I am thrilled to be here today, Rhonda. This is a wonderful opportunity to share a little about myself and my books. Thank you!
When did you first start writing Children’s books?
I have been writing poetry since nine years old and started writing children’s books when I was in my twenties. The first one I wrote was a fairy tale which I will be publishing this year. I put it on the back burner until many other books were completed.
I became published at the young age of 65 and haven’t looked back. I hope to continue as long as God allows me the creativity and good health.
You hardly ever see husband and wife writer/ illustrators. How did you and your husband begin?
After I retired in 2010 I needed an illustrator for my first book, Louey the Lazy Elephant. When I canvassed the internet for what it would cost me to do this book I became disheartened and mentioned this to my husband, John.
I presented it to him in this way. “Honey, it’s going to cost us $2000 or more to have one book illustrated. Do you think you can do it for us and save us $2000?”
John: “Okay. But I’m not an illustrator. On the other hand, I don’t want to spend $2000. I’m your illustrator.”
I knew I could get him to do it if I mentioned money. Ha! I am eternally grateful to John for the hard work and efforts he puts into my books. I couldn’t do it without him. God bless him!
Oh, also, Rhonda you are author and your husband is the illustrator of your books. Right? Here’s to working together with our spouses!
What is your goal as a writer?
My goal as a writer is to encourage children of all ages to read. I also try to instill in children through my rhyming books the importance of good behavior. If children are read to at an early age they will increase their knowledge base and improve their health. It has been documented in health studies that reading is good for your health and overall being. I did a post on this study on my blog.
Parents: Please read to your children daily for their health and yours. When they are reading on their own have them read to you. It will provide a rich and rewarding experience for both of you. Happy Reading!
As my motto says: Reading Gives You Wings to Fly! Soar with Jemsbooks.com all year through!
Do you often want to give up? If so, why do you keep going?
I have days that I get discouraged because of all the promotion that needs to be done, social media that takes up my time away from writing, too many emails to answer and not seeing the results I want to see on Amazon. Sigh!
But then I receive a beautiful review or email from someone who has read one of my books. It then all seems worth the aggravation of the other things.
I don’t think I will ever stop writing and creating new stories for all ages. It’s what I love to do.
It also helps to have wonderful friends online like you, Rhonda, who help me by spreading the word about my books. For that, I am truly grateful to you and others like you.
How many books do you have out? Which is the most important to you and why?
I have twenty books at present and publishing the 21stone as I write this. Another book will be coming out later this year for children. There are 11 children’s books, 5 middle-grade/PT/YA novels, and three 18+ novels and a short story collection.
The most important one is the first. That is my baby and how I got started – Louey the Lazy Elephant. It was also the first one that my husband, John, illustrated. It is precious to us both. I still hear from readers that they love it for its simplicity in design, like a coloring book. John’s come a long way in illustrating since then. But Louey will always be first in our hearts of all our books.
Who inspires you? How?
My grandchildren inspire me to continue writing for them. They all love books and reading adventures and mysteries. If I can reach them through my stories then I will be able to reach many other children and inspire them to read more.
I want to leave my five grandchildren a legacy that I came, wrote, and hopefully became famous for them. I have dedicated books to all of them.
The MG/PT/YA Davey & Derek Series was written for my three oldest grandsons, Daniel, Jason and Joey.
The children’s book, Lamby the Lonely Lamb was created for my only granddaughter, Leah.
The children’s book, Sebastian Meets Marvin the Monkey, was created for my youngest grandson, Sebastian.
Don’t all writers want to make a difference in this world by their words?
I hope I have made all my precious grandchildren proud to call me Grammy/Mimi who is also an author.
If you were to meet an author you love, what would you say to them and why?
I love Agatha Christie and all her books. She is the queen of mysteries and storyline and character development, in my opinion. If I met her I would ask her how she develops her storyline and characters, and what pointers she could give me to help me with my own work. I am sure that anything she could share with me would be a great help to making my work better.
Is there anything you would like to share with us?
My husband tells me I am verbose! I always have something to say.
I would like to share with aspiring authors the following:
- Believe in yourself
- Don’t let others discourage you from doing what you love to do.
- Don’t be afraid to dream the impossible.
- Read, Read and Read again all the books you can to learn how to write.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help from other authors online.
- It is never too late to realize your potential – age does not matter!
- Don’t wait – just do it!
I am available if you need advice as well as many other fabulous authors out there. There are a myriad of talented and helpful people online that will be more than happy to aid you in your writing adventures.
