Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Interview with author Janet Lane Walters

Today, my guest is author Janet Lane Walters talking about her latest release, The Warrior of Bast, published by Vanilla Heart Publishing.  Janet is a multi-published author who enjoys writing in a variety of genres.

1.     Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? What genre do you write in and why?

I’m a former nurse who began writing at an early age. Fortunately none of the early writings have survived. I’ve been published in some form since 1968, first in short stories and poetry and gradually moved to novels. As to a genre, there are a few. I have romances from sweet to spicy – contemporary to historical and places inbetween. There are cozy mysteries, a few YA fantasies, some medical suspense with twists. I write sort of as I read and this is why for the variety of genres. Changing from genre to genre keeps me young and my mind alive.

1.     Tell me about your current book which you are promoting.

The Warrior of Bast is an alternate world using ancient Egypt as the setting. The heroine, Tira has always loved Egypt. When her sister is murdered by a drug dealer, Tira flees the same man. She finds an add offering an escape and answers it. She arrives at a house where two elderly women cast her horoscope on a large wheel. When she wakes she is in the temple of Bast, prime goddess of this Egypt and is given a task. She must find the three symbols of the rule given to the first pharaoh by the gods Toth and Horu and the goddess Bast. She will be joined by a warrior of Horu and together they will undertake the quest..

How long have you been writing?

I began my writing career when I published my first short story in 1968. From 1984 to 1994, I returned to nursing and put writing aside. Though during this time I did jot down ideas that later became books. In 1994 I returned to writing and began publishing again.

What got you interested in writing, and what inspired you to write your first book?

 Perhaps this is a funny story. I had pneumonia and couldn’t work. My sister-in-kaw brought me a bag of romances, sweet nurse romances. I set out to read and was upset since the people writing these books knew little about the practice of nursing or medicine. I decided I could do better and began taking writing courses and reading every book on how to write I could find. I still have some of those books on my shelf, the ones about writing not the sweet-nurse ones. 

Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process?

I outline sort of. When I first began I did extensive outlines. Now the ones I do are much shorter. I used to plan the characters and plan the major scenes. Now much of this is done in my head. I do a short group of paragraphs with each paragraph probably a chapter in the book. I really have to know the end before I begin the story. But the details come during the process of writing and as I step into my characters and become one with them.

What comes first: the plot or the characters?
          Hard question to answer. First there is an idea, not necessarily a character of a thought. When thinking of The Hudson House Murders, I already had the character since she starred in three other books. The idea was one that popped in from a newspaper story about a nurse who killed patients to save them. My thought was what if she was doing this for money. Then the fun began. I had to find a place where this would work and people who might have the greed to do this. I’d say they came together. When I began the Warrior of Bast, an alternate world story what came first was the image of a large astrological wheel that would be turned and send a person to a place they wanted to be, but not necessarily that exact place. The heroine here has always loved Egypt but the Egypt where she ends up is an alternate one.
          6.     Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why?

          Wow. Hard question for a writer to answer. Of my characters the villain in Obsessions is one I wouldn’t care to meet but I may have. When I am living the story with the characters, they are all part of my life and I’m not sure the above qualities are actually the right way to describe how I feel about them. There are times when I love their actions and even times when I hate them. I don’t think I’ve ever pitied any of the characters I created since I have hopefully given them a roundness that shows how and why they do what they do.

           What was the hardest part of writing your book?
            For me the hardest part is the opening scene and getting the words right to set up how the story will come to be. Once that’s in place, and I often re-write a number of times, the rough draft usually goes fast.
            8.     Did your book require a lot of research? How long does it take to write a book for you?

            Since I write a number of books and in a number of genres the amount of research depends on the type of book. I can never judge how long it’s going to take me to write a book. Usually three to seven months depending on length or if it’s part of a series. The last book in a series usually takes longer since I have to tie up all the loosen ends and make sure the language is the same.
            What are some of the challenges in your writing process?

            Challenges – I really love writing and making up stories. I imagine making sure I develop the setting is a challenge. One of the first editorial remarks I ever received was when I sent my first book out. That was in the days when publishers wanted the full manuscripts. The editor said my characters were working in a vacuum and she provided some suggestions as to how to develop settings.

            Describe your writing space.
                I write in a room that used to be the sun porch and has been enclosed. My desk faces the blank wall so I’m not distracted. There are floor to ceiling bookshelves on the wall flanking the door. I have a recliner and several other bookcases. On the shelf above my desk is a collection of dragons, about thirty in all sizes and shapes. I have a boom box for music, usually classical. There’s a bulletin board above the desk with pictures done by grandchildren and an Astrological calendar. The walls are a restful green and the floor is wood.

                What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
                  When not writing, I read, cook especially around holidays since I love to bake cookies and some fancy cakes. I spend as much time with my grandchildren as time and distance allows. One lives nearby and four in Florida. I watch crime shows on television.

