Meet My Author Friend Janet Sketchley

Janet-Sketchley

I will be guest posting over at Janet’s blog, Tenacity, the last Friday of each month. Today Janet posted an interview so her readers could get to know me. I’d like you to meet her as well.

I met Janet some years ago (we can’t decide whether it was in 2010 or 2004) at Write Canada.

Janet, my readers . . . readers, this is Janet.

As I mentioned, you are a fiction author (more about that later), but when you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

It’s possible that I read too much. 🙂 I like to knit and cross-stitch when there’s time. And I’m a tea drinker. As for anything productive, I’m an at-home wife who’s not very good at the whole housekeeping thing, and I do part-time merchandising work as needed.

Your novels, Heaven’s Prey and Secrets & Lies, are very intense mysteries. What drew you to write in this genre? Who inspires you?

Ruth from Heaven’s Prey popped into my mind one day, trapped as a hostage in a speeding car. I just went along for the ride. 🙂 I like fiction that lets Christian characters explore their faith, and stories with suspense or adventure are my favourites. Who inspires me? Brandilyn Collins (Christian suspense) and Timothy Zahn (mainstream science fiction).

I know you love to read. What are you currently reading and would you recommend it to others? Why or why not?

HL Wegley’s Triple Threat, Book 4 in his Pure Genius series. It’s a fast-paced Christian romantic suspense about tracking terrorists on the internet. I’ve enjoyed the previous books in the series, and I’d recommend it to people who want a safe (non-traumatic and also clean) read about edgy subjects such as human trafficking (previous books) and terrorism.

Janet and Sheep

You also love sheep and often take a stuffed one with you when you travel. Can you tell us why?

I caught the sheep appeal from one of my sons – as well as a fondness for turtles. Basically, I love any kind of living thing except mosquitoes and related pests. Why does a sheep travel with me? Maybe it’s kind of a “Flat Stanley” thing, where the game is to take pictures of the Stanley cutout in various places. Maybe it’s because I’d rather be behind the lens than in the photo. Are my sheep surrogates for selfies?

(photo taken by Susan Stewart at Write Canada 2014)

And speaking of traveling . . . what are you most looking forward to about Write Canada this year?

I haven’t seen details of the faculty, classes or workshops yet, so this won’t sound very professional-development oriented. But I’m looking forward to reconnecting with friends like you and making new friends. For the non-writer, that sounds purely social, but it’s not only fun – it’s affirming and encouraging. There’s something about spending time with people who “get” you that helps you go home stronger. The other thing I’m excited about is that one of my sons (not the shepherd) is planning to come with me. He’s a better writer than me and generally fun to hang out with. See you at Write Canada in June!

If you would like to learn more about Janet, visit her site:  http://janetsketchley.ca/ 

You can purchase Secrets & Lies and Heaven’s Prey from various suppliers: http://janetsketchley.ca/bookshelf/

And if you would like to read my interview, you can do so here: http://janetsketchley.ca/new-guest-blogger/

 

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Mini Reviews

Heaven's Prey

Kidnapping. Torment. Torture. And yes, forgiveness.

Janet Sketchley’s first novel is not for the faint of heart.

Heaven’s Prey is powerful, intense, and gripping. This is definitely not a whitewashed happily-ever-after story.

The author aims straight for the reader’s emotions. Sadness. Empathy. Admiration. Disbelief. Anxiety. Fear. All with a pinprick of hope.

Though I am not as courageous as the protagonist, Janet did an excellent job of transporting me into Ruth’s skin. I was right there with her. She challenged me to become a better person, a braver person.

The characters and the situation are three-dimensional and believable. It was all “very real.”

Even with a cathartic ending, the author  acknowledges that some things this side of heaven cannot be tied up with a pretty bow.

I will be on the look out for Janet’s next novel.

Perilous Waters

“A smile whispered over his lips.”

“Tumbling into her compassionate gaze  . . .”

“He tasted like sunshine and joy and forever.”

I dog-eared pages in Sandra Orchard’s Perilous Waters so I wouldn’t forget the phrases I loved – like those above. (And this is a first.)

“So, what’s the story actually about?” you ask.

What happens when you mix an Alaskan cruise and a mystery about art theft?

