Thank you so much for the opportunity to be featured on your lovely blog/website, Rhonda.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I guess it would have to be that I don’t do an outline before I begin to write. I let my fingers do the typing. As long as I have a title, I can write a story with the help of my muse (my characters) who tell me where the story is going. They don’t tell me though how the story will end until it does. They pop up out of nowhere. I never know how many characters there will be. They push and shove their way into the tale.
This has happened in my newest fantasy series. There myriad characters are increasing with each volume making this into an epic series.
What does success mean to you? What is the definition of success?
To me success means when parents are purchasing or borrowing my books and their children are reading and enjoying them.
I donate all my books to our local library. I check in with them every so often and ask if my books are being borrowed. They have told me that they are being read regularly. This is success to me. It isn’t money or how many I am selling at the moment.
Success means that I have succeeded in encouraging children to read daily. I hope each child will become a lover of reading that will carry him/her throughout his/her lifetime.
On a typical day, how much time do you spend writing?
I don’t have a typical day unfortunately. I take each day as it comes depending upon what I have to do outside of my writing. There is always something that comes up to keep me from writing one way or another with family things.
I do try though to do some form of writing daily either in emails, promotions, editing or just working on my WIP at the time. The most time I have spent writing any one particular day has been three to four hours.
Having to eat usually keeps me from continuing all night. My husband always makes sure that we eat three meals a day. If he didn’t call me to lunch and dinner I would keep going and probably lose some much-needed weight. Thank God that he is kind enough to do most of the cooking so I can write more often.
How long have you been writing?
I have always loved writing poetry since I was a little girl of nine. I created cards for my mother for her birthday and Mother’s Day. She enjoyed them so much that I continued to do that. I still do that to this day.
Children’s stories came next when I was in my twenties and was married with children. When I reached my thirties, I wrote my first novel which didn’t get published until 2014. From then on there was no stopping me from writing more and more for all ages.
What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?
- Read, read and read some more books by many different authors especially the famous ones so you can learn their techniques, styles and from any mistakes that they may make. We all make mistakes but we learn from them, hopefully.
- Don’t let anyone discourage you from reaching your goals.
- If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask fellow authors online. I have met some lovely people there who have become good online friends who support me as I do them.
- Follow other authors on social media (FB, TW, GR, etc.), read and review their books and comment on their sites.
- Stay positive and believe in yourself.
- Don’t let negative comments effect your ability to continue doing what you love to do – write. Remember, negative reviews are only one reader’s comments/feelings about your book. You can’t please everyone – just please yourself.
- Edit your work thoroughly with the help of beta readers, copy editors and editors to hone your work before publishing.
- Good luck and best wishes for a wild ride in becoming an author.
- Have fun!
Now tell us about your books. Who are they for? Messages?
Wow, you don’t realize how long this will be! I have 38 books at present with one more being published in July and many more on the back burner.
All my book covers and illustrations are created by my talented and handsome husband, John. To think I had to beg him to do this for me back in 2013. Now he loves it! He only works for me even though I don’t pay well! Ha!
My books have received 31 awards at present – 6 Mom’s Choice Awards, 5 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, 18 Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards, 1 Book Excellence Award, 1 Authorsdb Cover Contest and a few finalists and many 5-star reviews on Amazon.
I have 19 children’s – most of which are in rhyme and all with life lessons encouraging children to be kind to one another, friends and family are important, help others in need, accept differences and never tolerate bullying.
I dedicated my first few children’s books to my grandchildren when they were young. Two of them are written and dedicated specially to my granddaughter when she was three and my grandson when he was two. One book is dedicated to a little boy who I met on vacation in Aruba. Other books are dedicated to all children who love dragons.
