Tag Archives: interview

How I Write

Editor/Novelist/Teacher Karin Beery says, “There’s no right-or-wrong answer when it comes to the best way to publish a book. It boils down to what you’re willing and able to do.”

That’s the start of a chat we had on Karin’s Write Now Editing blog. She asked questions like which was harder to write: first book or later books, and do I plot or write seat-of-the-pants style. We also talk about traditional and/or independent publishing, and I have a long list of suggestions for new writers.

Click over and join the conversation! http://writenowedits.com/2020/07/how-i-write-janet-sketchley/

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Hidden Secrets Giveaway and Interview

Book cover: Hidden Secrets
A Green Dory Inn Mystery, book 2

Here’s your chance to win a print copy of Hidden Secrets (or an ebook if you prefer them) anywhere in the world. Just pop over to A Christian Writer’s World – Characters Who Grip Your Heart and leave a comment. Click here. Draw ends January 17, 2020.

Already read the book but you like reading author interviews? Click the link above and join the conversation. Host Lena Nelson Dooley always has interesting questions.

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Print Giveaway, Interview, Review Option, and a Price Drop

Book cover: Hidden Secrets

There’s a print book giveaway this month for Hidden Secrets. Unfortunately, it’s only available in continental US and Canada, but if that works for you, check it out at The Suspense Zone. There are a few other suspense giveaways at the same link, for continental US residents only. [Giveaways end October 31, 2019]

And Susan Sleeman from The Suspense Zone also interviewed me. You can check out that conversation here.

If, by chance, you’re a NetGalley reviewer or if you know someone who is and who enjoys mystery/suspense, Hidden Secrets is available there during the month of October. Link: NetGalley. I’m really excited about this chance to get the book in front of some new-to-me reviewers.

Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you I’ve dropped the price of the ebook version of Unknown Enemy to 99 cents USD ($1.32 CAD and the equivalent worldwide). It’s available for Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and Apple, so please let your mystery/suspense-reading friends know! International buy link: Unknown Enemy.

Text: "A young woman with a traumatic past... A lonely widow... And a prowler who's up to no good. $0.99 for Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks. #Christiansuspense #books2read.com/unknownenemy

Interview and Giveaway (ends Nov. 30/17)

I had a fun chat with author Lynn A. Davidson at her blog, Polilla Writes, and one commenter will win a copy of one of my suspense novels (their choice). It’s a print book if they’re in continental North America, or an ebook if they live anywhere else.

Pop over and check it out: click here. (Giveaway ends Nov. 30, 2017, but the interview will stay online.)

Interview: Author Lillian Duncan

Author Lillian DuncanLillian Duncan is a multi-published author who lives in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband, two parrots, one Jack Russell, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel she’s thinking of renaming Clifford since he keeps growing and growing and….

As a speech pathologist in the public schools for over thirty years, she worked with students of all ages with a wide variety of conditions, but especially with deaf and hard-of-hearing children. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives. Especially God’s Word.

Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced mystery and suspense with a touch of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us.

Janet: Welcome, Lillian, and thanks for taking time to join us. Tell us a bit about your new novel, Deadly Communications.

Lillian: Deadly Communications features Maven Morris, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who gets a little too involved with her clients. Okay, a lot too involved. When a client she’s working with leaves abruptly, Maven is suspicious and she won’t rest until she finds her.

Janet: You have background in speech pathology yourself. Did that make it easier to bring this story to life than your previous ones?

Lillian: It did, the story seemed to write itself. I had so much fun writing this story.

Janet: How many novels have you written?

Lillian: I’ve been blessed to have several books published in the past few years. My last release was Betrayed in January of this year. It was the second in my Sisters By Choice series. The third, Redemption, will be released in September.

Janet: You’re a busy lady! Do you write in other areas as well?

Lillian: I have a devotional blog, Power Up With God’s Word: Secrets For a Better Life at www.PowerUpWithGod.com. I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors two years ago and so many of the devotions focus help others who are facing a crisis—physical or spiritual.

