So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much!

p.s. my mom now refers to me as the family "chronicler" - getting down all the family stories. How I love that title!! :)

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Joy Griffin Dent, aka, Darcy Flynn, gives us the scoop on writing romance novels

Joy Griffin Dent, Tennessee author, writes as Darcy Flynn

I wanted the scoop on writing romance novels, so I turned to Joy Griffin Dent, aka, Darcy Flynn, for her experiences in this field. She is a delightful, friendly person with many talents.

GCB: Joy, your books are known for clean language, non-erotic writing but great stories with feisty heroines. How did you decide to write this kind of novel?
Joy: I grew up reading the sweet novels and watching wholesome films and T.V. It’s basically what’s in my heart to write, plus I’m hoping to have granddaughters someday. I want them to be able to read my stories.

GCB: Your books always include a handsome hero who is shown on the cover.  How do you create the men in your books? Are they based on real people?
Joy: My heroes aren’t based on real people, but on qualities I admire in a man. I want my hero to be heroic, to be devoted to the heroine, even if she believes he isn’t at some part in the story. My books lean toward romantic comedies, so there are lots of twists and turns, and mistaken identities.

GCB: You choose the photos for your covers. Tell us about that process? 
Joy: I basically scour stock photo sites online. Since I have a picture in my mind of how my hero and heroine look, I can fine tune the search, which saves tons of time. But sometimes it’s not that easy and I search for hours, or as they say, until your eyes bleed! I have an amazing cover artist who can help with the selection if I run into trouble.
GCB: Your most recent book, Eagle Eye, would make a great Hallmark movie. Have you ever submitted one of your books to Hallmark?


Joy: Yes, I have; two as a matter of fact. Hopefully, between that and my son’s connection, I’ll have some success! My son is a director in the film industry in Los Angeles and he has given my novels to an actor friend of his who has taken them to his producer at the Hallmark Channel. Keeping my fingers crossed!

GCB: You live in Franklin, near Nashville, TN. You have been a leader of Romance Writers of America in Nashville. Will you tell us about that?

Joy: Yes, our group is a chapter of RWA and is called, Music City Romance Writers. I was the VP of Programming for two years and had charge of our fall all-day-event for three. The VP of Programming stretched me as a leader. As a right-brain dominant person, I had to be super organized. Dealing with the pressure of finding a speaker for each of our monthly meetings and to have a backup in case someone didn’t show was totally out of my comfort zone.
GCB: How does this organization help writers?

Joy: Aside, from the excellent monthly speakers, we are an amazing support group. Whether we are struggling with plot development or celebrating a contest win, we’re there for each other.
GCB: Have you always been a writer? 

Joy: During my teen years, I mainly wrote songs and poems, but somewhere in my late twenties, I tried writing a story. I sent it to Silhouette Publishing (no longer in business) and even though they rejected it, the editor gave me some great advice and encouraged me to keep writing. In my thirties, I wrote a few small things for Christian Parenting Magazine and was a contributor for Thomas Nelson’s, The Woman’s Study Bible. My contribution was both the art and text for all of the Plants of the Bible charts.
GCB: How long did it take to publish your first book?  Did you have rejections of earlier manuscripts? If so, what kept you writing?

Joy: Oh, so many rejections! LOL. As an author, I view rejections as a badge of honor. I was one of the lucky ones, though, when it came to my first manuscript. After about nine rejections I finally had interest from Harlequin, and two New York small houses.  Soul Mate Publishing offered me a contract for my first book! What keeps me writing is the joy of it. I love to create fun, lighthearted stories that entertain. If I can help someone to forget their troubles for two or three hours, then I’m happy.