                  What books or authors have influenced your writing?
                    This is a hard one. I’ve been reading since I was three and was always encouraged to read anything my parents had on the shelf. That nearly got me expelled from school in third grade when I did a book report on Anna Karenina and changed the ending. My teacher didn’t think that was appropriate for my age. I had my nose in a book for most of my life. Fiction, poetry, non-fiction, plays. I just read a lot. I’m not particularly fond of short stories but I have read some really good ones. Perhaps this is the reason for my eclectic style.

                    13  What so you see for the future of publishing and e-books?

                    I’m now published exclusively in electronic form. This is the future of publishing. Here is a story that sort of proves my point. My granddaughter just turned twelve. When she was six she called me and asked me to buy her some “real” books. Note I’ve been sending this reader a book a month for years. I reminded her of that. “No,” she said. “A real book. Like the ones I read on the computer in school. They’re real books. The paper ones you can tear up and throw away.” Readers who have grownup with computers have no problem with reading there. With electronic readers becoming more affordable I believe this is the way publishing is headed.

                    What are your current books out right now and what are the books coming up for release?

                    There are a lot so I’ll go by publisher.  Vanilla Heart Publishing -- The Warrior of Bast,  Mistress of the Moons, Healwoman Dark Moon. 
                      DiskUs Publishing – Murder and Mint Tea, Requiem Murder, The Midas Murders, Hudson House Murders, Prescription For Love, Whispers Out of Yesteryear, The Quest For the White Jewel, Brotherhood of Mages, The Secret of the Jewels.
                      Clocktower Books – Shortcut to Love
                      New Concepts Publishing – A Silken Seduction, A Savory Seduction, A Second Seduction, A Minor Opposition, The Dragons of Fyre, All Our Yesterdays
                      Hardshell – Obsessions, Come Into The Light
                      Mundania – The Henge Betrayed Flight and The Henge Betrayed Refuge.
                      Zumaya – Becoming Your Own Critique Partner.
                      There are Four Jewels of the Quill Anthologies that I have a novella included.
                      To Come are The Henge Betrayed – Quests, Two novellas with two novellas of Jane Toombs I think called The Moon Pool

                      I think this is all at the moment, though I may have forgotten one of two or more.. I have the last of the Henge series nearing completion and am starting on the fourth Seduction story.
                            What is your marketing plan?
                      I do occasional print reviews, use the internet and Facebook a lot. On my blog,  I do a First Chapter Saturday as well as six other daily events ranging from a book on writing that has inspired me, right now a long one on Plot before that one on Character development. A Writer’s tip and a three blog visit Sunday. I belong to a lot of writing focused groups. On occasion, I’ve done book give aways and am building up to one in July to celebrate my 75th. I sometimes send out excerpt CDs and do pencils and notepads. In this I’m kind of eclectic, too.

                            What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
                      Finish the book. Then sit down and re-write. You will learn a lot in the writing. If you can find a good critique group. But most of all remember Persistence counts.


                      1. Gotta love a sister-in-law who brings you a bag of romance books, Janet! I am always fascinated by the origins of inspiration. One never knows where or when it will strike, and I'm glad that bag of books spurred you to write. Your Warrior of Bast sounds like quite an adventure. All the best with it, and with all those other genres!

                      2. Pat, glad you were able to see what Janet has been doing.

                      3. Pat, Thanks for stopping by and for the good wishes. Janet

                      4. You are one busy interesting woman, Janet. Thanks for the delightful interview, Penny. You asked all the right questions.

                      5. Hiya Janet,

                        I am always amazed by your wide and accomplished range of writing genres. It was great to read about that bag of sweet romances!


                      6. I enjoy quest books a lot. Yours sounds very tempting. Best of luck with it.


                      7. Janet, it's my pleasure. Charmaine, glad you enjoyed the interview. I'm always on the lookout for authors to spotlight.

                      8. Chelle, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

                      9. Malcolm, thanks for commenting. I hope you get a chance to read this one!

                      10. Thanks to all who have stopped by.

                      11. Shoshanna, glad you liked the interview. It's always nice to hear from a new reader.

                      12. I am more into contemporary books, but was awed by the variety of types of books you have written.

                      13. Gladys, thank you for stopping by. It's always a pleasure to hear from someone new.

                      14. Penny, Gladys and Pat. Penny, thanks for having me, Gladys and Pat, thanks for stopping by. I write a number of genres because I have a short attention span.

                      15. Janet, LOL, I love your reason for writing lots of genres!

                      16. Enjoyed the interview with Janet. Found her granddaughter's thoughts on real books very interesting. Ebooks definitely are making their mark on the writing world.

                      17. Susanne, I have to agree, eBooks have come a long way and are no longer looked down upon. I think it's wonderful authors have so many more options for getting published now.