Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Award-winning author Janice Thompson also writes under the pseudonym Janice Hanna. She got her start in the industry writing screenplays and musical comedies for the stage. Janice has published over fifty books for the Christian market, crossing genre lines to write cozy mysteries, historicals, romances, nonfiction books, devotionals, children's books and more. In addition, she enjoys editing, ghost-writing, public speaking, and mentoring young writers. Janice currently serves as Vice-President of CAN (Christian Authors Network) and was named the 2008 Mentor of the year for ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). She is active in her local writing group, where she regularly teaches on the craft of writing.
Her online course, “Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer” (www.freelancewritingcourses.com) has been helpful to many who want to earn a living with their writing. Janice is passionate about her faith and does all she can to share the joy of the Lord with others, which is why she particularly enjoys writing. She lives in Spring, Texas, where she leads a rich life with her family, a host of
writing friends, and two mischievous dachshunds. She does her best to keep the Lord at the center of it all.

You can find out more about Janice at www.janiceathompson.com or www.freelancewritingcourses.com.

When did you decide to be a writer?

I’ve been writing since childhood, but made the decision to take it seriously in 1994. At that time, I truly felt the Lord’s call to write. The submission process began shortly thereafter. I could paper my office with the rejections I received. Thank goodness, I kept going! A good friend invited me to attend Mt. Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference with her in 1996 and it changed my life and my perspective forever. I’ve never looked back!

At what point did you stop juggling suggestions and critiques and trust yourself (as a writer)?

Oh, wait. . .I’m supposed to trust myself? Really? If I’m going to be really honest, I’ll have to confess that I still don’t totally trust myself. Just last week I posted a note on my facebook page that read: “Thank goodness for critique partners, copy editors and proofers! I don’t know where I’d be without them. Oh, yes I do! In a world of trouble!” Honestly, having the suggestions (even critique) of others is very helpful to me. Sure, I’m growing more confident with time, but I still count on others to guide me as I move along the road!

Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?

I’m pretty disciplined, especially when I’m on deadline. I like the idea of setting goals (even teach a lesson on this in my online course). Of course, I’m a “Type A” personality, (a real go-getter), so “driven” is my middle name!

What kind of activities to you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?

I adore my children and grandchildren and love spending time with them, whether I’m on deadline or not. There’s nothing like the laughter of a child to free you from the evil curse of writer’s block. When my oldest granddaughter (Maddy) gets to giggling, everything else in the world fades away. All is right again. The deadlines don’t matter. The pressures of the business don’t matter. All that matters is the legacy I’m leaving with those precious babies.

What is your favorite novel (not written by you) and what made it special?

Oh, gosh! Just one? I don’t know if I can choose just one. I’ve been fascinated with Linda Nichols’ book At the Scent of Water for as long as I can remember. There’s a real “gotcha” moment at the end. I never saw it coming. It will stick with me forever! And those who know me know that I sing the praises of Nancy Jo Jenkins’ book “Coldwater Revival” at every available opportunity. I’ve never seen the kind of lyrical writing I found in that book. Oh, thank God for people who can touch the soul with writing like that!

How do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?

At times it causes me to step away from my work, proclaiming, “I’ll never write another word because I’m not as good as _____________.” (Fill in the blank with the name of your favorite author.) Other times, I read an amazing book and am inspired to get back to work. I always hope/pray that my stories/non-fiction books will impact the lives of my readers in the same way I’ve been impacted by others.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

A couple of years ago, my non-fiction editor at Barbour contacted me with news of an upcoming project for women who’d been through the pain of divorce. Having just walked that road, I wasn’t sure if I could write about my journey or not. My good friend (and critique partner) Kathleen Y’Barbo joined me, and we co-authored, “I Know I’m Not Alone, Lord,” an encouraging non-fiction book for women like us who’ve experienced both the pain and the “re-birth” of the divorce experience. Here’s a blurb about the book:

Find yourself in a season of singleness? Need some comfort, encouragement, and advice for this transition? Look no further than Turning Points for divorced women, an inspirational roadmap to help you find new direction, power, contentment, and joy! Written by “single-again” bestselling authors Kathleen Y’Barbo and Janice Hanna, this navigational guide is packed with proven pointers, successful strategies, and faith-filled concepts, as well as stories by women who have walked a mile in your shoes. Divorce is a detour, not the end of the road. So get ready for an amazing adventure!

Where did you get your inspiration for I Know I’m Not Alone, Lord?

I know so many women who’ve struggled to go on after divorce and I prayed the Lord could use my own experiences to offer hope and encouragement. Thankfully, Kathleen agreed to join me on this project, offering all sorts of information from her journey. I’m not sure I could have done it alone.

Your book deals with a difficult topic—divorce. Having lived through your own divorce, what advice would you share with someone just undergoing the trials that accompany the end of a marriage?

The title of the book really expresses my heart: You are NOT alone. A divorced woman “feels” alone, but she’s really not. The Lord can (and will) be as “real” and “close” to you during your journey as you allow Him to be. And the topics in the other chapters are life-changing ones, particularly one chapter devoted to spending time in the Holy of Holies with the Lord.

Was there ever a time in your life when you wish someone would have shared the tips found in this book with you? Can you tell us about it?

Yes, I wish I had known that every divorced person (male or female) goes through a “shock period.” There’s that window of time (could be months, could be years) where you find it hard to function. Paying bills is a challenge, and not just because of lowered income. You simply can’t remember where you put them. And you forget to shop for groceries. Forget to call your friends and loved ones. Forget to brush your teeth or get dressed. I now know that the shock period is completely natural. This is why we devoted an entire chapter to it in our book.

What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?

The “main thing” is found in the opening words of the introduction:
There is life after divorce.

Maybe you needed to hear those words. They offer such hope, don’t they? If you’ve gone through the unexpected challenge of divorce, you need to know that life will go on. In fact, you can celebrate a thriving, happy life. . .not in spite of what you’ve been through, but because of it. This is not the end of the road for you. No, it is truly the beginning an amazing new chapter in your life, one filled with pages yet-to-be written.

What kinds of things have you done to market this book? Have you found anything that works particularly well?

Kathleen and I actually wrote two non-fiction books for Barbour at the same time. The first one The House is Quiet. . .Now What? released a few months ago. It’s a great book for empty nesters. We’ve been marketing it through radio interviews. I’m sure we’ll do radio gigs with the divorce book, as well. Hope so, anyway!

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

Oh my goodness! What haven’t I been working on! That might be an easier question. My third novel from Revell It Had to be You just released. I’ve been marketing that one like crazy. I’m currently writing Love Finds You in Camelot, Tennessee for Summerside. I’m very excited about the new "When I Fall in Love” line at Summerside. My book, Love Me Tender is one of the kick-off stories. It releases in September.
Along with my writing, I’m also very busy with my teaching. I’ve been bouncing from conference to conference, seminar to seminar, teaching what I’ve learned about the writing craft. These days, you’ll most often find me teaching on the subject of how to make money with your writing. I’ve become so enthused about this topic that I’ve devoted an entire online course to it. To learn more, visit my site at www.freelancewritingcourses.com.

Do you have any parting words of advice?

Learn the craft, but don’t let what you’ve learned rob you of your true voice.
Want more? Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Thursday for an excerpt from I Know I'm Not Alone, Lord by Janice Thompson!


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