Readers, I've been eagerly awaiting the release of this book.
Welcome back, Janice. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
I have to laugh, because sometimes my horizon looks a little hazy. Yet I feel God is leading me to stretch and grow and dig a little deeper. He’s been dealing with me to do a book of devotionals, which I’ll produce in ebook form only, so that a person may read them on their Smart phone or reading device while riding the bus or train to work, or on a fifteen minute break at home or work. They’re short and sweet, but packed with God’s love and understanding. The release of Streams of Mercy will be after the first of the year, if not sooner.
That sounds wonderful. Tell us a little about your family.
I’ve been blessed with a wonderful, supportive husband who stands by me through thick and thin and is my #1 fan, big time. Without him, I wouldn’t be able to write and work a full time job. He is a minister, and though we aren’t in ministry full time at this time, he still works on his studies, writes, and ministers whenever the door is open.
My son and daughter are both vocalists and musicians. They use their talents in the churches they attend, along with their wonderful spouses, who are also Christian individuals heavily involved in church. Professionals in their own right, they all have a heart for God.
Then last, but not least, is my wonderfully, smart and loveable grandson, who is sixteen, and is also in church serving God. He’s been on quite a few mission trips already and seen places I have only dreamed of seeing. I have truly been blessed.
Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
I still love to read good suspense, historical, and of course romance novels. But now, I really appreciate a writer who has a good twist or turn in a book that I didn’t see coming, or an ending that completely stumps me, or the villain I couldn’t pick out among all the suspects. That’s when I really appreciate the author and all their hard work. Because, as a writer I know that those elements are some of the hardest to do.
One change, as an author, is when I start reading a book. I have to remind myself to turn off my internal editor—critiquing the story for how well or poorly it’s written and what rules of writing have been broken. Once I do, then can I lose myself in the story.
When I’m reading, I know I have a good story when that internal editor turns off by itself. What are you working on right now?
I am actually working on three completely different writings, which, you,
Lena, as an author know, isn’t a
smart thing to do. (It’ll drive you crazy) J
One is the devo I mentioned above, Springs Mercy.
The second is my first romantic comedy, and believe it or not, is a novel that doesn’t have one murderer between the front and back cover (although there’s plenty of murder on their minds). J It’s slated for early 2014 entitled, Mr. What’s His Name. It features Tiffany Anne Gates, who is a late bloomer, needs a job—which just happens to fall into her lap—and a wannabe writer, who is suffering from circumstances beyond her control. And …
The third is another romantic suspense in my standalone series, Texas Sorority Sisters coming in spring 2014. Hide … But You Can’t Run, has a little comedic relief in the midst of survival.
There you have it, all three of my projects in a nutshell. But like you,
Lena, there are more novels sitting
on the back burner of my mind waiting to come to life.
What outside interests do you have?
Jewelry. When I find time that I can spare away from my writing, I enjoy making jewelry. Putting together small pieces to make something beautiful is very enjoyable, especially when people see a piece I’ve made and like it, it brings great satisfaction.
Painting. Oils, acrylics, or water, creating with a brush is a lot like writing. I can allow my imagination to conjure up beauty, or when it’s not working somethime conjure up ugly. J
Traveling. I’ve never traveled outside the states except to
Mexico on a
mission trip. But I’m just as content driving around Texas. Less than an hour from my home I can
find beautiful scenery—rolling hills, valley, lakes, creeks, and countryside
that will inspire my imagination. Just like Ben Wheeler, Texas, a trip there brought about Hide … But You Can’t Run.
But give me a good book, and I can travel just about anywhere in my mind and experience many things through the author’s imagination.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
So far, I’ve been fortunate. My settings, at least for now, and if you have read my first three books know, all take place in
Texas. My first book, Serenity’s Deception was a make believe
town close to Austin,
north of Brenham. But the following three were written with real Texas towns—Lethal
Intent, Austin and Dallas; Chameleon, Athens,
Texas; and Hide
… But You Can’t Run, takes place in Houston
and Ben Wheeler, Texas.
I love to seek out small towns, or even large ones, and then set my story to
fit with what takes place there.
Just like my next book, Hide … But You Can’t Run, my husband and I drove through the tiny town of
Ben Wheeler, Texas,
my mind began imagining what if, and the story was born. Ben Wheeler, if you
haven’t been there, is two long blocks with Hwy 64 running though the middle of
town without a stop light or stop sign. (Most residents live in the countryside
surrounding the town.)
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
Esther of the Bible. I would love to understand how a young woman at the tender age of 14 could face such an uncertain future of obscurity, become a queen, and then, five years later step inside the king’s chamber to face death for her people.
Did she believe she’d be delivered, or did she figure her head would be lobbed off? I’d love to know what was going on in her mind. Did she have faith, or was she shaking in her slippers. In my mind, that would have been a sight to behold. What courage, what fortitude, what strong faith she must have had.
