09 February 2019

Saturday Spotlight | The Winner's Circle By PJ Colando

In addition to the usual blog posts every Monday and Wednesday about our travel adventures and day-to-day life living aboard a sailboat, I also occasionally post on Saturdays, focusing on things related to writing such as cover reveals, book launches, reviews, interviews with authors etc. So if you're a bit of a book nerd like I am, check in on Saturdays - you never know what might pop up.

Today I'm featuring an interview with PJ Colando as part of the release of her book, The Winner's Circle. Read on to find our her thoughts on writing, cookies, and penguins.

1 - What inspired you to write your books?

This is the third book in my Faith, Family, Frenzy! series. The small rural community and its three female protagonists directly mirror the midwestern heartland communities where I grew up. I love the characters, activities, and world I've created. It shelters me from these turbulent, hyper-polarized times.

Three years ago, there was a half-billion dollar lottery ‘in play’ in that Upper Midwest area… My husband and I had an actual discussion of what we’d do with the loot if we won, as well as how much was ‘enough’ of a pay-out for our actions items, which included funding for charities and church.

And then, we went on an inspired, outlandishly-expensive trip Down Under… We thought, “That’s it! One of the ladies wins the mega-millions and the gang travels Down Under!” The working title for the novel was Cash to Dash… Down Under.

2 - Do you have any writing rituals?

I’ve actively blogged, at least once per week, since 2012, and post to my author site https://www.pjcolando.com I consider it my appointment to write and it proves the axiom that, if you wish to improve your writing, just sit your butt in the chair religiously, ritually, and do it!

3 - What's more important - character or plot?

My characters ARE the plot. The antics of my protagonists, who hurt and love and squabble and interact, are often lively, always intriguing to me. I call myself a Plodder, in the universal ‘controversy’ between Pantsers and Plotters. I personally like just starting to write and see where the characters take the story and then, like every mother, knows, the ‘children' run to me to fix their ’situations.” They keep me guessing and give me problems to solve - and so, I adore them.

4 - What do you like best about being an author? What do you like the least?

I love everything about writing as I explore what I know to be a gift, provided to me/for me by my highly literate parents. I used to agonize over revisions and edits as suggested by beta readers, but now I look forward to that process, too. I love my characters and spending time with them! I retired from a successful and demanding private practice as a speech-language pathologist, so “I’ve got nothing but time” (and a little talent) to devote to my ‘encore career.

5 - What's your favorite cookie? If you don't like cookies, what's wrong with you? Oops, sorry scratch that. My follow-up question was meant to be more polite - "Why don't you like cookies?"

My favorite cookies are Snicker Doodles and Ginger Snaps - because one grandmother specialized in Snicker Doodles and the other specialized in Ginger Snaps. I specialized in eating the cookies.

6 - A penguin walks through your front door wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why did he come visit you?

“Here’s your frozen margarita, PJ.” I drain the drink and return to my keyboard. Because, after all, I am an insecure writer and just one frozen margarita won’t be the cure.

7 - What else would you like us to know about you?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t call your readers to action: My book, The Winner’s Circle, is available in multiple formats on multiple buy sites. While I don’t need/want to be a best-selling author, my husband would like for me to be a good-selling author. He’s mildly annoyed that my ‘elegant hobby’ is draining our savings.



When Bonnie wins the Boffo Lotto, her circle of friends urge her to lawyer up, invest, and sequester herself. But secrets are inconceivable in small towns, so Bonnie invites her close friends to witness her Vegas wedding and honeymoon in Hawaii with endless vagabond beyond. The sky’s the limit! 

The allure of travel is fun for a while—hilarious, in fact. But when the husbands are jailed on the group’s first day in Sydney, Australia, wanderlust is no longer a romp, and things get complicated when you’re halfway round the world, untethered from all you know and love. 

Life has its consequences… and there’s no place like home. 

With your circle of friends.


The Winner's Circle is available in ebook, paperback, and hardcover on Amazon, Kobo and Barnes & Noble.


PJ Colando was born and raised in the Midwest, yet unabashedly aspired for
adventure elsewhere, following her parents’ model. She lives in southern
California with her family, hobbies, and pets.

PJ writes comedy and satire with a literary bent. She is the author of
three previous novels, with short stories, personal essays, and articles
published in journals, magazines, and anthologies.

Follow her on her blog and on Facebook.

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  1. This is such a great interview, thank you for sharing!


  2. Thank you for the compliment, Gina! Do you read Adventure? Travel? Chick Lit? Small town & rural? Humor & satire? My book, The Winner's Circle is all of these genres, compressed into one improbable lottery win tale... try it, you might like it! And, you will laugh a lot.

  3. Yes, it's all fun and games until someone lands in jail. This sounds like a grand adventure, i hope all's well that ends well.

  4. Good Sunday morning! And, thanks for your comment. Of course, an author must say "Buy the book and find out..." A lesson learned by these adventurous peeps is while there's fun and friendship amidst the calamities abroad, there's no place like Home.

  5. Lol! The elegant 'writing' hobby does seem like a savings drainer (luckily, my husband avoids our finances like the plague hehe!) I have The Winner's Circle on my TBR list. Hopefully, I can get to it before too long. It sounds amazing.

  6. Cool article! I'm also a freelance writer, most of my time i write essays for money, so when it comes to a writing rituals, i guess, i have one - checking my schedule to prioritize writing task. Ofcourse, checking my twitter every 5 minuts is also a kind of a ritual)


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