Janice Spina Interview Published on: 14, Feb 2020

Where did you grow up? What is your favorite place in your hometown?

I grew up in Methuen, Massachusetts. Most of the places I knew when I was growing up are now gone. One of my favorite places was an Italian restaurant (now gone) where we could get sauce sandwiches, chicken cutlets that spilled out of the bread. It was a great place to meet our friends and enjoy the delicious food. Sadly I guess all good things come to an end.

What types of books did you love reading?

I love many different genres, mysteries, suspense, thrillers, historical fiction, fantasies, and memoirs and biographies. I guess you can say I love reading and will read about everything out there except horrors and anything with zombies in it. They scare me half to death and cause me to have nightmares.

What do you love the most about writing in multi-genres?

Writing in multi-genres keep me fresh and new. I never get tired or bored writing for varied age groups about new and different genres. I find that my mind is more creative if I keep it open to new things. I love every minute of it.

In what ways do you make sure to provide good clean reading for children?

All I have to do is think of my children when they were young and now my grandchildren and what I would want them to read. This compels me to write what I feel other parents would also want for their children to read. I know parents want to feel good about their children’s reading material and don’t want to worry about anything harming their innocence. My books are written in rhyme about baby animals in fun adventures that young children can relate to without anything that could frighten them.

How did you come up with the Jerry the Crabby Crayfish? Who is your favorite character in this book?

Jerry was a pet, a real crayfish, in a fish tank in our home. He was really blue and quite a colorful character as in the book. I wanted to always remember Jerry and the way to do it was to write a book about him for others to enjoy. The book has turned out to be my most popular book. Of course Jerry is my favorite character in this book.

What was the highlight of writing the book, Jesse the Precocious Polar Bear?

I wrote and dedicated this book to a little boy I met several years ago in Aruba while on vacation. When this little boy found out that I wrote books for children he told me his favorite animal was a polar bear. I promised him that I would write a book about polar bears and dedicate it to him the next year I went back to Aruba. I fulfilled my promise and made him one happy little boy. He has now grown up to be an intelligent and handsome teenager who I see every year since in Aruba.

Who inspired the character of Sebastian Meets Marvin the Monkey? Did you too love to watch monkeys climb the trees?

My youngest grandson, Sebastian, was my inspiration to write a story about him and his stuffed monkey. He asked me to write about Marvin his stuffed money because he loved this toy and carried it everywhere he went and even slept with it at night. He was proud of the finished book and brought it to school to show it off to his teacher and classmates. In this book I incorporated music and the idea that even animals love music and will react to it. Also, I wanted children to know the importance of being kind to animals.

Yes, I used to enjoy going to the zoo as a child and watching the monkeys climb and swing from the trees. They were always so comical and fun to watch. Sebastian also loves going to the zoo to see the monkeys.

What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title? Have you ever designed any book cover?

The cover and title are two of the most important parts of a book. They are the face of the book that readers see first even before the blurb. If the cover and title are not eye-catching an author can lose readers.

My husband is my illustrator and cover creator but I have collaborated with him on some of my covers and helped him design one or two. But he deserves full credit for all the lovely covers he has created for me.

What are some hard lessons you’ve learnt about the book industry as an author? Is there a dark side to this industry that not many people discuss?

This industry, especially for indie authors like myself, is a difficult road to travel. I’ve learned that having to do everything from writing to publishing and promoting my work can be stressful. When I began on this road I never knew what obstacles or difficulties I was going to face. It’s an enormous task but it is one that I continue to do with each book I publish.

The dark side is there are millions of new books every day on Amazon which makes it even more difficult to compete against this growing tide. It was a hard lesson to learn but it hasn’t deterred me from my goal of becoming one day a best-selling author.

What are some of your goals or what are some things you hope to accomplish through your books?

My goal is to continue to write books for all ages and encourage children to read. I hope by continuing to create fun adventures and intriguing books for all ages that I will leave a legacy for my children and grandchildren to be proud of. I hope to be remembered as the author who enabled children to learn to love reading.

What is one of your strangest writing habits or rituals?

I don’t like to write outlines. I am a pantser, meaning I write by the seat of my pants so to speak. My characters tell my story. Once I have a title I put my fingers over the keys of my laptop and let the characters begin to tell my story. It happens with all my books. Of course with longer novels I am forced to take copious notes to keep track of everything the characters decide to do.

The strangest thing is I never know how the story is going to end until the characters lead the way. I am always surprised and relieved that they put it all together. I’m just along for the ride.

What makes a book ‘Publish’ worthy?

A book becomes publish worthy once it has a good storyline, memorable characters, a great ending and most of all is well edited.

Have there been times when you felt like giving up? What has helped you to stay motivated and continue writing?

I’ve never wanted to give up writing but have felt a little discouraged at times with all the books that I am competing against on Amazon. My love of writing and storytelling has kept me from giving up completely. Also, I enjoy seeing children reading my books. Each positive review I receive motivates me to write more.

How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written? Can you tell us about one?

I do have a few plots that are brewing - an historical novel, a series of thrillers.

I have written the beginning of a YA fantasy series which will have at least 6-7 books. It will have wizards and magic, good and evil, and many colorful characters in each land. I hope to write this series over the next few years.

What has your AllAuthor experience been like so far? What are some highlights?

Having AllAuthor help promote my books has been a wonderful experience. AllAuthor has made promoting quicker and easier than ever, but at the same a joy to do. I have never worked with any one person or group that has been as talented and creative. I have had so much fun creating gifs with my books and reviews on AllAuthor. The mockup themes you provide are perfect and I’ve seen an increase in interest in my books. I look forward to each Wednesday when you offer more ways for me to be creative using your mockups. Thank you, AllAuthor!

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