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Interview with Joyce Magnin

I first met Joyce Magnin several years ago while working on some last-minute details for the Great Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. A talented writer, Joyce worked at honing her craft for many years before she received the call that Abingdon wanted to publish her Bright’s Pond books. With this week’s release on April 1, Griselda Takes Flight, reader’s will get to visit Bright’s Pond and its quirky, lovable characters in this third installment of the series.

Recently, Publisher’s Weekly had this to say about Joyce and her writing: “a talented author who writes with grace and also wit. Her characters are entertaining and make the reader feel right at home while telling their story.”

I’m very pleased to introduce my friend, Joyce Magnin, as this week’s ACFW Featured Author.

How did you know you wanted to write fiction and how/when were the Bright’s Pond novels birthed?

I wanted to write since I was nine years old. I was word-struck, completely and totally and forever word-struck. It just took a few years to actually get published. But that’s okay.

A couple of years before I wrote the first Bright’s Pond novel, The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow, I had this niggling notion that I wanted to write a series set in a community of quirky, loving characters. And I suppose the concept for Bright’s Pond started percolating at that time until one night Agnes Sparrow made her entrance into my enlarged imagination and well, there you go. She had a story that needed telling and I’m just so tickled she chose me to tell it.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
First. Perseverance. The unwavering belief that this was what God had for me to do. And staying active at conferences, getting to know writers and editors. Making certain I was on the editorial radar.

Second, a wonderful support system of friends who wouldn’t let me give up and would kick me in the pants when needed, pray for me, encourage me.

Third, reading, reading, reading.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
Getting enough sleep.

Sticking to the schedule I lay out for myself. It’s hard. I try to schedule all my work and my personal life and my social life, but it seems something always suffers. And that’s hard.

And how do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
It’s hard to tease that apart. My faith is who I am. I don’t think I can look at a story I’m working on and identify where my faith doesn’t show up. Each word I lay down is an act of faith. But I will say, that writing is a tough career. I wouldn’t like to be a writer without having Jesus walking with me. And besides, I figure He’s already written every story I’m going to tell. It’s just a matter of discovery.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
Ha! I don’t know. Here’s the thing though, I always said I wanted to write the way Norman Rockwell painted—everything is just slightly exaggerated, just enough to be over the top but not absurd. Maybe I’m getting a handle on that.

Finish this question. The best piece of advice I can give to a new author is . . .
Eat your vegetables, drink your milk and hang on. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. And of course, believe. Keep writing, keep reading and don’t flinch. Write through until you’ve said what you intended to say.

Any parting words?
I’d like to say thanks, Margie, for the great interview and thanks ACFW for having me along for the ride.

Thanks for sharing with us, Joyce!

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