I rejoiced when Revell bought this wedding series from my special friend. Welcome, Janice. Tell us about your salvation experience.
I came to know the Lord at an early age (11) and was so anxious to follow him that I insisted the (visiting) pastor halt the service and baptize me that same day before anyone left the sanctuary! I always had a heart to follow the Lord. When I was twenty-five, I had a real “awakening” with Him. . .rededicating my life and truly falling head over heels in love with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I’ve walked with Him ever since.
You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
Well, YOU, of course, Lena. Having a writer’s retreat without you just wouldn’t do! (And I’m speaking from experience here, since we’ve “retreated” together in the past.) I would also invite Kathleen Y’Barbo (my best writing buddy), along with Linda Kozar. As for a fourth, I would love to have Nancy Jo Jenkins. There’s something about that sweet lady that just makes me smile. She’s a fabulous writer, (so I’d be able to glean a lot from her), but her gentle spirit is contagious, as well! (Can you even imagine the worship services the four of us would have?)
Totally dynamic, I'd say. Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
I started speaking in 2004 just after the release of my book HURRICANE. I went all over south Texas, speaking about the Galveston hurricane of 1900. In fact, I became something of an expert on that storm! From there, my public speaking has really taken off. In fact, I’ve learned to tailor my speeches to whatever book I happen to be selling at the moment. (And speaking of which, if any of your readers would like a copy of my lesson “Becoming a Public Speaker 101” I’m happy to send it to them. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send it!) I spoke at a reader’s group last Thursday night and had a blast. I’d love to do more of those.
She's very good. We've had her at our local chapter of ACFW, and then there were those Writer Spiritual Retreats you mentioned. What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?
Goodness, you would have to ask. I had my very first hot flash in the middle of a speaking gig. Yep. You read that right. I was in the middle of an interview in front of a roomful of strangers and all of a sudden my face heated up like a griddle and the room started spinning. I paused for about thirty seconds and, according to my writing friend, Sharen Watson, turned as red as a beet. Talk about humiliating. Worst of all, I was being interviewed by a man! So, I had to explain to him (after the fact) why I’d blipped out during the interview. He took it in stride, but it really threw me off!
People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
I would say, “What has the Lord laid on your heart?” If they could come up with a quick and ready answer, I would say, “Then take the time to learn the craft.” Though it might not seem very helpful advice, it’s actually the best advice. There are no shortcuts in this business!
That's the truth. I told an aspiring author that very thing in a meeting with her today. Tell us about the featured book?
Oh my, am I ever jazzed about this book! It’s a “diamond” to me. . .truly one of my favorite stories ever! The book is titled FOOLS RUSH IN and was published by Revell. Here’s the synopsis:
Bella Rossi may be nearing thirty, but her life is just starting to get interesting. When her Italian-turned-Texan parents hand over the family wedding planning business, Bella is determined not to let them down. She quickly books a "Boot Scoot'n" wedding that would make any Texan proud. There's only one catch—she knows nothing about country music because her family only listens to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Where will she find a DJ on such short notice who knows his Alan Jackson from his Keith Urban?
When a misunderstanding leads her to the DJ (and man) of her dreams, things start falling into place. But with a family like hers, nothing is guaranteed.
Can the perfect Texan wedding survive a pizza-making uncle with mob ties, an aunt who is a lawsuit waiting to happen, and a massive delivery of 80 cowboy boots? And will Bella ever get to plan her own wedding? Book one in the Weddings by Bella series, Fools Rush In is fun, fresh, and full of surprises. Readers will love the flavorful combination of Italian and Tex-Mex, and the hilarity that ensues when cultures clash.
I hate to play favorites, but there’s just something about this book that makes me smile—inside and out. It’s a romantic comedy and it’s written in first-person. I love the dynamics of the two families (Bella’s and D.J.’s). They’re as opposite as can be—she’s a little bit Italian, he’s a little bit country—but Mama Mia. . .what a pair!
If your readers are interested in learning more about how I came up with the story idea for the book, they can check out the Romantic Times author spotlight here: http://www.rtbookreviews.com/stage/authors_spotprev.php?id=605
Please give us the first page of the book.
If Uncle Lazarro hadn’t left the mob, I probably wouldn’t have a story to tell.
Okay, so he wasn’t actually in the mob; he only sold vacuum cleaners to a couple of guys who were. In the 70’s. In Atlantic City, New Jersey. Before I was born.
But still, mob ties are mob ties, right? And we Rossi’s certainly know how to take a little bit of yeast and puff it up into a whole loaf of bread—which means we’ve managed to elevate Uncle Lazzaro’s story to folklore status. And, why not? As my Mama always says, “A little extra spice never hurts the sauce, just gives it more flavor.”
Depending on who you ask, it was a Damascus Road experience that did it. Uncle Lazarro swears he was blinded by a bright light that drove him backwards to the ground, just like the Apostle Paul in the book of Acts.
My Aunt Bianca, God rest her soul, told the story a little differently. In her version, Uncle Lazarro was hit by a passing bus on a city street late at night while walking home from a bar in a drunken stupor. She said the headlights came at him like two glowing snake eyes just before the kiss of death. She always exaggerated her S’s when she got to the word sss. . .snake, but that only made the story more exciting.
Afterwards, Aunt B. would lift her tiny silver crucifix to her lips, give it a kiss, then roll her eyes heavenward and mouth a silent prayer of thanks to the Almighty—not just for sparing her husband’s life, but for returning both his sanity and his religion.
Regardless of whose story you believed, Uncle Lazarro ended up at the Sisters of Mercy hospital in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where the nuns got a hold of him and led him to the Lord. He called it a Come to Jesus meeting, and his eyes filled with tears every time he spoke of it.
According to my dad, my uncle gave up selling vacuum cleaners that same night. From what I hear, he was never quite the same. . .and neither was anyone else in my family. Funny, how one event can change absolutely everything. In our case, it set the wheels in motion for the whole Rossi clan to end up in the most illogical of places—Texas.
Wonderful. I can hardly wait for my copy to arrive! How can readers find you on the Internet?
They can visit my website at: http://www.janiceathompson.com/
If they really want to see what I’m all about, they can track me down on my facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/jhannathompson?ref=name
Janice, thank you for spending this time with us. It was a lot of fun.
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