AUTHOR: Janet K. Brown
BOOK TITLE: Divine Dining:365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness
PUBLISHER: Pen-L Publishing
NOTE: Janet will give a free Divine Dining book in a drawing from those who comment on the post. Please be sure to leave your contact information if you would like to be considered.
Please tell us about yourself.
I live in Wichita Falls, Texas with my husband, Charles. Though I have written most of my adult life, since my retirement as a bookkeeper and medical coder, I write as a second career and as a ministry.
Divine Dining is my second book and encompasses my passion for diet, fitness, and God’s Word. My debut novel, an inspirational, paranormal young adult, Victoria and the Ghost, released in July, 2012. I continue to write short stories for teens and adults. The sequel to my young adult is contracted to release later in 2014.
My husband and I love to travel with our RV, visit our three daughters, two sons-in-law and three grandchildren, and work in our church. Find me at http:/ /www.janetkbrown.com on Twitter, @janetkbrowntx , on Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Janet-K-Brown-Author/143915285641707 I love to hear from readers.
Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I guess you’d say I was full time, since I don’t work outside the home. However, I like enjoying my retirement, too. We travel a lot. I take my computer with me, but on vacation time, writing takes second place, so in that way, I’m part time. Ha! When I’m at home, I write every morning and on at least 3-4 afternoons each week. The balance comes like a see-saw. A deadline on writing stops everything, but otherwise, I just try to write every day to keep my head in the stories.
When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing as a teenager. The reason is I can’t take life without writing something even if it’s a journal. Writing makes life more of an adventure.
What inspired you to write your first book?
The setting of “Victoria and the Ghost,” which was my first book, is the North Texas plains. The ghost resides in Clara Cemetery. The real Clara Cemetery, about 25 miles from my house, caught my attention one day. We had just moved from Dallas area to Wichita Falls and were out driving and exploring the area. We found a well-maintained area on the lonely plains, like a Garden of Eden in the midst of desert. At the time, my granddaughter was going thru her teen rebellion. She moved from a huge Dallas high school for a much smaller one, only 100 in her graduating class. She called it “that hick school.” I realized how traumatic such a change could be for a teenager. When I heard the legend of the ghost at Clara Cemetery, I thought what if a ghost was the only thing that could help a young girl adjust? So the writing began.
What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
I teach a weekly weight loss class at my church based on Divine Dining. I love to line dance and zumba. During the summer, I love swimming and water aerobics. I love going off in our travel trailer with my sweetie especially going to the Rocky Mountains. I read all the time and usually take part in 1-2 Bible studies each week. Of course, I love anything to do with my 3 perfect grandchildren.
What are your thoughts about promotion?
I hate it, but I do it because I must.
I maintain a website. I post a blog every Saturday. I keep a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Linked In. I’m on Goodreads but don’t really understand it. I do guest appearances on other blogs and have other authors as guests on my blog. During a book launch, this increases. Then, I utilize blog hops and blog tours.
In my area, I’ve done booksignings at four local libraries and two at Hastings Book Store in Wichita Falls. My biggest success has come from book clubs where I speak and offer my books for sale.
Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?
I didn’t ever have writer’s block, but I have had times when I get bored with something I’m writing, and it becomes like pulling teeth to plod through it. I figure if it bores me, it will bore readers. The best remedy comes from getting away from writing or switching to writing something else. That’s probably why I love writing in different genres.
I did have a time in 2009 that writing was controlling my life. I felt the Lord telling me to quit writing. I obeyed. For three long months, I did no writing or anything writing related. It drove me crazy, but I drew closer to God from my sacrifice of obedience. Finally, God told me to write a short story, then start another novel. I got the balance right and within a year and half from that time, I had my first contract. My sweet critique partner put it in perspective for me when she said, “If you make the New York best-selling list, but lose Charles, how would that feel?” I’ll never forget that.
Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
For, Divine Dining, my publisher is Pen-L Publishing. I pitched to Duke Pennell at the Oklahoma Writers Federated Intl. annual conference in May, 2012. I salute Kimberly Pennell who did a super job of formatting and doing the cover art.
What are your current projects?
I’m doing final edits with my 4RV Publishing editor on the sequel to my YA. The title is A Ghost for Shelley.” We’re hoping to release that the latter part of 2014.
I’m shopping my first women’s fiction. This manuscript is meant to be a compliment for Divine Dining, even though it’s fiction. The heroine deals with a drug-addicted sister, an angry mother, and a food addiction that makes her wonder if she’s inherited her dad’s insanity. FYI, in this story, the local police chief is pretty hot.
Tell me a little about your book.
I lost ninety-five pounds and have maintained the loss for seventeen years. One tool in my recovery remains the daily reading of inspirational books. I found my library incomplete when I searched for one that combined a twelve-step program with God as the Higher Power. The biggest secret to my success was giving up my will and letting God do it through me. Divine Dining is a book of daily devotions that came from my journals, experiences, and memories. This is one woman’s road for success. I pray these thoughts help others reach the same healing God gave to me. It’s all about God.
What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
I really answered that with the previous question, but I will say, that others have told me the book made the difference for them in losing weight. In my weight loss class, there’s been several success stories.
What types of writing do you prefer, and why?
I write fiction. I love to escape into fictional worlds. I write YA because I love the freedom of sarcastic, self-centered teenagers. I write women’s fiction and romance because I am, after all, a woman who loves to ask “what if.”
I read many genres. Cec Murphy taught in a class that I attended that authors should read a lot from the genres they write, but mostly from the ones they don’t write.” I follow his advice. Right now, I’m reading a romantic suspense and a non-fiction of weight loss.
What draws you to non-fiction writing?
I write fiction. I never thought to write a devotion book. But, God woke me up one night about four years ago. I rarely, if ever, get up and do anything in the middle of the night, so I know it was God. I sat at the computer and wrote out fourteen devotions about overeating before I relaxed enough to go back to sleep. God continued to give me devotions over a period of four years. I’m also working on a Divine Dining cookbook. Being a foodaholic, I love scanning cookbooks and trying new recipes.
What about your book makes it special?
Compulsive overeaters will identify with my plights.
The stories reveal the good, the bad, and the real.
What, if anything, bugs you when you read a novel?
Typos. No complete resolution.
What has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite?
What I love:
Being taken seriously as an author.
Meeting so many new people.
Seeing my words take life.
What I don’t like:
Having to learn how to do all this online promotion stuff.
BUY LINK: http://www.pen-l.com/DivineDining.html
Last year, we visited our daughter and son-in-law near Denver, Colorado. While there, we took a day trip to Estes Park. What a beautiful place that is. We walked along one side of the river. At one point, a fast-moving waterfall caught our attention due to the thousands of salmon seeking to jump to the top of the falls.
Before they give birth, salmon head upstream to reach their own hatching place regardless of how far they must travel. Some swim thousands of miles. When they reach their destination, they’re exhausted, but still have strength to lay their eggs as planned. God made the salmon a determined, persistent creature and a lesson for those of us who grow weary.
Another bit of nature that caught our attention was the elk. A huge herd took over the golf course and spread along the river. Who were we to tell them no? Many female elk nibbled along the way and ignored us as long as we didn’t bother them. One trod right beside me. Only one male with a huge rack of horns lay in the middle of the grass surrounded by his harem.
A couple hundred feet away from the herd stood another male elk. We snapped a picture when he looked at us. He was a bit smaller and younger than the male with the herd. The smaller male awaited his moment when he was strong enough to challenge the other male elk and take over the herd. Again, persistence. Now, he laid alone.
Overcoming a strong compulsion like that of overeating takes a lifetime. Sometimes, we do tire of what we consider the same foods, or of just having to rein in our desires to keep down our weight. The next time, we think of quitting, remember the salmon and the male elk. Persistence may wear on us, but it brings the reward in the end. With God, we can and will leap.