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Interview with Joyce Hertzoff

It's my pleasure to be talking with multi-talented and multi-genre author Joyce Hertzoff in my latest interview...

How did you come up with the concept for your latest book- what originally triggered the idea, and what challenges did you encounter in the process?

The Crimson Orb was inspired by all the fantasy stories I've ever read, as seen through the filter of everything I've read about The Heroes Journey. It was influenced by my own experiences as a teenager so many years ago when I was told 'girls don't study science', 'girls aren't good in math' and 'boys don't like smart girls'.

I also spent my career working with the fact-based scientific literature and yearned to be able to let my mind run free. So once I retired, I started writing fiction of all kinds.

Critiques helped me revise the original story, that was written during NaNoWriMo in 2010. I submitted it to a contest and within a few months had a contract with Assent Publications for the entire Crystal Quest series.

Who would your three favourite authors be, but more importantly, why?

So hard to restrict it to three. I love Rumer Godden for her writing style and the places her books take me, for mysteries it's a toss up between Lisa Scottoline, S.J. Rozan, and Dana Stabanow, three very different storytellers. My favorite traditional sword and sorcery fantasies were written by Patricia Wrede, Pamela Dean and David Eddings.

Right now I'm reading the fourth novel in your series, as well as Daisy Miller and Brave New World for two literature classes, a romance written by a friend, and a YA fantasy book.

Do you listen to music while writing, or prefer silence? If you do listen to music while writing, what genres do you prefer?

No, I don't listen to music, although I sometimes have the TV going in the background. OTOH, songs have inspired some of my stories, or titles of stories or chapters, especially when I wrote fanfiction.

Which social media do you find the most useful for marketing your written works and getting your work known? Are there any networks you consciously avoid?

I haven't figured out how to use Pinterest, even though I have several boards and hundreds of pins. I don't find Twitter very useful. It's too fleeting. Facebook is better, especially Facebook groups. I should use them more to spread the word.

Do you feel that there’s any sort of future for books (in any format) and for the art of storytelling?

Of course there's a future. People need stories in many formats, including books, to take a break from their own lives, to learn about or be exposed to other cultures, and to stimulate thought about what is and what can be. Books also document the beliefs and mores of the current time.

The format that books might take is still developing. I haven't used audiobooks much myself, but know many people who do. I read most fiction as ebooks, but use printed texts for writing classes. Who knows what new forms will be available in the next five or ten years.

What would you say are the major challenges / issues for authors today- whether traditionally published or self published?

I assume most authors face the same issues I do: finding ways to reach a target audience, make them aware of my books and short stories, and entice them to buy them. Marketing isn't easy – there's no magic bullet. For example, how do I alert elementary and junior high school kids to my YA fantasy series? Other issues include finding the right publisher if they want to publish traditionally or find the right venue to self publish. That takes a lot of research.

Do you have any talents other than writing, which you’d like to tell us about?

I can read scientific articles in seven or eight languages, although I'm becoming rusty. Is knitting considered a talent? Because I've always been good at that. I sing pretty well although my range isn't what it was when I was younger. I love to solve puzzles.

Is there one single book in your life that stands out, or provided some kind of turning point, major change, or affected you so deeply in some way that it changed the course of your life?

The Masters of Solitude, by Parke Godwin and Marvin Kaye, gave me a view of a post-apocalyptic future I'd never encountered before. I may have read that book a half dozen times, even though it's on the long side. A more recent book that inspired me to write a modular story is Station Eleven.

Finally, what new projects do you have in the pipeline / on the horizon? Which are the most important works-in-progress right now?

I've submitted a short story, Sophie's Dilemma, that's a murder mystery, to a mystery magazine, and I wrote a fantasy novelette, So You Want To Be A Dragon, for which I have to find a home. My publisher, Assent Publications, has the sequel to The Crimson Orb called Under Two Moons and I'm working on a third book in the Crystal Quest series, working title Journey to Fartek. I'm also writing a modular murder mystery and a post-apocalyptic story. I'm revising the first novella in another fantasy series and working on the sequel to that one.

The length of my stories varies greatly, so it's not easy to find out who will publish them. They've ranged from 250-word short stories that appeared in anthologies to Under Two Moons which came in at over 100,000 words. I don't even know sometimes what to call them. If a short stories is usually 8000 words or less, a novella is around 40,000 and a novel 80,000 words and up, what's a story that's 15,000 or 20,000 words? Even the magazines and publishers use different ranges.

I enjoy writing a variety of genres and lengths of stories, and hope to write many more in the future.

The Crimson Orb is available at:

Amazon paperback:

Amazon Kindle:

Barnes and Noble for Nook:

Smashwords (temp for Apple, Kobo, etc.)

My sites:

Book webpage:

Author webpage:




Email: and

Comments (2)

  1. Leona Pence:
    Jul 28, 2015 at 08:11 PM

    Hi Joyce, nice interview. I've read The Crimson Orb and eagerly await the next book. I envy your ability to be able to read so many languages.

    Looking forward to F2K with you as a fellow mentor.


  2. Joyce Hertzoff:
    Jul 28, 2015 at 10:49 PM

    Thanks, Leo.

This thread has been closed from taking new comments.

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