Janette, what hidden talent do you possess besides writing?
Reading, writing, and mothering take most of my free time. I wish I could say I was a great cook, an awesome singer, and a talented seamstress, but no. If I didn’t have to eat, I would never cook. I can’t read music and I’ve forgotten how to thread my sewing machine. I’m good at talking to strangers—and I think that should be considered a talent. Also, I like just about everybody, and that’s a talent too. I’m a stray cat magnet, but that’s more of a curse than a talent.
So basically what I’m saying is that most of my talents are “hidden”. Maybe at some point I’ll have the time to learn how to draw or decorate, but right now I’m okay with concentrating on writing and mothering.
Well, you are plenty talented at writing! And cats just want to pounce with clawed paws whenever they see me, so I'd say you have serious talent there, too! What are five of your favorite novels?
I like a lot of books so it's hard to choose,but a few of my favorites are: Pride and Prejudice, The Princess Bride, Phantom Tollbooth, Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex (but you've got to read the whole series to get to that one), and The Book Thief.
Great list! What has been the best part about serving as the 2012 President-elect for the American Night Writers Association (ANWA)?
This will sound cheesy, but the best part of being president-elect is getting to work with all of our awesome members. ANWA members are the best. They're hardworking, dedicated, interesting, charitable, talented ladies! It's fun to hang out with them.
Tell us about your all-time favorite character (of your own creation).
I probably shouldn't like Chrysanthemum Everstar as much as I do. She's a self-absorbed, not all that competent, fairy godmother. She's a lot of fun to write about, though. I'm glad she shows up in more than one book so I get to use her again and again.
My Unfair Godmother on Goodreads
Erasing Time recently came out, and it is definitely on my to-read! Can you tell us how you came up with the premise for this futuristic YA novel?
A lot of different things coalesced to make this novel--and I don't even remember them all, because the story idea simmered for so long. Some were: 1) the wild clothes celebrities wear. We idolize celebrities. How long is it going to be until we're all dressing like Lady Gaga? 2) MC Hammer's song Can't Touch This. When I heard it, I had no idea what any of it meant even though he was clearly speaking English. It made me think about how many idioms/slang there are in the English language. If you don't understand them, it's like a foreign language. 3) Society's attitude toward religion. In a lot of books and media, religious people are always portrayed as either fools or hypocrites. Religions have had to go underground before, it wouldn't surprise if it had to do it again.
Erasing Time on Goodreads
Sounds intriguing! I can't wait! Which of your novels was the most challenging to write? Also, do you have a favorite?
It depends on what you mean by challenging. In Just One Wish the main character's little brother has cancer. I cried when I researched the book. I cried when I wrote the book, and I cried during every revision pass. After that book, I decided I really shouldn't write about sad subjects. It's too hard on me.
Just One Wish on Goodreads
Erasing Time's sequel (Echo in Time, due out next fall) and Slayer's sequel (also due out next fall) were hard to write because I kept putting in backstory, taking it out, putting it in somewhere else, taking it out, and then repeating that procedure over again. I think I rewrote the beginning of both those books five different times. Both books also have a lot of action which is a far cry from where I started out in romantic comedies. About the time I was researching assault rifles and night vision goggles, I wondered what had gone wrong in my writing career. Writing action is so much harder than writing witty banter. But the nice thing about writing is that it is different every time. That makes it more fun.
Ah, Just One Wish. SUCH A GREAT BOOK! To finish off, do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Read. Read. Read. It's one of the best things you can do to improve your writing, plus it' entertaining. (If exercise was half as fun, I'd have the body I always wanted.) Keep learning the craft and don’t give up. Everybody starts out writing poorly. I certainly did. But it’s like everything else in life. If you keep working on it, you get better.
I love hearing that advice: read. Can do! And the next time I download one of your novels I will read it as I walk on the treadmill to kill two birds with one stone (...optimistic thinking).