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Debut Author Joan Long Launches The Finalist

Debut author Joan Long launches The Finalist

Author Interview + Book & Author Info

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The Finalist by Debut Author Joan Long

Debut Author Joan LongFive authors, each with their own secrets, are chosen to complete a deceased novelist’s unfinished manuscript.

For single mom Risa Marr, the competition is the opportunity of a lifetime. At stake is a million dollars and a contract to continue the famous novelist’s bestselling thriller series.

Transported to the tropical paradise of Key Island, the finalists are cut off from the world and given seven days to draft their best ending for the book. But when one of them turns up dead, theories and accusations abound.

Accident? Suicide? Or Murder? To what lengths will competitors go to win? And who, if anyone, will leave the island alive?

To purchase The Finalist, click on any of the following links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, IndieBound, Books-A-Million, Bookshop & Apple Books

The Interview with Debut Author Joan Long

The Finalist features author Risa Marr. Tell us about your protagonist:

Risa Marr is a recently-single mom who is struggling financially. She enters a writing competition in hopes of better providing for her three-year-old daughter.

You love tropical places. Describe Key Island for us:

Imagine a white-sand beach, the rhythmic sounds of the surf, and palm fronds blowing in a warm breeze. Key Island is a secluded retreat far from the bustle of a busy world. It’s the perfect destination for a tropical vacation—unless you’re stranded there with a killer.

Tell us about your path to publication for The Finalist:

It took almost exactly five years from getting the idea for my novel to finally being offered a contract.

My journey to publication was anything but smooth. I wrote (and rewrote!) the story, queried agents, and pitched the manuscript at conferences. Two of the editors I pitched invited me to submit, and I eventually signed a contract with one of them.

What’s your writing process like? Are you an outliner or an organic writer or somewhere in between?

I always begin with a general outline that includes major plot points. As my characters come to life, I revise extensively.

What are we likely to find you doing when you aren’t writing murder mysteries?

Even when I’m not writing, I’m often developing stories in my mind. But I also enjoy spending time with my family, taking long walks, playing Mah jongg with friends, reading, and streaming movies.

What are you working on now?

My work-in-progress is a suspense novel set in Florida, close to the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.

Words of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers:

Before beginning a novel, I’d suggest writing a logline that identifies 1) the main character, 2) the problem or obstacle, and 3) what’s at stake.

Then write the best book you can write.

Great advice! Best of luck with your launch!

Debut Author Joan Long — Author of The Finalist

Joan Long is the author of the locked-room-style mystery The Finalist. She is a third-generation Floridian who earned a degree in English/Creative Writing from Florida State University and a graduate degree in Journalism and Communications from The University of Florida.

She has written for universities, public television, healthcare corporations, a magazine and more, but most enjoys writing mysteries and suspense.

Joan’s short story “The Extra Ingredient” is published in the Anthony Award-winning anthology Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible.

To learn more about Joan, click on any of the following links: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Bookbub & Goodreads


Elena Taylor is the author of All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio book format at all your favorite bookstores and on-line retailers.

For more information on All We Buriedclick on the link here to visit the home page.

Silver Falchion Award Finalist, Best Investigator 2020

Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery 2020




Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Joan Long

    Thank you so much for interviewing me about The Finalist!

    1. Elena Hartwell

      Great to have you visit with us! Congrats again on your debut.

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