Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Interview with Joyce Hertzoff, author of The Crimson Orb

Where are you from and what do you do when you’re not writing?

I was born in NYC and grew up there, but I've also lived in Ohio. In 2008, my husband and I retired to New Mexico.

Besides writing, I love to read and knit, and I also crochet. I watch too much TV. We're still exploring the southwest and take trips to various parts of this state and the nearby ones.

How did you come up with the idea for this book/series?

I've always loved reading fantasy (in addition to mysteries and science fiction), but for The Crimson Orb, I wanted to combine that with my passion for encouraging girls and women who won't be denied the same opportunities boys and men have.

Tell us about the writing process—what were your favorite and least favorite moments?

I usually outline the first few chapters of my stories, but I'm definitely a pantser. I let my characters take me where they will. My favorite moments are those epiphanies when the perfect title or a wicked twist to a story comes to me. My least favorite are when I write myself into a corner, based on something my characters insisted I do, and I don't know how to get them or me out of it.

What’s your favorite cure for writer’s block?

One thing I do is look out my office window at the nearby mountains and then describe the scene and think up a way to put my characters in it.

Can you please share an excerpt? 

This is from the beginning of The Crimson Orb:

Coming in June!
I sat on a carved wooden bench in my favorite corner in the vegetable garden, watching the boys at their morning sword practice with my father and wishing I was out there with them. My brother Blane, nineteen years old and blond like Father, was easily besting the Duke's son Kerr, as he usually did.

My favorite of the pure black cats inhabiting the Manor jumped up on my lap, licked a paw, then curled up and promptly fell asleep. It was that kind of warm summer day when, if I wasn't with the boys, I didn't want to do anything more than sit in the shade of the old apple tree, inhaling its sweet scent. Since I was ten I've dreamed of learning to feint and parry, thrust and slice like Blane, Kerr, and my other brother Donal. But I'm a girl and it wasn't seemly.

Girls of ten to twenty were relegated to the sewing room, where Jannet, the governess and seamstress, taught us the fine art of needlepoint. I couldn't sew a straight line to save myself, and I really wasn't interested in learning. Our only other lessons were in the kitchens. Cook, whose name was Bridey although no one ever called her anything but 'Cook', not even her husband, taught us to boil an egg and make soup from whatever was available. That wasn't so bad, because we could eat what we made and no one else was the wiser when it tasted awful.
What’s your next/current writing project? 

In addition to revising the sequel to The Crimson Orb and writing book 3, I'm working on one other fantasy series, a romantic mystery story, and three fanfictions.

Here’s a totally random question for you: You’ve been accepted into an exclusive school for assassins. You must choose one of three courses for your first semester: A) 10,000 Ways to Poison Your Dinner Guests B) The Lost Art of Falling Pianos and Anvils or C) Death by Snu Snu. (*See this clip:

C. Definitely C! 


Joyce Hertzoff earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the City University of New York, and spent forty-five years in the scientific information publishing business as a translator and indexer. For twenty years, she was a manager of other scientists and watched as the business evolved from the printing of paper journals to electronic processing and production.

After retiring in 2008 and moving to the southwest with her husband, she left scientific writing behind and turned her efforts to fiction. She participated in the National Novel Writing program for the first time that year and has continued with the program every year since. She is a member of Southwest Writers and Writers Village University.

 Her mini flash mystery, Natural Causes, appears in the anthology The Darwin Murders and a fantasy short story, Princess Petra, is included in the anthology The Way Back.

Look for The Crimson Orb, the first book in a new fantasy series, in June 2014.

Contact Joyce:


  1. Mysti, thanks for a great interview and for helping me spread the word about my novel.

  2. Great inteview, Joyce and Mysti. Thanks.

  3. Good interview, ladies. I'm looking forward to reading The Crimson Orb.

  4. I love your final questions you're posing in your interviews, Mysti.


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