Art. Adventure. Attacks.

Family. Falsehood. Fear.

Suspicion. Secrets. Set-ups.

Can Jen trust her uncle? Her sister? Sam, the man she’s falling for?

Perilous Waters would make a great summer read while you’re relaxing on the beach. It might not, however, be your best choice if you’re going on a cruise and have an active imagination.

Enjoy!

What Lies Within

Kyla had it all.

Or did she?

In her novel What Lies Within, author Karen Ball explores one young woman’s journey to discovering what really matters in life.

It has been said that life isn’t worth living until we find something worth dying for.

The protagonist comes face to face with this truth in Book 3 of the Family Honor Series. (As the author notes, you don’t have to read the other two books before reading this one.)

I admire Kyla’s tenacity and Rafe’s commitment, but my favourite character is Fredrik Tischler. I would love to sit down with him and discuss matters of faith. I can hear him say, “I’m Jewish. I’m in a temple. I should do something else?” (This is one of his first lines in the book.)

Each character is unique and well-developed. They are real people.

The story has many twists and turns and keeps you guessing until the end. I love that.

I would very much like to read more of Karen’s books.

I am 100 percent certain I will never get to the end of my To Be Read list, but that’s okay.

What’s on your summer reading list?

Interview with Janet Sketchley

 

Heavens_Prey_Front_Cover 302x468

Blogger, author, and friend Janet Sketchley is here today to tell us about her soon-to-be-released novel.

Welcome, Janet.

I’m so happy for you. Your book, Heaven’s Prey, will soon be available. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to interview you.

Let’s jump right in.

1.       Exactly when can we expect to get our hands on your book?

Release date for Heaven’s Prey is November 1. All Saints’ Day. The Bible calls all Christians “saints,” not just the ones that have been canonized. As such, my heroine, Ruth, is a saint. And All Saints Day may be the perfect time to introduce her to the world. Apparently, it’s also Authors’ Day. I like that!

2.       Can you give us the Reader’s Digest version of your story?

A grieving woman is abducted by a serial killer—and it may be the answer to her prayers.

Despite her husband’s objections, 40-something Ruth Warner finds healing through prayer for Harry Silver, the serial killer who brutally raped and murdered her niece. When a kidnapping-gone-wrong pegs her as his next victim, Harry claims that by destroying the one person who’d pray for him, he proves God can’t—or won’t—look after His own. Can Ruth’s faith sustain her to the end—whatever the cost?

3.       Who do you think will especially enjoy Heaven’s Prey, beyond family and friends, of course?

I’ve already told my family and friends that if it’s not their thing, they don’t need to read it. J Heaven’s Prey is for Christian adults who enjoy suspense, especially women who are interested in prayer or redemption stories. I’ve also included some fun stuff for car racing fans.

4.       Would you say the story is character-driven or plot-driven? How would you explain the difference to non-writers out there?

I struggle a bit with the definitions myself, but this is a plot-driven story. “What happens” drives it, and the characters’ choices and reactions spring from that. That doesn’t mean they’re cardboard cutouts, though. I’ve tried to get to know them and discover how they’d react in the situations they face.

To me, this is plot-driven, while character-driven stories rise more from who the characters are: their choices shape what happens. Whichever drives the narrative, the other needs to be well-developed too.

5.       Over time you got very attached to your characters. Can you tell us how you kept them alive even when earlier drafts of your manuscript were gathering dust?

They kept themselves alive, Stephanie, and sometimes they’d whisper to me. Because this novel went through so many revisions over the years, bits of it are pretty ingrained in my mind. I could go long periods without giving them much thought, like while I was working on another story, but then something would trigger a line of dialogue to pop back into my head—usually from the villain. A couple of years ago this happened a lot and I started talking back, asking him to please be quiet. But I didn’t really mean it. I’m very fond of them all.

6.       From what I’ve read on your blog, your family has been very supportive. How have they helped you keep the dream alive?

They’re amazing. It helps that my husband and sons each have creative streaks; they understand my oddness. My husband has read earlier versions for feedback and even performed a dramatic tech rescue (always make backup files). He and my parents have encouraged me to attend events like the Write! Canada conferences, and the whole extended family have been very positive.

