Joy Fielding

Letter from Joy

March 3, 2018

Hi, everyone,

And apologies - again - for being late. I think I'm going to try to get this letter out at the beginning of every month instead of later. Maybe that will work better. I actually have a bit of an excuse this time. My email server was down and I couldn't get my letter out. It's too long to do over the phone - it would take me forever, but thankfully AOL got the problem fixed and we're up and running again.

My book is out! Yes, THE BAD DAUGHTER is now available at bookstores and in ebook form - you can get ebooks through my site, if you prefer - and I hope you'll all read it and enjoy it. Please let me know what you think. Advance reviews have been stellar, and I'm hoping for more of the same in the few print outlets left that still review books. You can sample a chapter right here on my site. I'm also busy at work on my next novel, and I'm VERY excited about it. But that's at least a year from now…

We're down in Florida after spending most of February in Toronto. Nice to be back in the warm sunshine, although most of last month was rather mild. We even had a few days that were quite warm. I actually saw people out in shirtsleeves, which I thought was a bit much, but it was nice to see anyway. Of course there were also a number of days that were bitter cold. Hopefully spring will arrive sooner than later. Anyway, Florida is lovely, and we played golf today for the first time in a month, and even though I didn't score very well, I was hitting the ball better than I have in a while. It was my putting that let me down. It seems that just when you get one part of your game going, the other part decides to leave. Maybe one day, I'll get it all together. Still, it was fun to play, although it was very windy.

I've brought a number of books down with me: THE FINAL GIRLS, which I'm in the middle of. But I'm getting increasingly impatient with it. The characters do things no sensible human being would, so I stop believing them. And I think believing your characters is key to making you care about them and what happens to them. Nothing these characters are doing makes sense to me, so I'm not sure I'll bother finishing the book. The other books I've brought to Florida to read are THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, CITY OF ENDLESS NIGHT, and TRUMPOCRACY by fellow Canadian and former George W. Bush speechwriter, David Frum. I'm also looking forward to doing tons of different puzzles, although I have to be careful because they tend to take over my life, and nothing else gets done. And then there's Scrabble…

Of course the Oscars are tomorrow and I'll be glued to my TV, even though there are so many award shows that come before that the suspense has more or less vanished in terms of who the winners will be. My personal choices are 3 Billboards for Best Picture, Frances McDormand for Best Actress, Daniel Kaluuya for Best Actor, Sam Rockwell for Best Supporting Actor, Allison Janney for Best Supporting Actress, and Guillermo Del Toro for Best Director. Looking forward to seeing Jimmy Kimmel and all the fashions.

As for other movies, I have to confess there's not a lot out there I want to see. My husband and I took our gorgeous grandchildren to see "Black Panther" which was a colossal mistake. At five and eight, they were too young. I had cleared it with my daughter and son-in-law, and they'd seen it and thought it would be all right. But they found it too violent and it scared them. At one point, my grandson, Hayden, horrified, shouted - "He killed his brother?!!!" and Skylar announced that she was going to close her eyes and think about stuffies! That's when I decided it was time to leave. So we missed the last hour, but that's okay. Superhero movies aren't really my thing.

As for TV, have you been watching The Bachelor? I have to confess that I have, God only knows why. It's been a horrible season. Bachelor Ari is a total dud, and I don't know what the producers are thinking, because he's coming off as a total cad. No, worse than a cad - a sociopath! He totally manipulates the women, going from one to the next and telling each he loves them, leading them on, only to dump them. I don't think he's coming off well at all. He can barely string two words together, other than "I love that." So, not only boring but a real stinker. No wonder Emily didn't pick him. And as for his renowned kissing technique, as my daughter, Shannon, says, "He's a one-trick pony." Can we please get someone with a little personality on next time? And can we actually see these people having conversations that aren't necessarily about "the relationship"? Who talks about "the relationship" all the time - if at all - when they're dating? It would be nice to hear people actually discuss issues, and not just inane chatter and kissing all the time. The women aren't much better. Ari got rid of all the interesting ones, perhaps knowing that he would bore them to tears within weeks. He's left with the two most vacuous ones, pretty enough to be sure, but almost as empty-headed as he is. My guess is he'll end up with the blonde. My other complaint about the show is that everyone keeps saying they're afraid to be hurt. Enough of this! Don't go on the show if you're afraid of being rejected. The odds are not in your favor and you should know that going in. Just have a good time and stop whining.

Of course I'm also watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the show that gives women everywhere a bad name. I'm constantly amazed that people can be so petty and that women with this much money feel such a need to let everyone know how much money they have. Dorit, do you really need a rose-gold Rolls? Wouldn't a black one be just as nice? Erika, do you have to wear clothes covered in the designer's initials? You're such a beautiful and funny woman on your own. My husband watched one night with me and summed it up thus: "A bunch of self-absorbed women with too much money and too much time on their hands." Still, I watch - although one night was all my husband could stomach - and I have to confess that I quite like Erika, Kyle, and Lisa V. And Lisa R. makes for good TV.

Now that we're back in Florida, of course, my TV watching is as much of the original Law & Order as I can find. Luckily it's on almost all the time, and even though I've seen most episodes many times, it still beats most of everything else that's on today.

Not expecting any company this trip, as my daughter, Annie, started a new job and won't be able to get away. When I told Hayden we were leaving, he said, "You mean you're going to Florida without us ?!" It is hard being away from them for five weeks. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are renting a place nearby for the month, so we'll see a fair bit of them, and of course, we'll get to see all our Florida friends, but it will be strange to have the house all to ourselves for such an extended period. Gives me lots of time to think up new ideas and work out some of the problems my latest characters seem to be having.

So, that's about it for now. I'll write again at the beginning of next month. Meanwhile, get reading THE BAD DAUGHTER, and let me know your thoughts.