Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Joyce Hertzoff, The Crimson Orb

AUTHOR: Joyce Hertzoff
BOOK TITLE: The Crimson Orb
GENRE: High Fantasy
PUBLISHER: Assent Publications
BUY LINK: (not yet available)

Please tell us about yourself: I retired in 2008 after 45 years in the scientific information business and turned from fact-based writing to creative, fanciful writing.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time? I suppose you'd consider my writing is full time. But except for marathon writing in November each year, I write for twenty to twenty-five minutes, three or four times a day, and spend the rest of my time on revising and editing, research, etc.

When and why did you begin writing? In the early 2000s I started writing fanfic. I was inspired by a few TV shows, movies and books. After I retired, I decided to try original fiction. NaNoWriMo was the impetus. In 2008 I wrote more than  50,000 words for a mystery/romance that I might finish some day.

The Crimson Orb was started with the 2010 NaNo. It's been revised, passed through critique groups, expanded and revised again until it reached the current story.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing? I read. Not as much as I used to, but I still enjoy reading what others have written in several different genres. I knit. I've been knitting since I was five, I think, and only stopped for a short time when carpal tunnel prevented me from my favorite craft. I crochet, too, but don't enjoy it as much.

What was the toughest criticism given to you? What was the biggest compliment? Some people in one of my critique groups said I didn't use enough description, and that I should replace dialogue tags with facial expressions and body language. On the other hand, everyone seems to agree that my dialogue is very natural, and my characters are well developed.

Did those change how or what you did in your next novel? In all of my writing now, I make sure I appeal to all of the senses, and include lots of facial expressions and body language.

Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it? I don't get writer's block, per se, but I sometimes write myself into a corner. While I work out how to get out of it, I just keep writing whatever comes into my head. Some of it is usable, and sometimes, when I come up with my solution, I cut what I've written meanwhile.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them? My publisher is Assent Publications. I entered a contest with their Phantasm Books imprint, sending the first 50 pages. They soon emailed me, requesting the entire novel, and before the contest was over, emailed me again to offer me a contract.

What are your current projects? In the near future I'll be going over the copy edits on the book and selecting cover art. I'm also passing the sequel through a critique group, and writing a third book in the series.

What do you plan for the future? To complete this series as well as another fantasy series that I've been working on. I also hope to get back to my romance/mysteries.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?

My websites are still under construction. 

Any other news you’d like to share? A short fantasy story I wrote for a course at Writers Village University called Princess Petra will appear in the anthology The Way Back, scheduled to be published soon.

Tell us about the current book you’re promoting. Nissa's adventures show the determination of a girl to break out of the traditional roles for women in her society. But, along the way, she realizes that everything she's learned, traditional and otherwise, can be useful. In addition she develops her natural ability to use the energy around her to make things happen. And she discovers things about her world that she never knew.

What genre do you write in and why? High fantasy, because that's what I like to read.

What influences your writing? My scientific background insists I make the science and even the magic in my stories plausible, if not possible.

Is this your first published children’s work? What other types of writing have you done? Yes. I've also written fanficion, short stories, and romantic mysteries.

What do you hope your readers will take away from this book? I hope they will realize that determined young women can do anything. I also hope they'll love my characters enough to want to read more about them.

What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book? The first draft was written for National Novel Writing Month in 2010. It's been revised with the help of classes and critique groups at Writers Village University. Last summer I submitted the first fifty pages to a contest at the Phantasm Books imprint of Assent Publications. They requested the complete manuscript and, before the contest was over, offered me a contract for the entire series.

Do you outline before you write?  If not, what’s your initial process? I usually outline the first 5-10 chapters but then let my muse and the characters take me where they want to go.

What comes first: the plot or characters? My characters tend to dictate the plot.

Which characters were the hardest to develop and why? I have problems making my villains evil enough.

What do you do when you’re not writing? I read, although not as much as before I started writing. I also enjoy knitting. I crochet, too, but don't enjoy it as much.
I love to travel, especially to new places. We moved to New Mexico to allow us easy access to so many of the National Parks. We've camped in several of them with our travel trailer.

What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun? When a book has intriguing characters and a decent plot that seems to move along, I enjoy it. I want a book to take me into another world.

What, if anything, bugs you when you read a novel? Poor copy editing, especially of grammar, spelling and punctuation offends the one-time proofreader in me. I also hate implausible and/or inconsistent plots and characters.

Describe your writing space. Large desk surface covered with organized clutter with my Zenbook center stage, a TV to the right, and piles of paper and books on the other side.


  1. A very nice interview, Joyce. I learned a lot about you.

    Here's hoping The Crimson Orb will become a bestseller.

    Best wishes, and lots of luck.


  2. Thanks for visiting Leo! I hope I am as successful as you are becoming.

  3. Penny, Thanks once again for interviewing me. I'll let you know when I have a specific publication date.

    Meanwhile, my Author Website it now public. The address is

  4. Love the interview...we all know your House fans love you..".you can't stop our love!"