Esther is one of my favorite Bible characters. I’ve written a dramatic monologue about her and performed it a number of places … in full costume. What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
How difficult and how many hours it would take away from my writing to market my books. It wouldn’t have stopped me from being an author, but made me realize there is far more to a novel than just writing. It take hours and hours of writing and editing, then hours and hours of marketing to become successful. Though I love meeting my readers, I don’t like having to say—buy mine, even though I think they are great stories and great reads.
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
Patience. It’s not particularly a new lesson, but one I haven’t completely adapted to, especially at this time in my life. Patience is something I lack, but something He’s trying to teach. In our world of instant everything, where we live on high speed, I’m like so many others, I want results now. However, He’s telling me to trust in him, believe in his abilities to work all things to my good, and to patiently wait on him. And I don’t mean He expects me to sit around and do nothing. He expects me to be busy serving Him with what He’s given me, but leave the results in his hands to complete. And for me a fixer, it’s hard for me to not want to try take over and run things. But I’m learning.
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
One, become a serious and teachable writer by learning the craft of writing. Take classes, joining a good writer’s group, and write every day. (Once-in-a-while writing won’t cut it.)
Two, don’t try to take shortcuts, your readers will feel cheated. Every aspect of your story needs to be written well. Develop the story with well-rounded characters, who are flawed but grow during the story, and don’t cheat on the ending. Remember, every chapter is as important as the first chapter.
Three, write your story, put your baby (novel) to bed for a week or two, (if you’re not under a deadline and have the luxury of doing this step), then pick up your baby with fresh eyes and begin to give it a bath—rewrite, rewrite, and then rewrite again, until it’s the best it can be. But don’t scrub the life out of it either. Then, if you can afford to send your baby off to an editor for them to work their magic, do. You be well rewarded with the results.
Tell us about the featured book.
Chameleon is set in
Athens, Texas, the county seat of .
Attorney Veronica “Roni” Reeves’ former
guardian is killed. All evidence points to his son, Drake Peters. Uncertain if
her unrequited love for Drake is blinding her judgment, Roni sets aside her
feelings to search for the truth. While she works to prove Drake’s innocence,
she uncovers a twenty-year-old mystery surrounding her parents’ death and her
deceased guardian’s involvement. Henderson County
Fearing Drake’s arrest is imminent, Roni works to keep one step ahead of the law, but unwittingly becomes the killer’s next mark.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Veronica Reeves took a deep breath of country fresh air, glad to be home, even if for only the weekend. She moved up the small knoll to the deserted canopy away from the rest of the guests and main festivities hoping for a few minutes of privacy.
Her jeans that had long lost their crease, felt hot and confining. Roni reached around to pull her blouse away from her sticky skin. A bead of sweat trickled down the hollow of her back, pooling at the base of her spine causing a momentary chill to cover her skin.
The scorching heat of summer showed no signs of relenting, making late September warmer than usual. From the south, a tall threatening bank of clouds moved toward the Triple Cross Ranch. The huge oak trees, along with the white tent canopies peppering the lawn were starting to whip and snap with the rising wind.
The stir of air felt good against Roni’s clammy skin, but she feared the impending storm would put an end to Marcus Peters’ sixty-fifth birthday celebration.
Samantha and she had picked a western theme for Marcus’s party. And by the turnout of the two hundred or so guests, the majority of them wearing cowboy boots, rhinestone shirts, and Wranglers, they had achieved success.
Roni slid her glass of tea on the table and sat down wishing she could free her feet of her boots and sink her toes into the thick, green grass. At the ripe old age of thirty and holding the esteemed position as the Peters’ attorney, there came a certain self-imposed decorum. For her, bare feet were not an option—maybe later.
Her gaze traveled across the grounds that encompassed the house and a small portion of the Triple Cross Ranch. The guests milled around under tents set up to prevent them from baking in the sun.
All-in-all, the birthday barbeque took place without mishap, if she didn’t consider Drake Peters’ earlier entrance with a gorgeous brunette hanging on his arm, laughing. Since their arrival, Roni made certain she was too busy to care what Drake and the beauty might be doing at this moment.
A movement down a little ways and to her right caught Roni’s attention. Well speaking of …
She shook her head as her gaze continued to follow Drake. He crossed the lawn with the grace of a panther eyeing his prey. Unlike most of the guests, he wasn’t wearing a cowboy hat which allowed the wind to whip his sandy-colored hair about his ruggedly handsome face. Starched dark denim jeans rode nicely just above his hips. And his tight abs and muscles strained at the fabric of his white shirt.
What he did for a shirt and jeans could only be described as pure male magnetism.
No one would call Drake drop-dead gorgeous, but he had a rugged quality with his chiseled Nordic features that caused women to stop and take another look and then … fall at his feet.
Roni let loose a snort of laughter at the picture in her mind.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Quite simple. They can go to my Website: www.JaniceOlson.com, or email me at Janice@JaniceOlson.com.
Janice, you've been important to me for a long time, too.
Readers, here’s a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.Chameleon (Texas Sorority Sisters)
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