This month’s featured author is Janet Sketchley, author of Without Proof, a romantic suspense novel.
Janet, welcome back to my humble virtual abode. I’m so excited about your new book!
Thanks for inviting me back, Deborah! I'm excited about the new book, too, because it completes my first-ever series. (And because I get to introduce more of my imaginary friends to readers.)
How does your book relate to your love for God?
It affirms that God loves us – no exceptions. My characters are happier when they're relying on God's love (those who know Him).
Can you share some stories about people you met while researching Without Proof?
I belong to a few online writing groups, where most of us only know one another as names through emails. A couple of the members of American Christian Fiction Writers were very generous with their time when I was researching the details of the plane crash and the sabotage possibilities.
Writers' groups are great resources, especially when we have questions about the logistics of illegal activities ☺ -- they understand writing research, and they don't start secretly wondering if they should phone the police.
What was the hardest part of writing it?
Truth told? The first hundred words. Of every scene. For the first third of the book. I'd written the first two Redemption's Edge novels much earlier, and spent years revising, editing and revising some more. It had been a long time since I sat, with a deadline, to write new fiction.
What did you enjoy most about writing it?
Bringing my characters to life on the page. I think that's why it matters so much to me for readers to be able to understand them like I do.
Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured in Without Proof? If so discuss them.
The story's really about relationships and suspense, and it's not intended to preach or overtly teach, but one of the issues in the background is the struggle with self-worth. Amy's circumstances are different than yours, or mine, or the people reading our conversation, but we've likely all internalized something false about ourselves.
In Without Proof, it's pretty clear that what Amy sees as the reason God could never love her isn't a barrier to Him at all, but she wears the blame and believes she's excluded from His love. These past few years, I've become more and more aware that many of us believe things about ourselves and/or about others that are not true. Believing them gives them the power to shape us in ways God never intended, and steals our joy.
What are some day jobs you’ve held? If any of them impacted your writing, please share an example.
I don't think paid employment has added much to what I write, although the people we meet at work do leave impressions which can help form fictional characters. I worked in the office of our city transit company before our children were born, and before that I did a brief stint at the busiest McDonalds' in London, England (I'm Canadian but we lived there for three months after university). Noticing the food theme in my novels, I think my time as an at-home mom had an impact, though!
Janet, what do you feel makes your book stand out from the crowd?
Well, in looking at sabotage theories, I was able to slip in a reference to the Reptilian Elite ☺ On a more serious note, there's not a lot of Christian fiction set in Nova Scotia, especially suspense.
Is Without Proof the final installment in this series?
Yes, it is. Some of the minor characters don't have as happy an ending as I'd like, and I thought for a while that I'd need to give one of them his own story for some resolution, but that seems to be just author guilt. At present, I'm not planning another one.
What can we expect from you next?
I'm in the character-discovery phase of a new suspense series, to be set in an ocean-front bed and breakfast in Nova Scotia. So far I've met the two cats and I have a fair understanding of the heroine's back story. Getting to know the characters before choosing the suspense elements will help me know how they'll respond.
Janet, please share any links or contact info you’d like readers to have.
It'll be a while until the new series comes out, so the best way to stay in the loop is to sign up for my email newsletter: bit.ly/JanetSketchleyNews. Also, for those who've read my Redemption's Edge novels, each one has a page on my website with links to bonus features like character interviews, prologues, and recipes. As a reader, I love that sort of thing, so I had to do it for my own books. Website link: janetsketchley.ca.
Do you have any last words?
Oh, to a suspense writer, that sounds ominous!
LOL! I never thought of it that way!
All the best with your own writing, Deborah, and thank you to everyone who's taken time to follow our conversation.
Thank you for the well wishes, Janet, and, yes, thank you to our readers.
Janet, it was a pleasure hosting you on my website again. I pray great success into your life through this series of books, and any future books you have released.
Thanks so much, Deborah. It's been fun chatting. What do you think? Do writers like to talk about their books as much as parents do about their children?
Yes, we certainly do!
If you would like to win a print copy of Without Proof, use my Contact page and type “drawing” in the comments box. The deadline to enter is January 24th.