Welcome Janie Winsell to my blog! She's a Christian author about to release her first book! Take a moment and check out my interview with her:
When did you start writing? Why did you become a writer?
I started writing when I was twelve. I loved to write poems, song lyrics, short stories, and novels. I’ve always had an active imagination, and I love creating my own worlds with characters.
I didn’t decide I was a writer until two years ago when I made the choice to pursue my MFA in Entertainment Creative Writing. I took classes on screenwriting because I felt it would help with my visual writing as well as my dialogue. I finished my degree and graduated with a fully developed screenplay and novel.
What is your favorite book and Why?
That’s a hard one. There are so many to choose from. There are two book series that I always find myself reading again and again: The O’Malley Series by Dee Henderson and The Left Behind Series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Both book series draw the reader in with their characters’ struggles with faith and the tug of the world. I’m fascinated by End Times Prophecy and enjoy The Left Behind Series take on it. Dee Henderson writes beautiful romantic suspense stories that just touch your heart. I won’t give the series away, but I cried like a baby in the second to last book.
Please tell us a little about your current work. (Back Cover Blurp).
Ana finds herself alone and expecting a child after her fiancé Adam dies in the War in Iraq.
Two years later, Ana struggles as a waitress to make ends meet and provide a loving environment for her daughter Vickie.
Still grieving her loss, Ana meets Laurie Nelson, a seasoned military wife and mother. The two become fast friends.
When Laurie’s son, Damien, returns injured from the war, Ana is unprepared for the feelings he brings to life. But, before she can sort out her emotions, Adam’s mother sues for custody of Vickie.
Ana reluctantly turns to her mother Natassia for help. However, Natassia betrays her.
Will Ana find the strength to stand up to her mother and open her heart to Damien before she loses everything?
What was your inspiration for the story?
My mom and the military were really what inspired this story. My mother had a rocky relationship with her mom, and that shaped my life. I think that military wives are some of the strongest women in the world, and so I wanted to show their strength in times of great sadness.
What would you like readers to discover about life or themselves from reading your work?
Just because we’re saved, it doesn’t make us perfect. Christians make mistakes, but the difference is we see those mistakes and ask for forgiveness. Then, we stop and turn away from that mistake. Sometimes I feel like Christians aren’t allowed to show their weakness. We’re supposed to live like Jesus, and when we fail there’s shame and a stigma attached to that. It makes it really difficult to accept God’s forgiveness when others label us. But we are human, and we do make mistakes. God doesn’t sever his connection with us because of this.
The big message from my book is that sometimes we can’t accept God’s forgiveness until we forgive ourselves. The second message comes from Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Why did you decide to self-publish? What has been the most challenging part of the self-publishing journey?
I decided to self-publish after I found out that traditional publishing would make me change too many aspects about my story. I’m not bashing traditional publishing. I would have loved to see my book in a Barnes N Nobles store, but I am not willing to change my entire story to fit into a box that basically changes the message of the story.
The most challenging part is overcoming fear of the unknown. Taking on the burden of overseeing the entire process of my book scares me to death. I worry about the cover design, proofreading, and success of my book. It’s a lot to juggle. I’m my own boss, and if anything goes wrong…I’m to blame. That’s humbling. The way I get through it is being vigilant with my business decisions. I drew out a plan for marketing, budget, and distribution. I read quite a few books about self-publishing before ever making the decision to do it. Research is my specialty, and I always check every angle before making a final choice on matters.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Never give up. Life is too short to be unhappy and wishing you’d done things differently. Pray about your dreams and talk with your family and friends (You’re going to need the support system.)
Remember this too: God wouldn’t put a dream in your heart if He didn’t have a plan to make it a reality.
If you need any help or would like to know more, feel free to email me: JanieWinsell@gmail.com.