Friday, July 10, 2015

Interview with Janet DeLee

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing off and on since I was nine years old. I wanted to be a full-time writer as an adult but it took me years to finally take a leap of faith, give up the day job, and commit to writing full-time. It was terrifying at first, but lining up with who I truly am feels wonderful.

Are any characters based on yourself or people you know?

The cat characters, Minnie and Sally, are somewhat similar to my pets, Maggie and Lucy, but let’s keep that our little secret because I don’t want to be sued.

Do you believe in the supernatural? Have you ever had a supernatural experience?

I believe that what we now call the supernatural will turn out to be quite physical and quantifiable. I think the indestructible energy of people is on a wavelength we can’t see, like radio waves or microwaves, but will eventually be discovered.

The new series I’ve started was conceived as a result of having some weird experiences; once at a French Quarter hotel in New Orleans, and another at a bed and breakfast in the Texas hill country, just to name a few. Ghosts sometimes act out around me. Why they get such a hoot out of rattling my cage I have no idea. This has been going on about fifteen years. Prior to that it was smooth sailing and I was blissfully unaware of any ghostly pranks or presences.

What made you decide to self-publish?

Because it took me so long to screw up the courage to take a leap of faith I knew if I faced a lot of rejection from publishers early on I might not be able to push on. Also, I liked the idea of owning the rights to my books, writing what I wanted when I wanted, and being my own boss. It’s my goal to be a best-selling, self-published author and join the growing ranks of other self-published authors who are achieving worldwide success.

What's the hardest thing about being self-published?

Getting comprehensive editing services at a price I can afford is tough. I can proof a book a hundred times and still miss something. It takes lots of eyes to find the errors and the costs really
add up. I cringe if I see errors missed after publishing but I’m determined to master it. The other equally difficult thing about being self-published is getting established by finding the
readers who would enjoy my stories. Thankfully, book blog reviewers have been enormously helpful with this. Blog reviewers are my heroes. I’m in awe of the contribution they are making in the world of literature.

What's the best thing about it?

Self-publishing is not only fostering a creative explosion, it’s creating a huge job market of related support industries, such as book editing, promotion, etc. Now that publishing is more accessible talented writers can get out into the world much faster. Book bloggers are on the cutting edge of discovering exciting new stories and writers. The new technology that allows self-publishing reduces the factors that limited the publishing industry for so long.

Do you write full time?

Yes. I tried for years to write after a long day at work and it was difficult and frustrating. Publish or perish, that’s now my motto.

Who's your favorite character to write and why?

I’m liking my new character, Lee Blanton. He is a nice guy, rugged and reasonably attractive, who survived a bad divorce and decided he had experienced his fair share of women and was through with romance. He didn’t realize what an irresistible challenge that is to women, and it’s fun to put him in situations where that is going on. As a vintage home restoration contractor he also has a problem with disruptive ghosts and there are all sorts of interesting reasons for that.

Vampires or werewolves?

Neither. I like ghosts, fewer limits as to what I can make them do.

If a genie granted you three wishes, what would you wish for?

1. That every book I write will find the reader who will benefit from it the most.

2. That every person with a dormant dream will find the courage to pursue it.

3. That I could have a jetpack to tool around in whenever I go to Italy.

What does your writing process look like?

My left brain prefers to write an outline on a laptop, but my right brain finds this too confining and wants lots of room to spread out. The right brain doesn’t want to be confined to an outline or
linear order, but the left brain shudders at the thought of no structure and doing things out of order. The compromise they worked out is this: both sides collaborate on an outline with the right brain writing one sentence scenes, recording each on a single post-it note. The left brain then sticks the notes on a big empty wall, organizing them into a logical, sequential flow of chapters
until an outline is created.

When it’s time to flesh out the scenes in each chapter the laptop will be used if the left brain agrees to let the right brain write the scenes in whatever order it feels like on a given day. The left brain then takes the copy and lines it up into the proper chapters. The right brain is happy to use the laptop once the editing begins, but the left brain keeps a sharp lookout to ensure that if any spontaneous material shows up it continues to forward the story. This method allows both sides of my brain to do what they do best and work together in harmony.

Which authors inspire you?

Thomas Wolfe, Martha Beck, Anita Moorjani, Frances Mayes, Mark Twain (he will be the first person I look up after I die), Agatha Christie, Henry James, and Fannie Flagg.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Never give up. Don’t listen to naysayers. Resist the impulse to tell your friends and family what you are doing, because they may be doubtful and advise you to play it safe and stay with the herd.
And if you do tell them, don’t let their comments or attitudes make you so doubtful that you betray yourself. Hang on!

BE YOURSELF. Do not write what you think is selling. Write what you would like to read and what is inside of you that must come out. Trust that you can find the readers who are looking for the
stories you want to tell. Trust that the more you write the better you will get. Give your readers everything you’ve got.

Is there anything else you'd like us to know?

My mission as a writer is to inspire my readers to pursue dormant dreams that they have kept hidden away for years.

You can connect with Janet at:

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