I’ve started a new feature on my blog as another way to support my fellow authors. Conversations with Colleen will introduce you to authors from around the world. You can check out their books and visit their Amazon Author Pages to see if you find anything that tweaks your reading fancy!
This is also a way for my readers to get to know some different authors. You never know what secrets I might be able to coax out of them! Enjoy!
My first author interview is with Jan Spina. You might know her as a children’s author but recently she has stepped into the adult mystery writing genre. Please meet, Jan Spina!
Thank you, Colleen, for having me here today on your lovely blog.
Hi, Jan. Thanks for stopping by. Please tell us something about yourself.
I have been writing since the age of nine in the form of poetry. In my twenties, I moved to stories for children and wrote my first novels in 2009. When I was a young child I dreamt of either being an author or a singer.
I realized that singing was not in my future but writing was. I became an author at the age of 65 in 2013 after I retired a few years before from a position as an administrative secretary in a school system in Massachusetts.
I now have eleven children’s books, six middle-grade novels, three 18+ novels, and a short story collection. I am also a blogger, supporter of fellow authors, copy editor and writer of poetry.
My books have received a Silver Medal from Mom’s Choice Awards, seven Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards, a Silver Medal and an Honorable Mention from Reader’s Favorite Book Awards, A Silver Medal from Authorsdb Cover Contest and I was a Finalist in Authorsdb First Lines Contest.
My short stories have been published in others’ anthologies and in The Writer’s Newsletter, https://thewritersnewsletter.com/fiction-non-fiction-.
I live in New Hampshire with my husband, John, and two tanks of fish. My goal is to encourage children of all ages to read. My motto is Reading Gives You Wings to Fly! Soar with Jemsbooks.com!
Wow! You’ve been a busy lady. So, will you share with us what projects you are currently working on?
I am currently working on Book 2 of my Abby & Holly Series for girls (adventure/mystery) and Book 6 of my Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series for boys (mystery/detectives/adventure). I plan to publish both books before the end of the year if possible. My husband is working on illustrations for a fairy tale which will be coming out before the end of this year.
How interesting – a fairy tale. Right up my alley! What are your plans for 2019?
My next project for 2019 will be editing Book 1 of a YA Fantasy Series. I haven’t yet decided how many books I will have in this new series but it could be up to 6.
I have ideas for another novel and more children’s books and middle-grade books. I believe 2019 will be a productive year. My goal each year is to write and publish 4-5 books.
I find that if I give myself a higher goal I will strive to achieve it rather than just mosey along at 1-2 books a year. At my age, I have so much to do and not a lot of time in which to do it. Sigh!
I totally understand what you mean. Time seems to fly by when we’re having fun. To be that productive you must have a plan. What process do you use when you write?
There really isn’t any process for me to write – all I need is time. When I find time in between family events and responsibilities, I grab my laptop and settle down to pick up where I left off on a current project.
I am more of a pantser than a planner. I begin with a title and work from there. Once I place my fingers over the keys the story opens up surprisingly, and the characters take over. Sometimes they go in a direction I do not want them to go and I have to rein them back in.
The strange thing is I don’t know how the story is going to end until my characters steer me in a direction and tell me. It is a thrilling feeling not to know how the story will end. It’s as if I am a reader instead of the creator.
I know you’ve written a lot of books. Would you please share your books and links to purchase?
All Jemsbooks children’s books are written in rhyme with life lessons that encourage good behavior in children.
Children’s Books: Ages 1-8
Louey the Lazy Elephant
Ricky the Rambunctious Raccoon
Lamby the Lonely Lamb
Jerry the Crabby Crayfish
Jesse the Precocious Polar Bear
Broose the Moose on the Loose
Sebastian Meets Marvin the Monkey
Colby the Courageous Cat
Jeffrey, the jittery Giraffe
Clarence Henry the Hermit Crab
Lucy the Talented Toy Terrier
Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series, Book 1, The Case of the Missing Cell Phone
Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series, Book 2, The Case of the Mysterious Black Cat
Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series, Book 3, The Case of the Magical Ivory Elephant
Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series, Book 4, The Case of the Brown Scraggly Dog
Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series, Book 5, The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost
Abby & Holly Series, Book 1, School Dance
Abby & Holly Series, Book 2 (coming in fall of 2018)
Davey & Derek Junior Detective Series, Book 6, (coming in winter of 2018)
Hunting Mariah (Mystery/thriller/suspense/serial crime
Mariah’s Revenge (sequel to Hunting Mariah)
How Far Is Heaven (paranormal/mystery/romance)
An Angel Among Us (Short story collection)
All my books are available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Janice-Spina/e/B00HNET4HG
Barnes & Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Janice+spina?_requestid=16552820 and on my Website – Jemsbooks.com and on my Blog – Jemsbooks.blog.
I love to hear from readers and appreciate and happily welcome reviews.
Book trailers: https://youtu.be/pLCjyc9Q9tQ (How Far Is Heaven)
https://youtu.be/pLCjyc9Q9tQ (Hunting Mariah) (Both above trailers created by Chris Graham)
https://youtu.be/2DIawvOX9aw (Mariah’s Revenge – created by me)
While you’re at it Jan, please share your social media links so we know where to find you.
Thanks, Jan. Now that we know about your books and your writing, would you share what hobbies you like to do when you’re not writing?
I am, most of the time, writing in some form or another but when I can, I enjoy crocheting afghans, animals, creatures, for my grandchildren, and baby blankets, sweaters, booties and such for new members of our extended families.
I would love to complete another project I have – a needlepoint craft. I did one years ago and loved it. It is hanging in my living room. Here is a photo of it. My family on my grandmother’s side were painters, needlepoint crafters. I feel an infinity toward the needlework but not the painting. I can’t even do justice to stick figures. Sigh! Even my mother and father were gifted with the ability to draw.
I also enjoy walking, exercising, hula hooping, going to the movies and dinner with my husband and spending time with my five grandchildren who are my writing inspiration.
Children are the future of writing. That reminds me… What advice would you give prospective authors?
I would recommend that all prospective authors do the following:
- Believe in yourself
- Don’t let others discourage you from realizing your dream
- Do all you can to hone your craft by reading others’ books
- Don’t talk about writing a book – just do it!
- It’s never too late to begin to live your dream!
That’s wonderful advice Jan. So, let me ask you one more question. If you could have one wish, what would it be?
I would wish good health for my whole family. For without good health life is not as much fun or productive. I have seen family members sick and struggling and I have felt helpless to do anything but pray for them. I pray for all who are sick and have difficulties dealing with everyday life. May God bless you and give you good health.
You are a fountain of inspiration, Jan. Thanks so much for being my first
victim guest. It was great fun getting to know more about you. <3
Thank you, Colleen, for giving me this opportunity to share a little about myself and my books. It was fun to be on your lovely blog.
Thanks for stopping by! Until next time. <3