Thursday, February 14, 2013

Author Interview #159: Out of the Shadow by J.S. Winn

Out of the ShadowOur interview today is with J.S. Winn author of Out of the Shadow (4.2 stars, 37 reviews). Before we get started, a brief description: Any reader interested in compelling mysteries will find Out of the Shadow a powerful read, telling of one Becca Rosen, who survives a rape and just wants to move on with life. The only trouble is: she’s being stalked by a psychopath who has a different agenda for her, and the police are convinced she’s faking the rape to get away with her husband’s murder. Desperate, Becca hires a psychotherapist to help her handle the flashbacks and nightmares that are plaguing her – only to find that hypnotherapy is peeling back some dangerous layers of memory even as three men, new in her life, may not be as they seem. First- and third-person perspectives alternate in a series of twists and turns that offer a stunning conclusion to a story replete with intrigue and deceptions. Like the layers of an onion, Out of the Shadow peels away personalities, motivations, underlying motives, and dark, long-hidden secrets that immerse a circle of people in a web of dangerous associations. The conclusion is riveting, unexpected, and as satisfying as the rising psychological suspense which begins from the first page and ends with a bang. D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review.

Interview with J.S. Winn

1) What is your favorite marketing task?
The most productive marketing tool I’ve used is the Free Days program through Kindle Direct Publishing. KDP might be exclusive, which bothers some writers, but one major benefit is the free days. I believe this has been the most productive marketing tool I’ve used—-and it’s free. I have done Interviews (obviously), had reviews and paid for Ads, but nothing has proven as effective as the Free KDP days.
2) Why did you decide to Self Publish?

I had my first novel, Kiva Fire (about to be re-released as The Spirit Keepers, February 2013, published by an Internet publishing company in 2001. This was before Internet publishing was popular and, while they did minimum promotion, there really wasn’t much activity. Now I’m having the opportunity to publish a novel myself and take all the responsibility for maintenance of my website and other vehicles for self promotion. It’s been a whirlwind of activity lately and has taken almost every moment of my time, but I love it. It gives me the chance to develop my own outreach and to really connect with people who are interested in my work. It’s been a joy so far.

3) What do you have under your bed?
Besides dust bunnies and well-worn slippers? I have a number of other manuscripts awaiting the light of publication. As I mentioned above, a romantic suspense, The Spirit Keepers, which takes place on a Native American Pueblo in New Mexico, will be released next month on Amazon, and will be followed by another novel next summer.
4) Are you a plotter or a pantser when you are writing?
I’m both a plotter and a pantser. I develop a skeleton of my plot and highlight my plot points in outline form, before I flesh it out during the writing process. Once I have a general outline and character studies, I let it fly, allowing the story to evolve in a way there’s organic.
5) Do you write in a bubble or do you prefer critique groups, writing buddies or other companionship during the process.
Right now I’m primarily a Bubble gal, but I haven’t always been that way. For many years I attended writing classes, professional meetings and critique groups where I shared my work and honed my craft. That experience was invaluable.
6) When do ideas come to you and how do you capture them?
Ideas can come to me at any time and in so many different ways., I don’t wish to bore you by enumerating, but I can tell you I always base my plots on a locality and an experience I have had. My last suspense, Out of the Shadow, came to me in a darkened bedroom. The “what if” scenario played out in my imagination and I immediately knew I had the beginning to an interesting story. My new story, The Spirit Keepers, is located on a pueblo, similar to Zuni, where I lived for years.
7) What is your favorite word processing program and what other tools do you use: pen, notebook, white board, index cars, finger on fogged mirrors?
I began writing long-hand, then imputing my novels into a Word Perfect program on my desktop computer. I’ve come a long way from there and now type my material directly onto a Word program on my laptop. I now carry my work in progress with me wherever I go.
8) What challenges have you faced in your writing career?
I think the most difficult challenge I’ve faced is the challenge of not fitting in with what is fashionable at the moment. I don’t write to mimic the fad of the moment, I write because I’m moved to tell a story and I want to share it with others. I have had a number of agents and editors say they enjoyed my story or liked my writing, but they weren’t sure they could sell it at the time. But now I can publish it myself and I don’t have to try to copy the current trend.
9) What has been your best moment as a writer?
I’ve had a number of great moments, but the most exciting is when someone lets me know how much they enjoyed my work. That has happened a lot lately since I posted my new mystery/suspense on Amazon. I write because I want to share my story with others. It’s pure joy when they appreciate what I have to say.
J S Winn earned a graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Metaphysical Sciences. Her previous mystery novel set in the American Southwest, Kiva Fire, garnered much critical praise. She has had a play produced by the Actor’s Alliance Festival in San Diego, and her poetry has been anthologized by the San Diego Writer’s Workshop in For the Love of Writing. Her play “Gotcha!” was selected for a reading at the Village Arts Theater in Carlsbad, California in May 2012.
She presently lives by the beach in San Diego County, California.
For more information about Out of the Shadow, please visit or contact the author at Also, visit her blog at, her twitter feed at @authorjswinn and her facebook page at authorjswinn.

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