We Love Memoirs was delighted that Susan Joyce, author of The Lullaby Illusion agreed to join us as our first ever featured Spotlight Sunday interviewee.
Below is a transcript of the chat.
Victoria Twead Thank you for taking part in our first Spotlight Sunday, Susan Joyce! Susan is the author of the new memoir, ‘Lullaby Illusion’ and hails from a sleepy little beach town in Uruguay.
Alison Morning Susan, if you are up!
Alan Parks I think she will be around about 11am Spain time.
Alison I’ll be at the good food show so greetings now
Victoria Twead I thinks it’s about 6.00am in Uruguay at the moment.
Alison Teeshirts Ouch!
Sue Good morning, Susan (and I know you’re probably still asleep right now)! I’m going to get my question on nice and early in case I get caught up with other stuff later. When did you start writing and why?
Judi If you were on that famous desert island which book would you take?
Joy To add to the previous questions . . . what would be your top 3 music choices?
Frankie Morning Susan.. Who is your favourite author and do you base your style on them?
Susan Joyce Good morning from Atlantida Uruguay! Thanks Victoria for the banner welcome! Looks great!
Susan Joyce Now to answer all your curious questions. I’ll do one at a time. Sue Clamp, seems your question is first. I’m on my first cup of coffee so bear with me while I think. I started writing at an early age, mainly to learn how to speak words correctly. I had dyslexia as a child and when I talked I got my words mixed up. My dad named me Dutch because he said it sounded like I was speaking a foreign language. People laughed at the way I said things. My mother worked very hard to teach me how spoken words are made up of individual sounds that fit together. She created a game of alphabet riddles and I practiced spelling and speaking words until I knew them well. I became fascinated with words and started making up stories and acting them out. In the fourth grade I wrote a story about my dog and his bad liver breath. When the story won first place in a state-wide school competition, a writer was born..
Susan Joyce Thanks for your question Sue Clamp
Susan Joyce Good morning Judi Bedford-Keough! If stranded on any island, I’d take “Illusions” by Richard Bach. It’s a book I’ve read many times over the years and each time I read it it speaks to me. Thanks for your questions Judi.
Susan Joyce Joy Hughes, great question. I love music. All kinds. But if I could only take three… I’d take Billy Joel, Brian Eno, and the Bee Gees, Stayin’ Alive. Thanks for asking Joy!
Susan Joyce Frankie Knight, good morning! You guys get up early.
Susan Joyce Frankie Knight, lots of great authors out there. One of my favorites is Penelope Lively. She won the Booker for my favorite of hers, Moon Tiger. I love the way her scenes play out from the mind of one character to another in each scene. Thanks for asking.
Alan Parks Susan, why Uruguay?
Rowena I would have asked the same question as Sue Clamp so thank you for the answer. I find it interesting to hear how authors get started. My question, however, is, how and where do you get your inspiration and ideas?
Susan Joyce Good morning Alan! Why not Uruguay. Feels like the right place for us for this chapter of our lives. It’s a wonderful peaceful place with very friendly people. We have many Uruguayan friends. People here are highly educated and are readers. I finished my book here after working on it for years. So why not Uruguay? Thanks for asking.
Susan Joyce Rowena, just saw your question about inspiration. It comes from everywhere, all around me. From life, from dreams, from good and bad experiences, from my animals, from music. Good question Thanks!
Victoria Twead How would you describe your memoir, Lullaby Illusion? Which part of your life does it cover?
Susan Joyce Hi Victoria! I had just finished answering your question when our power blipped off. Here goes again.
Susan Joyce The Lullaby Illusion – A Journey of Awakening is a my memoir covering a 12 year period of my life from the Middle East to Europe. Celebrating the best of times and enduring the worst of times, I felt guided by my dreams and intuition, and a motley collection of memorable friends, lovers, partners, and muses, Strange things kept happening to me and I wondered why..
Susan Joyce After the Cyprus coup and war, I started putting the pieces of the puzzle together and discover I was married to someone with a secret life.
Susan Joyce Definitely an awakening for me.
Sue Goodness, it certainly sounds like it!
Susan Joyce It certainly was. Have I missed any questions? If so, please let me know.
Sue What else, besides writing The Lullaby Illusion, have you done? Do you have another job at the moment?
Susan Joyce Sue Clamp, are you asking what I’m working on now, or what other books I’ve written?
Susan Joyce Sue, now I see your question. At the moment, I do lots of editing for our publishing company. Peel Produc-tions. We publish series of learn to draw books and picture books. We’ve found that series with kids books are the only way to make money for us and the authors.
