Please give a big welcome to JAN THOMPSON!
rem: Thank you for joining us today, JAN. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
JAN: Raised on a tropical island in the eastern hemisphere, I now live and write in the western hemisphere. I’ve been a transplanted resident of the new south for over 25 years, and I love Georgia, from its landlocked piedmont metropolis to its ocean-flanked coastal islands, and all the little towns in between. My background allows me to write with a different perspective on things, and I enjoy that a lot.
All my Contemporary Christian Romance (with flavors of Women’s Fiction) are set in the south. I just started publishing two new series, Savannah Sweethearts (novellas) and Seaside Chapel (novels), and both are set on the coast of Georgia. Sun and sand, y’all!
rem: Georgia! We’re practically neighbors! Tell us three things about yourself.
- I write in four different genres! I’m trying to cut them down to two.
- I’ve been writing fiction since 1996, but didn’t publish until 2014.
- I love talking about God and mentioning verses in my books.
rem: Four genres has to be challenging! I think, as Christians, God’s Word, or some mention of faith in some form ultimately shows up in our writing.
You have an unusual middle name. Can you tell us what it means and where it comes from?
JAN: First time an interviewer ever asked me that question, but it’s a good one, Robin! My mom coined the name Edttii. It’s pronounced “Ed-Tee.” It took some of my school friends a dozen years to learn how to spell it.
About a year ago, I blogged about my middle name: http://www.janthompson.com/a-cup-of-chai/edttii.html
rem: I love the unusual and unique! What is your most treasured possession?
JAN: The Bible, for sure. I love reading the Word of God. My life verse is John 3:16.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
rem: No greater treasure indeed! What is your greatest fear?
JAN: As an author, one of my fears is not writing well. As they say, it’s easy to start well, but it’s harder to finish well. However, my assurance is that there is no fear in Christ. As a Christian, I can rest assured that God is with me at all times, and is sovereign even over punctuations in manuscripts!
Incidentally, I just published KNOW YOU MORE, the first book in a 7-novella series. In this novella, Heidi fears losing her brother due to the dangers of his profession. Diego, the hero of the story reminds her that Psalm 56:3 says, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” That’s a good reminder!
rem: I agree, no fear in Him! What is your favourite quotation and why?
JAN: Let’s see. There are so many interesting writerly quotations that it’s hard to think of just one. I pinned a bunch of funny ones to my Pinterest board:
Accessories to Writing:
However, when you ask me about my “favorite quotation,” inevitably I would think of Bible verses because they are more meaningful to me than any manmade quotes. And then it goes back to who I am in Christ and why I write in the first place. In my Savannah Sweethearts series, I have a theme for all 7 books, and it is this, so let me share it here because this verse is on my mind this week.
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
rem: I love how so many of your answers turn to Scripture! A gal after mine own heart! What do you most value in a friend?
JAN: I have to say truthfulness. These days it’s hard to know who is telling the truth or not, and there’s so much information to process. My friends who speak the truth (hopefully in love and not harshly LOL) are treasures indeed!
rem: I despise and loathe dishonesty and deceit. Truthfulness is a gold nugget! What quality do you most admire in a woman?
JAN: Definitely the last verses of Proverbs 31 come to mind. For example, this: “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).
rem: Dogs or Cats? Which do you prefer?
JAN: Both! Our last dog was a black lab named Henry, and I was very attached to him. It is still awfully painful for me to talk about him because we had to give him up to new owners when we moved to a house with no fenced yard. It has been 13 years since he left us, and I will never, ever get over him. Today we have a cat, and I call him our Literary Cat because he sometimes sits on my keyboard when I am trying to edit or proofread my books.
rem: I’m so sorry about Henry. I do understand about pets long gone, and bittersweet memories. What is your Writing Routine?
JAN: I write whenever I can. Wearing many hats means I have to be very scheduled but I don’t always stick to my schedule. I try to be flexible because of family and other non-writing obligations.
rem: Honestly, I think flexible is the name of the game for Indie writers! What are your Top Writing Tips?
JAN: That’s a tough question. I get tips from all over the place and sort of mash them together LOL. I think James Scott Bell has great writing tips in “Plot & Structure.” Jody Hedlund has great suggestions in her writing blogs as well. Those two come to mind, but to be sure, I listen to many other authors who are way ahead of me in their publishing journeys. I try to keep my ears open and my heart willing to learn so that I don’t miss anything.
So far, the top 3 writing tips I try to keep in mind are these:
A writer has to write. Every other task comes after that! Now, if can just remember that myself, I’d be writing more books…
rem: Them’s some good writing tips! Tell us a little about your writing journey.
JAN: I wasn’t sure if I should go all the way back to when I was eight years old, but that was the first time I typed something on an Olivetti typewriter. I blogged about my long and meandering writing journey. But to keep it short, I’ve been writing on and off throughout school and college, and then sat down to seriously write publishable fiction in 1996. Been at it ever since.
Journey of a Thousand Steps:
rem: My journey is about as “long and meandering” as yours, it seems. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
JAN: Lots of things, particularly creative freedom. As an indie author, there are more things that I enjoy, including veto power over my own book production process. But in both cases, the final say-so about what I write is a big deal to me. I get to choose what I want to write, when I write, how I write, and to whom I write.
rem: What is the hardest aspect of being a writer?
