I have really enjoyed the new Love Inspired Historicals. And here's another one. It's on the top of my to-be-read pile.
I suspect I could find some of me in all of my heroes and heroines, especially my faith and values. But my heroes and heroines are stronger and more confrontational than I am. And, they live far more exciting lives than I do. My wacky secondary characters remind me of other people. LOL Undoubtedly parts of me are in these characters, too. I may not have experienced all the difficulties I put my characters through, but I’ve had enough ups and downs in life to write about their struggles in a way that I hope feels real to the reader.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Writing books. :-) To sit down and make up people who then carry on conversations in my head is quirky. Just ask my husband.
Oh, yes, my husband has told me that writers, "think weird." When did you first discover that you were a writer?
At twelve I wrote and illustrated little romances. My friends noticed and wanted to read my stories. They must’ve given me positive feedback because from that point on I knew I’d write books one day.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I enjoy biographies. I also like to read books that motivate and challenge me to be a better person. I love happy endings so romance novels are at the top of my fiction list. I read contemporaries and suspense, but my favorites are historical romances. I’m not a fan of thrillers and fantasy.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
My first book was set on a ranch in Texas. I spent a year revising that manuscript, but it will never get into print without another major overhaul. The second book I wrote morphed into Courting Miss Adelaide. The sequel, Courting the Doctor’s Daughter, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical, will release in May 2009. I’d also written two other historical novels and a partial of a lady lit, bringing the total of books I wrote before I sold to four books.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Prayer. When I start my day with prayer, I’m strengthened for the challenges ahead. Plus prayer helps me remember God is in control of my life and this world. I keep a journal of the needs of friends and family and use that for intercessory prayer. I tend to think negatively so I find a gratitude journal helps me focus on the many blessings and positives in my life.
My husband’s support. My husband puts skin on his emotional support by doing chores, running errands and giving me a listening ear. For the nine years it took me to sell, he never once complained about the expense of conferences, contest entry fees or writing supplies.
Family. Our children and grandchildren give us great joy and remind me of what’s important in this life.
Friends. Some writers say they’re hermits, but I’m a people person. I need to interact with friends. Often that’s by e-mail. Occasionally, I go out to lunch or share a hobby. I attend a weekly Bible study. Meeting with my critique partner, Shirley Jump, www.shirleyjump.com each week is pure joy. Having writer friends like Shirley and the Seekers (www.seekerville.blogspot.com) who understand the highs and lows of being a writer are a wonderful support.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I used a few names of my ancestors in Courting Miss Adelaide, which has been fun for my family. My brothers agreed to let me name two young boys in Courting the Doctor’s Daughter after them. Usually a name comes to me and feels right for the character. I use names to give insight into the character. If I’m stymied, I grab my baby name book or lists of the most popular names in the year my story is set.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Without question that would be rearing our daughters. They are wonderful young women of faith. I’m very proud of them and their families. Not that I’m taking credit for who they turned out to be. But I’m grateful for the privilege of being their mom.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’d be a Bichon with an owner who puts bows in my hair to keep it out of my eyes. :-) Dogs aren’t loners and neither am I.
What is your favorite food?
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
In the beginning, I made every mistake possible—POV errors, head hopping, pointless scenes, purple prose, long passages of back story and a manuscript dotted with exclamation points. Probably my biggest roadblock was not having strong external conflict. I find it easy to give my hero and heroine compelling internal conflicts, but devising book-length external conflict between them is hard for me. I wouldn’t say I’ve totally overcome it. But I’m very aware that’s a weakness of mine. I focus on developing a plot that puts the hero and heroine in conflict over tangible things. How to do that varies with each book.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Join a writers’ group. I joined American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America and RWA’s special interest chapter Faith, Hope and Love. Their conferences, online workshops, loops, and contest feedback will bring writers to their goal faster than writing in a vacuum. The friends you’ll make are a wonderful plus.
Get a savvy critique partner or join a critique group. Writers can lose our objectivity when it comes to our work. We need fresh eyes and someone who isn’t afraid to use red ink. Look at critiques with an open mind and a teachable spirit. Then if you still feel the point is wrong, don’t change it.
Develop a strong hide. If you can’t handle criticism and rejection, you’ll be miserable and may give up. Even when you sell, critiques don’t end. Editors will want revisions and will reject proposals. Reviews can hurt. Books may not win awards. We have to be tough to survive in this business.
Write. Write. Write. I wish I’d had a larger body of work when I sold. Instead of writing more books, I polished and revised and polished some more. Not that I’m against doing your best. That polished book enabled me to sell when the door opened, but if I’d had a larger inventory, I might have more books in print by now.
What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
The orphan train seemed like small-town spinster Adelaide Crum’s last chance to know the simple joys of family life. So many lost children, every one of them dreaming only of a caring home—the home she longed to offer. And yet the narrow-minded town elders refused to entrust even the most desperate child to a woman alone….
Newspaperman Charles Graves believed his heart was closed forever, but he swore to stand by this lovely, lonely woman who was fighting for the right to take some motherless child into her heart. And her gentle soul and unwavering faith made him wonder if even he could overcome the bitter lessons of the past, and somehow find the courage to love….
Romantic Times gave Courting Miss Adelaide 4 ½ stars. They called it … “a wonderfully sweet love story that includes facts about orphan trains of the 1800s.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My Web site: www.janetdean.net
Thank you, Janet for spending this time with us.
Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of Courting Adelaide.