Sunday, October 08, 2006

I want you to meet my friend, Janice Thompson

Janice and I have been writing friends for a long time. Last year, she asked me to be a part of her Writer's A-D-V-A-N-C-E Retreat at Hidden Manna Campground north of Houston. We had a blessed time sharing with other writers. Now Janice's writing has taken another turn. Now we're introducing readers to her first cozy mystery. Her series will introduce the new Heartsong line of cozy mysteries. I'm excited about this new venture for Janice.

Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

In my latest book (a mystery titled The Wedding Caper) the primary POV (point of view) character, Annie Peterson, is a woman about my age, going through pre-menopause, dealing with the impending marriages of her grown daughters. I’d have to say Annie and I have a lot in common. Two of my daughters married in ’04 within five months of one another. Writing like this isn’t the norm for me. I try to keep my personal life and my characters separate. Every now and again, however, someone I know will slip into one of my books unbeknownst to me.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I recently sang in a karaoke “pop star” contest aboard a cruise ship. That was both terrifying and humorous. I should add that my daughter Megan actually won that contest (a week-long competition much like American Idol).

I would have liked to have seen that, Janice. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

In 6th grade. I ran out of Bobbsey Twins books to read, so I wrote one myself. I didn’t realize that “stealing” someone else’s characters was wrong. Just knew that I loved those characters and wanted to send them on a self-made adventure.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I love fast-paced novels (more lightweight/fun in nature). I also love great teaching books (non-fiction Christian books). I’m on such a learning curve (both as a writer and in my walk with the Lord) and need to glean all I can from those who have walked before me.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

My published works include:
LIAR’S MOON – Hanna Productions/1982 (screenplay)
RE-THREADING THE NEEDLE: Mountainview/2000 (mainstream Christian novel)
A LINE IN THE SAND: Compradore/2001 (mainstream Christian novel)
DUTY TO DIE: Promise Press/2000 (mainstream Christian novel)
A CLASS OF HER OWN: Heartsong Presents/2002 (inspirational romance)
ANGEL INCOGNITO: Heartsong Presents/2004 (inspirational romance)
A CHORUS OF ONE: Heartsong Presents/2004 (inspirational romance)
SWEET CHARITY: Heartsong Presents/2004 (inspirational romance)
HURRICANE: River Oak/Cook/2004 (mainstream Christian novel)
PARENTING TEENS: A Field Guide – non-fiction/Cook/2005 (non-fiction)
BANKING ON LOVE: Heartsong Presents/2005 (inspirational romance)
I MUST DECREASE: Humorous Dieting Devotional - Barbour/2005
THE WEDDING CAPER: SpyGlass Lane Mysteries - Barbour/Fall of 2006
RED LIKE CRIMSON: Heartsong Presents/Spring of 2007
I have several more books contracted, including two non-fiction devotionals (one for brides-to-be and another for moms-to-be). I’m co-authoring these books with my twenty-six year old daughter, Randi, who is happily married about expecting her first baby (my first grandchild).

I remember the fun of anticipating my first grandchild. What fun! How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

There’s really only one way – to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. If I lose my focus (and we all do at times) it shows in everything I try to do. I keep my eyes on Him (and my ears open to His voice) and things run so much smoother!

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I often ask people for help, particular if there are age/regional issues to consider. Sometimes I’ll have a particular name in mind for a character. Other times, I scratch my head for days, trying to figure out which name to assign.

That's a new method--scratching the head. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

My four daughters are (by far) my greatest accomplishment in this life. They are all in their twenties and all love and serve the Lord.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

I’m enamored with my two dachshunds, Sasha and Copper. (In fact, Sasha appears in my book, The Wedding Caper.) These little mongrels have a perfect life – plenty to eat, someone to rub their bellies and scratch behind their ears, and lots of time to play in the yard outside. They get to sleep in a bed, nuzzle up against their owner when lonely, and offer lots of kisses to make “said owner” feel better when down. With that said, I’d take the life of a dachshund any day.

What is your favorite food?

Mmm. Fajitas. Chicken. Corn tortillas, please.

A true Texan answer.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?
I'm so excited about the October release of my first-ever romantic mystery, The Wedding Caper (Barbour Publishing). The book's heroine, Annie Peterson, steps into the role of super-sleuth when she suspects her husband of stealing $25,000 from the bank where he works to pay for their daughters' weddings. (Their twins, Brandi and Candy, both receive proposals on the same night and their weddings are scheduled only four and a half months apart). The story is full of ups and downs, humorous moments and plenty of mystery, all with a touch of romance. And of course the faith elements are there as well. It's Annie's faith that gets her through the hard times, to be sure! (I should add that I had plenty of real-life experience to pull from. In 2004, two of my daughters married within five months of each other!) I've never had more fun working on a book, and I believe it really shows in the writing. Readers are bound to enjoy Annie's escapades!
I know I did. As you can see from the picture of the cover, we received a complimentary copy of the book at the American Christian Fiction Writers national conference in Dallas last month. But this is a book that I would have rushed out to buy. If you don't win the copy we're giving away, you'll want to do that. A review of the book is in my October newsletter, which should go up on my website sometime this week.
Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win the book.


Jennifer Y. said...

This sounds like a very good book! I would love to enter!

Cherie said...

The books sounds good. I also enjoyed the interview.

Cherie Japp

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for posting this, my dear friend! I love you, and look forward to seeing you soon! - Janice

Sabrina L. Fox said...

Wow, how very productive you are, Janice. That's a lot of books! ;)

Great interview, ladies.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the interview very much!

Anonymous said...

Please enter me! I've read about this book and would love the chance to read it!


Anonymous said...

Oooo...I read about this book! Please enter me in the contest! Thanks for the interview. I love reading about how other authors find a way to struggle through the daily pressures of life and still get their novels written. And thanks, Lena, for offering the "low-down" on new books!