Susan Joyce I have written six picture books, one was about my travels and is titles Postcard Passages. It is dedicated to my great aunt who traveled the world and encouraged me to become a globe-trotter by sending me postcards from all the exotic places she visited. As a kid, I pretended each postcard was a magic carpet and it could take me to that faraway place.
Susan Joyce I’ll be back in a jiff. Need another cup of coffee.
Victoria Twead Great answers, Susan! I believe you’ve lived in many parts of the world. Do you have a favourite? And how do you decide where to live next?
Frankie Wow, Susan! Great insight here…. Hope all the coffee it has taken won’t keep you awake tonight!
Susan Joyce Frankie, it’s only my second cup. I do love coffee in the morning only. Are you a coffee or tea drinker?
Susan Joyce Thanks Sue Clamp!
Frankie Def coffee – strong and black BUT not instant!!! Living in Spain the coffee served in bars is just how I like it, perferably with a small brandy!!! I can only have one a day or I lie in bed at night staring at the ceiling!
Susan Joyce Frankie, that’s how I liked my coffee when I lived in Germany and I enjoyed it day and night. Brandy and all. Mind you I was in my 30s then.
Frankie Don’t think age has anything to do with it; I’ve just reached 4 score +10 but don’t let on…..
Susan Joyce It was definitely a different life then. Mind you I was eating lots of pork in those days and it helped soak up all the brandy.
Susan Joyce Frankie, did you celebrate your birthday recently? If so, Happy and Healthy!
Frankie Yes I did and thank you…..
Susan Joyce Frankie, you’re welcome!
Susan Joyce Victoria, now I see your question about living in different countries. Thanks! My favorite place ever, at the time, was Cyprus. It felt like living in paradise. Sandy beaches, blue skies, a mountain for skiing. And then came the trou-bles in 73-74 followed by a coup and a war. Paradise was wiped off the face of the earth, and we foreigners living there were blessed and rescued.
Susan Joyce In that case moving on was a no brainer. We lost everything. Which was a blessing in disguise Once you lose all your worldly possessions, you are forced to look at life differently. I no longer collect anything unless I can use it in life..
Susan Joyce Victoria, back to your question. In today’s world we are lucky to be able to live anywhere we wish thanks to the internet. All of our book material is sent around the world electronically. Writers, artists, we’re all blessed with that invention.
Victoria Twead Susan, my sister was also airlifted out of Cyprus with just the clothes she was wearing, so I can relate to that. And you are so right about how lucky we writers are nowadays, able to work anywhere. which other countries have you actually set up home in?
Susan Joyce OMG Victoria, where was she in Cyprus? I was in the northern part of the island, in Kyrenia. It’s now the Turkish part. We were in the Kyrenia mountain range and caught between the crossfire of the Turks and Greeks as they fought over the pass to Nicosia.
Susan Joyce Victoria, other places I’ve called home are: England, Switzerland, Greece, Israel, Mexico, Germany twice (once in Stuttgart and later in Frankfurt). Belgium…
Ann I don’t have a question for Susan at the moment, (time is tight – my son visiting Spain from London for 1 night only) but I would like to say how INTERESTING all the questions and answers have been so far. I shall look forward to catching up later.
Barry Hi Susan! Nice to meet you. I have a friend in Uraguay (I. Think it is) and look forward to hearing more about it.
Barry Monte very deo?
Susan Joyce Ann Patras, thanks for being here. How nice to have your son visiting you. Yes, the questions have been great. Made me think. Have a good visit.
Barry Well, not so very!!!
Susan Joyce Barry, Montevideo is a lively city. Sits on the water and is quite beautiful. Beaches here are public, so one can walk for miles along a promenade built along the waterfront. Quite nice. You definitely want to visit your friend, and if you do… look me up.
Barry Mmm for sure Susan. I think she might have forgotten me anyway!
Susan Joyce All the more reason to touch base.
Janet Susan Joyce, good morning. I’m wondering which if the many social media sites you’ve found the most use-ful, fun, … ?
Barry You’ve convinced me Susan!
Susan Joyce Janet Givens, good question. WLM is one of the most fun. I have an author site set up. It’s where I try to do weekly blogs. But I have such fun on other sites, it’s work to keep my blogs posted. As an author one must have a presence on the web. There are tons of sites on google plus that are very useful for authors, artists, and publishers,
Susan Joyce Barry, glad I’ve convinced you to explore the Southern Hemisphere..
Susan Joyce I’ll return in five minutes. Going to grab some toast.
Frankie And coffee?
Jill Is your new book the first of a series of memoirs. It sounds as if you have enough material for more?
Barry Come back Susan!
Barry Geeeez, you will have burned that toast.
Susan Joyce I’m back!