CHILDREN’S BOOKS – PS – GRADE 3
Louey the Lazy Elephant – published in 2013
Ricky the Rambunctious Raccoon – 2013
Jerry the Crabby Crayfish – 2014 (in memory of our pet crayfish)
Lamby the Lonely Lamb – 2014 (dedicated to my granddaughter)
Jesse the Precocious Polar – 2014 (dedicated to a little boy I met while on vacation in Aruba one year)
Broose the Moose on the Loose – 2014
Sebastian Meets Marvin the Monkey – 2015 (dedicated to my grandson)
Colby the Courageous Cat – 2016 (in memory of my daughter’s cat)
Jeffrey the Jittery Giraffe – 2017 (to a little boy who was shy)
Clarence Henry the Hermit Crab – 2018 (in memory of our pet hermit crab)
Lucy the Talented Toy Terrier – 2018 (in memory of my dog)
The First Star – 2019 (dedicated to my children when they were young)
Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series Book 1: Drystan and Durward Save the Day – 2020 (all the dragon series was dedicated to all children who love dragons)
Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series Book 2: Damara Helps Drystan Find His Roar – 2020
Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series Book 3: Delbert Finds Himself – 2020
Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series Book 4: Delfina Solves a Problem – 2020
Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series Book 5: Drago Does a Good Deed – 2021
Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series Book 6: Dragana Helps a Fairy – 2021
Make Believe (Bedtime Stories for Children) Book 1 (dedicated to all children who like to make believe)
More books coming for children in 2023 and beyond
BOOKS FOR MG/PT/YA (these books were dedicated to my grandsons and granddaughters
Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Book 1: The Case of the Missing Cell Phone – 2015
Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Book 2: The Case of the Mysterious Black Cat – 2015
Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Book 3: The Case of the Magical Ivory Elephant – 2016
Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Book 4 – The Case of the Brown Scraggly Dog – 2016
Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Book 5: The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost – 2017
Abby & Holly Book 1: School Dance – 2018
Abby & Holly Series Book 2: Unfortunate Events – 2018
Abby & Holly Series Book 3: Secrets of the Trunk – 2020
Abby & Holly Series Book 4: The Hidden Stairway – 2020
Abby & Holly Series Book 5: The Copper Key – 2020
Abby & Holly Series Book 6: Faulty Timeline – 2020
YOUNG ADULTS 15+ (This series is dedicated to my husband)
The Legend of the Taken Ones (Gateskin Chronicles Book 1)
The Unknown Territory (Gateskin Chronicles Book 2) – coming in July 2023
Gateskin Chronicles Book 3 – coming in fall/winter 2022 or early 2023
More books coming in this series in 2023 and beyond
NOVELS FOR ADULTS 18+
Hunting Mariah – 2014 (dedicated to my parents)
How Far is Heaven – 2016 (dedicated to my husband, a friend and fellow authors)
An Angel Among Us (A Short Story Collection) – 2017 (dedicated to a friend who lost her life to breast cancer in 2017)
Mariah’s Revenge – 2018 (dedicated to my husband for cooking so many dinners)
In a Second – 2021 (dedicated to a friend)
Lubelia Alycea (One Hundred Years) – 2021 (dedicated & in memory of my grandmother who lived to be 100.5)
More books coming in 2023 and beyond
You have two new books coming out. When? Message?
One book is now out in June – a children’s book – Make Believe (Bedtime Stories for Children). This is book 1 in a series of other books I plan to write in 2023 and beyond. There are six stories in this collection for children. It is different from my other children’s books in that it has only one illustration per story created by my husband, John. By doing it this way I can incorporate more stories into one book for children to enjoy at the same price as the others. It is a lot quicker to do for John and he is enjoying it more. Less work for him too. He is getting up in years, so he keeps telling me. Ha!
These stories can be read by early readers or enjoyed with a parent/guardian at bedtime or any time. They each carry important life lessons for children to learn as they have fun reading these animal and creature stories.
The second book is a fantasy, book 2 of Gateskin Chronicles which is coming out in July 2022. I dedicated this series to my husband who doesn’t usually like to read fantasy. I warned him that I would make him love these books if it’s the last thing I do. He did enjoy the first one and is now reading and editing the second book for me.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to read and review other authors’ books. I am also a copy editor for fellow authors. In my spare time, if I can find some, I like walking, exercising with my hula hoop, tap dancing, sewing, crocheting, jigsaw puzzles, going to the movies and out to dinner with my husband.
What’s the best way to market books?
I don’t know the best way but this is the way I market my books. I use social media e.g., Facebook, Twitter and Instagram mostly and by blogging on my website.
I also like to help my fellow authors by interviewing them and featuring their books on my blog. We authors must work together to assist one another. There is a world of books out there by the millions. We are like a speck of sand on the beach.
The advertising venues I use all the time are AllAuthor.com and BookMarketingGlobalNetwork.com (Theodocia McLean)for the best viewing and circulation of my books. They both offer many features that are helpful to authors in spreading the word about their work.
Where can readers find you?
I feel as if I am everywhere. By the looks of the links below, I guess I am! Phew!
Amazon: (children’s books) http://amazon.com/author/janicespina7
Amazon: (Novels for 18+) https://Amazon.com/author/jespina77
Barnes & Noble Novels for 18+: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/J.E.+Spina?_requestid=1055527
Barnes & Noble: (Children’s books)
Hunting Mariah Trailer: https://youtu.be/JZTu5R-kXhM
How Far is Heaven Trailer: https://youtu.be/pLCjyc9Q9tQ
Mariah’s Revenge Trailer: https://youtu.be/2DlawyOX9aw
In a Second Trailer: https://animoto.com/play/B10ST9501Xx2xu3OoE40YA
Lubelia Alycea Trailer: https://animoto.com/play/S2lqO9LX0uGpihfbVDjwCQ
The Legend of the Taken Ones (Gateskin Chronicles Book 1) Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/INdAcdgasU0
It was a pleasure to answer all your intriguing questions. I hope I didn’t exhaust you and your readers too much just to read my long answers. Thank you for the kind welcome to come here today. I had a lovely time visiting with you and your readers, Rhonda.