Thursday, October 16, 2014

Author Interview: Joanne Guidoccio, Between Land and Sea

Today I have a mermaid tale to tell you about! Between Land and Sea is a very cool new book by Joanne Guidoccio. What drew me to this title (well, apart from the mermaids) was that Joanne's heroine was on the mature side--a rarity in the urban fantasy/paranormal romance world.


Joanne and I talk about career transitions, kicking 20-year-old butt, and geriatric sex. (Okay, just kidding on that last part. Seriously, Dad.) 

Tell me about Between Land and Sea.

Between Land and Sea is the first book in the Mediterranean trilogy, a series that features mermaids who give up their tails and powers after falling in lust/love. While most mermaids retain their looks, Isabella is not as fortunate. Her grandmother (chief elder) is displeased and, in a fit of rage, ages Isabella thirty years and gives her twenty extra pounds to carry. After her horrified soul mate abandons her on the fog-drenched shores of southwest England, Isabella is forced to reinvent herself as Barbara Davies. With the help of a magic tablet that has online mermaid support, Isabella embraces her new body and heals her bruised heart.

What inspired you to tell Isabella’s story?

About fifteen years ago, I started to plan for early retirement. As I completed an online Career Practitioner program, several ideas were percolating, among them a ReCareering office that would help boomers reinvent themselves after job loss or retirement. When health issues forced me to alter my career plans, I resurrected a forty-year-old writing dream and decided to focus on transition and reinvention stories. Interestingly enough, the protagonists of my three novels are career development practitioners.

I love that you created a heroine that is older than the typical paranormal romance heroine. Why did you decide to make her older? 

In my late forties, I realized that I no longer enjoyed reading novels with 20something and 30something protagonists. It felt like poking into the heads and hearts of young women who could easily be former students. While searching for novels featuring an older crowd, I discovered several late-blooming authors who had launched successful second acts. I was inspired and decided to populate my essays, stories and novels with boomer women and their older sisters. 

This is (literally) a “fish out of water” story. After getting dumped, Isabella is trying to survive in the human world. I see parallels to the woman’s journey as we age. Can you talk about this a bit? Was this a conscious part of your storytelling?

Definitely! The signposts that existed for our mothers and grandmothers have shifted. Babysitting the next generation and snowbirding are not the only options for “women of a certain age.” More and more, we hear about women returning to school, entering politics, or starting new business ventures. In writing Between Land and Sea (and my other books), I intended to provide inspiration and motivation to women searching for other alternatives. 

You have a background in math—specifically as a teacher (cue my sweaty palms!). Does math (i.e. working w/ equations, problem solving, etc) inform your writing at all? 

In my cozy mystery, A Season for Killing Blondes, the protagonist’s first career is that of mathematics teacher. Other than that, my second act is quite distinct from my first. I have taken to heart Carl Jung’s famous quotation: “But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie.”

Now that Between Land and Sea is released, what’s next for you?

2015 is shaping up to be an exciting year! Soul Mate Publishing will release The Coming of Arabella, the sequel to Between Land and Sea. The Wild Rose Press will release A Season for Killing Blondes, the first book in the Gilda Greco Murder Mystery Series. 

Do you have any writing rituals?

I put away my “teacher hat” in June 2008 but found it difficult to release my need for structure. I cannot write amid clutter and chaos. After some experimentation, I came up with a formula that works. Each day, I treat myself to a leisurely breakfast and several cups of coffee as I check social media. I start writing around 9:00 a.m. While working on a novel, I aim for 1000 words a day. At first, I used the oven timer to keep me on task, but that annoying sound reminded me of school bells, so I invested in a bird clock. Each hour, one of my feathered friends, among them the Downy Woodpecker, Belted Kingfisher, and Great Horned Owl, chirp and remind me to pace myself.

Where is your favorite place to write?

Originally, I had hoped to write in my den but found it too confining. So, I set up a writing nook in the living room. I prefer to be surrounded by open spaces and large windows.

What inspires you to write?

The life journeys and publications of successful reinventors.

What 5 books are on your bookshelf right now?

Tempting Fate by Jane Green
The Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood
Bittersweet by Colleen McCullough
The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee
Five Days Left by Julie Lawson

What do you recommend people see/read/hear?

See Grand Canyon in Arizona
Read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Hear (You Will) Set the World on Fire by David Bowie  

And here's the official Between the Land and Sea description:
After giving up her tail for an international banker, Isabella of the Mediterranean kingdom is aged beyond recognition. The horrified banker abandons her on the fog-drenched shores of southwest England, leaving her to face a difficult human journey as a plain and practically destitute fifty-three-year-old woman.
With the help of a magic tablet and online mermaid support, Isabella evolves into the persona of Barbara Davies. Along the way, she encounters a cast of unforgettable characters, among them former mermaids, supportive and not-so-supportive women, deserving and undeserving men, and several New Agers.
And there's a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card. Win it and buy the book!


  1. Hi Karen, Just noticed a problem with the Rafflecopter link. It should be, as follows:

  2. I always love reading more about you Joanne. You have the best stories and I love your second act series.
    Great interview!

  3. Always so supportive! Thanks for dropping by, Jo :)

  4. I'm fascinated by your bird clock. Do the birds pop out, I wonder?I need something like that to keep me in my writing chair. Can't wait to read your cozy mystery 'A Season For Killing Blondes.' Love the title. Who doesn't know a blonde they'd like to kill!

  5. Hi Elizabeth, The clock is a circular disk with the pictures of the birds at the different hours. Nothing pops out--the sounds come from inside the clock. When it's dark, the birds sleep. I purchased it at Sears for less than $50.
    Regarding the cozy...I don't have an exact release date but I'm hoping for April/May 2015.
    Thanks for dropping by :)

  6. Thanks everyone for visiting! Joanne, so looking forward to reading the book!