7.       What kept you coming back to your story when “life happened”?

At first, to see how it ended. I did have the final bit of dialogue, which may be the only thing unchanged in this current version, except now there’s an epilogue after it. But I didn’t know how—or if—my characters would get there.

After that? I love these people and I want to do my best for them. My philosophy has been that as long as I can learn how to make it better, I will. Of course, each time I thought it was “done,” I’d go to Write! Canada or somewhere and get a professional critique and see a whole new level of rewriting I had to do.

8.       What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome on the journey to publication?

Not quitting. Discouragement is insidious, as you know, and with no contract in sight, I often wondered why I was spending such a huge amount of time writing fiction. I’ve actually finished a companion story as well, when I thought this one was as good as I could get it (the amazing editors at Choose NOW Publishing proved me wrong on that and it’s better now). Some people know they’re called to write. I just know that writing fiction fulfills me. Eventually, I decided to write anyway, even if it was just for me, and enjoy the gift. I still hoped it would sell, so I could share my imaginary friends with the world.

9.       How did you feel when you first learned Heaven’s Prey was to be published? Paint us a picture of that scene.

It was the weirdest feeling, not at all like I’d imagined. I kept re-reading the email, with a bit of a sinking sense inside. I’ve had lots of practice with rejection. It’s not fun, but I know the drill. Here was a long-held dream, coming true, and what was I supposed to do with acceptance? “Surreal” is the best word for it. But great!

10.   What would you say to unpublished authors out there who are ready to give up on their dream?

The only way you can be sure you’ll never make it is if you quit. If it was a fad and it’s over, quit. If it’s your dream, please don’t. (Or don’t quit for long.)

I’d also say, diversify. The project closest to your heart may not ever sell (sorry!) or it may, but in the future. If you’ve given it your best, let it rest while you work on something else. You’ll keep learning and developing your skill, and perhaps another book or article will find a home sooner. Sometimes the timing just isn’t right, and if you’ve tied all your dreams up in one story, you’re more likely to be hurt. If there’s one story in you, there are probably others.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us today. I look forward to reading your book. It will take its place above hundreds of others in the queue as soon as it’s available. I wish you much success!

Thank you, Stephanie! Your reading list is as long as mine, or longer, and I’m honoured that you’d jump queue for Heaven’s Prey. It’s been a privilege to be here today. God bless you, my friend.

~~~

Janet Sketchley headshot 350x350

Janet Sketchley‘s novel, Heaven’s Prey, released November 1 from Choose NOW Publishing. Feel free to tell your friends! For more information and a free sample chapter, see the Heaven’s Prey page at Janet’s website.

Friends Make My Heart Soar

I wrote…

juggling

daily challenge

everything in the air

so many opportunities

focus

My dear friend Janet responded…

“Focus is an interesting word for managing multiple opportunities, and you’ve got me thinking, Stephanie. When I tell myself to focus I’m saying, ‘Focus on one thing, do one thing, don’t get distracted.’ That’s what the juggler is doing too, but s/he is focusing on the balancing act, not on the individual objects being balanced. I think s/he only handles one object at a (short) time but the focus on the overall rhythm keeps the action going. Lots to think about. Thanks!”

She made my heart soar. Visit her website here and her second site, speculative, sporadic…and slightly odd, here.

Silly Chipmunk

he thought your chirp

was from a bird

now i know

that’s quite absurd

he wondered why

you made that sound

and woke us up

where we’d lain down

but i did smile

and let him know

“that’s not a bird”

“just let it go”

outside i went

to take a pic

there was no need

to be real quick

you stayed and chirped

you cheeky thing

it was a song

you had to sing

you made me smile

the mem’ries came

so many chipmunks

and their games

they’d come and eat

seeds black and white

from our hands

a joyful sight

when i was young

out with my dad

the chipmunks came

and made me glad

then later they

came to my crew

their silly antics

yes, it’s true

to this day

they bring a smile

and take me back

o’er mem’ries miles

My friend Janet Sketchley over at speculative, sporadic…and slightly odd and I were discussing “Veggie Tales” this morning. This made me think of their famous “silly songs.” That whole train of thought led to today’s post. Sometimes we need to write – or read – something just for fun. I hope you have a fun day.