posted on October 21, 2013 by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Starting Over

AFindersFee400x645Readers frequently ask: how do you start over with a new book or series? How do you go from one thing to another without losing track of where you are?

The answer is easy, and complex.

As we create a new book or series, it takes months to get to know our characters. By the time we sit down to write our story, we know them as we would old friends that we see each day. Like friends, they have individual traits and expressions. Sometimes we link them to real life people.

For instance, in our new Missing Pieces book, A FINDER’S FEE, we always imagine Meg Ryan starring as Dae O’Donnell. She looks like Meg in our minds. We imagine her as Dae when we write about our psychic mayor finding things, and making sure her town, Duck, North Carolina, is running the way it should.

We keep huge records of our characters and what they do in each book they’re in— changes to their hair, clothes, marital status—everything. We keep a diary for them. We do the same for familiar landmarks in the books and important events.

Because of this, it’s easy to know what world we’re in.

It’s not always easy to let go of the place and characters you’re setting aside.

Knowing these people so well makes it difficult to say goodbye. You’d like to stay with them and make sure their lives go smoothly. Writing a book is a lot like reading a book—you don’t want to put it down. But there are other interesting characters and places you want to re-visit.

JoyceandJimSo you snuggle down with the new people and become absorbed in their lives, problems, and relationships. We enjoy our visits with Dae in Missing Pieces, Peggy Lee in her garden books, Jessie at the Renaissance Faire, Stella and her fire chief ghost in Sweet Pepper, and Maggie and Aunt Clara at their pie shop in Durham.

But we try to be the kind of visitors you want to invite back again. We make sure our visit has a beginning, and an end!

Excuse us now. We’re about to visit some witches in the old port city of Wilmington, NC, and a struggling food truck vendor in Mobile, Alabama. They are soon to be our newest friends!

Joyce and Jim Lavene

Joyce and Jim Lavene

People frequently ask us how we began writing together. And how we can write together at all!

Writing together was a natural evolution for us. We have been in several businesses together during our almost thirty year marriage.

Joyce began writing poetry when she was nine. Jim scribbled a little, but mostly read a lot. We decided to work together on a series of stories we told our children to amuse them after Hurricane Hugo hit our house in 1989. Without power or water for weeks, we needed something!

We started writing novels together after that and are still going strong! We also enjoy writing non-fiction about the people we meet in our travels. Ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things with their lives, like the characters we write in our novels.

As for our personal lives, we have three wonderful children, Chris, Jeni and Emmie as well as two fantastic grandchildren, Eric and Gabrielle. We love cats and have too many of them. We have a chocolate Lab named Bear. Jim is into computers, photography and line drawing. Joyce is active in sculpting, alternative medicine and water color painting.

All of our books are purposely written to be vegetarian and inspiring. We believe that we all have a journey that leads to the discovery of ourselves; our ultimate destiny.

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