Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Janette: I’ve wanted to be an author since I was a little girl. Of course, I also wanted to be a ballerina and an astronaut but neither of those things panned out. I’m fine with that though. I’d rather work in my pajamas than in a tutu or an astronaut suit.
Deirdra: What is your writing and educational background?
Janette: I was an English major in college, but those classes only helped my writing a little because publishers wouldn’t buy novels now that were written like Dickens or Shakespeare. To be a successful author you have to read the things that are selling today. It also helps if you read books on writing and go to conferences. I also took drama in school and surprisingly those classes helped quite a bit with my writing. Drama teaches you to think about characterization and motivation.
Deirdra: What makes you passionate about writing?
Janette: There’s something almost magical about creating characters and developing story ideas. And when you type them out and make a book, the world gets to share in your story. It’s an amazing process.
Deseret Book took nine months and a lot of meetings to decide that they would indeed publish my book. It became Deep Blue Eyes and Other Lies. I published six books in the LDS market, but in the end realized that if I wanted to actually make any money as a writer, I would need to start writing for the national market. Not long after that decision, Deseret Book rejected my manuscript: All’s Fair in Love, War, and High School. I took it to the national market and it’s since sold over 400,000 copies. Which just goes to show you that rejections isn’t always a bad thing.
Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Janette: I don’t think you can be an author and not have times when you’re discouraged. Authors get rejected, criticized, revised, and reviewed. And of course there’s the fact that not a lot of people buy books. I think the best way to deal with discouragement is to stay centered about what is truly important in life. My family is important, my beliefs are important, serving people is important, growing as a person is important—writing is a part of me, but it isn’t my identity.
Deirdra: What is your writing schedule like?
Janette: I usually get up, tell myself that I’ll spend a half an hour answering email so that I’ll have lots of time to write. Two hours later,I make myself get off the computer, and start writing. I try to get five pages a day done. That doesn’t always happen though. This year I’ve spent the majority of my time revising things I’d already written.
Deirdra: Can you tell us a little about your book My Fair Godmother.
Janette: My Fair Godmother actually started out as a road show. The topic was fractured fairy tales and I wrote a play called Beauty and the Priest. The girl needed a prom date and wanted someone who was princely. Her fairy godmother—who was only a fair godmother because she hadn’t done well in fairy godmother school—sent her back in time to be Cinderella and then Snow White. The heroine wasn’t very happy about either of those scenarios because they mostly just involved lots of housework.
It turned out to be such a cute story that I decided to expand it and make it into a novel. I had a ton of fun writing it.
Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your books?
Janette: When I was a teen, most of the books in the library were G-rated. That’s not the case anymore and I worry that there aren’t enough books for kids who want some good, light-hearted entertainment. I try to provide that sort of book for kids. There are deeper themes if you look for them—a lot of my books are about forgiveness at their core—but I think kids just see them as fun, and that’s fine too.
Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
Janette: When my kids were little I was able to write anywhere: Soccer practice, down time at gymnastic meets, and while nursing twins. Now that my kids are older, I’ve gotten used to quiet writing time and it’s hard for me to write with any sort of noise.
Deirdra: What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?
Deirdra: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
Deirdra: What’s your secret to making the character’s in your books come to life?
Janette: I really try to think about what that character would be thinking, feeling, and saying at every moment of the book. If the story is real for them, it will be real for the reader too.
Deirdra: What authors do you admire, and why?
Deirdra: What is your favorite snack to have while you are writing?
Janette: Almond Joys. Mmmmm.
Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
Janette: Learn the craft and don’t stop learning the craft. There’s always something else to study. There are so many things we can’t control in this business, but we can control the quality of our writing.
Deirdra: What are you working on now?
Janette: I’m still doing revisisions for My Unfair Godmother and Slayers. But inbetween revising those books, I’ve been working on a paranormal romance. It’s really different than anything else I’ve written, and for that reason alone has been lots of fun.
Great interview! I love the concept behind The Fair Godmother. And the reaction to being Cinderella and Snow White is spot on for a teenager. I have a hard enough time getting mine to just clean their room!ReplyDelete
Thanks for the interview. It's always good to hear how the authors we love do what they do.ReplyDelete
Janette is so awesome! This was a fun interview to read with such great insight. Thanks!ReplyDelete
Great interview. Janette is a such a great personality!ReplyDelete
Another great interview. I learned some interesting things!ReplyDelete