Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Welcome to...A Writer's Reality -101

Meet Jana Janeway - Author of The Mengliad

I met Jana on ABNA 2010. For those up you not up on writers’ speak, that’s Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards 2010. Jana has kindly consented to be my first interview subject for A Writer’s Reality.

L) Hello Jana. Thanks for being here. You’re a rather brave soul aren’t you? Consenting to being interviewed on my blog…

J) Um... okay? LOL! I don't know if I'd say 'brave'. Answering a few questions is a far cry from charging into the dragon's den! :)

L) You’re here, and that means you’re brave, since all kinds of weird things have been known to happen on this blog. Don’t mind the occasional howls and grunts. It’s only my dog Kita trying to find her toy, or thinking she knows better than me in terms of questions to be asked. How long have you been writing for?

J) I’m not sure what started me doing so, but I’ve been spinning stories inside my head since as far back as I can remember. When I was about 9 years old, I began writing them down, because I kept forgetting the details of the stories I was creating. In October, 2000, I started publishing fan fiction stories on the internet, because the few people I shared them with encouraged me to do so.

L) I admit to being clueless. What is fan fiction?

J) Simply put, fan fiction is a fiction story written by a fan. These stories revolve around existing characters, and sometimes story arcs, from well known 'fandoms', such as TV shows, movies, and novels. I personally have written more than 100 fan fiction stories for the TV shows 'Caroline in the City' and 'Friends'.

L) You interview an author and suddenly (Yes, suddenly…show me an author who doesn’t use that word even once, and, well, I’ll show you a Pulitzer Prize Winner) there’s this whole new world that opens up. Jana, do you have an example of your fan fiction written for ‘Friends?

J) I have all my fanfics for 'Friends' posted on my website. The URL is: http://www.janaonwheels.com Some are published on the popular fanfiction site: http://www.fanfiction.net

L) You are a mother of 4 children, two of whom are autistic. How and when do you find the time to write?

J) It can be tricky to find the time, to be honest. I usually get most of my writing done when the kids are asleep, or at school. I also have two wonderful daughters, ages 19 and 21, who will spend time with their brothers so that I can steal a few minutes here and there.

L) Kudos to you for being able to focus in those small parts of the day. What's the most horrible/ awful part about being a writer? And what makes you continue despite that horribleness?

J) The most horrible/awful part, for me, believe it or not, is self doubt. I have told myself dozens of times that I'm just not good enough to continue. What makes me continue, is all the wonderful feedback, and the love of writing. And that's what it comes down to. I love writing.

L) Okay, I’m staggering through this part of the interview, because it’s far past my bedtime. What the hell are you doing up so late?

J) LOL! It's only 11 P.M.! I'm usually up until at least 2 A.M.!

L) Were you born with an energy gene?

J) No, actually. Since the accident that disabled me 15 years ago, I don't sleep well. I'm up at all odd hours of the night, which is when I get most of my writing accomplished.

L) You’d mentioned the accident to me when I was asking about your background. A car jumped a curb and struck you on the sidewalk. Is the sleeplessness from ongoing pain?

J) Yes, the sleeplessness is from ongoing pain. Shortly after I doze off, pain will inevitably wake me. After 15 years of this, it's become my norm. I use the time to my advantage, though.

L) I can’t imagine trying to write while being in pain and struggling with lack of sleep. You’ve got an incredible amount of determination. When did you start writing Mengliad?

J) I started writing it in 2003. The opening scene came to me like a brick to the head, so I quickly jotted it down. Then I sat back and thought: Now what? From there, I created the world of the Mengliad. Their characteristics - what makes them different from Humans - their history, legends, beliefs, etc. Then, I started writing.

Interesting thing is - this started out as a 'Friends' fanfic. I wrote and posted the first six chapters, but then family issues came up, so I stopped and pulled it off the net. Years later, in 2008, I reposted the first six chapters, then continued it. It quickly became one of the more popular fics in the fandom. As a fanfic, it was 37 chapters long, but I cut out the 37th chapter when converting it into a novel, because of the NC-17 rated sexual content. I wanted it to appeal to a larger audience.

When it was a fanfic, it received over 300 reviews, all positive, and within them, it was suggested multiple times that I convert it into an original novel. In November, 2009, I did just that, off my oldest daughter's insistence. I changed the characters' names, their jobs, and removed all the 'Friends' references. Then I polished it up all nice and pretty and ran it through several edits. On December 19, 2009, I published it through CreateSpace.

L) What do you love most about Mengliad?

J) The romance. I'm a sucker for romance, so that's what I tend to write. I love how the romance blossoms between the two main characters as the story progresses.

L) Can you tell me a little bit more about the book?

J) This is a hard question for me to answer, because it's hard to summarize this particular story. To start with, it's about two Human-like species that inhabit the Earth. One is Human, one is Mengliad. Mengliads know of Humans, but most Humans know nothing of Mengliads. This story follows one such Human - Jessica Mitchell - as she learns not only that Mengliads exist, but that she has become one of them. How, you ask? Well, it's hard to sum up, so I will humbly suggest that you read the book! :)

When Jessica meets up with a Mengliad - Craddock Daniels - and his friends, from there it's all about how she has converted, how she will now function, danger from other Mengliads who don't approve of 'Later Conversion', and the love that blossoms between Jessica and Craddock.

L) I think my malamute Kita might be Mengliad. And she has a huge crush on my husband. I better watch out. But getting back to the interview, what are the biggest influences on your writing?

J) Most people can name an author that has influenced their writing, but to be honest, I can't. My biggest influence was my mother, who passed away in 2001. She always wanted to be a writer, so we shared that in common. I dedicated The Mengliad to her. I know she would be proud of me, and that makes me smile.

L) Where can people purchase your book?

J) It's available on Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Mengliad-Jana-Janeway/dp/1449929680 - and on CreateSpace - https://www.createspace.com/3414055

L) Jana, thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview. It’s been an honour and a pleasure getting to know more about you and your writing. Thanks for giving us an inside peek at your writer’s reality. Your determination and dedication to your writing is inspiring! Any last comments or thoughts?

J) It was a pleasure, and thank you. Hmmm. Last comments: Smores Pop Tarts rule. Last thoughts: I think I'll go nuke me some Smores Pop Tarts!

L) Perhaps it’s those Pop Tarts that are the real secret to this woman’s energy ;)

Monday, March 29, 2010

They're coming....

For all of you that are tired of me, and all my antics, I have some good news. Instead of me having my dog interview me again, I'm (yes - me, myself and I, and okay, maybe just occasionally the dog as well) going to be interviewing some other fine, fabulous, fascinating writers. This will be your chance to get the inside scoop on the life of a writer. Are you excited? I am. P.S. I'm still waiting for an agent to demand my manuscript. If I don't answer the phone, just leave a message with Kita (my dog). And I'll get back to you once I'm finished sorting through all my other offers.