GCB: Tell us about your research. We hear that we should write about what we know. Do you travel to do research for setting, subject, or plot?
Joy: Most of the time, I use Google. The Internet is an amazing tool for writers. But, when appropriate, I love to speak to people who know their subject. I’ve been fortunate to have   traveled to many diverse places in this country and the world. I use my memory for much of what I write. The book I’m working on now takes place on a cargo ship. I’ve never been on a cargo ship in my life, but I love the sea and all things nautical. For this book, I did make a trip to Mobile, Alabama to Gulf Quest Museum. I got hands on experience as to what it’s like to be onboard a cargo ship, how to leave port, and how to dock the ship. I spent time with a sea captain and heard his stories and accounts of life onboard ship. It was a wonderful research trip for me.

GCB: Let’s talk about marketing. Do you have guidance from a publishing company for your marketing? What have you found to be the best method of marketing your books?
Joy: Marketing is tough and time consuming. Most authors, including me, would rather write. That said, I get a monthly e-mail from Soul Mate Publishing with marketing advice suggestions. That’s about it. I usually stick to two social media outlets and try to do them consistently. Online presence is the key to staying in front of readers. I find most of my readers are on Facebook, so I tend to post there the most. When I have news, I also send out a newsletter. I’ve recently created two ad campaigns on Amazon. But it’s too early to tell how they’re doing.

GCB: You are a native of New Orleans where you were a beauty queen.  Tell us about that
Joy: I started my modeling career in New Orleans and continued it as I moved from city to town with my husband. When I lived in Nashville I entered the Mrs. Tennessee Pageant and went on to the top ten in the Mrs. America Pageant. My modeling career lasted for about eighteen years until I had my son.

GCB: You are also an accomplished musician.
Joy: I’ve always loved music. In college at the University of New Orleans, I majored in music and minored in theatre. Out of all the things I love, I can’t imagine living life without music. I’ve written songs and performed.  I’ve orchestrated classic piano pieces. There were many years when I was in two choirs at one time. I also served as the children’s choir director at one of my churches.

Today I use music as inspiration for the scenes I’m working on. Whenever I get stuck, I put in my ear buds and take a walk to my barn and listen. By the time I get back to my laptop, I’ve usually solved the problem and worked out the scene. Music has always conjured up scenes in my head. When I was growing up, I thought this meant I’d be an actress. I guess I am in a way, it’s just all acted out in my head.

GCB: Many writers say they can’t find time to write. You have a grown son, but when he was younger, how did you schedule your writing time?
Joy: My son also has the creative gene. I was fortunate in that he loved to build Legos, while he listened to books on tape. That’s when I could sit quietly and write.

GCB: You live on a farm where you raise Millie Fleur chickens. Do your personal interests ever become part of a book? Would your heroine live on a farm and raise a rare breed of chicken?
Joy: Yes, especially in my first few books. My personal interests filled my stories. And you bet I’d have a heroine who lives on a farm and who would raise a rare breed chicken. As a matter of fact, after I spend the next six months on a cargo ship, I’m probably going to be ready for farm life again!

GCB: Your handsome son lives in Los Angeles, CA. I’ve seen pictures of you with him and some famous Hollywood people. Tell us about that.

Joy: Aww, thanks. He is handsome! My favorite experience is when my son took us to a July 4th party in Malibu on the beach. Orlando Bloom was a guest. I met him, and when I told him he served as inspiration for many of my heroes and that his picture was all over my inspiration board, he threw his arms around me and said, “How about I take a photo of both of us for your board?” Then he took my phone from my hand and snapped two selfies. He was barefoot and wearing his bathing suit and t-shirt at the time.

GCB: You have begun a series called Like No Other. The first in that series is Hawkes Next. The second book is Eagle Eye, Like No Other, book two. How did you come up with that title and how many books do you plan for this series?
Joy: Earlier you mentioned about writing what you know. As a former professional model and pageant winner, I know about the world of beauty and fashion. My heroine in Hawke’s Nest started an organization which helps teenage girls develop good self-image, health and beauty. It focuses on the fact there is no one else like them, so the organization is called Like No Other. For the series, I’m planning on three books for sure and possibly a fourth.

