Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name.
My name is Janice, and I write as Janice Cole Hopkins
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from North Carolina
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I grew in rural Wilkes County, North Carolina, with an Appalachian heritage. I learned to love stories early, could read by the time I was five, wrote my own stories by third grade, and was writing published poetry by eighth grade. After graduating from Appalachian State University with degrees in history and reading (B.S, and M.A.), I taught school, wrote and published in magazines, and dreamed of publishing a historical novel someday. Now that dream’s coming true many times over.
I have a son and a daughter, four grandsons, and my husband’s a pastor. All the profits from my books go to a scholarship fund for missionary children.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I have just move halfway across the state of North Carolina and have several writing projects in the works – new audiobooks, two new books at publishers, a new release, and a new manuscript I’m writing.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Maybe it’s my Appalachian background of storytelling or maybe it’s the fact that I grew up as an only child, but it seems that stories have been a part of me as long as I cabremember. I started reading and writing early and have never stopped.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably when my teachers were impressed with my writing and I always made good grades on it.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I had written shorter works until I became my mother’s caregiver after I took an early retirement from teaching. That tied me down enough to begin a longer project. The books have come quickly ever since. I normally have four or more ideas in my head at any one time. I write the ones that stick and won’t let me go. I live with my characters and see scenes in my mind before I start writing. When I do begin, the story comes fast and furiously.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The first book I wrote was Sown in Dark Soil. It was about a woman who moves from a plantation to a small farm in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1800s. She eventually became sown in dark soil, herself. However, Granny Em, a secondary character, wouldn’t leave me alone. She kept telling me I needed to back up and tell her story, so I did – Cleared for Planting, book 1. The Appalachian Roots series would continue with Uprooted by War (about the family during the Civil War) and Transplanted to Red Clay. I never publish any in a series until I have them all written. That way I can tweak anything I need to make each book fit with the others. In addition, all my books have a definite ending. I hate cliffhangers, and you will never find one at the end of one my books. A series just continues with other family members or other problems.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I write by the seat of my pants, which means I don’t do a lot of planning on paper before I begin. If I did, my story would be finished, I’d know all about it, and I would have more problems getting it on paper. I know my setting and characters well before I start, and I know generally how it will end. I write just like I read, to see how it gets there and what happens along the way. I work hard to make the story flow smoothly and to pull my readers into the story so they live it with the characters.
The most challenging part for me is finding the time I need to write. Because of the way I approach it, it helps to have a hunk of time where I can lose myself in the story. Then, it comes so quickly I rush to get it all down.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My readers tell me my books are very realistic. They say they lose themselves in the pages, time slips away, and they stay up much too late to finish them. None of my main characters are based on real people, but they’re probably a composite of ones I’ve known or heard about.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I have already travelled extensively (been to all 50 states and 40 other countries), which helps my writing. I usually set my books in places I know. Occasionally, I go to a specific place while writing a book, but it’s not usually necessary. For example, when I was writing It All Started at the Masquerade, I went to the Chowan River both in Winton and in Colerain, and I had already been to the landing in Edenton. All these places play an important part in the novel set in 1795. I do also have a western, Through the Wilderness, set on the Oregon Trail with my traditional publisher. But I’ve also lived in New Mexico for two years, and travelled extensively in the region.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The graphic artist at my traditional publisher, which publishedthe four books in the Appalachian Roots series and Through the Wilderness, designs those covers. I have a background in art and design the covers for those published by Flawed People Press, a smaller, print-on-demand publisher. I can actually write the books faster than I can get them published, and I’m looking for a third publisher.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My books are inspirational, and they all have a Christian message, but these are woven into the book so they won’t be preachy or tacked on. My purpose in writing is to glorify God, and I pray that He uses them. I want each reader to come away encouraged and inspired.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Despite my busy life as a pastor’s wife and prolific writer, I’m also an avid reader. I read over 250 books a year. I mainly read Christian writers, and my list of favorites are numerous. Some of them include: Francine Rivers, Lynn Austin, Kate Witemeyer, Tessa Afshar, Laura Frantz, Colleen Coble, Tamara Leigh, MaryLuTyndell, etc.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I am a big fan of libraries. I have never met a librarian who hasn’t been helpful in my local research.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. I devote as much time to it as I would a regular job, and it’s important to me. It bothers me when people think I don’t work because I’m an author.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I am always appalled that a few minor errors slip through most books. I go through each book at least half a dozen time (often more than a dozen), always have an editor, and have beta readers, but a few mistakes still wiggle through. I correct them when I can (it’s easier with the print-on-demand). However, they don’t seem to bother my readers; in fact, most tell me they never see them. But they bother me. I work hard to give my readers a quality product.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I am a learner at heart, and I always learn something every time I write a book. In Deceitful Matters, there is a mystery involved, and I learned much more about drug laws and the legal system.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
If you are passionate about writing, don’t give up – persevere. And never stop learning how to make your writing even stronger.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I write more historical fiction, and I’m particular about the research. I work hard to get everything right. I even check the etymology of every questionable word to make sure it was used during that time period. Of the 14 books I’ve published or have at a publisher, 9 are historicals and 5 are contemporary.
