Tell us a bit about yourself.
Reinvention is a core theme of my own life. A cancer diagnosis at age 49 and a decision to retire at age 53 prompted me to reassess my life goals. An avid reader, I searched for fiction and nonfiction literature that would help me navigate the uncertain terrain. And then I decided to write the books I wanted to read.
In what genres do you write and what do you like about each one?
I write in several genres, among them fantasy, cozy mystery, and women’s fiction. Each of the novels can also be described as boomer lit. Reinvention is the recurring theme and will appeal primarily (but not exclusively) to boomer women and their older siblings.
Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.
No More Secrets can be described as women’s fiction with historical elements. The tagline—A tale of forbidden love, tragic losses, and reinvention—will appeal to anyone who has been dumped, deceived, or demoted.
The ebook is available on all Amazon platforms.
You manage to sneak a psychic into many of your novels. Tell us more about this special interest of yours.
In my twenties and thirties, I attended holistic fairs and visited several psychics. Each time, I would emerge fascinated and often unsettled by their uncanny insights into my life. When I encountered a plot hole with A Season for Killing Blondes, I decided to introduce a psychic who could provide the protagonist with clarity. In Between Land and Sea, a tale of a middle-aged mermaid, a psychic dominates the second half of the novel. That psychic features prominently in the sequel, The Coming of Arabella. In A Different Kind of Reunion, another psychic helps the protagonist solve the murder.
In No More Secrets, Bellastrega, a psychic companion, appears throughout the storyline. With her assistance, the protagonist recovers enough of her health to help her nieces on their life journeys.
Why did you decide to use multiple POVs in No More Secrets?
Originally, I wrote the entire novel in the first person. While revamping the storyline, I decided to add more characters and alternate between the past and present. I still wanted Angelica Delfino (protagonist) to speak in the first person, but I also needed to give her three nieces their own voices. I wanted readers to have insight into the struggles and motivations of the younger women.
What is the most surprising thing you learned about yourself through writing?
A poster child for left brainers, I assumed I would be a plotter. That had been my modus operandi throughout the 31 years of my teaching career. It didn’t take long for me to discover that I felt stymied and unmotivated whenever I approached writing in a structured way. Anything I outlined would find its way into a recycling bin. After several frustrating months, I sat down and wrote organically. Partway through the manuscript, I did experience the “sagging middle.” When that happened, I stopped to outline the next chapter.
My new label: linear pantser.
What are you currently reading?
I have eclectic tastes and love to curl up with women’s fiction, historical fiction, psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries, and self-help. I’ve just finished reading and highly recommend the following novels: The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O’Neal, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, and The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue.
If you could have a fantasy lunch date with any Canadian writer, alive or dead, who would it be?
I admire late-blooming authors who have launched successful second acts. I would love to have a fantasy lunch date with one of my Canadian favorites – Louise Penny. Each year, I wait with anticipation for her latest release. In life before COVID-19, I attended several of her author events in Southern Ontario. Equally fascinated by her storylines and personal backstory, I took notes and later reflected on her advice and insights.
Angelica Delfino takes a special interest in the lives of her three nieces, whom she affectionately calls the daughters of her heart. Sensing that each woman is harboring a troubling, possibly even toxic secret, Angelica decides to share her secrets—secrets she had planned to take to the grave. Spellbound, the nieces listen as Angelica travels back six decades to reveal an incredulous tale of forbidden love, tragic loss, and reinvention. It is the classic immigrant story upended: an Italian widow’s transformative journey amid the most unlikely of circumstances.
Inspired by Angelica’s example, the younger women share their “First World” problems and, in the process, set themselves free.
But one heartbreaking secret remains untold…
“Go,” Kelly said. “Your aunt is dying, and this could be your last opportunity to spend some quality time together.”
“Her oncologist shared good news last week,” Nora said. “Her blood counts have improved, and the cancer hadn’t spread since her last visit. He mumbled something about a miracle.”
“A miracle?” Kelly’s eyes widened. “Has your aunt been seeing a healer?”
“You could say that,” Nora said as her eyes twinkled. “Right after Christmas, she hired a companion who’s been able to transform her life. I don’t know her real name. My mother calls her Bellastrega—beautiful witch.” All recent conversations with Ma had focused on Bellastrega. Relieved not to have to share her own problems, Nora had encouraged her mother to talk about the beautiful witch who had turned all their lives upside down. Nora enjoyed the weekly updates that sounded like soap operas.
“Is she a beautiful witch?”
Nora shrugged. “My mother mentioned her dyed-blonde hair, too-skinny body, and watery eyes. She’s put Zia on a vegan diet and an exercise regimen. At Christmas, Zia needed a walker to get around, but now she’s walking freely. My mother and aunt are convinced that Bellastrega is a witch who’ll end up robbing Angelica and leaving.” Nora had tried to point out that if Bellastrega’s intention was to steal, it would make more sense to let Angelica get weaker.
“She sounds intriguing,” Kelly said. “I’d go just to meet this woman.”
“Hmm. I guess.” Nora was curious and wouldn’t mind sitting and chatting with the woman about wellness. But from Zia Angelica’s email, it sounded like Bellastrega would leave soon after everyone arrived.
“Think of it as an adventure. How many beautiful witches have you met in this lifetime?”
Amazon (Australia) – https://www.amazon.com.au/No-More-Secrets-Joanne-Guidoccio-ebook/dp/B08CVTYWWX/
A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Joanne Guidoccio writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romances, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
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