GCB: What is the secret to writing a series?
Joy: There are different types of series. My Like No Other series is based on an organization and not on a single character. This type of series is much easier to write. In a series based on a single character or group of characters, each book has to not only stand alone, but at the same time sustain plot and character development over a longer arc. Think, Harry Potter.

GCB: What character in Eagle Eye might we expect to find in the next book of the series?
Joy: The third book is entitled, Knight Owl. This will be Ethan Knight and Amanda Marsh’s story. They were supposed to be the second book, but my muse said otherwise!
GCB: Please tell us something about yourself that the general public doesn’t know, and feel free to include anything you want my readers to know.

Joy: Well, I touched on it earlier, but to expand a bit… In the early seventies, I wrote Christian songs, both the music and lyrics on my guitar. During the Jesus movement, I traveled one summer with a youth evangelist singing my songs before he preached his message. It was an amazing time in my life and one I will always cherish.

My thanks to Joy Griffin Dent, aka, Darcy Flynn for taking time to answer my questions. Find her books on or ask for them at your Independent bookstore.

Follow Joy on Facebook.

If you have read books by Darcy Flynn, tell us what you think in the comments section or by email.
Other interviews you might enjoy:
Interview with popular Appalachian writer and blogger, Tipper Pressley





Elephant's Child said...

Thank you both.
I am really a reader rather than a writer, and the more I learn about the writing process, the more my gratitude to writers increases.

Darcy Flynn said...

Glenda, Thank you for having me on your wonderful blog! I look forward to spending the day with you and your readers!

Patricia Kiyono said...

Lovely interview! I too, write sweet romances because I don't want my family to be embarrassed by what mom (or grandma) writes. I love your stories!

Maureen said...

I enjoyed the interview!

Jenna Barwin said...

Nice interview!

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

great interview, Joy!
Always nice to know more about you.
Good luck and God's blessings

Diane Garner said...

Fabulous interview! Thanks for sharing so much great information!

Glenda Council Beall said...

Hi E.C. Thanks again for your comments on my blog. Yes,writing is not as easy as one might think. A writer works at a job she loves. But she does work hard.

I appreciate you and other readers who enjoy the books we writers publish.

Darcy Flynn said...

Thank you all for the lovely comments and for stopping by!

Glenda Council Beall said...

Darcy, the pleasure was all mine, getting to know you and hearing about your exciting life. I enjoy getting the word out about writers I like and books I enjoyed.

Glenda Council Beall said...

Patricia, Maureen, thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

Alina K. Field said...

Great interview, Darcy!

Unknown said...

Your poetry, interviews and friendship are special to me. Yours is one of the few blogs I read. My time in this life grows shorter and I cherish every day. Every hour I spend is like a withdrawal from a savings account that cannot be replenished. All my best to you, JC Walkup

Glenda Council Beall said...

JC, my dear friend, thank you for reading my blog and for this comment. None of us are promised a tomorrow, so, like you I want to make each day matter. I hope to learn something new every day and I usually do.
Thinking of you with love,

Unknown said...

So refreshing! Lisa

Unknown said...

So refreshing! Lisa

Darcy Flynn said...

Thank you Pam and Patty and elephant's child for your kind words and for stopping by!

Darcy Flynn said...

Hi Maureen, Jenna and Diane! Thanks for visiting! Oh and Alina, you too!

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

I enjoyed this interview very much. Thank you for introducing us to this wonderful author. I look forward to reading her books.

Alicia Dean said...

Wow, what an excellent interview. I absolutely love your books, and you!! :) It was great learning more about you. And, fingers crossed for the Hallmark movie thing. Your books would be perfect for that!!

Glenda Council Beall said...

Brenda Kay, thank you. So happy to introduce Darcy Flynn to my blog readers. Hope you will read her books.

Darcy Flynn said...

Brenda, glad you liked the interview! Thanks for stopping by!

Darcy Flynn said...

Hey Alicia! Thank you! I love your your books, too! Especially those "Liberty" ones! And love you, as well! My son is still working on that Hallmark movie thing! My fingers are crossed, too! Thanks for stopping by!