Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Janet Elaine Smith, A Christmas Dream, plus #giveaway

AUTHOR: Janet Elaine Smith
BOOK TITLE: A Christmas Dream
GIVEAWAY: A .pdf of my “Sampler,” which contains the first chapter of many of my books.

Tell me a little about your book. A Christmas Dream is a contemporary “feel good” read that will make you warm and tingly from the inside out. Of all 23 of my published books, this one is my favorite. It makes you believe that miracles can (and do) still happen.

What gave you the idea for this particular story? It all started at a McDonald’s when what appeared to be a normal family with a mom and dad and a little boy were soon exposed when the little boy began jumping up and down on the seat of their booth, hollering, “No! I don’t want to see Santa Claus. I don’t want to look at toys. I don’t want to buy a Christmas tree. I don’t want to look at Christmas lights. All I want for Christmas is you for my daddy!”

I also have another Christmas book, A Lumberjack Christmas…Revisited. It is a bit different in that the first half of it is a historical that takes place at an old logging camp in northern Minnesota, and the 2nd half follows the same family three generations later when they return to the logging camp to try to find their own miracles. 

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time? I’m a part-time writer. I spend quite a bit of time marketing my books. That cuts into my writing time. I am supposed to be retired, but I’ve never been busier in my life. I’ve never had as much fun either, though, so all things equal out. I do try to write something every day, especially when I am working on a new book.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? When my husband and I came back from Venezuela, where we were missionaries for 9 years, I wrote the things we had experienced so we wouldn’t forget them. By the time I finished that, I was “hooked” and I knew I had to keep writing. Incidentally, that was redone and released in 2010 as Rebel With a Cause.

What do you hope readers will take from your writing?  My first goal was simply to entertain people and help them escape the trials of everyday life by giving them some laughter and a happy ending. I am, as I said, a missionary (turned romance writer—lol), but I didn’t want to write “preachy” or “predictable” books. I try to get the message of the love of God through to the reader by having my characters grow (or sometimes encounter) their own faith throughout the books. So far, it seems to be working.

Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why? Oh, my. How much room do I have? I write historical (both sagas and romances, including one young adult Civil War book—My Dear Phebe), contemporary romance, cozy mystery, and time travel. Some of my contemporary novels are set in Latin America. I think my favorite is time travel. It is such fun being able to change history. I’m sure my old history teacher would turn over in his grave if he knew what I did to Mary, Queen of Scots, in Par for the Course. Oh, and one book, Dakota Printer, I thought was an inspirational romance until a man read it and said it was “the best Western I’ve read since Zane Grey died.”

What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it? Definitely not having enough time and having a lot of interruptions. Some days I get past it by ignoring people, but most days I really don’t. I just deal with it and look at new people and experiences as fodder for a future book.

Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it. Yes. I call my books “faction,” as they are almost always fiction, but based on some true facts. I hinted to the beginning of the McDonald’s incident. It was such a perfect beginning, and my oldest son had a friend who was injured in Desert Storm, so I used the things he went through with losing 3 of his buddies through “friendly fire” while they were playing cards one evening to build on. The little boy’s father in the book was killed and never got to meet his dad. I have the complete story at the “Note from the Author” at the back of the book, so you’ll have to buy it to get “the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey used to say.

How much is your protagonist like you? How different? She’s been through some tough times and life hasn’t seemed fair and she’s bitter about it. For the most part, I’m a pretty positive person, but there have been some rough spots along the way. In that way, we are alike. How are we different? She’s young, cute, and…need I say more? LOL!

What kind of research did you do for this type of story? This one didn’t require a lot of research, as I set it in Duluth, MN, a town I knew quite well. I also knew the storyline that was used from Desert Storm, although I did talk to a number of Vets who were in that war. I always hang a map up by my desk to show the layout of the land, and I did that.

Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not? Yes, both. I hate violence. I figure we all get more than enough of it every day on the news. Highly sexual scenes—to me it detracts from letting the reader use their imaginations. That’s a lot of the problem with kids these days; they see so much on TV, on video games, etc. that they don’t give their imagination a chance to develop. They have no idea what fun they are missing.

What about your book makes it special? As I said, it makes you believe in miracles. I can’t explain it, but I have heard from quite a few Vets (from several wars, not just Desert Storm) who have said that the nightmares they have had ever since they came home stopped after they have read A Christmas Dream. It is proof to me that those miracles are still happening.

What is your marketing plan? I’m not sure I ever had a plan. When my first book, Dunnottar, came out in 2000, I had no idea  an author had to help market their book. At that time my late husband was in a wheelchair and I was his full time caretaker. That led me to try to find innovative ways to market my books that didn’t involve traveling or a lot of money. My marketing budget was literally $0. The things I tried actually worked, probably in spite of me, not because of me. Eventually, my publisher, Star Publish LLC, asked me to put my marketing methods into a book. It is available most everywhere. The title is Promo Paks: Almost Free Marketing for Authors. I also call bookstores nationwide to tell them about my books, and I do a lot of arts & craft fairs (that’s where I have my best results) and quite a few speaking engagements at churches, libraries, civic clubs, etc.

Where can people learn more about you and your work? You can see more about me at and if you go to you can read the first chapter of each of my books. Of course I’m on Facebook too. Isn’t everybody?

Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book? This holds true in any genre. Write the book you would like to read. If you are passionate about your book, it will become contagious when you talk to people. Also, be sure it is the very best book you can write, which includes hiring a good editor. That isn’t as important if you only plan to write one book in your entire life, but if you plan to write multiple books, if people see too many mistakes in the first one, they will be turned off when they see your name on the next ones.

What’s in the future for you? I am working on the 2nd book in the Women of the Week Series. The first one was Monday Knight. This one is Tuesday Nolan. There will be 7 books in all. It is based on the old poem, “Monday’s child is fair of face…” etc. Each of the main characters will be named for the day of the week on which they were born, and they were raised with their mothers drilling it into their heads that their entire life should reflect their particular line from the poem.

I have at lest 60 books in my head, and they seem to keep multiplying. I have done a very stupid thing by writing several series at the same time. People (thankfully) keep asking for more in each of the series, so I have to keep writing. Then there are all of those single titles that creep in there too. You don’t want to see inside my head! It’s a scary place.


Susan Quincey has declared Christmas as "off limits." The loss of her husband in Desert Storm has definitely caused a "bah humbug" attitude, despite her three-year-old son Jeremy's needs. Just when she thinks it can't get any worse, it does. Her car won't start, but Kevin Dockter, her boss (who has admired her since the day she applied for work) offers to "jump" her, then hooks his car battery to hers. Susan is afraid of Jeremy getting hurt, but Kevin wins Jeremy's heart and they both go to work on Susan. A CHRISTMAS DREAM is a heart-warming Christmas tale, where even Santa gets a Christmas present. You will fall in love with the characters, from little Jeremy to Kevin's mother and even Buford, the lopsided reindeer. And yes, Kevin proves that miracles truly do happen at Christmas time, and in the most unexpected places. CC Hammond says, "This is your must-have three-hankie feel-good Christmas story, where the words '...and a little child shall lead them...' are never more true."

1 comment:

  1. Everyone loves Christmas stories, don't they? Nice interview!