Author Accelerator Member Spotlight: Joan Fernandez

Celebrating a writer’s success

Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash

We’d like to introduce , one of our Author Accelerator members. Joan recently finished her manuscript. We invited her to sit down for a little interview to talk about his experience. So without further ado, here is Joan Fernandez!


Q: Okay, Joan, can we have the basics about your project and your book coach?

Joan: My book, The Artist’s Witness, is a historical fiction novel. I worked with book coach, Sheila Athens.


Q: How long did you work with Author Accelerator on this manuscript?

Joan: I have been working on this project with Author Accelerator for 16 months.


Q: How does it feel to have finished?

Joan: Sensational. These last few weeks I’ve felt the end coming and I couldn’t help it, I was getting a little bit happy, feeling a tail wind begin to whip up at my back. The head-rush came when my book coach wrote back, “Woot!” then I got giddy.


Q: What did you do to celebrate?

Joan: My husband popped champagne and the cat danced a jig. Then I sat down and wrote a blog about it. As friends read the blog I got to answer email after email, and text after text thanking people for their support.


Q: What’s next for your book?

Joan: Four things: Research to fill in gaps I discovered while writing. Revision — I’m going to use Jennie’s Stoplight Method. Marketing/author platform stuff I had to put on hold just to get the ms done. Lastly, a trip to Europe to poke around the places my characters did…wish the IRS would let me write off this last one!


Q: What are the next steps in your writing career?

Joan: Be profoundly grateful that I’m on this journey to tell a story with a message that I think needs to be told. AND (on the practical side) get another revision under my belt, consider another book coach, strive toward a pitch-worthy, “good enough” manuscript.


Q: Why would you recommend coaching?

Joan: For me, the best way to make progress on something very difficult (like writing a book), is to have accountability to an external person who will give quick feedback so that I can make real-time corrections and still move forward. For instance, there were a few chapters I messed up so badly that I told my coach I wanted to rewrite them immediately..not wait for the revision process. My coach also cheered me on with encouragement when I felt overwhelmed. The steady cadence of regularly submitting pages to someone who is committed to my story made me feel I was not alone.

Q: Do you have anything you would like to share about the coaching process or your coach specifically?

Joan: In this write-my-first-book journey I took the intense 3-day Blueprint (Oct 2017) to start to get my head around my story. In Feb 2018 I started in with an Author Accelerator book coach. We suspended the coaching so I could do Story Genius (SG), then picked up with Author Accelerator again until finishing this month. Sheila Athens was my book coach for both SG and completing the ms — really think she’s great with tough love and clear feedback.

Connect with Joan: website | twitter | instagram

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us, Joan. And again, congrats on your huge accomplishment!