Monday Morning Author Interview – Joe Courtemanche

I’m excited to introduce you to one-of-a-kind Joe Courtemanche. He’s a writer, a blogger, and…Santa?

Joe C.Where did you grow up?  I was born on the East Side of Saint Paul. My teenage years were spent in Mendota Heights. I am back in Saint Paul, and still not quite grown up.

What are some memories you have of that area?    The East Side was a “tough” but friendly place when I grew up. No guns, but you might get punched in the face from time-to-time. That’s all changed. I do remember the semi-rural yards in some areas with pear trees, the abandoned “haunted” house by the little league field on Third Street, and the Tasty Freeze that was just at the very edge of where my parents would let me ride my bike without them.

What did you want to be when you grew up?   I wanted to be an Admiral or a General in the Navy or Marine Corps…. I made it to Second Class Petty Officer. Not quite, but close enough for me.
What do you love about living in Minnesota? What don’t you like about living here?   Fall is the best season of all with the c colors. And as a Santa Claus, the snow makes my appearances special. For the same reasons I’m ready to vamoose – I hate the snow once December 26th rolls around and I have cold-weather asthma. So warm is better!

Tell us about your writing journey.   I always enjoyed public speaking, and part of that is “writing in your head.” But my journey included two or three novels that never made it past Chapter 3. Still on the hard drive. A few years ago I was sitting in church on a Sunday, just before services began I had an idea. Lots of Christian authors say that “God told me to write this book.” I don’t say that – I was merely his typist. He gave me a great book to write. I did a lousy job putting it down. But I’m fixing that now.

My second book was more “God inspired” than “God given” and it’s done well in contests and critiques. It recently took BlueRidge1place in the Athanatos Ministries Christian Novel Contest 2013. That was a big honor. Tentatively it’s titled “Assault on Saint Agnes” but who knows what an agent or publisher will do with the name?

Networking in St. Louis with Michael Joshua, Stacy Monson, Beverly Snyder, Julie Klassen, Emily Carlson, Delores Topliff
Networking in St. Louis with Michael Joshua, Stacy Monson, Beverly Snyder, Julie Klassen, Emily Carlson, Delores Topliff

Congratulations! That’s quite an achievement. So what’s a lesson you’ve learned along your writing journey? Has anything surprised you?   I’m not nearly as smart as I seem. I found out that writing requires a lot of hard work. Surprisingly it requires a lot of social networking just to get to the point where it might get published.

What have you found most difficult?   Reading what I’ve written with a critical eye. My mind fills in the blanks and fixes the mistakes before I recognize them and correct them on paper.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received so far?   Get a good bunch of people to critique your work and don’t argue with them. Humbly accept their input.

That really is good advice but it’s sure not easy to do! Do you have an agent? If not, what’s been your process as you look for one?   No agent yet, two that are considering me. It’s hard to pitch yourself at them at conferences but it’s also a good measure of what you have inside. The whole Christian genre is a tough market and you have to wear your “big-boy-pants” every time you head out the door.

What other writing do you do?   I blog several times a week at and guest blog on other blogs occasionally. I also torment the world from my Facebook author page:  My latest foray is on twitter @joecourtemanche but so far nobody seems to care. Drat.

I care!!  🙂   Tell us about what you are currently working on.   I just started aBlueRidge1 new novel about human trafficking and slavery. I’m blaming Alton Gansky for the idea, it came up in a class with him at the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference. I’m rather frantically trying to flesh it out before I get a chance to meet some acquisition editors in two weeks.  It’s a great story, but just bare bones right now.

healinghaitilogo-150x150What are your future plans and goals around writing?   I would love to retire to Haiti, do missionary work and write full time.

I imagine you’ll do just that. Is there something you’d like to experience in Minnesota that you haven’t yet?  Just one election guided by God, not the media.

Hmm. The Haiti dream will probably come true long before that. What’s something most people don’t know about you?  I wear Easter Bunny ears at work?  Nah. That I speak Arabic.

For some reason, I’m datrabbitthinking the Easter Bunny ears thing is true…

Thanks for being here, Joe! I have a feeling that agent connection is right around the corner.

Please leave a comment for Joe, or visit him on any of his social media sites.

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