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Featured Women's Fiction  Author   

Women of a Certain Age Rejoice
An Interview with Joan Medlicott
By Pam Kingsbury


Joan Medlicott, after two other careers, fell in love with writing. Readers have fallen in love with Medlicott's "Covington Ladies" series of novels about three women of "a certain age" spreading their wings and forging new lives for themselves. 

When and how did you start writing? 

I co-authored a non-fiction book called Celibate Wives: Breaking the Silence back in 1992 and fell in love with writing, but did not like non-fiction. I started writing a novel without any idea what I was doing, or how to do it. I was without doubt the worse member of any writing group and I loved it so much I was determined to learn. I never allowed criticism to dissuade me. I took classes, read and read books, took workshops and began to learn and grow. I hope I always will learn and grow. I was sixty-four when I began The Ladies of Covington

What did you do before you were a writer? 

I have a B.A. in history, and an M.C. in Counseling. I have been the Director of the Division of Beautification for the Virgin Islands Government. Horticulture, you might call it and then, after moving to Boca Raton, Florida, I developed all kinds of programs (not computer!) in house and for the community of The Mae Volen Senior Center in Boca Raton, where I lived for fifteen years. Writing is my third and well loved career. It came as a gift from God and I am forever grateful. 

Talk about your experiences with finding a publisher. 

To find a pub, there are rules of the game: when your novel or non-fiction book is ready to be sent out, you want to get a book on how to write a query letter and follow instructions. Then go to the library or buy a book -- Writers Market, which lists agents and their preferences. Choose about twenty-five, send them the query letter and remember to enclose a post card with your name and address and stamp on one side and on the other three boxes you make. After a box it says   "Please send ...pages of your novel Box 2. Please send me the entire novel. Box 3, I am not interested. That way an agent can check what she or he wants and you get an answer in a reasonable time. Otherwise you can wait for a very long time. 

Have you been surprised by your success and your sales? 

Yes, and grateful. 

Is there any autobiography in your writing? 

Bits and pieces, things that happen to me or to friends or others I know find their way into the novels, but it (the book) is not autobiographical in any sense. 

Would you like to talk about your personal life. 

My husband and I are married thirty five years this June -- a second marriage for both of us, and we blended a family of six kids -- three his, three mine. We have seven grandchildren. Most of our kids live between Atlanta and Raleigh, North Carolina, and one in Florida, so we see them regularly, which is great. 

Are there any more "Covington Ladies" novels in the works? 

Novel #four is already finished and novel #five is half done. There's no title yet for book four. That seems to be one of the last things that happen when the publisher is the one coming up with the name. I have two other novels, not yet published, but they will be in a year or so. One is set in Salem/Walhalla, South Carolina and is about three generations of women, about years of alienation and forgiveness. It is called Three Parker Women, and I have another novel, not of the ladies series, also to be published, called A Change in the Landscape of Love, which is a mature story with mother/daughter complications. 

Do you work in other genres? 

No I love the novel--fiction form. 


Talk about promoting your books. 

I love meeting my readers. Promotion is hard whether you are with a big publisher, small one or you self-publish.  It is hard work, lots of driving to bookstores often for one or two-three-five readers to show up. You get twenty-five people at an event, its celebration time--until you, and if you make the big time, unless your pub or your readership make you a best seller. That's where the crowds are. Authors truly pay their dues.


Joan Medlicott at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva, NC on May 11, 2002.

Visit Joan Medlicott's web site at

To contact Joan Medlicott:

Joan Medlicott
P.O. Box 355
Barnardsville, NC 28709

or email her at:

The Ladies of Covington Send Their Love
St. Martin's, 2000
ISBN: 0-312-97945-2 (paperback)
The Gardens of Covington
St. Martin's, 2001
ISBN: 0-312-98012-4 (paperback)
From The Heart of Covington
Thomas Dunne Books(St. Martin's Press), 2002
ISBN : 0-312-28555-8

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2002, Pam Kingsbury, All Rights Reserved