Today I’m happy to bring you author Janice Spina, who writes children’s books and thrillers. I had the pleasure of meeting Janice through Chris, The Story Reading Ape’s Blog.
Janice is the award-winning author of five children’s picture books, illustrated by her husband, John Spina. Her most recent book is her first novel and mystery/crime/thriller, “Hunting Mariah.” But let’s talk about one of her picture books that I shared with one of my younger reading pals, J.C.
“Ricky is a rambunctious or very active raccoon who likes to wander around to find something new to eat. One night during his foraging for food, Ricky runs into all kinds of trouble. Will Ricky get home safely? Will he learn his lesson to listen to his mother?”
I think the words of five-year-old J.C. say it best: “Read it again!” Janice Spina’s “Ricky the Rambunctious Raccoon” tells a lovely story in rhyme while gently teaching a lesson about rules. The illustrations are perfect with the story, thanks to the other half of the Spina duo, husband John. The Spinas obviously understand what will interest children, how long the story should be, and how to create suspense without scaring young minds. I look forward to sharing more of the Spinas’ children’s books with the little ones and hearing them say, “Read it again” each time.
Q: What inspired you to begin writing books?
A: My children inspired me to write a children’s story when at bedtime they wanted more than the stories I read to them. I decided to do something different with them and wrote my first children’s story. This story has not been published as yet.
Q: What gave you the courage to publish your writing?
A: I have always dreamed of being an author. About two years ago, while on vacation in Aruba, I met a lovely lady, the daughter of a fellow vacationer. She is a talented illustrator and artist. I mentioned to her that I had written several children’s stories and four novels. She sat me down, and we talked for over an hour about what and how I should get myself out there and publish my work. She was an inspiration to me. Her name is Ara Atkinson-Skinner, and without her guidance I may not have forged ahead.
Q: I know you’ve written both children’s books, and also books for adults. Which book is your favorite and why?
A: I enjoy them both. Children’s books are quicker and easier to write in rhyme. My husband has the difficult part illustrating them. God bless him! Writing a novel is pure joy because I let my fingers do their thing. They fly across the keys as the words seem to flow, and the characters create themselves. I really get into my zone. It can be a little creepy at times when they tell me what they want to say. Ha!
Q: What was your favorite part about writing your books?
A: My favorite part about writing is to create characters and a storyline with twists and turns and surprises even for me.
Q: What is it like working with an illustrator who is also your husband?
A: It can be daunting at times. But we always come to a consensus on each page. Some pages take longer than others unfortunately. He is a joy to work with and is a perfectionist as am I. He has a quirky sense of humor and keeps things light when they get tense.
Q: What would you most like to leave readers thinking?
A: What else is she going to come up with? I like to keep people guessing and surprised at the stories I can write. There are many more just waiting to be written down. Even I am surprised when I write a new story. I never know how it will end until the end. Ha ha.
Q: In six words or less, what is your advice for aspiring authors?
A: Write, edit, write, and edit again.
Q: What is next on the horizon for you?
A: I have three novels in draft form which will keep me busy through next year. Of course, there is always something in between to do like copy editing other authors’ books, writing book reviews, blogging, and using social media to promote my books. I love doing it all! I promised to write a children’s story for another little boy I met in Aruba. But first I am going to write a middle school series for my grandsons, Jason and Joey. My husband is working on my newest book about a moose, which we hope to have ready before Christmas. Another story is ready for his talents, and several more titles are waiting in the wings. I always have a title long before a story.
Q. Wow, you sure are busy! Anything else you’d like to share?
A: May I take just a minute more to thank anyone who purchases my books and leaves a review on Amazon or other sites where they purchase books? We authors love to hear from our fans. Feel free to contact me on my links and chat. Blessings all! I just want to thank you, Valerie, for having me on your blog. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with you and your readers.
Well thank you, Janice, for stopping by and for sharing your time with us. If anyone would like to find out more about Janice, please visit her website at http://jemsbooks.wordpress.com, follow her blog at http://jemsbooks.com, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, and Goodreads. You can also ask your questions by leaving a comment here.