I’ve been enjoying the wonderful blog posts by author, Janet Lane Walters. So, it’s with great pleasure that I welcome her to my site today. She’s going to share her secrets for writing in so many genres as well as her unique take on what she calls her “obsession”–fiction writing.
JC: First, Janet, thank you so much for joining us today. Why don’t we start by learning more about your journey in publishing. I noticed that you moved from traditional publishing to the e-publishing very early. What prompted this move?
As the short story market dried up with fewer places for these stories, I began writing novels. Actually a rejection from a magazine set me off. “Sounds more like a synopsis for a novel.” I set off to learn how. In those days editors had time to write comments on manuscripts. There was no sending off a synopsis and three chapters. The whole mss was required. I learned a lot while writing my first novel from submitting it and receiving critiques that gave me writing lessons. Three of those novels sold. Then came a change.
When my children came closer and closer to college age, I returned to nursing to help put them through school and I did very little writing. Nursing is a demanding job, at least for me, both mentally and physically. Then along came a change in the late 1980s. I heard about a writer’s one day conference across the river. A romance writer’s conference. I went and met some women who were to become friends and colleagues.
One of them, Jane Toombs, sold my first book when I returned to writing full-time. She’s also the one who dragged me into electronic publishing. Actually that was in 1997. The first book sold and came out in 1998. What provoked that move. I would say once again the markets were drying up with publishers folding into each other and there being fewer markets. But another thing to drive the change for me was
Somewhere during this time, I did some ghost writing for doctors and learned I don’t enjoy writing non-fiction.
JC: Congratulations on all your writing successes. Tell us more about what you like about writing fiction versus nonfiction.
JLW: Non-fiction uses a part of my brain I don’t use that often. When I was a nurse, I used to get into trouble with my care studies because I made the patients under study too human. Even in college, I got into trouble on papers. Once wrote a paper on Milton in Miltonian blank verse with even the footnotes following the pattern. I guess it’s mainly me. I do like to take two or more people and fit them into a situation and see how they can achieve a happy ending. Don’t always succeed but I do try.
JC: Let’s talk a moment about your social media presence. As I said earlier, I really enjoy your blog. And, I’d encourage others to visit you there www.eclecticwriter.com Describe for us your social media strategy.
JLW: I have no real strategy for the social media. I enjoy blogging and do a daily post, but I don’t have to do all of them. Keeping the posts for the most part short keeps the time spent to a minimum. Most of the posts have something to do with writing. Monday, it’s Meandering on what ever comes to mind. Sometimes gripes, sometimes funny, always a remark or two on my writing progress. Tuesday is Inspirations using quotes from other authors that have triggered my thoughts. Wednesday is Writer’s Tips, gleaned from my vast collection of books on writing. Thursday, lately it’s the Heroes in my books but usually something from my own stories. Friday and Saturday is for other authors with a short interview. Sunday varies but lately I’m talking about my own series.Since I belong to a number of Tribes on Triberr, this gets my posts out to many places. Belonging to a lot of groups for writers and readers gives me a look at what other people are writing and reading. I can also post my news on these places.I do Tweet but not as much as other people and that’s mainly how I keep up with friends. I retweet for my friends and occasionally share something.I’ve begun working on my Facebook skills but I use this for my own promotion and for sharing things with other groups I belong to.
Don’t stay on long, be short and sweet and get back to writing.
JC: I absolutely agree that the blitz approach is the way to go. I’ve never heard it described that way. As writers, we struggle with balancing the creating time with the social media. Of course, blogging is writing. As you mentioned, you include a lot of information on your blog pertaining to writing tips. Tell us how you learned so much about the craft of writing.
JLW: By bits and pieces. Actually as I’ve said before I began writing in the dark ages when editors had time to read the entire mss and to make corrections. My first published book was re-written sixteen times due to suggestions from various editors. I also spent a lot of time reading books on writing. Writing is the only way to learn how to write. The more you practice you do, the better you hone your skills. Persistence is another great quality. But that goes along with practice.
Finding a good critique group is another way I’ve found that helps me learn how to write. I’m still learning and practicing
JC: Yes, reading is a great way to learn how to write. But, you write in such a wide array of genres. In a moment we will talk about what you read, but first I want you to share with us which genre do you find yourself going back to the most. I’ve already read that you don’t favor one over the other, but my guess is you have one that you tend toward.
Most of my stories are really romances though they come in many sub-genres. There are the strictly contemporary romances, many that have medicine in some form or other. There are the paranormal stories but they’re also romances. Even my YA stories have a hint of romance in them. I guess I don’t think of categories when I write. Usually there is a mix in each book. I do love fantasy and often use some paranormal experiences. Maybe this is where I fall. Who knows. I guess I could say I write romance in a variety of forms. After five books in my cozy mystery series, Katherine marries her old friend. So I’d say romance, sometings sweet, sometimes only a hint and sometimes very sensual.
JC: Given your penchant toward romance, tell us what you look for as a reader.
JLW: As a reader, what do I look for in a story? I read mostly genre fiction but a lot of different kind of stories. What I really like is interesting characters in a tight plot, a plot that makes sense.
I don’t like to be bored. When asked who are my favorite authors, I have so many I can’t begin to name them.
JC: One reason I don’t ask authors to cite their favorite author is just the reason you gave. Most of us read so much there are too many to name. Let’s talk about The Amber Chronicles. Here’s an excerpt to whet our reader’s appetite:
Emme, a witch and the heir to the throne of the world called Amber is banished from her home to find love. She believes she can command a man to love her but this does not work.
Angry at being told no by the crown prince of Rivand she casts a spell on the Riva family. Every hundred years when the moon is full at the summer solstice she will call the crown prince. If he refuses to cede his love to her he will enter the amber orb and vanish. Four times she fails and the princes find adventure on other worlds. One turns an enchanted amber dragon into a princess. The second is imprisoned in an amber tower and must select a bride. The third must free the heroine from an amber cage.
Emme slowly learns her lesson and returns to spend her childhood with the fourth prince. Hoping knowing each other will help. She has fallen in love with the crown prince and enters the amber orb in his place. Can Emme who is Cast in Amber be freed and gain the love she has sought for all those year?
This is an alternate world since during the time period I’d selected for the books, there were no camels in Egypt. I wanted camels so I changed the world a bit. There are no pyramids or the Sphinx but much of the rest is changed a little but not much. Also in this Egypt, there is a trilogy two gods and a goddess. Toth, Bast and Horu. Each of the books focuses on characters who follow one of the triad. Bast’s Warrior is the first, Horu’s Chosen, the second and Toth’s Priest the third. There are also three of the main characters who are sent from out continuum to the one where the story takes place. The third heroine, Amara, is an orphan who is lusted after by the nephew of a drug lord who was responsible for the heroine and hero of the first two books choosing to find an escape.
There is a lot of action and unarmed fighting in these Egypt books since all those who come from this world have experience with this type of fighting. There is also romance that develops in different ways among the characters.
I’ve also planned the fourth of the Dream series, a contemporary romance series. This one will be called Divided Dreams and here the heroine, born under the sign of Cancer meets the Gemini hero.
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