Thursday, November 19, 2009

with Janice Thompson

Patterings


Award-winning author Janice Thompson also writes under the pseudonym Janice Hanna. She got her start in the industry writing screenplays and musical comedies for the stage. Janice has published over fifty books for the Christian market, crossing genre lines to write cozy mysteries, historicals, romances, nonfiction books, devotionals, children's books and more. In addition, she enjoys editing, ghost-writing, public speaking, and mentoring young writers. Janice currently serves as Vice-President of CAN (Christian Authors Network) and was named the 2008 Mentor of the year for ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). She is active in her local writing group, where she regularly teaches on the craft of writing. Janice is passionate about her faith and does all she can to share the joy of the Lord with others, which is why she particularly enjoys writing. She lives in Spring, Texas, where she leads a rich life with her family, a host of writing friends, and two mischievous dachshunds. She does her best to keep the Lord at the center of it all. You can find Janice online at her website www.janiceathompson.com as well as at Double Booked where she does book reviews and Weddings by Bella

The House is Quiet,
Now What?

Recovering Life & Adventure
as an Empty Nester

Wondering what to do now that the kids have flown the coop? Look no further than Turning Points for Empty Nesters, wherein answers to the questions and challenges now facing you reside. Fuel-for-the-journey chapters address issues such as redefining and rediscovering yourself, deliberate downsizing, dealing with depression, balancing new responsibilities, becoming part of the sandwich generation, living with a renewed purpose, and so much more. Filled with sage advice and practical, biblically-based guidance, this unique volume will help you devise a new flight pattern as you navigate your way through the rest of your fabulous life.

Here's an excerpt of The House is Quiet, Now What?:

INTRODUCTION

A child enters your home and for the next twenty years makes so much noise you can hardly stand it.  The child departs, leaving the house so silent you think you are going mad. 
~John Andrew Holmes


Ah, the empty nest mom! She is the ultimate picture of contradiction. For years she pushed, she prodded, she worked around the clock to mold and shape her little darlings into real people. . .people she could be proud of. Then, just about the time she had them looking, acting and smelling like adults. . .they flew the coop!

Now she’s free! Free to redecorate the nest, to nudge herself over the edge, to do a little flying of her own. She’s finally in a place where she can rediscover her likes and dislikes, her dreams and abilities. Best of all, she is in the perfect situation to fully develop her relationship with the Lord.

Why then, does she struggle?

Becoming an empty nester is tricky. It’s an awesome, amazing, freeing, terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad time. . .filled with ups and downs, ins and outs. You’re struggling to balance those delicious feelings of freedom with the grief of watching your children make their way into the world. . .without you! Talk about a conundrum!

Think about the mama bird and her young. She works tirelessly to nudge her babes from the nest, pushing them beyond their limits. She’s thrilled when they succeed. But the moment those little darlings take to flight, she has second thoughts. “Wait a minute!” she cries out. “Hold on! I wanted you to fly, but I didn’t mean for you to fly away!”

Poor mama bird. She sits in the nest, bemoaning the fact that her task—for the most part, anyway—is complete. She’s worked herself out of a job. And now she is faced with the lingering question: “What have I done?” She mothered so well that she’s left to suffer the consequences, whether she’s psychologically prepared or not.

Chances are pretty good you can relate to that mama bird. As a mother, your world has been wrapped up in caring for the children God gave you. You sewed costumes for their ballet recitals, paid for guitar lessons, helped with homework, drove the carpool, spent countless hours at ballgames and other sporting events. You chose a van over a convertible and wore the team colors even when they clashed horribly with your complexion. In short, you gave up your very life for them.

And now they’re gone. The ever-present sound of video games echoes in your mind, but the house is silent. There are no tennis shoes to trip over, no stinky laundry to toss into the washer, and no arguments to squelch. The sound of your daughter’s voice chattering on the phone is only a distant memory and you find yourself missing the hum of text messages coming through. Gone are the emergency poster-board runs on Sunday night and the leftovers in the fridge are stacking up. You’ve washed that cheerleader outfit for the last time and packed your last school lunch. Your fall schedule includes Friday nights free and there are no more pep rallies to attend. Worst of all, you’re having to learn to cook for two again—or one, if you’re single.

Yep. Watching those children fly away can be tough.

But it can also be freeing!

Suddenly you have your time back! You can set your own schedule, something that was impossible with a house full of kids. Those dreams you pressed to the back burner? You can pull them out again, dust them off and look for the possibilities. You can travel! Take dance lessons! Join a bowling league. You can begin to focus once again on nurturing yourself—physically, spiritually and emotionally. In short, you can take care of you for a change! And above all, you now have the time to pursue the most intimate relationship with the Lord you’ve ever known.

Yes, empty nester. . .tears will be shed. No doubt you will go through a bit of grieving, especially those of you who’ve been through a really traumatic experience (such as the death of a child or a sudden, unexpected tearing away). But don’t let those tears fall because you’re thinking you’re nothing without the children underfoot. Let it be because you miss them, plain and simple.