Susan Joyce Jill Stowell, good question. I do have lots of life adventure material but haven’t decided what’s next yet. I’ve thought of writing my mother’s story and also our son’s story. We adopted him at age 12.
Susan Joyce Jill, I answered your question, but it seems to have disappeared. Too much coffee?
Susan Joyce I see it now. Thanks for asking Jill Stowell! Are you also a writer?
Susan Joyce Janet Given, BTW, the group I mentioned on google plus is called APE—Authors, Publishers, Entrepreneurs
Janet Thanks Susan Joyce. I’ll check it out.
Susan Joyce You are welcome!
Alan Parks Susan, I may have missed this, but are you from the UK or the US originally (or elsewhere)?
Susan Joyce Alan, would you believe the Pleiades? Born in LA.
Judi Los Angeles???
Susan Joyce Yes, Los Angeles. A place called Bel Air, which was country back then.
Victoria Twead Hi Susan, forgive me if somebody has already asked, but how did you come up with the title of your book?
Susan Joyce It came to me in a dream one night while I was visiting Capri. I was there with a friend who was in search of Mr. Perfect to have a child with, no doubt wishing for a perfect child as well. The next morning as I recalled the dream, I realized I had been gifted a poem about my life.
Susan Joyce Victoria, I forgot to put your name before the last answer. See above.
Janet Givens Susan, I’ve had to answer this for myself, so I’ll ask you: how would you most like Lullaby Illusion to be characterized?
Susan Joyce Inspirational, life affirming. I hope it encourages readers to live life to its fullest.
Susan Joyce Janet Givens, Thanks for your question! It led me to your blog spot. Great post about Gratitude.
Susan Joyce I’m out to lunch, but will return to answer any questions in a few minutes.
Susan Joyce Back in the saddle.
Janet So, Uraguay. Are you on New York time or one hour later?
Janet I say that, because I’m now off to lunch.
Susan Joyce Janet, enjoy your lunch. It’s almost 3:00 PM in Uruguay.
Alison Teeshirts 5 and dark in the UK!!
Becky Who designed your cover? I love it!
Susan Joyce My husband Doug. The original photo is of me and an actor friend modelling masks for an exhibit of a photographer friend of mine. Doug added color to get a better representation of the period. Psychedelic. I like it too.
Susan Joyce Thanks for your question Becky.
Judi Do you ever get writers block or does it just flow?
Susan Joyce Thanks for the question Judi. Of course, but I like to call it writer’s break. Of course words don’t always flow and if I have a day where they don’t, I take a walk along the beach and by the time I return, words start to flow again. Breaks, naps, dreaming all work well for me.
Sue Clamp I used to know an artist who treated painting like any other job. He would go into his studio for a nine o’clock start and work all day. When you wrote your memoir, did you work like that or did you take regular “writer’s breaks”?
Susan Joyce Writing has been my work for some time, so yes it’s definitely a job that requires a certain amount of time. I write most days, but I always have had a couch in my office where I take writer breaks just to let my mind float and dream. I think dreaming is thinking on another dimension.
Susan Joyce If that makes sense.
Sue Clamp makes sense to me, Susan
Susan Joyce Those breaks have often resulted in showing me direction with my work.
Cherry Gregory Do you enjoy writing or do you see it as a chore that has to be done?
Cherry Gregory And do you plan to write any fiction?
Susan Joyce Good questions Cherry Gregory.I do enjoy writing. It’s like putting a giant puzzle together. I just might write adult fiction one day.. Some of my children’s books are fictional. I like historical fiction. I’m open to the idea.
Victoria Twead Of your own books, Susan, which is your favorite?
Susan Joyce My first book, Peel the Extraordinary Elephant, is very special to me because it helped me define my life purpose. Everything the elephant learns to do, I actually learned to do. “Learning from the good times and the bad.”
Cherry Gregory Thank you for the answers to my questions, Susan. Excellent!
Cherry Gregory It seems travel is often the inspiration for memoir writing…why do you think that is?
Susan Joyce You learn so much when you travel–about yourself, about others, about places. Travel is the BEST education in the world.
Cherry Gregory Yes, I think you’re right there, especially if you have an open mind to begin with. Some people travel and seem to learn nothing, whereas even a short journey can transform another person’s life.
Susan Joyce Absolutely! The key is being aware. To be in the moment.
Alan Parks Frank Kusy over here!
Susan Joyce LOL! Hoping Frank finds us soon.
Frank Kusy Oh, here you all are (*staggers in blindly*) my Santa hat slipped over my eyes for a bit Okay, Susan, been meaning to ask you, what inspired Naro, the Ancient Spider, I got to read that!
Susan Joyce Frank, so glad you made it. I’ve been laughing so much my jaws hurt. Naro, the Ancient Spider was inspired by an ancient creation myth from Nauru (Pacific Ocean island) I love myths and came across this one many years ago. When my sister was dying with cancer, I told her the story. Being a very religious Christian, I didn’t expect her to like it. But she did and told me it was important to write about.
Susan Joyce As death approached, we discussed our beliefs in God and had a pact that whoever went first would let the other know if anything we believed in actually existed. She died and let me know that my beliefs were sound.
Susan Joyce I wrote two songs for this book and it has been performed as a play.
Frank Kusy That’s a very touching story, Susan, and I made the same pact with my mom when she was dying with cancer. She was a very religious Catholic and said she would send me a ‘sign’ that she was okay. About a month after she died, along came Sparky, my perfect precious pussycat…who for some time I believed to be the reincarnation of my mom and who got me writing again…after a ten-year block.
Susan Joyce Frank, thanks so much for sharing your story. That’s beautiful.
Frank Kusy So is yours, Susan
Susan Joyce Thanks! It was banned in a CA school district because it was a creation myth that started with “In the beginning…” Go figure.
Cherry Gregory Scary that it was banned.
Frank Kusy Lol, the world really is going too p.c. isn’t it? They just issued crash helmets for kids playing on our park slide!
Susan Joyce Cherry, It was years ago. Hopefully that doesn’t happen today in our multicultural world.
Susan Joyce Frank, yep it’s wild out there. Stay off the slides.
Cherry Gregory I hope not, Susan. (About banning of the book, not Frank keeping off the slides!)
Susan Joyce Any more questions before I take a break?
Frank Kusy Take a break, Susan. I need to adjust the wife’s antlers.
Susan Joyce Will do. Adjustment of antlers is key to success. Back in a bit.
Susan Joyce I’m back. Any questions?
Alison Teeshirts Totally agree Susan, I only have to think of Marrakech, Tunisia, Glasgow and smells and memories come back to me of trips there.
Susan Joyce Alison, yes the senses get tickled.
Alison Teeshirts Totally! The man with the dancing chicken on his head in Jemma El Fna will stay forever!
Susan Joyce Probably the smell too.
Alison Teeshirts Lol yes! More Tunisia for smells!!!
Susan Joyce What amazes me when I travel is the stirring of the senses. Guess we get used to the mundane smells of home.
Susan Joyce Speaking of smells, I ‘m cooking chicken Milanese for dinner and it’s calling to me. Before I call it a night, anymore questions?
Alison Teeshirts When I get of the plane at Malaga to drive up to Lanjaron it’s the first thing I notice and it makes me smile. I took a friend over with me once and she was oblivious to her own senses. Go enjoy and thank you.
Susan Joyce Alison, yes I’ve experienced that with friends who are not open to the new adventure.
Sue Clamp Yes, thanks Susan, it’s been a really interesting first “Spotlight”! Enjoy your chicken.
Cherry Gregory Thank you, Susan.
Susan Joyce This has been such a fun day for me. Thanks to all who participated. Great questions!
Alison Teeshirts I think well done Victoria it’s been good.
Frank Kusy I love this quote from one of your blog interviews, Susan: ‘Travel is the best education for anyone. The world is a great classroom. You learn volumes about yourself and others.’
Susan Joyce Thanks Frank! Well friends, dinner is beckoning. I can hear the ice tingling in my drink downstairs. Thank you all so much for inviting me to share today with you. Alan and Victoria will pick one of you to receive a copy of my book as an e-reader. I hope you enjoy it. What a great group of readers and writers you are. So happy I stumbled across WLM and you on the tubes. Best of luck in all your adventures.
Frank Kusy I know someone has already asked you about your book title, Susan, and that it was ‘gifted as a poem’ in a dream, but what does it actually mean, does it refer to your sudden awakening from an illusion when you found out your hubby was a spy, or when you were shaken out of your lullaby existence by that nasty Cyprus coup?
Susan Joyce Frank, good question. It refers to having been lulled to sleep by a comfortable life. A life one doesn’t want to question because it might tip the boat over. Yes, it also refers to realizing that having children is not a guarantee of happiness. For me being creative was very fulfilling.
Any more questions before I head downstairs for wine? Feel free to continue asking questions of me on FB or at my author site. Just ask me to be friends on FB. Thanks again for all your great questions. Thanks also to Victoria and Alan and those behind the curtain making it all work. Good night from Uruguay!
Alan Parks Night Susan
Frank Kusy Good night, Susan, I hope to finish your book tomorrow and leave an Ammy review. You’re a great writer, what an interesting life!
Victoria Twead Night, Susan and thanks so much for being in the Spotlight.
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