Janet: Good for you, sharing what God gives to encourage you as encouragement to others in need. How is your health now?

Lillian:  I’m in a waiting mode right now. I have an MRI scheduled in August and, I’m praying it will show the tumor is dead. I’m struggling with some pain and fatigue due to my treatment. But all in all, I’m not doing too badly considering everything. God has been with me through it all!

Janet: Experiencing God’s presence with us definitely strengthens our faith. I pray you’ll have good news from your MRI, and that the treatment side effects will fade quickly. Where did you get the idea for Deadly Communications?

Lillian: First, my brother asked why I didn’t write a story featuring a speech-language pathologist. To which my answer was that it would be difficult to come up with a suspense story and an SLP.

Secondly, a few days later I was talking with someone whose daughter had been involved in an accident and was now experiencing communication difficulties.

Thirdly, as writers are prone to do, I was sitting daydreaming and had a vision of a young woman running through the woods and into ongoing traffic.

That’s all it took! My writer mind took over from there and Deadly Communications was born.

Janet: It’s funny how the seeds of ideas come together. What’s the novel’s theme? Or what do you want readers to take away when they’re done?

Lillian: Before the story starts Maven has experienced a series of life-changing events that have led to depression. Maven chooses to get out of bed and keep moving. It’s not easy when life throws us a curve ball or two. It may not seem fair, but how we react to those things will determine the quality of our future.

As the story moves forward we see Maven struggle with her spirituality as she faces some difficult circumstances in her life. I want readers to know they can do the same.

Janet: In your experience working in SLP, what’s the most unusual bit of trivia you’ve picked up?

Lillian: That it takes more muscles to frown than smile! So smile!

Janet: Is there a particular song or Scripture verse that’s made a big difference for you?

Lillian: Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. This verse has become my mantra since I was diagnosed with the brain tumors.

Janet: Tell us something you appreciate about living in the middle of Ohio Amish country.

Lillian: Great restaurants with great food, great cheese and great desserts! And, of course, we always have somewhere we can take family and friends who are visiting us.

Janet: What do you like to do to recharge?

Lillian: SLEEP!

Janet: I hear you on that one! Thank you again for visiting, Lillian, and God bless you in your writing and your life.

Readers, to learn more about Lillian and her books, visit her at www.lillianduncan.net or www.lillian-duncan.com. She also has a devotional blog at wwwPowerUpWithGod.com.


Deadly Communications, by Lillian Duncan

Improving communication skills is never easy. In this case, it could be murder!

Maven Morris is a speech-language pathologist on medical leave–or as she likes to put it: out to pasture.

When she’s offered a lucrative position by one of the community’s most powerful men to help his traumatic-brain-injured daughter improve her communication skills, Maven discovers deadly secrets behind the iron gates of the mansion.

Now, she must find the courage to seek justice no matter who gets hurt–even if it’s her.

Deadly Communications is published by Harbourlight Books (Pelican Book Group) and is available for Kindle (Links: Amazon.com and Amazon.ca), Kobo and Nook.

Lee Brandt from On the Pineapple Express

Today we meet Lee Brandt, one of the characters from H. L. Wegley‘s suspense novel, On the Pineapple Express.

Janet: Welcome, Lee, and thanks for taking time to join us. I’m writing these questions before reading your story, so forgive me if I blunder over something that should be obvious. This way I can’t accidentally toss out a spoiler. Let’s start with the basics: tell us what you look like, and what you do for a living.

Lee: Here’s a picture of me. Photo of Lee BrandtI’ve never been very good at descriptions. Jenn says my eyes usually have an intense look … except when I’m teasing her. That’s what tells her I’m not serious. But you asked about my work. I recently jumped ship from computer systems development back to Meteorology, my first career. I’m a partner in a weather consulting firm doing specialized weather forecasting for our clients.

