Note from Janice - I’m a Christian freelance author of novels, non-fiction books, magazine articles and musical comedies for the stage. I live in the Houston area, where the heat and humidity tend to reign, regardless of the season.
I’m the mother of four beautiful daughters, (Randi, Courtney, Rae, Megan and Courtney Elizabeth. Yes, I really do have two daughters named Courtney! Long story..) I also have the three prettiest granddaughters any Nana could hope for. Our family is extremely active in local ministry. My oldest daughter, Randi, leads worship in the Houston area, Courtney Rae leads worship at her church in Montana, Megan works with children at our local church and Courtney Elizabeth sings on the worship team at her church in Michigan. I’m thrilled to have four grown daughters who love the Lord (and several granddaughters who one day will)!
What I do—I’m a writer by trade, but wear many other hats, as well—I am also published under the name of Janice; Currently, I spend a lot of my time working as a freelance editor and teaching writing. I enjoy public speaking (promoting books, or teaching from the Bible.) To learn more, visit my site “ http://www.freelancewritingcourses.com/
How did you get the idea for your new series? I’m having so much fun reading it.
In the spring of 2007, I settled into bed with my laptop. . .not an unusual occurrence. I didn’t have a story in mind. In fact, I was on vacation at the time and wasn’t even thinking about writing. However, the moment I saw that empty white screen, I felt like typing. Don’t ask me why, but the words, “If Uncle Lazarro hadn’t left the mob, I probably wouldn’t have a story to tell” shot out of my fingertips. I stared at the screen, more than a little curious. Who was Uncle Lazarro, and why was he in the mob? Worse still, why was he bothering me in the middle of my vacation?
Those who know me know I’m a plotter. I usually plot out an entire story before writing a word. So, for this very “calculating” author to stare at those “inspired” words and not have a clue where she was going with them was unusual, to say the least. Terrifying, even. A normal person would have closed the laptop and rolled over, forgetting about the whole thing. But an inspired person? Well, an inspired person (a.k.a. writer) has no choice but to keep going, even when all of the signs point at impending doom. Or a really funny story.
I stared at the words awhile longer, this time praying for wisdom from on high. Was I really supposed to take these cryptic words and shape them into a story? If so, what would come next? I drew in a deep breath and waited. Moments later, my fingers started flying. Wonder of wonders! I typed blindly, without thinking. A couple of paragraphs later, I had all of my questions about Uncle Lazarro answered and found myself laughing hysterically as I typed. (By the way, this is how a comedy writer knows her words are not her own. Who among us is really that funny?)
About an hour later, I had written the entire prologue to the book that would become FOOLS RUSH IN. I’d not only introduced Uncle Laz, but the entire Rossi family. Best of all, I had a wacky new heroine, Bella, to wrap the story around. When I signed off of the computer that night, I had the strongest sense she would lead me through the rest of the tale.
Thank goodness, I was right. Bella Rossi—a quirky Italian wedding planner from Galveston Island—had quite a story to tell. And thankfully, she chose me to share it with. Through Bella, I learned that cultures can clash, families can squabble, chaos can reign, and weddings can rule the day. . .but in the end, true love always wins out.
What was your favorite scene to write in your book, Fools Rush In? What was the hardest? Why?
My favorite scene in Fools Rush In was definitely the toupee scene (aka “the wedding rehearsal”). I don’t think I’ve ever laughed that hard. And I enjoyed the scene where Bubba’s eyebrows get burned off (on the day of the wedding). Probably the toughest scene to write was the one where Bella has fainted and “comes to,” only to realize that everyone in the family thinks she’s died and gone to heaven. That was a tricky one, but I hope I got it right in the end!
What was your favorite scene to write in your book, Swinging on a Star? What was your hardest? Why?
Oh, goodness! You would have to know that the Food Network scene (where Laz kisses Rosa for the first time) was my very favorite scene to write. Mama Mia! I had so much fun with that one. Probably the toughest scene to write in that story was the conversation between Bella and Brock Benson about his spiritual condition. I needed to get that one just right.
Can you give us a sneak peek at what you have cooking up next? Can you tell us something about it?
Yes, I’m so tickled about the third and final book in that series. It Had to be You just released, and so far the reviews are great! People are sad to see Bella go (and so am I). This book is wacky and nutty, just like the first one, but has some tender moments, too. Here’s a synopsis of the story:
Bella couldn't be happier that her long-feuding Aunt Rosa and Uncle Lazarro have finally admitted their love for one another and are getting married. Their forties-style wedding is sure to be a night to remember. But when the Rossi house begins to fill up with family from Italy--and an old mobster from New Jersey--life starts to get complicated. Will Lazarro's friend from the past drive the happy couple apart once more? And will Bella ever have time to think of her own rapidly-approaching wedding amidst the chaos? Full of laugh-out-loud humor, plenty of Italian passion, and a bit of Texas gumption, It Had to Be You is the satisfying conclusion to an entertaining series.
CLICK HERE FOR MY REVIEW OF IT HAD TO BE YOU - What a fun book and a great series! Thanks Janice.
I loved some of your discussion questions for Fools Rush In so I thought I’d ask you a few. If you had to choose between Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin, who would you pick as your favorite? Why?
Oh, ack! I was hoping no one would ever ask me this! Honestly, I LOVE Dino. I’m a Dean Martin fanatic (so much so that I wrote an article for a Dino blog several months back). Remember the old Dean Martin comedy hour? What a great show (and what great guests). Loved it! Love the tone in his voice. What’s the right word to describe it? Schmaltzy? Schmoozy? Sexy? (Can I say that in a Christian blog?) At any rate, I love him. And if you really want to know what motivated my zeal for that first book, you’ll have to follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6S-7Ap6J_FU My book proposal included that link, by the way. I figured if the editor could catch the vision, he/she would love hearing Dino sing! I love Ol’ Blue Eyes, too, but Dino still wins out.
Humor is a great way to overcome life’s obstacles. How has the Lord used humor to get you through some of the challenges you’ve faced?
I went through a really rough patch back in 2006 and 2007. We faced several deaths in the family (including my father and my forty-five year old sister). One of my dearest friends also died that year. About a month after she died, I fell coming down some stairs and shattered my ankle. Four ambulance rides. Four hospitals. Two surgeries. Lots of metal parts. A wheelchair for eight weeks. . .it was a lot to face. In the midst of all that, I was on deadline for a series of comedic books (for Barbour). Somehow the writing got me through. Actually the humor got me through. God knew I would need it to balance all of the tough stuff.
Where did you come up with the beauty secrets found in Fools Rush In, that Sister Twila used? Some of them were a hoot! Are they real? If so, Have you tried any of them? Which ones?
Actually, most of those are things I found on the Internet. I’ve tried several of them, but have a warning: Don’t use udder cream on your face. Tried it and it broke me out. Then again, I have sensitive skin. Several of the others are tried and true, though. Crisco works to take off makeup. Hemorrhoid cream is used by girls in pageants to de-wrinkle the area around their eyes (though you need to make sure you don’t get it too close to the eye, of course)! What fun I’ve had, hearing from readers who’ve tried these beauty secrets!
QUESTIONS I JUST HAD TO ASK!!
1. What are your THREE Favorite books of all time?
At the Scent of Water by Linda Nichols (Talk about an amazing story!)
(Nora-One of my favorite too!! You are right about amazing!)
Coldwater Revival by Nancy Jo Jenkins (Talk about beautiful writing!)
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (Talk about a classic!)
2. What THREE things would you not want to live without?
Diet Dr. Pepper
3. What THREE movies could you watch over and over again?
The Sound of Music(Nora -Love this movie and the music too!)
Life is Beautiful
Pride and Prejudice (either version)
4. If you had the opportunity to hang out with any two people in the history of the world—alive or dead; who would you pick and what would you do? (someone other than Jesus)
I’ve already mentioned Louisa May Alcott. She’s one of my favorites. I would love to pick her brain. . .ask her what it was like to be a female author in a man’s world. Ask her about those ink-stained fingers – the ones she used to press open doors that no other woman had ever opened.
I’d love to spend the day (or even a few hours) with Benjamin Franklin. He was just so stinkin’ witty. I’d like to see if his wit would rub off on me.
5. A friend of yours has a time machine that they’re letting you use. But you can only witness two events in this history of the world. What to events would you experience? Why?
Well, first of all, if one of my friends has a time machine, why hasn’t she told me about it till now? You mean I could have been traveling back and forth all this time? What’s up with that? (Nora: LOL! ) Hmm. I suppose I’d like to travel back to the Day of Pentecost, which we read about in the first couple chapters of the book of Acts. I can scarcely imagine how amazing that day must’ve been for the followers of Jesus.
Next, I think I would like to witness Michelangelo in action as he painted the Sistine Chapel. Wowza. How amazing that must’ve been!
6. If money isn’t an option, what is your favorite place to eat breakfast? What would you order? What would be your favorite place to eat dinner? What would you order?
One of my favorite breakfasts ever took place in the Mayan Riviera, just six weeks ago. We were staying at a really nice resort. The breakfast buffet was unlike anything I’d ever seen. The choices were unlimited. I didn’t have to order anything because it was all laid out there for me – the world of breakfast foods at my fingertips. And to cap it all off, it was an indoor/outdoor environment, with the beautiful Caribbean breeze blowing throughout the whole meal. Wow. I’d go there again in a heartbeat.
7. Name Three places you go on the web every day?
Hmm. I guess I can’t lie, since my daughters are probably reading this. I check my facebook page to see who’s doing what. (http://www.facebook.com/jhannathompson?ref=profile)
http://www.freelancewritingcourses.com/ ) to see what’s buzzing over there.
ANY FINAL COMMENTS--THOUGHTS FOR MY READERS?
Yes, since I mentioned my new online course above, I’d love to share my announcement about it!
I HAVE AN ANNOUNCEMENT -
Everyone Please feel free to share with your readers and/or writing groups
Writers, would you like to make money doing the thing you love most? If so, then this announcement should be of interest to you! Janice Hanna Thompson, author of over fifty novels and non-fiction books, would like to announce the debut of her writing course for freelancers titled “Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer,” available at www.freelancewritingcourses.com. The purpose of this course is to strategically train freelance writers so that they can earn top dollar with their writing. Students can purchase the entire course (Ten Lessons) for only $199, or students can choose to purchase individual lessons for only $24.95 each. Each lesson will include an audio file (mp3 for download), a corresponding audio script, a downloadable worksheet, a power point video, a bonus feature, and full access to the site’s forum, where Janice will meet with authors for group mentoring (at designated times). Currently, there are ten lessons available, but the site will continually grow. New, fresh material will always be added. If you’ve been looking for creative and exciting ways to earn money with your writing, your time has come! Please visit http://www.freelancewritingcourses.com/freelance-newsletter-sign-up-today and sign up for the newsletter, or write to Janice at email@example.com for more information.
ENDORSEMENTS: What writers are saying about Janice’s course:
“I've taken a number of classes since starting on this journey of writing, but Janice's course on freelance writing has been the most helpful. Full of tips, suggestions and her own writing experiences, Janice's course has something for everyone. If you are considering signing up for her writing lessons, I urge you to do so. You won't regret it!” – Edwina Cowgill, American Christian Fiction Writers member.
I've not only had the pleasure of taking online classes from Janice, but also attending seminars. I love the practical working knowledge she teaches because I was able to put much of it into practice immediately. From the classroom to real life in a snap, Janice Thompson gives the steps, the encouragement, and the simplicity to help any writer become self-sufficient. Would I tell you to take her courses? ABSOLUTELY! You will grow the ability to earn money with your writing! Every writer's teacher, Janice Thompson. - Angie Breidenbach, Author of Creative Cooking for Colitis, ACFW PR Officer, Mrs. Montana International 2009
I participated in Janice’s online course in January of ’10. I found her to be very thorough and very concise in her explanations. She also took pains to offer lots of feedback and make it interactive. I know her classes will be great! – BK (Brenda) Jackson
Wow, Janice this does sound like a GREAT course and opportunity for many. Thanks so much Janice for stopping by and letting us get to know you and your books. I really enjoyed reading Fools Rush In and discussing ad the ACFW On-Line Book Club book of the month. I would love to see Swinging on a Star,(the sequel to Fools Rush In) made into a movie; it would be so much fun to watch. I also enjoyed the conclusion It Had To Be You. REMEMBER if you are ever in the Atlanta area you’ll most definitely have to stop by and speak to my book clubs.
PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT ABOUT THE INTERVIEW FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF THIS BOOK. (Also a way to contact you if you win)
DRAWING May 15th.
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