JAN: As an indie author, the hardest part is marketing. But the hardest part of being a writer, in my opinion, is writing well. It’s easy to write, but it’s harder to write well. However, since that is pretty much relative – everyone has an opinion of what “well” means – the best we can do is do our best as unto the Lord, and that’s that.
rem: Marketing! Ugh! I recently commented on a post about perfection vs excellence. Perfectionism is a cruel task master, while excellence as unto the Lord is freedom. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
JAN: Oh this is going to be another hard question! In whatever book I am writing, my main characters are the heroes of their story world. In my latest book release, Diego Flores and Heidi Wei are my “heroes of fiction.” Both of them desire to please God and accept His will for their lives, but first they have to find out what that will is for them. They’re not afraid of what God would tell them to do the rest of their lives. That’s brave!
rem: Brave indeed! And challenging! What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
JAN: To me, publishing is easy. Marketing is not so easy. I have a publishing team that includes two copy editors, but I do all my own marketing. This is probably where a lot of indie authors are at because indie publishing is fluid and we’re often at the cutting edge. Groups like the Christian Indie Authors (CIA) serve to provide a corner café, if you will, for authors to do “indie shop talk” and brainstorm practical ideas to publish and market in the most efficient ways. Sure, we discuss writing also, but the assumption is that everyone is ready to go. So being able to share and discuss what works and what doesn’t benefits everyone in the group. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17).
rem: I am ever so thankful for CIA and all you do as admin! Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
JAN: I do like all the books that I’ve written! (You knew I’d say that.) But I am currently writing two series and I am enjoying researching and writing them. It’ll take me a while to complete the two series but I pray that all will go well and that God’s name would be glorified.
My two current favorite books are these two books I just published in June.
In SHARE WITH ME (Seaside Chapel Book 1), Ivan McMillan, a small-town violinist in a regional orchestra, who falls in love with Brinley Brooks, a twenty-something heiress who collects old violins. Does everything go well? Nope. In fact, Ivan says Brinley has ruined his life irrevocably. What does Brinley say about that? Amazon eBook: bit.ly/sc01ama
In KNOW YOU MORE (Savannah Sweetheart Book 1), Diego Flores has been in love with his best friend’s younger sister since their college days, but his calling to start Riverside Chapel in Savannah takes up most of his time. When Heidi Wei becomes his strongest supporter in his church planting ministry, how does Diego show his interest in her without her getting the wrong idea? Does she see him as potential husband material or just the pastor of their church?
rem: They both sound fascinating! What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
JAN: If they are Christians, I would advise them to seek the Lord’s will for their lives first. There is a bigger picture that’s always there, and writing, to me, is only one aspect of my life. If I am no longer an author, life goes on. But of course, I hope to write for a while, but even so, I try my best to do what I need to do today. Day by day, step by step.
rem: Words of wisdom! According to your website, you write “inspirational international thrillers.” That’s not a combination I’ve seen before. What does that mean exactly?
JAN: Well, one of the genres I write is suspense but the flavor is more thriller than the usual suspense. This is the first genre I started writing in back in 1996 when I could not find a “clean” suspense novel to read. All the top suspense/thriller novels back then were secular at best and R-rated at worst. There were no clean Christian thrillers at that time. So I started writing my own. Took me twenty years and I’m still at it. Since then, many Christian and clean suspense and thrillers have been published, but, yep, I‘m still at it. Stay tuned. You can say it’s basically Christian Suspense/Thrillers. I might rename it to that because several people have asked me the same question!
rem: That’s a good reason to invent a category! What is the most unusual or fascinating factoid or article you’ve discovered in your chronicling of regional history?
JAN: I write about the history of Georgia in my historical works-in-progress. One of the interesting things that fascinated me was the idea that when Britain colonized this area as its thirteenth colony in 1732, they set the rule that lawyers were not allowed in the colony. I thought that was amusing. However, I should add that before the eighteenth century was over, all professions were allowed.
rem: What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
JAN: Primarily the love of God and hope in Jesus Christ. Those two things permeate my point-of-view as an author, and I try to convey that as best I can. As mentioned, I currently have two series going. Each series has its own theme, but differentiating Christian romance from secular romance is a task that many Christian authors have to face. So I hope that through my writing, I have tried my best to convey that God’s love — and not the world’s love — is what I’m talking about in my novels and novellas.
rem: That’s ultimately what it’s about for us as Christians, that His life and His presence permeate everything we do.
Thank you so much for this interview, Robin. You asked such thoughtful questions that they require care to reply fully. Since you’re an author too, I pray that the Lord will also bless your writing and publishing to the praise of His name and for His glory. Go indies!
rem: Thank you, Jan for joining us today, and thank you for your precious prayer over my work as an author. I pray the same for you.
And GO INDIES!
About Jan Thompson
Jan Thompson blends inspirational women’s fiction with clean Christian love stories to celebrate the grace of God and hope in Jesus Christ. Whether they are multiethnic contemporary Christian romance, international romantic thrillers, or regional historical fiction, Jan’s books are for readers who love inspiring stories of faith, family, friends, and yes, happy endings. Always. Jan is also an avid reader and enjoys reading good books on pleasant days. When she is not busy writing and publishing, she is a wife, mother, educator, family scribe, and chief of staff to the family cat.
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