Janet: I understand you’re engaged—and that you met your fiancée through a cyber investigation. Could you tell us a bit about that? And is it true she’s brilliant? How easy is that to live with?

Lee: Jennifer? Yeah, she’s brilliant. Has an IQ a few points above Einstein, so you don’t want to challenge her to a game of chess … or to a deadly game of wits. She’s an Internet forensics specialist. If you’re a bad dude collaborating on the net, she can find you, all your partners, and what you’re up to. Our mentor, Howie, uh, Dr. Martin, sent her to help me with a computer security problem and her probing into a cyber espionage plot nearly got us killed. That’s how I got to know her. And, as long as you’re completely honest with Jennifer, believe it or not she’s easy to live, even for someone like me, a man from the dregs of the genius barrel.

Janet: I also hear Jennifer is good with a gun. That’s not something I expect of a computer genius. How about you, Lee? What’s your comfort level with danger?

Lee: When you’re small, young looking, and beautiful, like Jenn, you sometimes attract men you’d rather not have around. One of those types stalked her and he had some really bad intentions. He’s behind bars now and walks with a permanent limp. She hits what she aims at. But danger … when I accept it on my terms, I can live with a little danger. However, when it comes at you unexpectedly, and threatens someone you love, I can get a little crazy if I don’t get on my knees first. Even after I do, I can still get a little crazy. Jenn can vouch for that.

Janet: On the Pineapple Express is the second time you and Jennifer have faced death together. Has it been easy working with such a strong-willed and perhaps impetuous woman?

Lee: Strong-willed. Yeah, that’s Jennifer if she knows she’s right. But she only seems impetuous. By the time my mind catches up to what she’s thinking, she’s already thought it through and made a decision, a carefully weighed decision. We both have strengths such that we complement each other. Together, we make an awesome team. At least I think so.

Janet: Is it true you’re also a man of prayer? How does that play out in your life?

Lee: Prayer, 10 years of it, brought me a soul mate after I had given up on finding anyone. God does things right, doesn’t He? He allowed me to introduce Jennifer to Himself. I’ve been privileged to do that with some other people too. I’m something of a self-taught apologist who enjoys answering questions like, if God exists, how can He be good when He allows so much evil in the world? That’s one agnostics like to throw at me. Or, how can you believe all those myths and legends about Jesus? Sorry. I got a little carried away. But, as you can see, I’m pretty good at apology. J

Janet: Your first story was Hide and Seek, but there’s even more at stake this time: the lives of those girls about to be sold into slavery. If I’ve got this right, Jennifer found out about this operation but the FBI say there’s not enough to go on—so you and she are going to take on a human trafficking ring by yourselves?

Lee: Take on the ring by ourselves. It sounds a little crazy when you word it like that, but taking on heavily armed traffickers wasn’t our intent. Jennifer believed that the holding location was an abandoned mill on the Olympic Peninsula, but the Peninsula is dotted with old mill sites. We did some research to locate sawmills and simply wanted to find a site with some squatters living on it, then sic the Feds on them. But the storm got in the way, isolating us. If the girls were going to be saved, our options for doing so were reduced to only one or two, and they didn’t include FBI support.

Janet: Where do you have to go to rescue them? And is it true there’s a major storm heading that way?

Lee: The old mill sites are strung out along the coastal road, Highway 101, on the outer Olympic Peninsula. A beautiful place when the sun is shining. Using satellite pictures, we found 5 candidate sites that we planned to visit … very cautiously. The Pineapple Express, the heavy rainstorm, presented some problems, mainly flooding. But the greatest danger came from a windstorm forming near the coastline. This storm didn’t move in. It developed in something called explosive cyclogenesis. It’s unusual in the Pacific Northwest and, by the time the computer models picked it up, we had barely 24-hours advance warning about the hurricane-strength winds.

Janet: How likely is it you’ll pull this off?

