Monday, April 8, 2013


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today I'd like to introduce you to an author whose first book, Treadwell, was published recently. Her name is Dana Joy Wyzard, but you may know her as Little Lotta Joy, who blogs at Witless Relocation Program.

This is the photo of Dana that's on her book.
Doesn't she look nice?
Sometimes she pretends she's not nice, but she really is.

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Dana. Because her answers are so interesting and will be so helpful to her fans and to other writers, rather than shorten her responses as she told me to do (I'm extremely disobedient), I'm giving you half the interview today and half tomorrow. But before I amaze and delight you with my questions and her answers, I want to share with you the synopsis of Treadwell:

After living for sixty years in the cabin of her birth, Nelda Pike is as resilient and self-reliant as she needs to be. Like other residents in the backwoods town of Treadwell, she guards her anonymity with a fierce tenacity and a shotgun.

When she discovers a terrified young woman stumbling beside the country road, Nelda goes against her better judgment and offers temporary sanctuary. As the only witness to her mother's brutal murder, seventeen year old Laura is running for her life.

Successfully tracking her to Nelda's secluded cabin, the killers forcibly abduct Laura and disappear into the backwoods.

Enraged, Nelda reaches out to her lifelong friend, Wosie Mae -- a woman as irascible and indomitable as Nelda herself -- for help.

Together, two old women with shotguns, and a geriatric hound, are now on the murderer's trail.

And now here's our author, Dana Joy Wyzard:

Q. What's the very first thing that popped into your head that led to the plot of this book? Was it an incident or a character, or did something happen in your life that led you to this story? 

A. I remember very clearly, sitting on the couch in the tiny living room of my house.  It was the darkest winter I had ever lived through.  An ice storm was covering about two feet of snow and I could hear the sounds of shotgun blasts my trees made as they snapped in two.  Electrical cords were slithering through the house, out to the generator, and I caught myself staring at the wall.

I had been caught in another of my depressions, only this one wasn't going to end soon.  I needed something, anything, to throw my imagination into.

I started typing on my laptop.  The most innocuous sentences began lining up on the screen.  Tedious.  Tired words.  Too common to what I was feeling.  I kept on typing for 98,000 words.

I knew there was something missing in my manuscript.  I realized I was merely typing the feelings that were living in my brain at the time. Innocuous. Tedious.  Tired.

I needed a woman who could fight back.  I needed a woman who valued her own life and opinion.  One who would face danger instead of looking away.  I needed a woman who would not trip and sprain her ankle, or look for help from anyone but herself.  I needed a hero, and her name was suddenly Nelda Pike.

Q. What's your writing process like? How did you stay organized? A lot is going on in this book. Did you plan the entire plot in advance or did the characters control the action? If you planned it in advance, how did the finished product compare to your original plan?

A. Organization is not a word I'm familiar with. Intellectually, I know I'm supposed to make notes, outlines, use time frames and have SOME idea where my book is going.  All I knew was that I was in love with Nelda and felt a giant responsibility to her.

I write in the linear fashion.  Straight forward from point A to point B.  I only used a flashback once in the entire writing process.  It was necessary to the integrity of one of my characters who suddenly popped up on one of my pages.

I loved tossing out that first manuscript and starting over in such a way that my own story line kept me on the edge of my seat. I NEVER knew what was coming next.

Q. As an avid reader of your blog, I see you, or at least bits and pieces of you in more than one character. I think Nelda is you; Wosie is you; even Chlotilde has a bit of you in her (I suspect); and Debra may be you. Am I right? How much of the book is based on reality and how much came from your imagination? I suspect Martha is based on your mom.

A. Nelda is the me that would have saved me from all the horrors that happened in my life.  Wosie Mae is the me that runs to the aid of others and will put up a stronger fight for a friend than I could justify giving to myself.

In both of them, you will find no apologies for their strengths, and no self-doubt at any time.  Those are definitely qualities that I have always yearned for.

Just to prove how well an author can hide her inner feelings from herself, it wasn't until you suggested that "even Chlotilde has a bit of you in her" that I went into shock.  At first I huffed up and wondered where the hell could you have gotten THAT idea.  After I smoothed my feathers, I realized that she was the weak link.  The one who had to lose her mind in order to find her strength.  

Martha AND Claude represent the vileness and pure evil that owes its power to the weaker ones in their midst, leading to a complete breakdown of how others view themselves instead of the perpetrators.

Thank you, Jane. Now I need a therapist.

Since we have Dana in need of immediate therapy, we'll stop for today, and finish the interview tomorrow. Doesn't she give interesting answers? (Nod your heads or go ahead and say out loud, Oh, yes.)

Before I send you my love, though, we need to talk business. Authors need readers. Authors need sales. Authors need reviews. If you've already purchased and read Treadwell, then please promote it and review it on Amazon and on your blogs. 

If you don't have Treadwell, and maybe you don't know it yet but I know you want it, then it's time to treat yourself to a great book. I have finished reading Treadwell. I love it, and I'm going to give it a glowing review on Wednesday. I purchased my copy from Amazon. It's available at It's also available from Xlibris at

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


  1. Ah, thanks for swinging by the hood today. Gotta use word verification, every time I take it off, I get zillions of spam comments.

    1. I use comment moderation and, fortunately, get very little spam.

  2. I finally got the time (been busier that a one-armed paper hanger here lately and not time to read.) And I remember the first two chapters from a previous blog in another time and place. Now I am about to get to the crux of the book and I am enjoying it more that I imagined I would. She is a natural (if she can ever get spellchecker fixed.) Bravo, Dana!

    1. Isn't she a great writer? I'm so proud of her!

  3. I'm familiar with Dana's blog. She is a person of strong opinions and a fine writer.

    1. Her great strength really shows in her novel.

  4. I'm excited to read the rest tomorrow :)

    I LOVED this:
    "I needed a woman who could fight back. I needed a woman who valued her own life and opinion."

    1. I love it, too. I want to grow up to be like that.

  5. I've seen her commenting on some of the same blogs I read, so I shall have to visit her blog. The book sounds great~

  6. Congrats to Dana. The story seems interesting.

    I love this sentence - "Together, two old women with shotguns, and a geriatric hound, are now on the murderer's trail."

  7. You have gone above and beyond for me, and the check is in the mail. Besides the mis-spelled words that the publisher didn't allow time to correct before he made my book available for purchase, I only wish you were the book review editor for the New York Times.

    1. I believe I would enjoy a position with the NY Times. When you're a famous writer, please let them know I'm interested.

  8. Very interesting post and the book sounds really good.

  9. Wow! You sat down and typed 98,000 words? How did you do that? You are an amazing woman!

    1. Dana, you have a question. And what a compliment, you amazing woman.

    2. 98,000 words is an astonishing accomplishment until you see that all of those words end up being 280 pages in a bound book. I was expecting it to be as thick as War And Peace!

      It took 4 months, but it became an unbelievable addiction and I found myself constantly writing in my mind. So, I can safely say I lost 4 months of my life during the writing, but considering the fact I was in a deep depression, it was better to lose those months than to live through them.

  10. Wow now I feel like going over to Dana's blog and check her out..........

  11. The book sounds great. I like that the 'heroes' are different than what you would normally expect.

    Great interview so far :)


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