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Monday, April 9, 2012

Author Interview - Janet Lane Walters/Dame Amber

Please join me in welcoming Janet Lane Walters, aka Dame Amber, to The Far Edge of Normal. In her words:
I've been writing since the days of carbon paper and typewriters. My first short stories were published in 1968. In 1972 I published the first of four novels. Then I returned to work to help put my four children through college. Returned to writing in 1992 and have never looked back. I'm published in romance from sweet to sensual, from contemporary to paranormal and fantasy. I also write cozy mysteries and fantasy for YA and adults. There are several non-fiction books floating around also, Including Becoming Your Own Critique Partner with Jane Toombs. That was an EPIC winner in 2003. There are other awards or near awards floating in the stratosphere.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.!/JanetL717

Tell us about your writing - What genre do you prefer to write? What books, stories, other publications that you've written are your personal favorites? Anything new coming up?

Interesting question. I'm not sure I prefer any genre but there are some I don't. Horror is one. Action adventure is another. I write Romance from contemporary to fantasy and several genres in between. I have a series of cozy mysteries. I also write fantasy for YA readers. I bill myself as Eclectic Writer and my writing is as varied as my reading interests. As to favorites, this is like asking a mother which of her children she loves the most. Can't answer that. Usually my favorite is the one I'm working on at the time. I've had some poetry published but that was in my early days of writing and I was using poetry to hone my skills at choosing words. I've also written some non-fiction, some of it as a ghost writer. My friend Jane Toombs and I have written a non-fiction book on writing that's soon to be out in it's second edition. Becoming Your Own Critique Partner. The new things coming up are several. One is a short spicy romance A Surprising Seduction, one is the fourth of a YA series called Confrontation, I have a fifth Mrs. Miller mystery in the works and a new series called the Hiring Hall.

What about you as a person? What do you do to relax? Favorite movies or tv shows? Hobbies?

What do I do to relax. I'm a reader and re-reader of books I've enjoyed. I'm interested in Astrology and study this on occasion. In the past I composed music but writing has consumed my creative energies. I'm not much of a one for movies and haven't been to a theater since the last of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. There are times when I do a marathon of the three LOTR or Pride and Predjudice, the A7E version. Now I do a bit of TV watching with the crime shows at the top of my list. Hawaii 5-0, CSI New York and Miami as well as ones like the Closer and others on the cable networks. I watch no TV until after 9 PM, except for Jeopardy. I jokingly tell people that housework is my hobby since that's what you do in your spare time. I enjoy spending time with my 7 grandchildren. Three live close and are adoptees from China, The other 4 live in Florida and are biracial. Our youngest daughter is adopted.

What gets your creative juices going? Do you write to a music, and do you want to share your playlist?

I can pretty much write in the middle of confusion and noise. I've written in doctor's offices, in the surgical waiting room. I don't need music though I do enjoy most classical pieces. I have a lot of Tchaikovsky symphonies and ballets that I put on. Love the 1812 Overture and when I'm really in a non-writing mood I'll put that on or something crashingly loud by Beethoven. I prefer when there's music that there are no singers. Words play in my head like a recording when I write and singers distract me.

"All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction." Do you have a stand on this one? Any cute pictures of your kitty or other pet?

I agree with this but I no longer have a cat. My familiar, Robespierre a Maine Coon cat, died and since I have a husband who doesn't want any more pets, I do with a picture of the cat in my study. He is a featured character in the Katherine Miller Mysteries and his picture is on Murder and Mint Tea if you'd like a look. In my alternate Egypt books there is a sacred cat called Bast Ka.

What organizations do you recommend for those wanting to become writers? Any advice you'd like to share about writing?

I'm not sure since some of the organizations I belong to are for published writers only but if a writer is interested in Romance, RWA is a good group since they hold on-line classes for writers and they have local chapters that do help inspire struggling writers. As to advice, one is to find a good critique group. Having other authors willing to critique your work helps. I've belonged to the same one for nearly 20 years and though the membership has changed we've helped a number of people move from writer to author. Another bit of advice is persistence pays. I revised my first book over and over again and it was published.

What writers inspired you to become an author?

I'm not sure I was inspired by any particular author. As a child from early on I was read to and my grandfather taught me how to read when I was three. He read John Donne's poetry to me every time we were together. So you might say the poet inspired me. There are many authors I enjoy and when I decided I wanted to write as well as read, I began to read many of the classics and also many American writers going back to the Colonial days. I think if one is going to be a writer, they must be a reader and they need to read extensively, especially in the genre they want to write. Maybe that's why I write in so many genres.

Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?

I will be taking part in a Nook Book signing at the Barnes and Noble store in the Pallisades Mall in New York some time around Mother's Day. Not sure of the date. On May 5th I'll be participating in a signing for Vanilla Heart Authors at Letchworth Village from 1 PM until later.

Good luck on the book signings. Thanks for stopping by!