Mama bird. . .it’s time to fly!

Little one, little one, why must you grow?
So quickly it seems, the time must go,
But you grow sweeter with time.
Just let me hold you a little while longer,
To capture the moments God gives us each day.
And maybe someday, when I’m just a bit stronger,
I’ll be prepared to watch you fly away.
Then you’ll fly, little one, fly,
And be what God wants you to be.
He gave you to me to keep for a while,
To show us that His love will be
Sweeter. . .sweeter with time

Sweeter with Time (by Janice Hanna-Thompson)


Thank you for being with us, Janice!
Tell us about your epiphany moment when you decided you were going to seriously pursue writing and eventually publication.

In 1997, while walking past the television, I heard Pat Robertson say these words: “If we’re not careful, this so-called “right” to die could become the “duty” to die. (I was watching the 700 Club, obviously.) His words stopped me in my tracks. As an avid pro-lifer, I knew that he was right. The idea for my first novel “Duty to Die” came as a direct result of those words from Pat. I spent several years trying to sell the book idea to a publisher. It was picked up by Barbour in 1999 and came out in 2000. Praise the Lord, it sold quite well and all of my subsequent books came as a result of that first one.

Which of your books (published or upcoming) has been the most fun for you to write and which character is your favorite?
Oh, goodness. . .what a question. I’ve enjoyed so many. I loved writing the “Weddings by Bella” series (my most recent fiction series from Revell). The characters and the overall story are quirky/funny. . .very suited to my personality. Also, the story is set in Galveston, near my home in Houston. I love that area and have always enjoyed setting stories there. I particularly like the first book in the series “Fools Rush In” because it’s about a wacky Italian family that runs a wedding facility. (For those who don’t know, I’m a mother-of-the-bride four times over. Four daughters. Four weddings. . .in four and a half years!) Writing about weddings is pure joy.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Yikes. As far as writing challenges go. . .I dislike those “mushy middles.” For those non-writers out there, the “mushy middle” is the mid-section of the book where writers often get bogged down. I always try to add some humor to the mid-section of a book to keep the plot moving along! As far as personal challenges go. . .I’ve been struggling with some physical problems (specifically, an autoimmune disease) so writing through the pain has been quite a challenge.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
If we’re referring to “Fools Rush In,” my favorite character is Aunt Rosa! She’s the wacky Italian aunt who does all of the cooking in the Rossi family. If we’re referring to the empty nest book, there are a host of stories that women turned in and they all touched my heart. It would be hard to choose just one. (I’d like to pause to thank the many, many women who responded to our call for stories. We kept them anonymous, but each story in the book is based on a real life story and/or a compilation of several stories.)

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Yikes. Do I really have to confess this? Let me start by saying I did NOT do this on purpose. I bake wedding cakes and baby shower cakes. Not professionally, mind you. I baked them for three of my four daughters and for other friends/family members. A former student of mine recently asked me to bake her wedding cake. I was happy to oblige. . .my gift to her. On the day of the wedding, I went to the reception hall early and assembled the cake. It looked lovely. Well, maybe not lovely, but close. An hour and a half later, I came back to the reception hall (after the wedding) to find the cake table empty. EMPTY! Completely, totally empty. The cake had fallen. Apparently one of two things had happened. . .either I didn’t brace the cake properly OR I’d added too much strawberry filling between the layers, making it slippery. At any rate, there was very little salvageable. I managed to keep two layers, which I pieced together. The rest was sliced and served. The bride (praise the Lord) was easy going and still laughs about it to this day. Thank goodness, right?!

Oh-my-goodness! What a relief the bride had a sense of humor!
Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?

Dishes. Laundry. Basically, I put off housework. It’s more of a temptation now that I’m living alone. (Well, to be honest, I don’t completely live alone. I live with two miniature dachshunds, but they don’t seem to care if I do the dishes or not.)

What would a perfect day for you look like?
Oh wow. Well, it would start by waking up in Italy and go from there. There would be a handsome tour guide (hey, a girl can dream) and a great place to sit and look out over the Mediterranean while writing. (Now look what you’ve done! You’ve got me dreaming!)

Aw, Janice, dreaming like that is good every now and then! LoL Isn't it?
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I love non-fiction books. I always find myself drawn to them. I recently read a couple of great non-fiction books (“The Heavenly Man” – about the underground church in China AND “Do Something” by Miles McPherson). Both really resonated with me. I also enjoy most types of fiction. Really, anything except Amish, westerns or sci-fi. Here are a couple of my favorite novels: “The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper” (by my non-fiction co-author, Kathleen Y’Barbo) and “Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas” (by Sandra Bricker)

Are there certain foods or snacks keeps the words flowing for you?
Yep. I once told someone that I could go for weeks on Diet Dr. Pepper alone. That’s not completely true, but it’s close. I also love Earl Grey tea. Yummy!

