J is for Joy, as in author J.L. Campbell

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer/blogger and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow bloggers/writers better through their workspace and writing habits. I also wanted my bloggy friends to share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome J.L. Campbell. She’s the author of  that suspense romance novel Contraband, and an avid blogger who juggles several blogging sites:






Welcome, Joy!


Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

Joy Campbell

Thanks so much for hosting me! To tell you a bit about me, I’m the office manager-cum-administrator for the Jamaica Golf Association. Though I write Young Adult fiction, my heart is with Romantic Suspense. In the talent area, I enjoy cake baking and decorating. I sing with a choir, but have more passion than skill.

On Workspace

1. Where do you do most of your writing?

I used to be able to write freehand and then transfer to the computer. These days, time is limited, so I type straight to the computer. If an idea hits and I’m not within reach of a computer, I’ll make notes on whatever is in my handbag.

Joy’s workspace

2. Where did you get your desk? How did you go about arranging your work area?

I got it the desk from a furniture store. I had a bigger one, but it couldn’t fit comfortably in the bedroom anymore, so I moved it downstairs. I’ve been promised an office, once the upstairs verandah gets some windows put into it.

Joy’s workspace

3. What are some important things on your desk? Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

Since my current desk is too small to hold much of anything, all I have is the pile of paper I’m working with on current projects, and that takes on a life of its own.  My pencil cup sits on the window ledge and there’s the trusty pencil box that holds everything else.

Behind me is a shelf with craft books, dictionaries and manuscripts.

Joy’s bookshelf

I really don’t need anything specific, but I do like stuff (which I keep at work because my son likes to capture and destroy) such as characters from animated films and pens that are also ostriches. I also like unique pencil cups. If there is anything I must have it’s an ergonomic keyboard. I use one at work and at home. My computer got zapped in a power surge last night, so making space to use laptop and the ergo keyboard I like is a challenge.

4. What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I like to think I’m watching television while I write, but I don’t. Not really. Still, I’m a CSI junkie, so as I write this, guess what’s on USA? I have half a dozen thumb drives, but since I discovered Dropbox, I’m not as vigilant at backing up, since I can access my files anywhere once I’m on the internet. I’ll probably have a meltdown the day Dropbox fails. Staplers do come in handy, but I usually have to ask my son to lend me one of mine.

5. What’s your writing beverage? What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

My writing nook is upstairs, so I try not to take anything up besides water. In the daytime though, if I’m low on energy, I like Arizona Herbal Tea.

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author? Who inspired you to write?

Hard to say, but if forced to choose one writer, I’d say Jeffrey Archer. I’m not sure where the inspiration came from to write, but I thank my mother for encouraging me to read. I stopped writing for more than twenty years and started again by writing articles which I sold online. I wrote a short story and another writer encouraged me to try my hand at fiction and I did just that .

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like? Do you have any writing-related rituals or quirks?

I don’t write the way other people do. I have periods where I don’t write at all, so I don’t have a set ritual. When I am writing, I find it helps if I do some critiques before I write my own chapters.

3. Do you write everyday? How many hours a day do you spend writing? What are some of your worst writing distractions?

No, I don’t write every day. I don’t understand why I don’t considering I have too many story ideas. I’m in editing mode now, namely doing a final reading before sending off the novel. My worse distraction—and maybe this is why I don’t write as much as I should—is ADSL and social networks. When I had to dial up years ago, I got a lot more writing done.

4. Why do you write?

I enjoy making up stories and I’m moved when people read them and find meaning in my words that I didn’t see on a conscious level.

5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us? How about a favorite writing quote?

For anyone who wants to write fiction, my best advice is to learn the craft. I wrote my first novel before I knew what I was doing. Having written Contraband in a few months, I spent nearly five years editing it to the point where I felt it was good enough for me to seek a publisher.

This quote is more of a lecture, but it’s a good reminder when I think I can’t do what I need to.

If you can’t find the time to write, that’s just nonsense. My friend Mary Higgins Clark had five kids and was widowed—that’s a woman who had no time to write. And she still used to wake up and write and then get the kids up. There’s always time to write. You can skip the TV show you’re watching, you can wake up an hour earlier, you can write during lunch—you always have time to write.

If your life is so full of other things that you don’t have time to write, then writing isn’t a priority and you’re not a writer. There’s nothing wrong with that, but face that fact. Don’t tell me you don’t have time to write.

~ Harlan Coben, Best Selling Author


Thanks, Joy, for giving us a glimpse into your writing life.

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

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58 Responses to “Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Joy Campbell”

  1. jabblog uk says:

    Fascinating interview. I hope Joy gets her study soon – she deserves it:-)

  2. What a grand room Joy is sitting in!

    Joy, how do you keep up with all your blogs?

  3. gay clodgo says:

    Thanks, it encouraged me to be more disciplined

  4. Chihuahua0 says:

    Hey! I think my dad used to have that kind of desk.

  5. Nutschell, thanks so much for hosting me today. I
    hope I get my study soon too.
    I don’t do a lot on the blogs most times. Only two are active frequently.
    Thanks so much to you all for commenting and thanks again, Nutschell!

  6. Nikki says:

    Hello! Thank you for your comment!

