Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I don’t think I do write myself in the characters, at least not consciously. I know that the main character in Accused is a composite of a couple of women I worked with, women who I considered great police officers. I did my job, and worked hard to be the best I could, but these two ladies always impressed me and far outshone me. They are still on the job, one is a deputy chief now and the other is a sergeant. I just thought they balanced work and life so well. But I will say that my characters do often reflect my faith, the struggles, the weaknesses and the strengths. They ask a lot of the same questions I ask and they need the Lord every bit as much as I do.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I went to a Star Trek Convention several years ago. It was one of the first conventions held in Anaheim and William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy were both there. I consider Star Trek and all it’s spin offs one of my guilty pleasures but the convention was a bit much. I couldn’t relate to all the people running around in costume.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’ve wanted to write since I was a child. I used to fill notebooks with stories about horses. But one incident in high school has stayed with me. I’d written an extra credit assignment for a health class. I don’t remember the topic, but I remember the teacher telling she enjoyed reading the assignment and wished she could give me extra, extra credit. She said I had a talent for writing. That little bit of encouragement went a long way.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Suspense and Mystery novels are my favorite, but I read biographies and historical fiction. Francine Rivers, Terri Blackstock, Randy Alcorn, Harlen Coben, Michael Connelly, Randy Singer, Catherine Marshall, and Elizabeth George are among my favorite authors. Francine Rivers’ books inspired me to write stories with a spiritual message.
I’ve read and enjoyed the books of several of the same authors. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
My morning quiet time is precious to me. I need to start my day with time in the Word or everything is off key and out of balance. My church gives out Bible in a year book marks and I love following the reading guide. I also find that exercise is essential to relieving stress. Walking my two dogs every day is also a must.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
For my new book Accused, I chose the main character’s first name, Carly, as kind of a tribute to Randy Alcorn. I had just read his book Deadline (awesome book, really made an impact) and I named my main character after a character in his novel. In my book The Kevlar Heart, the main character’s name was part of the backstory. Brinna had issues with her father and part of it had to do with the fact that when she was born her Dad was certain she would be a boy and had picked out the name Brian. When a girl was born he just changed some letters around, didn’t even try to think of another name. But those are the only special names I can think of. Usually, I use names I like, that sound interesting. Once or twice, with permission, I have used the names of people I worked with.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
This may sound odd, but I would have to say talking my aging parents into selling their big house and moving them to a smaller house. It was a battle that took a couple of years. My parents had lived in a big house with a lot of property for 40 years. But as they aged it got harder to take care of. My father was always the handyman, but when dementia set in, the house was pretty much falling down around them and the stress on my mom immense. Still, they adamantly refused to move. Finally, I was able to persuade my mom and we found a house she liked and made the move. Now, three years later, she is so happy with the new, manageable home. Now we have less stress, and it is easier for my dad to get around with his walker. I’m so glad I persisted.
My husband and I have dealt with an aging parent with dementia. I totally understand. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
An eagle. I would love the ability to fly, to soar above the world, to have the feeling of flying where God is.
What is your favorite food?
Chocolate with caramel, hope that counts as a food.
My kind of food, for sure. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My dad was my first roadblock, mostly because he grew up during the depression and steady, reliable work was an obsession. He discouraged my desire to write, believing it was a hobby, not a career. So I put the desire away when I went to college. The experience of working the front lines of the Rodney King riots that brought the desire back. I experienced so much during that chaos that I needed to write about it. I was on my own by then and even if writing was a hobby, it was an okay hobby. Once I sat down to write then, there really were no discernable roadblocks in my way. (Now selling the writing has many roadblocks, but that would be a different question and answer all together.)
Also for the last three years I have been the primary caregiver for my parents, and their health and sometimes doctor’s appointments and can keep me away from the computer, but the only roadblocks pop up when I procrastinate with computer games or some other such time waster. Discipline and wanting to put out the best story possible helps me bust the barriers down.
Tell us about the featured book.
Accused is a story I started writing when I was still working juvenile investigations for the Long Beach Police Department. The idea came from a real life crime that was kind of gruesome, and I remember seeing the suspect who was a minor, in juvenile detention. I thought about the crime and the kid and played the “what if” game, settling on the question, what if he didn’t do it? To put the cuffs on someone you need to be fairly certain the person is guilty. So I had my main character, Carly, operating from that assumption initially, but then seeing things that just didn’t add up. I mixed in faith, an unfaithful ex husband, and the bad guys who need a fall guy, and went from there. I loved how Carly grew and changed in the novel and realized there were more stages for her so Accused is the first in a three book series. (But not gruesome like the original crime that spawned the idea!)
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Janice, for giving us a peek inside your life and your book.
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Accused (Pacific Coast Justice) - Kindle
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