Janelle became a member of American Christian Fiction Writers in the year 2002. In 2003, she entered her first novel in the Noble Theme contest and was named one of the top ten finalists in the historical category. In 2004, she had a short story titled ‘A Fair Chance’ published in the e-magazine, Romancing the Christian Heart. In 2005, her third novel, entered in the San Gabriel Writers’ League ‘Writing Smarter’ Contest, won first place. Also, Janelle’s fifth novel made it to the top ten finalists in the Noble Theme contest.
In 2006, she signed her first contract with Barbour Publishing in their Heartsong Presents Mysteries line. The novel, Where the Truth Lies, which she co-authored with Elizabeth Ludwig, released in spring of 2008. The second and third mysteries of the series, Died in the Wool and Inn Plain Sight, is set for release in 2011.
Janelle has signed with Harvest House for a historical series set in Colorado. Release of the first book is set for early 2011. She has also signed with Summerside Press. Her novel, Love Finds You in Silver City, Idaho, released October 2010.
Janelle has been married twenty-one years and is the mother of two sons. She is a member of Sandy Point Bible Church and serves as Treasurer. She also assists in the church’s teen program.
Hi, Janelle! Welcome to The Borrowed Book. You know you're one of my favorite writers. I can't wait for readers to learn all about you! Let's start by telling readers when did you decided to be a writer:
In the late 1990’s, I had been asked to write children’s devotions for a website. During that time, my sister told me I needed to read a book by Lori Wick. I loved it and continued reading almost everything she had written. At some point while going through her books, I felt in my heart I could write a story of my own. I carried a story in my head for almost a year before I sat down in January 2001 and began putting it to paper. That story has been contracted by Harvest House and will release February, 2011.
At what point did you stop juggling suggestions and critiques and trust yourself (as a writer)?
I haven’t. I still run to my friends for suggestions and critiques. There are just some scenes or ideas that need to be bounced off fellow writers. I don’t think we ever stop learning about proper writing techniques, especially from others.
Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?
I try to be disciplined but it rarely seems to stick. Too many things tend to pop up throughout any given day that demand my attention. It’s not until I have a deadline looming too close for comfort that I become extremely disciplined.
What kind of activities to you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?
I’ve never stopped loving to read. Most times, that relaxes me. My other great love is being outdoors. There is a place near our home that is so quiet, one rarely hears anything except the sounds of nature. Very soothing. I can’t get enough of that place.
What is your favorite novel and what made it special?
Oh goodness. I didn’t realize how hard this question would be until I had to answer it. I’m going to have to say it’s a toss-up between Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, and The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner. Not only are both books incredibly well-written, the stories are life-changing as they grab hold of the heart and teach readers about love, grace, and mercy. They’ll stay with me forever.
How do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?
There is something to be learned from every book read. If it makes you laugh or cry, find out why. If it makes you not want to reach ‘the end’, learn to write your book in a way that a reader wants more when they finish. Not only can each book be enjoyed, but if studied, it can teach.
Tell us a little about your latest release:
Love Finds You in Silver City, Idaho is about a young lady who was burned in an accident and with her father’s help learns to turn to the Lord for healing, both inside and out, while taking a stand for those she feels are being unfairly judged by their outward appearance instead of their heart. She also finds herself helping to solve the mystery of who is causing all the chaos in the thriving mining town. The story is set in what is now a living ghost town, meaning Silver City receives thousands of visitors each year. Many of the buildings have been restored. The Idaho Hotel allows visitors to reserve rooms so they can get a taste of life back when the town was booming, with a few modern conveniences added.
Where did you get your inspiration for Love Finds You in Silver City, Idaho?
My inspiration for this story came from two different things. One was when I learned that many women in the 19th century, and earlier, died from being burned when their skirts caught on fire while working over open flames to cook or heat water for laundry or various other reasons in order to keep their homes from getting too hot in the summer. Another thing that inspired this story came from a personal experience…when I accidently burned my son with hot water and feared he’d be scarred.
Which character is most like you?
LOL. Amazingly enough, the young brother Andrew is much like me. I was very much a tomboy growing up, and except for touching snakes, I was always outdoors and getting into things, even pestering my siblings.
Who is your favorite character and why?
I would have to say Rebekah is my favorite because of how strong she was through such great adversity. She learned to be content in her circumstances and with the way she looked and tried to help others do the same.
Did you know how Love Finds You in Silver City, Idaho would turn out? Were you surprised by any of the plot twists or characters?
I used to be a seat-of-the-pants writer, letting the flow of the story take me where it would. After several rewrites, I decided to do a detailed timeline and plot for each story. But this story still took me in directions I didn’t see coming until it came time to write the scene.
What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?
I hope readers will remember that what your eyes see may deceive you. Look at others the way God looks on us. Get to know a person by what’s in their heart.
What kinds of things have you done to market this book? Have you found anything that works particularly well?
I’ve mailed out countless postcards. I’ve also been interviewed on several blogs such as this one and give away a book each time. I’ve contacted local papers. Facebook has probably been one of the most efficient means of getting the word out about the release of each book.
Tell us what new projects you’re working on.
I am doing final edits on the book I mentioned earlier, the very first book I wrote, When All My Dreams Come True, to be released by Harvest House February 1, 2011. I’m also working on book three of that series, Colorado Runaways, this one titled, When Two Hearts Meet, not to mention getting started on a Christmas anthology that will be released next September, titled Christmas at Barncastle Inn.
Do you have any parting words of advice?
I know it’s been said many times by many other authors…read, read, read, and write, write, write, but don’t forget to network, network, network. I can’t stress enough how important it is to make contacts at writers conferences such as ACFW. And don’t forget to pray. Pray for the author of each book you read, pray over the story you’re working on, and pray for those who will one day read your book.