On this Make-believe Monday morning I'm pleased to introduce Janice Lynn. Janice won the American Title I contest last year with JANE MILLIONARE which came out just a few months ago and she has been a source of great inspiration and support to all of the finalists this year as she mentored us through our finalist loop.
First, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.
Janice: I just finished a manuscript a few weeks ago that my agent has sent out. I’m excited as it’s my first real submission in more than a year. I have also turned in the sequel to JANE MILLIONAIRE to Dorchester. It’s tentatively titled CAUSING A COMMOTION & is Jessie’s story. As Jill’s sister in JANE MILLIONAIRE, Jessie was a fun secondary character, but turning her into a heroine a reader could empathize with took some work. I’d never intended to give her a story of her own, but got many requests for her story and realized she did deserve to have her tale told.
Debra: I'm glad you wrote Jessie's story and I'm looking forward to reading this one. The title is intriguing.
Mark Twain said, “You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” How do you fill your creative well to keep your imagination in focus?
Janice: I used to push myself through and just keep writing, even if it was total crap. After completing more than 10 manuscripts, I now trust that if my imagination is out of focus, it’s a temporary thing and it’ll come back with a strong burn to put butt in chair and write. Some things that inspire me are my hubby, funny movies, Matthew McConaughey—hey, that man inspires!, and lots of other artsy kind of things from drawing, painting, to scrap-booking with my kids.
Debra: Um, Matthew McConaughey, yes he certainly does inspire! It also sounds like you are moved by visual images as many of us are. I'm always amazed at how one media can inspire the other as with painting and writing.
Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?
Janice: Yes. My characters are like people I know and it’s always a bit sad to finish a book and know that these ‘people’ aren’t going to be such a dominate part of my life any more.
Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of. Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?
Janice: I’ve written one light paranormal & I made up a few words to add flavor to my heroine’s vocabulary.
For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?
Janice: Yes. Usually those dreams involve Matthew McConnaughey, me, and a weekend get-away. What? Not buying that? Hey, this is my dreams we’re talking about. Okay, although Matthew is as dreamy as he is inspiring, I can’t honestly say that I’ve ever had a dream about him—not one while asleep at any rate. But sometimes characters are so strong in my head when I go to bed that scenes will play out in my dreams. Mostly ones I’ve already written and it’s like watching a movie of it, but occasionally dreams with new scenes, too.
Debra: The imagery in dreams and the imagery in writing so many times are interconnected. It's a thread that shows up again and again when I talk to other writers.
As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?
Janice: I loved to read any book, any author. Beverly Cleary always made me smile. At around 12 I started sneaking and reading my mom’s Harlequin’s, Second Chance at Love’s, and Silhouette’s.
If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?
Janice: Great question. Wish I had a great answer for it. The book my agent currently has is a pretty far stretch of my imagination. I pushed myself and my writing in it further than I thought I could. Did I mention that my heroine is BAD? I mean, like really bad, but I adore her and had a blast writing her story.
Debra: It's exciting to hear you've been stretching your imagination with the new work. The best books always have that element of playing without too many boundaries where the imagination is free to roam.
Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?
Janice: For writers and readers alike, always let your imaginations guide you. Don’t let others stifle your imagination with the short-sightedness of their own imaginations. Believe in yourself and in your dreams always.
Debra: Yes, allowing our imaginations to run free is so important!
Janice, thank you for joining us here to share a bit of the writers life of dreams, imagination and creating fiction. To learn more about Janice visit www.janicelynn.net