Two of my novels, With Summer’s Songs and Promise are now also on Amazon audible, Peace will be out on audible in a couple of weeks, and Pardon is being produced.
My four books in the Appalachian Roots series will be on sale for only 99 cents on Amazon for Kindle until July 31. This is a great bargain, for they normally sell for $4.99 each.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
More than Meets the Eye (audible) – Kate Witemeyer
Dare to Dream Again (Kindle) – Alana Terry
Who Is Jesus? (as part of my devotion) – R.C. Sproul
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Not the first one I read, but the first one that touched me was A Tree for Peter.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Witty comments or banter will cause me to laugh or a touching or sad moment to cry. When I wrote Cleared for Planting, my husband got amused. When I came to the point that Hawk walked away, I criedwhen I wrote it and every time I read it. He said, “But you’re writing it, so why are you crying?” It had to happen because of the way the story unfolded, but I felt for Hawk, and it touched my heart. Later, in Uprooted by War, Hawk comes back.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Yes, I have many. I’ve done many arts and crafts – paintings, quilting, embroidery, crochet, basketry, doll making, etc. I’m also interested in antiques, travel, photography, history, folk studies, etc. However, right now, I’m putting my time into writing, blogging, publishing, and promoting.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I used to watch much more television than I do now, but something had to go when I needed more writing time. I still enjoy a clean romantic or faith-based movie now and then.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would likely pursue one or more of my other interests. I am never bored. I can always find something I like to do.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Web page: www.JaniceColeHopkins.blogspot.com
Link to Amazon Author’s page – https://www.amazon.com/Janice-Cole-Hopkins/e/B00SIFWZLG
Links to books –
Cleared for Planting (Appalachian Roots, Book One) – https://www.amazon.com/Cleared-Planting-Appalachian-Roots-Book-ebook/dp/B00RM5GZPK
Sown in Dark Soil (Appalachian Roots, Book Two) – https://www.amazon.com/Sown-Dark-Soil-Janice-Hopkins-ebook/dp/B014500JQK
Transplanted to Red Clay(Appalachian Roots, Book Three) –https://www.amazon.com/Transplanted-Clay-Appalachian-Roots-Book-ebook/dp/B01LTEY0PQ
When Winter Is Past – https://www.amazon.com/When-Winter-Past-Janice-Hopkins-ebook/dp/B01BLOKRSS
With Summer’s Songs – https://www.amazon.com/Summers-Songs-Janice-Cole-Hopkins-ebook/dp/B01IC5TF6E
Promise (The Farmers, Book 1) –https://www.amazon.com/Promise-The-Farmers/dp/B07F6VZP73
Peace (The Farmers, Book 2) – https://www.amazon.com/Peace-Farmers-Book-Janice-Hopkins-ebook/dp/B06Y1DC43X
Pardon (The Farmers, Book 3) – https://www.amazon.com/Pardon-Farmers-Trilogy-Book-3-ebook/dp/B072MHL2ZH
It All Started at the Masquerade – https://www.amazon.com/All-Started-at-Masquerade-ebook/dp/B078FQ38JK
Deceitful Matters – https://www.amazon.com/Deceitful-Matters-Janice-Cole-Hopkins-ebook/dp/B07DVTZWZW
Coming soon –
Through the Wilderness –
On the Road to Jericho (Christian non-fiction) –