Janice Lynn - Characters Who Evoke Strong Emotions
Janice Lynn is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She strives to write characters who evoke strong emotions and make readers want to go along on their journeys. In addition to writing romance, Janice is a nurse practitioner, a quilter, a military mama and a member of and an avid supporter of the Quilts of Valor Foundation. Her first sweet romance, Wrapped Up in Christmas, was a bestseller on Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Amazon, and ibooks; was Hallmark Publishing's first release to hit the USA TODAY and Wall Street Journal's bestseller lists; and was a finalist in the Bookseller's Best Award. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about it.
Please give us a short introduction to what Wrapped Up in Christmas Joy is about.
A quilt shop owner finds a soldier's journal in a box of donated books and, having a veteran father, wants to help heal him. A Marine turned firefighter wants nothing to do with the quilter, Christmas, and doesn't see himself as worthy of being a hero. After everything he's been through, she has to show him the world through her eyes and wraps him in a special Quilt of Valor.
What inspired you to write about a quilt shop owner who finds a former Marine's journal?
Wrapped Up in Christmas Joy is the stand alone sequel to my 2019 Hallmark Publishing release Wrapped Up in Christmas. In that story, my heroine is a quilter who makes and donates a Quilt of Valor. I wanted to write a story about the quilt shop where Sarah buys her supplies.
Tell us more about Sophie Davis. What makes her so special?
Sophie has a big heart. She suffers with a bit of impulsiveness that's been known to get her into hot water more than a few times. Her sister has always looked out for her and tries to keep her on the straight and narrow.
Why did you pick a small town as the backdrop for your story?
I was born and raised in a small town, so writing small town stories feels natural to me because it's what I know and love.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I like to take material, cut it into small pieces, and then put it back together again in patterns that eventually make a quilt. I enjoy most crafts and making things. Before I thought about what a dangerous question it was, I asked my husband what secret skills he thought I had. LOL. Fortunately, he's a smart man and gave me several great answers. The one that stood out was that he said cooking and coming up with my own recipes. That wasn't something I really thought about much as it's just something I do, but I guess it does qualify as a skill. It's just not one I utilize that often other than my Crockpot due to time limitations.
You have a master's in nursing. How has this influenced your writing?
Being a nurse practitioner has influenced my writing a lot. I write Medical Romances for Harlequin and having first hand behind-the-scenes knowledge of various medical setting is a great resource. But, more than that, taking care of people has influence my writing because of just learning more about human nature and going through emotional life events with patients and trying to guide them to whatever their healthiest possible state is. I love to take care of people.
Why, would you say, is this the perfect read for the festive season?
Wrapped Up in Christmas Joy is just that--Christmas Joy. This story is full of feel good Christmas that'll help kick off the holidays with a smile. There's firefighters with a sense of humor, older ladies who call themselves the Butterflies, but are more busy bees, there's quilts, food, a cat, and lots of Christmas.
PTSD is a big theme in this book. Why did you find this important to write about?
Wrapped Up in Christmas Joy is a story of my hero, who suffers from PTSD, finding his place in life, again, and learning to love who he is and to believe in his own goodness. Sophie is determined from the moment she finds his journal that she's going to help him see the man she sees--a hero. Writing a Hallmark with a hero with PTSD is interesting as Hallmark stories are happy, bubbly stories. My goal with this story was to have a happy bubbly full-of-Christmas story that stayed true to Cole's background and how he saw himself. So, his inner demons are there, the reader knows they are there, but the story focuses on his journey to finding his place in life.
What is your personal favorite line from the book?
I have several lines that I just love that that make me smile when I read them, but this one is one definitely one of my favorites: "Hi, um, Cole?" Lord, help her to get through this and live to laugh about it someday."This is Sophie and uh, well...you wouldn't happen to have your sleigh and flying reindeer handy, would you?"
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
All the time. I had no idea how impulsive Sophie was when I started writing this story. Also, the cat. When he first showed up in the story, I had no idea he was going to have his own story arc.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
Hope that I can convey the characters in my head in a way that lets my reader fall in love with them. Often, I just know a bit about the hero and a bit about the heroine and that's where the story sparks from. With this story, I basically started with Sophie owns a quilt shop and finds a soldier's journal and everything else grew from that.
Do you have any interesting writing habits, what is an average writing day like for you?
I work full time as a nurse practitioner, so my writing days are typically Saturdays and Mondays. I curl up on my laptop on my living room sofa, with my sweet Maltese Halo curled up beside me, and I write. Some days the muse is with me. Others every word is pulled from me a bit painfully.
What are you working on right now?
I'm so blessed that Hallmark Publishing has bought a third book from me that will be out Christmas 2021. It's tentatively called Wrapped Up in Hope.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
Readers can find out more about me at www.janicelynn.com.