I met Joanie Shawhan with some mutual friends for lunch several times to talk about our writing dreams, before either of us ever got published. I instantly fell in love with her bubbly personality. She’s gone through the shadow of ovarian cancer and her passion to help others going through cancer is inspiring. I asked her about her writer’s journey.
When did you decide that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?
I had journaled for years, but I had never planned to be an author. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006, that I realized I had something to say that would be helpful to others going through chemotherapy. I searched for ovarian cancer survivors, but there were no ovarian cancer support groups. I wondered if there were any other survivors. So, I started writing the book I would have liked when I went through chemotherapy—a book with stories that validated my experience, concluding each chapter with a scripture and a prayer.
What’s your pet peeve?
Book series in which I have to read the next book to find out how the main conflict is resolved.
What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?
In my first review of a friend’s piece, I gave a one-star when I meant to give 5 stars, but the program used for the review would not allow me to change my stars.
What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?
Since I had no experience in the writing and publishing world, I needed to learn the craft of writing and the publishing industry so I attended numerous writing conferences and joined a writing critique group.
How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?
Rejections are hard. How could they not like my book baby? I have to realize that the rejections are not personal, but often related to their business goals. Sometimes negative reviews or comments are just personal preferences. But the reviewer may also make a valid point which I can use to improve my writing.
What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?
My new release, In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer, which chronicles my ovarian cancer journey and the cancer stories of eleven other women.
What is your current work in process?
Lessons I learned from my spiritual mother.
Bio: Joanie Shawhan is an ovarian cancer survivor and a registered nurse. She writes articles and encouragement for women undergoing chemotherapy. Publishing credits include The Upper Room, Coping with Cancer Magazine, God Still Meets Needs and In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer. She is involved in an ovarian cancer social group, The Fried Eggs—Sunny-Side up and speaks to medical students about ovarian cancer in the Survivors Teaching Students program. When not attending one of her two book clubs or her writing critique group, Joanie enjoys designing jewelry, swimming and knitting.
Find Joanie at these online locations!
Newsletter: blog on my website: https://joanieshawhan.com/blog/
Amazon Page: amazon.com/author/joanieshawhan
Latest book release: March 2019: In Her Shoes: Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer
Available on Amazon https://amzn.to/2TaEiZz