and hope: it appears that sixteen-year old Joan is going to make it.
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