Name Janice Spina (for children’s books) / J.E. Spina (for novels)
Age 66 years young
Where are you from?
I live in the beautiful state of, Live Free or Die – New Hampshire, USA
A little about yourself, i.e., your education Family life etc.
I graduated with an associates’ degree in Secretarial Sciences (Medical Secretary) and worked as a Medical Secretary/Assistant in doctor’s offices for seven years. When my children were born I took some time off then went into the school system as a teacher’s aide then a secretary. I worked in the school system for twenty-six years before retiring four years ago.
Since my retirement I have been writing and became an author over a year ago. I have since published five children’s books and my first novel. I have only just begun!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I just published my first novel, a mystery/crime/thriller, Hunting Mariah, which will be in a few days on available on Create Space and soon on Amazon.com, BN.com and other online bookstores.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing poetry at the age of nine. I loved anything in rhyme and listened to the radio daily because of the musical quality and the rhyming of the songs.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I became an author I then seriously considered myself a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My children inspired me. I always read books to them at bedtime and one night I made up a story to tell them of my own. From then on I was writing more stories because it made them happy.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I write in rhyme with life lessons for my children’s books. With my novel I include poems in with the story. I have written other novels all of different genres. I don’t like to write about just one thing. My novels are crime/mystery/thriller, spiritual/mystery, historical/drama, YA fantasy. All of these stories I hope to publish over the next few years. They are in need of editing and some are in outline form. I have a lot of work yet to do but loving every minute of it.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The titles just come to me. They pop into my head. As soon as I receive them I write them down and then one day I pick up a title and sit at my laptop and begin writing. The stories just seem to come to me. I don’t think too much about them. The characters take over.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Take care of your girls and don’t let them walk around alone on campus. I really don’t have a message but that one might be good. I worried about my daughter when she was at college and there was a man running around the campus attacking girls. This is not his story just one I made up.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
None of it, thank goodness! It scares me too! I don’t know where it came from. I must request all readers to keep the story under wraps and don’t tell anyone the ending or it will ruin it for them.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, experiences in my life do not reflect the book – thank God!
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
One book, The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne influenced me and spurned my creative juices so that I wrote several children’s stories that year in 2012. It is an uplifting and spiritual book I would recommend to all.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I love several writers but some of my favorites are Mary Higgins Clark, Jeffrey Archer, Agatha Christie, Harlan Coben, Dan Brown, Nora Roberts. I would love to be able to write like any one of them.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
A medical thriller by H.S. Clark, Secret Thoughts. I love medical thrillers because of my medical background. I find them fascinating.
I sometimes have two books going at the same time and in between them I read children’s books for fellow authors for a review. I also am a copy editor so I work on other authors’ books too during this same time.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Even though they are not new I like Paul G. Day, Mike Wells, Richard C. Hale, Maggie Thom, Jo Robinson, and many more. I like to read indie authors’ books and am a great supporter of them.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I have written two more children’s books which my husband is illustrating and I need to get back to them. Once my book blog tour is over I want to get back to more children’s stories, many titles are waiting for me, and three more novels are in draft form.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My online friend, Deanie H. Dunne, a creative and talented author, has offered continued support and encouragement right from the beginning with my children’s books and now with my novel. I am blessed to have met her online. Our friendship has been a constant in my publishing quest.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, but not a lucrative one. It is more like a fun career but it would be nice to sell a decent amount of books each month to cover expenses to continue to publish more. If my books pique the interest of a traditional publisher and/or a movie studio (ha!) out there, this would be a welcomed surprise. (Chuckle!) I can dream!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I read my book so many times and had beta readers go over it so I feel good about it right now. It was a labor of love because I had started it over twenty years ago and let it sit until this year when I finally completed it. It evolved over time to be a completely different story than what it was first – more of a romantic mystery.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Yes, once I started to love reading in third grade I started writing and rhyming words until I came up with little poems. I took rose are red and did my own versions.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here is a synopsis of my novel coming out this week: Hunting Mariah
An insane killer, obsessed with blood and death, seeks revenge with those he perceives wronged him. He is now on the loose. His next victim may be Mariah. During his rampages he writes macabre poems for his victims.
Mariah has lost her memory. Will she remember what has transpired in her past? Can Mariah escape this deadly killer’s grasp? Will she finally be safe? Will the killer be apprehended?
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes, it is hard to slow down once I get started with the story. My fingers fly over the keys and my mind cannot keep up with the storyline. The characters take on a mind of their own. It gets a little creepy especially with Hunting Mariah. The killer frightened me!