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
I always seem to write about people who get ahead of God. Maybe that’s a theme in my own life!

What lesson is the Lord teaching you right now or recently taught you?
Oh my. I have been going through a rough season physically. (I have an autoimmune disease which causes significant joint pain/fever, etc.) My insurance ended in August and I’m unable to get insurance at this time, due to pre-existing conditions. So, I’m learning to lean on the Lord as never before for my health. He is faithful. . .and He knows my every need. KNOWING that and LIVING it are two different things, though. Sometimes I get scared, but then I remember He’s my healer. . not the doctors.

Wow. What a lesson for us to hear, and now we can be praying for you.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

My second “Weddings by Bella” book (titled “Swinging on a Star”) comes out at Christmas-time. I’m SO excited! People who loved the first book should enjoy the comedic elements in this one too. Here’s the back cover copy:
Bella Rossi's life is nearing perfection. She's got the perfect guy, she's running a successful business, and she's about to plan her most ambitious wedding yet, a Renaissance-themed fairy tale come true, complete with period costumes and foods, horse-drawn carriages, and even a castle. There's just one hitch. The best man just happens to be Brock Benson, Hollywood's hottest and most eligible bachelor. Oh, and did we mention he's staying at the Rossi house to avoid the paparazzi? With all the pressure surrounding this wedding, Bella's not sure she's going to make it through. Add her starstruck sister, her feuding aunt and uncle, and a trio of large, sequined church ladies with even bigger personalities, and you've got a recipe for disaster--and a lot of laughs. This hilarious romantic comedy is sure to delight both fans and new readers alike.

You can purchase from CBD and Amazon:


Janice is giving away a copy of The House is Quiet, Now What?. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Sunday, November 29th to see if you've won. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar.
**Annoying little disclaimer: This giveaway is void where prohibited; open only to U.S. addresses, odds of winning depend on number of entrants. No purchase necessary. By clicking on the Amazon link above or in the sidebar and purchasing I will receive a small percentage of the sale.

And because I can't resist, here's a little about Janice's other new release that she mentioned several times in her interview,
Fools Rush In

Bella Rossi may be nearing thirty, but her life is just starting to get interesting. When her Italian-turned-Texan parents hand over the family wedding planning business, Bella is determined not to let them down. She quickly books a "Boot Scoot'n" wedding that would make any Texan proud. There's only one catch--she's a country music numbskull because her family only listens to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Where will she find a DJ on such short notice who knows his Alan Jackson from his Keith Urban? When a misunderstanding leads her to the DJ (and man) of her dreams, things start falling into place. But with a family like hers, nothing is guaranteed. Can the perfect Texan wedding survive a pizza-making uncle with mob ties, an aunt who is a lawsuit waiting to happen, and a massive delivery of 80 cowboy boots? And will Bella ever get to plan her own wedding? Book one in the Weddings by Bella series, Fools Rush In is fun, fresh, and full of surprises. Readers will love the flavorful combination of Italian and Tex-Mex, and the hilarity that ensues when cultures clash.

You can purchase Fools Rush In at CBD and Amazon:


Doesn't that sound great?!
Today's giveaway is for The House is Quiet, Now What? I just wanted to tell you about Fools Rush In because it sounds like a such a winner! =) And because I like to make you drool. hehe

Don't forget the other book giveaway going on right now with Vickie McDonough!

10 comments:

  1. Please don't enter me! I just wanted to drop by and say that I absolutely LOVED Fools Rush In!!! I can't wait to read the rest of the series. :)

    Here's the link to my review...in case anyone wants to read it:

    http://someofmyfavoritebooks.blogspot.com/2009/11/fools-rush-in-weddings-by-bella-bk-1-by.html

    Loved the interview, too!
    ~ Lori

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow! I would love to win this for my sis-in-law. We were just talking Empty Nest this past weekend and I'm sure she would benefit greatly from this book. Thanks for the chance!

    sewdabee@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. I understand the "Empty Nest" blues. It's taken me almost a year (plus having some grandchildren born) to get focused on the future.

    Your book looks very interesting!

    You've published fifty books! Wow!
    Thanks for being such a good inspiration to us!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh - this one looks good, and though I'm not there, I know plenty who are! :D Please enter me!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I need this book! My empty nest years are just around the corner, and I'm already feeling the pain. Please put my name in!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This book sounds perfect. I'm almost an empty nester. May as well be, a 16 year-old is rarely home. Sign me up for the drawing, Peej.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hmmm. Sounds interesting:) Please enter me. Thanks!!
    esterried[at]yahoo[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Please enter me:)
    jnkbull@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous10:40 AM

    great interview...hope I win! phdclark@swbell.net

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have a friend going through empty nest syndrome that I would love to give this to. Please enter me.
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete

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