About a month ago, I was asked by Joy Norstrom if I’d like to read her debut novel and provide an endorsement (if I enjoyed it) for the cover. How sweet is that, and how honoured was I?! And, my honest opinion was that ‘Out of Play’, about a married couple torn apart by LARP (live action role play), is a brilliant read. Very funny, but also emotional. I loved the narrative and felt like the main character, Gillian, became a friend.
As you can see, my comment is now on the cover (how cool is that?)
So, I thought I’d invite Joy to my blog for an interview, find out a bit more about her and her great book – which I highly recommend you go and buy right now.
Firstly – Joy, welcome to my blog. Do you want to tell us a bit about your new book in your own words?
Thanks for the warm welcome, Sarah!
Out of Play is about a marriage that has become disconnected over time. Gillian, our protagonist, believes the problem stems from her husband choosing a hobby (live-action roleplay or LARP) over spending time with her. Like many other people struggling in a relationship, Gillian enlists the help of a counsellor.
The counsellor challenges Gillian to move from judgment to openness; she encourages Gillian to try LARP with Ralph. Does Gillian follow-through? Well…she takes her own spin on the advice and secretly attends a larp event as a kitchen volunteer. Spying may not be the best choice for fostering a healthy marriage, but who says marriage always involves making the best choices?
The physical journey in Out of Play is interwoven with an emotional journey. Gillian must face the underlying issues that have left emotional scars in order to find connection and peace.
I’m sure many women can identify with their spouse’s hobbies taking them away from their marriage (be it larp, golf, the X-Box …) – what inspired you to write this story?
I’ve had several people ask if my husband plays larpJ. The answer is no, but I’m certainly not always on friendly terms with his hobby: beer-league hockey.
I believe that we, as women, live a great deal of our lives post falling in love. I wanted to explore a reality that might be faced later on in an intimate relationship.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing for 6 years. When it was first suggested to me that I should write a book, I was dismissive of the idea. I didn’t see myself as a creative person, but the idea took root. The more I explored storytelling and character development, the more important it became for me to pursue.
Being at home with young children was both rewarding and challenging. I felt run down and as though I didn’t have space or time for myself. Writing became a way to engage my brain in learning something new and exploring my creativity.
I hope your next novel is in progress! What can you tell us?
I can tell you that it is messy, but so was Out of Play 🙂
My current work-in-progress is about a single parent trying to balance competing demands on a very restricted income. Sound fun? Definitely not! So of course I have injected some laughter as she moves forward in love, life and motherhood. I’m having fun with this new character because she has a whole load of past hurts, habits and hang-ups to explore. I’ve also got a cast of eccentric older women who are looking to my main character for sex and dating advice.
Finally, tell us something about you, who is Joy (other than a fabulous author, of course)?
Thanks for the kind words, Sarah!
First off, I’m this person with what my husband calls ‘fire in the belly.’ I tend to be loud and opinionated and not easily swayed. I often say things from the heart without analysing the long term consequences. People either like this…or they don’t!
We share our home with two daughters, who are night and day to each other. They are our raison d’etre.
We’ve two of the gentlest old lady sheep dogs and a pair of breeding finches. I confess to buying the birds while my husband was in Nevada on a boy’s golf trip. It might have been a mistake on my part…but these things happen in even the best marriages!
Thanks so much to Joy for visiting my blog today… everyone else: go buy her book 😉
Find Joy online: www.joynorstrom.ca