Lee: Twenty-four hours notice still gave us time to visit all 5 mill sites. The odds were in our favour. But then we encountered several delays, and the clock became a major factor in what had become a deadly game. Jennifer’s certainty about God wanting her to find the girls was the only thing that kept us in a game, a game where our odds of winning had become long.

Janet: What scares you more than anything?

Lee: What scares me to death is that Jennifer might try to sacrifice her life for mine in the hope that I would survive to contact the authorities so they could stop the sale of the girls. If I lost her after waiting 10 years for someone like her to come along … I can’t let my mind go there.

Janet: If you could say one thing to H. L. Wegley, what would it be?

Lee: Good old H. L… Janet, you did know that he and I have similar resumes, right? And the stuff I did in Hide and Seek, much of it he did years ago, but he swore me to secrecy on the details. What would I say to him? Probably this—H. L., I can never thank you enough for bringing me Jennifer. But if you put us in one more predicament like this, I’m going to pray that you get the worst case of writer’s block you’ve ever had—maybe a permanent case.

Janet: I hear you! If you and Jennifer survive this crisis, do you hope life settles down, or are you developing a taste for adventure?

Lee: Taste for adventure? You’ve got to be kidding! I want to marry Jenn and go on a long honeymoon in Maui where nothing bad ever happens. Walk barefoot in the sand on Keawakapu Beach, watching the Moon over Maalaea Bay.

Janet: Describe your idea of a perfect day.

Lee: I can see the perfect day now. Jenn and I pull our snorkelling gear on in the morning sun on Maui’s Ulua Beach and then plunge into 80-degree water, where brilliantly colored tropical fish swarm around us while we swim hand-in-hand above a coral reef in one of the most beautiful settings in all of creation.

Janet: Thanks for chatting, Lee. And I hope you and Jennifer can rescue those girls and save your own lives too—and enjoy a beautiful, safe time in Maalaea Bay, although I have a suspicion it won’t be as calm as you’d like.


Author H.L. Wegley

For more about the author and the Pure Genius series, visit H.L. Wegley’s website.

H. L. Wegley has a related post, “Fear, Courage and Foolishness” at Inner Source, and you can read interviews with Jennifer Akihara at Ralene Burke’s site and Fay Lamb’s site. You can read my review of On the Pineapple Express here.


On The Pineapple Express, by H L Wegley

On the Pineapple Express, by H.L. Wegley

In one of the most beautiful places on earth the ugliest of crimes holds young, innocent lives in its evil grip. An intercepted cell-phone call from a remote area on the Olympic Peninsula tells beautiful, brilliant NSA researcher, Jennifer Akihara, a group of girls will soon be sold into slavery by human traffickers. She enlists her fiancé, Lee Brandt, to help find the holding location and convince the FBI to intervene. With the clock ticking off the last few hours before both the sale of the girls and the arrival of a deadly storm, and with international criminals pursuing them, can Jennifer and Lee save the girls, or will their wedding plans be cancelled … permanently?

Interview: Kimberley Payne on Adam’s Animals

Kimberley PayneKimberley Payne is a prolific non-fiction writer with works ranging from activity books to devotionals to workbooks. She writes to equip women for faithful living.

Janet: Kimberley, welcome back to my blog. We talked last year about your children’s activity book, Trees of the Book—Learning from God’s Creation. Clearly it’s been well-received, because you’re moving ahead with more in the Science and Faith Matters series. Please tell us what’s new.

Kimberley: Yes, Adam’s Animals is the second book in the Science and Faith Matters series. It’s a children’s activity book that features more than 40 animals mentioned in the Bible and little-known facts about each. It’s ideal for 6 to 9 year olds, for home or school use and classroom sharing in grades 1-3 to supplement the Life Sciences Curriculum on Animal Life.

Janet: Some of the facts I’ve picked up from reading other stops on your blog tour have been quite interesting! You’re taking a new approach with this project: crowdfunding. I think that’s a great way to go. Instead of taking a bank loan, you gain early buy-in from the people who are interested in your project, and they get some fun bonuses and a sense of participation in the process. Would you tell us a bit more about crowdfunding, for those who are new to the idea?