    Great post, I love reading about people. It was sweet with the answers and pictures together :)

    Nikki – inspire nordic

  7. I used J for Joy as well, but in a slightly different way. Lord if I had to show you my workspace it would scare the children!!

  8. Chris Fries says:

    As always, Nutschell, you’ve created a wonderful post for the letter J. It’s great to meet Joy and learn of another writer’s approach to their craft.

    Wonderful A-to-Z series and fabulous blog!

  9. Karen Strong says:

    I always love Writer Workspace posts. :) Love the Harlan Coben quote. It IS so true.

    Thanks Joy for sharing your space with us.

  10. Jack Edwards says:

    This is a great post. It’s good to see how other writers work.

  11. Love your home and writing space. I have seen you a lot around the bloggisphere today. Congrats!

  12. This is a fascinating series! That quote always gets me since I have five kids too.

  13. Nancy says:

    A talented lady and interesting post! :)

  14. This is a great interview – I love learning about work habits and tools that other writers keep on hand. Even little details like what she drinks while she is writing are fascinating!

  15. mooderino says:

    Great interview. i agree, I used to have a lot more time to write when I had a worse intenet connection. Maybe I should try to get back on dial up.


  16. Sonnia says:

    Thanks for passing by my blog page. I’m happy to meet another Pinay blogger. Kumusta ka na? Hope you’re having a great week.

    A Ladybug’s Life


  17. Leslie Rose says:

    NIce to meet Joy. I love the sneek peeks into other writers’ processes and where they create. Thanks for popping by my blog.

  18. Elisa says:

    Oh, I love your website! The interview was great, personal and interesting. Going to follow. :)

  19. Thanks for the interview. It helps to see/hear that other writers struggle with the same concerns and thoughts. I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for visiting my blog at http://www.dianeweidenbenner.com (IN MY OWN WORDS). Happy blogging!

  20. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. I’ll be seeing you around the blogosphere.

  21. Linda says:

    What an interesting interview! Another writer to check out! Thanks for visiting my blog – this A-Z lark is fun, isn’t it? LindaK

  22. Jenny says:

    What a great interview and I loved the accompanying pictures! What a talented lady. Thank you both for sharing your time with the rest of us and letting us learn more about you.

  23. Rebecca Hart says:

    Great post. I enjoyed getting an inside peek into another writer’s havens. Very neat to see how others set up their working/writing world.

  24. It’s great to find out a bit more about Joy, whose blog I follow and love. Love that writing space! There’s a lot to be said for keeping it minimal–way fewer distractions. And that Harlan Coben quotation: So. Very.True.

  25. Great interview. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  26. Great post! What great pics and what a great gift Joy has! That quote/lecture is awesome!! I only have one blog and I feel like crying some days. You rock! Thanks Nut for this wonderful series.

  27. Jean says:

    Off to find out more about Joy.

  28. gail says:

    What a lovely interview!

  29. Gr8 to learn more about Joy
    she’s an awesome lady
    excited for Contraband

  30. Rhia Roberts says:

    Thank you for coming to my blog. What a lovely feature on Joy Campbell. I’d love to be featured…if you feature authors of books for children (controlled-readers [where the difficulty level is controlled] teaching Dr. Phil’s life strategies in African-adventure chapter books for 2-5 graders). You can download Book 1, The Journey Begins, free at dr-rhia.com if you’re interested. I really like the look and feel of this blog…well done.
    Rhia from Five Minute Piece for Inspiration (around # 800 on the A through Z list)

  31. Joy, I hope Dropbox never fails you!

  32. .jessica. says:

    Great post! This is such a great idea, and a great way to get to know other writers. And it’s certainly inspiring me to want to improve my own writing space.

    Nice to meet you through A to Z, and looking forward to keeping up with your blog!

  33. Jemi Fraser says:

    Great choice for J! Love the pics :)

    That is a fabulous quote! True too. We do always find time for the things we love!

  34. I like a utilitarian workspace. It’s not about the stuff so much as what’s going on in the mind. My area is a mess (of course, so is my manuscript at this time, but I’d much rather clean it up than my room.)

  35. k~ says:

    This was a nice introduction to someone I was glad to see more of. Thanks Nutschelle :-)

  36. Donna says:

    Great interview!

  37. Wonderful post and interview. I especially liked the quote at the end. Thanks for visiting my blog and I hope you’re enjoying the April challenge!

  38. Jocelyn Rish says:

    Fun interview. I like seeing pictures of other people’s workspaces to get an idea about what to do about creating one for me. Currently I just either sit on the couch or my bed with the laptop, and it’s murder on my back.

    Wishing you continued success with the A to Z challenge,

  39. I love learning how other writers write.

  40. Hilary says:

    Hi Nutschell and Joy .. great to read and find out some more – Golf – eh?! Hope you get your windows soon and thus office space .. Cheers to you both .. Hilary

  41. Thanks so much to all of you for commenting and thanks so much for hosting me, Nutschell.

  42. Pamela says:

    I’m stopping by from the A to Z Challenge and you can imagine my surprise to see that your J is for J.L. Campbell. I have read this novel and was truly impressed. Great way to support authors by having a weekly platform to share authors with your audience.

    Still Dating My Spouse

  43. deniz says:

    Lovely to find out more about you, Joy!

Your COMMENTS Brighten Up My Writing Days!