Leah: Do you have any writing rituals?
Janni: I write first thing in the morning but I always have breakfast before I start. Can’t write on an empty stomach. Then a good cup of coffee helps kick-start the brain.
Leah: So tell me when you first realized you wanted to try getting published? Was it an Aha! Moment? Or was it a dream from when you’d been little? Or were you dragged into it kicking and screaming?
Janni: When I began my first novel, as a teenager, it never occurred to me not to try for publication. Of course, I was totally ignorant of the publishing world. I actually thought writers wrote their books in one draft. (Belatedly apologies to the slush pile reader, who encountered my first effort.) Anyway I loved writing enough to hang in there and learn the ropes. It was a long slow process, but many manuscripts later, I did it. I got published!
Janni: That’s a really interesting question. I’ve thought long and hard about it but I can’t think of any stars that fit the bill (either they’re right for the role but too old, or the right age but not quite right for the role) so I’d cast unknowns.
Leah: With your latest release, did you have any specific inspiration? Did you do anything to help keep you in their world – music or a movie or something?
Janni: Well, I can’t write to music. It’s too distracting because I keep jumping up to dance. The thing that kept me focussed was my main character’s name: Allegra Fairweather. Reading that name instantly connected me with her and helped me enter her world.
Leah: How did you come up with the name?
Janni: I’ve always liked the name Allegra so that was a no-brainer. Coming up with Fairweather took a lot longer. I’ve lost count of how many different surnames I tried but I finally found the right one.
Leah: Do you have a favourite book (someone else has written) that you keep as a ‘comfort read’?
Janni: “The Novel” by James A Michener. I love immersing myself in the Pennsylvania Dutch world of author, Lukas Yoder, who is the most charming and delightful character.
Leah: When you’re not writing, what do you like to do just to kick back and relax?
Janni: Line dancing is great exercise. Learning a new dance - concentrating on the steps and the music – really focuses me in the moment. But when I’m dancing old and familiar steps, my mind is free to wander. Great for solving plot problems.
Leah: Tell me a little about your Carina Press release…
Janni: Allegra and her guardian angel, Casper, investigate paranormal activity in the Scottish village of Furness. They encounter a wailing banshee, a three-hundred-year old ghost and dead bodies that mysteriously disappear. But it gets worse. Allegra is falling in love with Casper and that’s absolutely forbidden.
Allegra Fairweather here. Paranormal investigator. Got problems with specters? Shapeshifters? I’m the woman to call. Just don’t call me a Ghostbuster. The last guy who did that ended up flat on his back with my boot at his throat.
With my 99.5% success rate, solving the mystery of a bleeding rose that has sprung up on the shores of Loch Furness should have been an easy gig. But already I’ve heard the shriek of the local banshee, discovered two bodies (and then lost two bodies), and had a near-death encounter with a three-hundred-year-old ghost. And perhaps most dangerous of all, the hot pub owner who hired me now wants to show me exactly what’s under his kilt.
Luckily, I’m ably assisted by my very own guardian angel. I’m grateful for his help—but he’s also drop-dead gorgeous. A bit distracting when I’ve got a mystery to solve, and the clock is ticking…
Leah: What are you working on now?
Janni: The second Allegra Fairweather book. I’m almost finished the first draft.
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Thanks so much, Leah, for having me as a guest blogger. And thanks to everyone who’s dropped by. Until we meet again…
May your guardian angel watch over you.
You can visit Janni’s website at www.janninell.com or drop by her Facebook page.