Monday, June 4, 2012

Author Chat with Joan P Lane

Gladiator's Pen welcomes author Joan P Lane to the Ludis for an author chat today. She's here to tell us about her debut novel intrigue, The Tangled Web. Pull up a comfy chair and pour a cool glass of ice tea and let's get to know Joan P Lane. 

Joan P Lane, Author 

Tangled Web is your first novel, tell us about it.
The Tangled Web, speaks about a problem that’s endemic to Latin America and the Caribbean – drug trafficking on a major scale. Anyone familiar with the drug violence that has plagued that region in the past few decades will immediately recognize the ugly truths woven through what appears on the surface to be a light, entertaining read.

The accounts of the cocaine industry in the book were pulled from research and much of what I wrote is true. This is the revised edition that was just published. Interestingly, just weeks before the original edition was published, all hell broke loose in Jamaica over a U.S. State Department request for extradition of one of the world’s most dangerous drug kingpins.

As it turned out, the Jamaican government had ties to this man’s organization, touted as being one of the most violent drug gangs in the world, with tentacles stretching throughout North America and into Europe. The irony is I knew nothing of this when I wrote The Tangled Web and although I used Jamaica as the visual backdrop to the story, the island in the book was intended to be anonymous.

What inspired this story?
The truth is writing a novel was the very last thing on my mind. You could say I was muscled into it by an old boss who thought I had it in me. It was with great reservation that I opened up that new Word document that became The Tangled Web. And this story wasn’t my original idea.

 I’d thought the invasion of Grenada would make a good story, but Logan Armstrong, one of the two protagonists, would have none of that. Before I knew what was happening, he was flying into the island on his private jet in the dead of night, walking through the airport and getting into his chauffeur driven Range Rover. And that was the end of Grenada.

You are more than a fiction author, you have written for Florida Design Magazine and the Miami Herald. How has your journalistic experience played apart in your fictional writing?
Well, first of all, I wasn’t a journalist, though I did contribute the occasional piece to several leading South Florida publications. But, I’m a veteran writer and by that, I mean I’ve done the full spectrum of writing, from TV and radio commercials to billboards, articles, and even speeches.

I was a member of The Miami Herald’s marketing team for many years and, in that capacity, was as familiar with the newsroom as a journalist. How did my advertising and marketing experience play a part in my fictional writing? I suppose after you’ve written copy for a few billboards, you know how to pack a lot into few words. Plus, when you’re always on a tight deadline, you have to be extremely disciplined. There’s no such thing as writer’s block in that world – and egos don’t do too well either.

Are you a plotter or a panster? Why?
I’m a panster. Even if I have a loose plot, my characters end up telling the story. For example, in a chapter of the new book I’m writing, two of the characters are riding on horseback through a jungle. They’re talking and as the conversation continues, I discover one of them is not a nice person. In fact, he’s capable of some pretty bad things. He’s, in fact, capable of something so awful it can change the entire way the story unfolds.

Do you have a favorite resource or tool that you use when writing or researching?
I’m addicted to Google, though there are some things it doesn’t provide. Sometimes I have to go to books for information. But Google Earth is the best thing since sliced bread.

Is there a writer past or present that has influenced or encouraged you? How have they done so?
That’s a tough one because it forces me to ask how many authors have I read and thought, wow, I’d love to be able to write like that when I grow up? Colette is one. Her prose is exquisite and completely uninhibited. A contemporary who has influenced me a lot is Wilbur Smith.

But I’m very into poetry and I think, in a way, poetry influences my writing. Dylan Thomas is one of my favorite poets. I see his influence in these lines from The Tangled Web: “Almost with reverence they watched the blazing ball slip slowly below the horizon leaving behind a mere hint of indigo as a reminder it had been there. Now with no competition to outshine her brilliance, Venus took her rightful place in the early evening sky as the sea gradually submerged into darkness beneath her.”

What did you enjoy most about writing Tangled Web?
I enjoyed every minute of it. It was a lot of fun. But perhaps that was because I wasn’t taking it too seriously – at the time.

What did you find the most difficult part to write and why?
Love scenes, violence and the really suspenseful parts. All really stretch me as a writer, because they require a certain level of emotion that has to be fabricated.

This is your first novel, how does it feel to see your words in print and your name on the cover?
I didn’t feel any way in particular – just a sense of completion.

Can you tell us what you’re working on now?
I’m very excited to tell you what I’m working on now because I’m very excited about it. I’m a history buff, so it’s right up my alley. Seeing my characters may change the story line any time they choose, it’s a bit premature to go into details, but what I can say is it’s basically a paranormal historical romance set in the late 18th and early 19th century.

What would you like to say to fellow readers and authors?
To my fellow authors I’d like to say it’s an honor to be walking this road with you and I aspire to be like many of you one day. To readers - a work of fiction is a marriage between an author and a reader. We write the story that you will take on your own flight of fancy, creating images we may never dreamed of while we were writing. So in a sense, you are our partners in the creation of our books.

Where can we find  Joan P Lane and  The Tangled Web?

The Tangled Web: an international web of intrigue, murder and romance is available in Kindle.

Facebook: Author JPLane
Twitter:  jpLANEauthor
Blog: JP Writes


pczick said...

Very nice interview. I know the author personally so it was nice to learn more about her as the "writer."

Carol Bodensteiner said...

I think it's interesting how an author comes to be one. Having someone else believe you can do it can be a tremendous motivator. For me, it was my mom. Great interview!

Fiona said...

Great interview Joan, from a fellow panster!
Una Tiers

Joansz said...

Great interview, Joan. I never hear the term panster, but I think that describes me, because I had to toss 30,000 words of my first novel when my MC took me aside and told me where to go and how to get there. Anyway, that means your characters are alive, which always makes for a better story, IMO.

Another Joan. :-)

Sheila Deeth said...

Fascinating interview. And the book sounds beautiful.