Do you have a new book coming out? If so, what is it about if you want to share?
Yes, I have two books coming out soon. One is Book 1 Abby & Holly, School Dance– a girls’ series of adventures and mysteries with a touch of magic and ghostly appearances. I am excited about this new Series. These two characters, Abby and Holly, were first introduced in Book 5 of Davey & Derek Series, The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost.
Davey & Derek Junior DetectivesSeries have done well both with awards (7 at present) and are well received by parents and middle-grade children.
One of my readers recently requested that I write a Series for girls too. Well, it is finally here and coming to Amazon and Barnes & Noble over the next week.
The other book is the fairy tale that I mentioned previously that I wrote in my twenties for my children. This book will be out later this year. My husband is working on the illustrations which take a lot longer to do than to write the story. (So he keeps telling me! Ha!)
What are you teaching children in your books?
All my children’s books carry life lessons and these themes:
- Understand and accept differences in each other,
- Be kind and polite to one another,
- Listen to your mother,
- Treat one another as you want to be treated,
- Believe in yourself,
- And be the best you can be.
I try to teach children these lessons above through fun rhymes and colorful illustrations. I want children to know that it is okay to be different. I want them to feel safe in their homes and environment. And most of all I want them to feel loved. I convey love through my stories. Each animal is loved in these stories.
If I can reach a few children this way I will know that I am doing the right thing through my books.
Thank you, Rhonda, for extending thiskind invitation to be on your lovely blog. I had a wonderful time answering all your excellent questions. You really made me think hard before answering.
You are every welcome. I have enjoyed talking with you.
Bio of author: Janice Spina aka J.E. Spina
Janice Spina aka J.E. Spina is an award-winning author with twenty published books ranging from infants to adults and in multi-genres. She has been writing since the age of nine. Janice always dreamed of being an author but did not realize this dream until after she retired from an administrative secretarial position in a public school system in Massachusetts.
In 2013 she published two children’s books, followed by three more children’s books and one novel in 2014, two children’s books, and two middle-grade/preteen detective books 1 & 2 in 2015 and one novel, a children’s book, and Book 3 and 4 of her MG/PT series in 2016 and a short story collection, children’s book and a MG/PT detective series book 5 in 2017, and two children’s books and the sequel to her first novel were published in 2018. She is working on a MG/PT/YA mystery series for girls that will be published in the summer of 2018. Her husband, John, illustrator and cover creator, is working on illustrations for Janice’s first fairy tale which she hopes to publish later in 2018. A YA fantasy needs to be edited and will be published as a series in 2019 and beyond. She hopes to begin Book 6 of the Davey & Derek Series later this year.
Janice submitted an article to an anthology collection by author Kristina Stanley and published a short story in The Writers Newsletter. Janice’s books have won a total of eleven book awards – seven Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards, one Mom’s Choice Awards, two Reader’s Favorite Book Awards an Honorable Mention and a Silver Medal, and a Silver Medal from Authorsdb Cover Contest and was a Finalist in Authorsb First Lines Contest.
Her goal is to write for all ages and encourage children to read which will cultivate a love of reading and carry them throughout their lives.
Janice’s motto is Reading Can Give You Wings to Fly!Soar with Jemsbooks.com all year through! Her logo is Jemsbooks – Books for all ages. Her husband, John, illustrates all her children’s books and creates the covers for all her books.
Janice plans to write more children’s books, middle-grade, young adult fantasy and novels over the next few years. As the author says, “There is always another story running around in my head just waiting to be written down.”
Janice’s hobbies are crocheting, exercising (walking, hula hooping to keep in shape), and reading, reviewing books, blogging, traveling, going out to the movies and dinner with her husband, and spending time with her five grandchildren who are her inspiration to write.
Purchase book on Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/janicespina7
Barnes & Noble: Children’s Books – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Janice+Spina?_requestid=705563
Barnes & Noble: Novels –
PS-Grade 3 (ages 0-8):
A fairy tale will be coming out in the fall of 2018
Middle-Grade: Grades 4–7 (ages 9-12):
Book 6 in Davey & Derek Series coming in 2018
A new mystery series for girls coming in 2018 – Abby & Holly, School Dance, Book 1
Young Adult: Grades 8-12 (ages 13+):
YA fantasy Series coming in 2019 & 2020 and beyond
Novels: Ages 18+:
Thank you always for coming to my blog. Feel free to share, always looking for new authors to blog.