Janet is a wife, mother of two sons, and grandmother of eight who lives in the historic triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown) with her husband.
Her debut novel, A Heart Set Free was a Selah Award winner. A Heart For Freedom was a Christian Indie Award winner.
A lifelong student of history, her love of writing fiction grew out of a desire to share stories that communicate the truths of the Christian faith, as well as entertain, bring inspiration, and encouragement to the reader.
Q & A
Tell me about yourself.
I grew up in a military family and was a military wife. Living in many different places was an education and a blessing. My husband and I have a blended family, my two sons, his daughter, and their families. The three guys are all military officers and their wives are incredible. We have ten grandchildren, four are quads. When we retired in 2006 and sold his contracting company and I retired from working for Community Bile Study we moved from Northern VA to Williamsburg, in the historic triangle (Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown).
In the early 80’s when I was a stay-at-home mom I had a column in our community paper and one in a regional tabloid. A story had been germinating in my mind so I asked God if I could serve Him through writing fiction? Would He give me two or three hours a day to write if I would willingly put it aside after that time to take care of my family? I felt His confirmation and began researching and studying the craft of writing fiction. The Lord faithfully gave me those hours while my sons were in pre-school and elementary school.
How did you come up with your book idea? What inspired you?
Setting Two Hearts Free is the third book in my Revolutionary War series and it primarily deals with the next generation. While it is a stand-alone story, the main characters are ones the reader has gotten to know in the previous two books. The story addresses what we now refer to as PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. Throughout history, men and women have borne invisible injuries from war and other life experiences, and they can be very long-lasting. For many people, faith helps them to cope with these issues.
What was the most difficult part of writing this book?
The subject matter was complex and personal but it’s a topic that needs acknowledgment and empathy. I wanted to address it honestly, sensitively, and hopefully.
How did you overcome this difficulty?
I prayed constantly through the writing and editing process and listened to my agent's and editors’ suggestions.
Who is your favorite character from the novel?
What about them makes them your favorite?
While I have great empathy for Mary’s struggles, For many decades I’ve had a heart for those who bear the invisible wounds of war. They often face incredible challenges once they leave the battlefield and need understanding as they adjust to life post-combat.
Do your characters (or message) ever seem to have a life of their own or agenda?
All the time. I’m a “pantster” not a “plotter” so I’m often surprised where the characters take me. 😉
How has writing this book impacted you personally? At times it was emotionally draining, at other times it was restorative.
How many books do you currently have published? What genres?
This is my third novel, I also have a novella in LPC’s Smitten’s Highlander Collection. All are Historical Romances.
What is your favorite thing about writing?
Research. I love studying history and it is required for historicals, even down to knowing what words and idioms were in use during the subject era.
Your least favorite?
Marketing. I find promoting my books very challenging. There are so many other talented authors with wonderful books on the market.
What authors in your genre inspire you most?
There are too many current authors to mention, but reading Janette Oke, first inspired me to think about writing historical fiction.
What would you tell a beginning author who wants to publish but doesn’t believe he/she has enough talent?
Pray about writing, learn all you can about the craft, and write about something you love. I didn’t start writing intending to get published, I just wanted to find out if I could write a story. Get a critique partner for objective feedback. Learn about the process of submitting a manuscript. Find an agent who believes in your writing and with whom you have a good rapport. Develop a tough skin to deal with rejections, and be open to suggestions. Keep learning about the craft.
Release Date: October 6th
Donald Duncan joined the Patriot cause for noble reasons, battling the British while enduring deprivation and hardship on every side. The war has changed him, and now the battle is internal. Returning home to Virginia is in sight where a new life and his Mary wait for him.
Mary Stewart spends the war years with her family at Stewarts’ Green, helping them operate their ordinary. Daily, she prays for Donald’s safe return, eagerly waiting for him … until that day the evil side of war touches her.
Two hearts changed by a war that dragged on for six years. Two hearts left hurting and struggling to find the love and trust they once knew. Is there a path for them to rekindle what was lost, Setting Two Hearts Free?