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Jeffrey Archer and Mary Higgins Clark are my two favorite authors.
Archer because of his innate ability to clearly define his characters and his magnificent storyline that captures the attention of his readers.
Mary Higgins Clark, the queen of suspense, is a wonderful storyteller and knows how to grip her readers’ attention and keep them riveted until the last word. There is no one like her in my opinion. I strive to work hard to even get to be able sit in her shadow.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
At the moment I don’t travel concerning my books but I have had two book signings this summer locally in my community. Our local library, Leach Library, has asked me to do a reading and book signing on December 15, 2014 of my first book, Louey the Lazy Elephant. I am very excited about doing that. I hope there will be many more of them to do. I thoroughly enjoy seeing the joy on the faces of little ones as they listen to my stories. They are the best audience.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My husband is my illustrator for all my children’s books. He created the cover for Hunting Mariah. He continues to work on more of my upcoming children’s books and novel covers.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing it most definitely is the hardest and least fun part of writing a book. Even if I read it a dozen times I always find something I need to change. After the twentieth time I have to call a halt and stop second guessing myself. I just want it to be perfect. I can only hope it is.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learn patience and fortitude in getting it all done. I don’t always have patience because I am anxious to get it out there and see my baby in print. There are so many facets when you do it all yourself but it very rewarding at completion.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
The advice I can give other writers is to edit, edit and edit your work again until you have it perfect as perfect can be. Find beta readers and a copy editor to look over your work.
If you are an indie author work the online sites to promote your books and hook up with other authors for support and valuable information. Everyone has a story to tell about what they have learned through their publishing and writing. Link to other blogs and support them. You will be surprised how many supporters you will pick up along the way by doing this. Most of all be kind to others in your dealings and book reviews. If you need a supporter visit my website and leave me a note. Best wishes in your quest to write and publish! http://jemsbooks.wordpress.com
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes, I want to thank my readers for their continued support and interest in my work. I hope they will stop by and give me some feedback after they read my novel, Hunting Mariah. Reviews are welcome and appreciated too. Blessings and thanks to all!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Oh, well, when I was a little girl I read nursery rhymes and loved The Mouseketeers with Annette Funicello. I was the first girl on my block to get The Mouseketeers book. I know I am really dating myself here. From then on I read every book I could get my hands on from Nancy Drew to Hardy Boys.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My husband makes me laugh so hard I cry! He is a funny man with a quirky sense of humor at times. I also laugh my head off when I see a Bean movie, you know, the British comedian. He is ridiculously funny!
I cry when I watch emotional movies like ones from books by Nicholas Sparks. I also cry watching the evening news with all the horrific things that are happening in this crazy world.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Pope Francis who is a kindly and saintly person. We are so fortunate to have him. I get emotional just seeing him on the news. He will be responsible for amazing changes in the thinking of the Catholic Church. May God bless him!
Fiona: What do you want written on your headstone and why?
Here lies a woman who only wanted to love and be loved.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I love to crochet afghans, children’s clothes, amigurumis (animals) for my grandchildren.
I also love to take long walks with my husband and travel to places on our bucket lists.
I enjoy singing and was a member of a Sweet Adeline’s chorus for several months. It was an a cappella group (no music). Now I just sing in the shower or while I am washing dishes or if I go to a place that has karaoke.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
My favorite TV shows are Mike & Mollie, Castle, The Good Wife, Revenge, and Nashville. The films I enjoy are action, adventure, super heroes, love stories. There are too many to list. I go to the movies every weekend with my husband.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Shades of blue are my favorite colors even though I wear a lot of black and white.
My favorite music is 60’s doo wop but I do listen to today’s hits by Michael Buble. Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, and others.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Nothing else interests me like writing. I think this is what I was meant to do. I have no regrets. I thank God for the abilities he has given me.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/janicespina7 for all my books
Thank you Fiona for having me on your blog. It was a pleasure to answer all your great questions. You made me work hard on some of them.
An insane killer, obsessed with blood and death, seeks revenge with those he perceives wronged him. He is now on the loose. His next victim may be Mariah. During his rampages he writes macabre poems for each of his victims.
Mariah has lost her memory. Will she remember what has transpired in her past? Can Mariah escape the deadly killer’s grasp? Will she finally be safe? Who will apprehend the killer?
Hunting Mariah will be on Amazon in 6 to 8 weeks