Kimberley: A crowd funding campaign is an effort to raise financial support for a creative project. In my case, I am hoping to raise $3500 by the end of February to pay for the illustrations and publication of my book. Depending on the amount of money someone pledges, they can receive an autographed copy of the book, copies of my other children’s book, a beautiful jpg watercolour of a rooster, or other creative gifts.

Janet: That makes it clearer, and there are definitely some appealing options. Why did you decide to take this route?

Kimberley: I had supported a musician and a new magazine this way and enjoyed the process, really feeling like I was helping to bring to life their creative project. Both projects met their goal and I loved that I helped them.

Janet: What are some of the benefits you see for people who back your project? And what’s the deadline to get in on it?

Kimberley: Backers that support my project will get an inside look at the creative process, and help Adam’s Animals come to life. They also get to choose from a variety of unique rewards including an autographed copy of the book, a high definition jpg of a watercolour Rooster, or even lunch with me and the publisher. The deadline for my project is Friday, February 28th at 6pm (EST).

Janet: I loved the illustrations in Trees of the Book. Will Esther Haug be illustrating Adam’s Animals as well?

Kimberley: Esther did a beautiful job creating the artwork for the first book. Janis Cox, an award-winning children’s author and illustrator, will be creating the illustrations for Adam’s Animals.

Janet: Janis does beautiful artwork as well. So tell me… you’ve written a lot for women, but Trees of the Book and Adam’s Animals are for children. Is this a shift in direction, or will you write for both?

Kimberley: I will continue to write for both, as I have a passion for encouraging women and supporting their desire to raise children in the faith.

Janet: Your own children are older now, so where do you turn for test readers?

Kimberley: My niece and nephews. They are always very helpful in providing feedback.

Janet: Assuming Adam’s Animals gets fully funded, what might we see next in the series?

Kimberley: I plan to write a third book on the five senses as found in the Bible. I also have ideas for a book on weather in the Bible.

Janet: I remember a terrific storm described in one of the psalms. That could be fun. What started you working on Science and Faith Matters? Do you have a personal interest in science?

Kimberley: In school, I focused on math and business subjects but have come to realize my love and appreciation for life sciences as an adult.

Janet: Proof that we don’t finish learning when we leave school! What’s your favourite animal?

Kimberley: There are so many I love! But my favourite is the leopard. This big cat can climb trees, run fast, and swim. He’s powerful and smart. My kind of creature!

Janet: Leopards are so cool. On the topic of biblical animals… what do you think Leviathan was? A sea monster? Dinosaur? Mega crocodile?

Kimberley: That’s a great question. There’s much scholarly debate on what this creature really was. For the purposes of Adam’s Animals, I classified the Leviathan as a crocodile.

Janet: I look forward to the picture. Now, as well as this project, you’re blogging, keeping active, and collecting pet fur. (Readers can check out the bio on your site to find out why.) Tell us about Kimberley Payne, wife, mom, neighbour and friend.

Kimberley: I’ve been married for 12 years and thank God daily for bringing my husband into my life. I live in a beautiful community, near my parents and brothers’ families. Family is very important to me. I am truly blessed.

Janet: Do you have any advice for writers considering the crowdfunding approach?

Kimberley: It’s a lot of work, so start early and expect months in planning.

Janet: And the random question of the day: chocolate or vanilla?

Kimberley: Vanilla with chocolate sauce!

Janet: Brilliant! Thanks so much for stopping by, Kimberley, and I wish you all the best with Adam’s Animals. I’m a great-aunt now, and a certain little guy may get a copy of the book when he’s old enough to not eat crayons.


Adam's Animals: Ant

Click here (or on the ant) for more about the Adam’s Animals crowdfunding project, or visit Kimberley J. Payne’s website to learn more about the author and her work. You can also find Kimberley at these places: