Author Interview with Janice Spina

One of the truly nice things about publishing The Eye-Dancers and maintaining this blog has been the opportunity to meet so many great people around the world.  One such person I’ve had the privilege to communicate with and get to know is Janice Spina.  Janice is a book reviewer, author, and cofounder of a fantastic new website called PIA (Published Indie Authors).  I highly encourage you to check the site out, as well as her blog, jemsbooks.

I had the opportunity to interview Janice recently about her new children’s book, Louey the Lazy Elephant,  her approach to writing, and more.  So, without further delay, I hope you enjoy the interview!

*************

Thank you, Mike, for having me on your blog.  I am very excited to be here and to answer your questions and share my book and my goals with you and your readers.

 

1.  You have a new children’s book that you have recently published–Louey the Lazy Elephant.  Please tell us a little bit about this!

louey

Louey is a cute little elephant who is a lazy fellow.  One day he oversleeps and finds that he is all alone because the herd has moved on without him.  He is sad and very lonely and determined to find his family and friends.  But I won’t tell you what happens–it would ruin the mystery.  I guess you and your readers will just have to pick up a copy and take little Louey home with you.  You would make Louey very happy!

 

2.  What motivated you to write Louey?  Was there something specific, or was it something you’ve wanted to do for a long time?

I come up with poetry in my head all the time and really there is no rhyme (sorry for the pun) or reason for some of it.  The story just swam around in my head and I had to write it down.

I used to visit the zoo with my parents as a young child and I was always amazed at the care the elephants gave to their young that mirrored how humans care for their children.  Besides, I have always loved elephants and thought that this animal would be a likeable fellow for children to read about.  My husband and I have many, many elephant knickknacks all over our house.  Did you know that the trunk up on an elephant means good luck?

 

3.  Did the process of publishing a children’s book go the way you thought it would?  Were some aspects easier than you envisioned?  More difficult?

It has been a rough road getting published since I have done it myself by self-publishing.  I have learned a lot about publishing and downloading my material, illustrations, bleed, and templates, to say the least.  My husband is my illustrator, and he and I worked together to get the material ready for download.  It didn’t help much that we knew nothing at all about doing this and even had to learn how to use Photo Shop to enhance the illustrations.

The hardest part of this process was the downloading and assuring that we had the right size for the illustrations and that they were within the trim so nothing would be cut off.  We downloaded many times.  I am embarrassed to say how many!  The book cover was very difficult to do, too.  But the next time it should be a lot easier since we are both more educated in the process.  We both have a lot more gray hairs now, though!

The easiest part was . . . I haven’t found that yet, but maybe just reading the finished product.  I felt relief and accomplishment after completing the book.

 

4.  I saw on your website that you are working on another children’s book–Ricky the Rambunctious Raccoon.  Can you tell us a bit about that book, and how it relates to Louey?

ricky

 

Ricky is a fine little fellow, cute as can be.  My husband has made him just adorable.  Kids are going to love him!  I do!

Ricky gets into all kinds of trouble when he goes out to forage one night.  He is a friendly sort of raccoon and curious at the same time.  I think children will enjoy reading about his crazy adventures.  This book is also in rhyme.  I try to do all my books for children in rhyme.

Ricky is not in any way connected to Louey except maybe they could be friends if they knew each other.  I will let you know when Ricky is available and has met Louey and if they like each other.

 

5.  What are some of your favorite children’s books?  Did you have any particular favorites when you were a child?

I am really dating myself when I say this.  I loved the Mouseketeers and Annette Funicello.  I read everything I could get my hands on about her and Cubby.  I loved fairy tales, especially “Hansel and Gretel,” which scared me out of my mind but made me appreciate my parents even more because of their love and caring ways.  I always felt safe, not like the fairy tale.  LOL!  I read Nancy Drew and even The Hardy Boys later on.

I had a complete set of books about space exploration and the astronauts during the 1960s during the Kennedy era.  I even made two scrapbooks many years later about the assassination of the Kennedy brothers.  Their deaths had affected me so profoundly that I was inspired to make the scrapbooks as mementos of their legacies.

 

6.  Have you always known you wanted to be a writer, ever since a very young age?  Or is it something that evolved, slowly, over time?

I have always loved writing poetry.  The singsong sound of the rhyming is a panacea for my soul.  Did I just say that?  I don’t usually speak like that.  I have no idea where that came from!

Well, I do love rhyming, and that is how I started writing.  I wrote poems in the form of greeting cards for my mother.  She just loved them!  Having her praise made me feel good about myself, so I wrote more.  I was a very shy little girl, and writing was one way I could express myself.  Today I have a large collection of poems but only the new ones . . . since the old ones I wrote my mom got thrown away in moving from place to place.

I also wrote for my high school newspaper in the form of silly poems.  I then graduated to children’s stories in my twenties and then novels in my fifties.  There was a large span of time when I did not write anything.  I was too busy raising a family and working.  I got inspired when I was in my fifties after reading an emotionally inspiring book, The Secret.  This book got my creative juices flowing big-time!  I couldn’t stop writing poetry, and shortly thereafter submitted a sports poem to The Lawrence Eagle Tribune newspaper and got chosen as the first Boston Red Sox Fan of the Day.  I made the front page, much to my surprise!  The article included an interview with me, #1 Red Sox Fan, and my poem was published there.  It was a very exciting day!  It got the bug in me to write more and to get back to my novels and children’s books.

Now I am retired and have more time, but it is filled to bursting with all kinds of social media, marketing my book, blogging, editing others’ work, and finally writing my books.  Whew!  I am tired just writing about everything I do.

 

7.  I read on your website that you are in the process of writing four (!) novels.  That is remarkable.  How do you juggle all those writing projects at once?

Like I mentioned above, I wrote over many years in spurts.  At one point I wrote two novels simultaneously–a murder mystery and a YA fantasy.  I am still editing both of them endlessly.  The murder mystery is almost ready for publishing.  I just need to tweak it a little more.

One romance/mystery/spiritual novel is still in the outline stage, but I plan to work on that one after I finish the other two.  The fourth one is a historical novel, which may never see the light of day.  It was just one I wrote in memory of my grandmother who lived to be 100.  It is too close to the memory of Avoa (“grandmother” in Portuguese) to share it with anyone.  I may change my mind one day.

I need to complete one project before going to another, and that is why I have so many projects out there that aren’t complete.  Since there are so many stories and ideas in my head, I feel the need to write them down before I forget them.  I am a very organized person who likes to finish my projects, but I spend a lot of time now helping other new authors and marketing my children’s book.  I am getting better at filtering the social media and will devote more of my time to my novels.  I promise to get one out before the end of the year.

I am also involved in a new site, PIA, Published Indie Authors.  I cofounded this site with a very talented author, Paul G. Day.  It has been very exciting taking on this new venture.  Here is the link if anyone wants to peruse the site.  They will not be disappointed.  It is a wonderfully supportive, educational, and worthwhile site for all indie authors.

 

8.  If you could give just one piece of advice to a new, aspiring writer, what would it be?

Do your research about social media and how to market your work.  I took the advice of an illustrator friend of mine when she told me to get myself out there on social media links right away, before publishing my material.  I did just that over eight months ago and I got into FB, TW, LI, Pinterest, and Google+ and set up my own blog and website.  I am not saying any of this is going to be easy, but it is necessary to get started.  I am still doing it all trial and error, with many errors but having the time of my life.

Also, you must visit other blogs and websites and leave messages about their blogs and thank them for connecting with yours.  The more you do this, the more followers and readers you will attain.  It is also a wonderful feeling to connect with so many people all over the world that you wouldn’t meet otherwise.  But most of all, have fun and keep writing and editing your work until you have created the best book, novel, or illustration, etc. before publishing.

 

9.  Where can readers find and purchase Louey online? 

Louey is available as a printed book on Create Space and Amazon, as well as an e-book on Amazon.

https://www.createspace.com/4324983

http://www.amazon.com/Louey-Lazy-Elephant-Janice-Spina/dp/0615836534

 

If you would like to contact me about writing, editing, or just want to talk and share, you can reach me through my links:

Blog:  http://jemsbooks.wordpress.com/

Website: http://www.jemsbooks.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/janice.spina.9

TW:  https://twitter.com/janice_spina

LI:  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/janice-spina/59/321/a01

PI:  http://www.pinterest.com/janicespina/

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/102370955158139843400/posts

 

Thank you so much, Mike, for this interview.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

****************

Thank you, Janice, for a great interview!

And thank you to everyone for reading!

–Mike

19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sue Dreamwalker
    Sep 18, 2013 @ 18:13:45

    Ricky sounds adorable, as does Louey the lazy Elephant, My Granddaughter is well into Elephants 🙂
    The Secret I have read, and I recommend we should all read it to become inspired to know we can create and become that which we dream to be..

    What a beautiful interview with Janice, thank you so much for sharing

    Love and Light Sue xoxox

    Reply

  2. Christy Birmingham
    Sep 18, 2013 @ 19:27:50

    Louey does sound like an adorable character! Wow, juggling four books must keep Janice busy! Great interview here and nice to e-meet Janice too.

    Reply

  3. sonya solomonovich
    Sep 18, 2013 @ 20:19:38

    Awww what a cute elephant illustration!Thanks for the Published Indie Authors link, will definitely check it out.

    Reply

  4. jjspina
    Sep 18, 2013 @ 21:22:59

    Thank you Mike for this interview and for being such a supportive friend. I value your friendship and thank you for your thoughtfulness and lovely words.

    Thank you to all your readers who have responded so kindly. Nice to meet you too Christy!

    My husband will appreciate your compliments about his illustrations, Sonya. Do check out PiA too.

    Thanks Sue, I am sure your granddaughter will love Louey. Yes, I agree everyone should read The Secret. It changed me profoundly and brought out my creativity which was waning. Best Wishes to All! Janice

    Reply

  5. jjspina
    Sep 18, 2013 @ 22:33:18

    Thank you Mike.  You are so sweet.  I appreciate your kind words and friendship.  You are very special! The interview looks great!  I have fun answering your questions.   Your friend, Janice

    Reply

  6. Francina
    Sep 19, 2013 @ 12:12:52

    Great interview which I enjoyed reading! All success to Janice with her books.
    groetjes, Francina

    Reply

  7. Charlene Woodley
    Sep 19, 2013 @ 13:52:38

    This interview was very helpful and full of insight and I look forward to reading her blog. All the best to Janice!

    Reply

  8. fashionassist
    Sep 19, 2013 @ 17:08:42

    Wonderful interview Mike + Janice–thank you…
    such an enjoyable + educational read…
    and I’m now in love with Louey!!!

    Reply

  9. Fashion Mayann
    Sep 19, 2013 @ 17:33:59

    It looks like Louey is going to be really popular with children and, thanks to your lovely and interesting interview, with your readers !

    Reply

  10. Sheryl Wright Stinchcum
    Sep 25, 2013 @ 05:41:58

    Enjoyed the interview!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: