Today we’re going to be talking to the wonderful Janice Cole Hopkins. If you’ve ever read one of her books, I know you’re as excited about this as I am. Hi Janice, and welcome!
Tell us a little about yourself and how you were raised.
I grew up in Wilkes County, North Carolina, and my parents came from even deeper into the Appalachian Mountains. Six of my novels are set in this region. I got my bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in English and a master’s degree in the teaching reading from Appalachian State University. I was certified to teach in 12 different areas.
I learned to love stories before she could read, started reading at age five, wrote my own stories in third grade, and had published poetry by eighth grade. I taught in Wilkes and Stanly County Schools. As a teacher, I mainly wrote for magazines, because they didn’t take as much time, but I always wanted to write a historical novel. After I retired early from teaching and became my mother’s caregiver, I wrote my first novel. I’m still writing and have 16 novels published with more on the way.
What’s your favorite genre to read and write. Who’s your favorite author?
I like to read Christian romance. All my books don’t fit the romance category, but they all have some romance in them in varying degrees. I have many favorite authors –Karen Witemeyer, Tessa Asfar, Francine Rivers, Lynn Austin, etc.
What age did you realize you loved books? When did you start writing?
I already loved stories when I started to school, but really learned to love books when I began my education. I started writing my own stories in third grade.
Tell us about this book.
Deceitful Matters is a contemporary, romantic mystery set near Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In it, Amy Duncan and Seth Conners are just starting to connect in high school when Seth was arrested, Amy’s parents died, and everything changed. They don’t see each other again for ten years, but now someone is trying to make sure they never become too serious about each other again. Who would do such a thing, and will their love growing survive, or will they be torn apart permanently?
What did you learn about yourself through writing it? That I liked writing mysteries better than I thought.
Do you normally use an outline for the books you write, or do you just start with a few ideas?
I’m pretty much of a pantster and don’t do a lot of formal planning. However, before I start writing I have lived with the characters for months, sometimes years. I have watched scenes play out in my mind, much like a movie. I know the setting, plot, and characters well and vaguely where it will end up. I write, like I read, to see what happens, and it’s a lot of fun. In the process, I keep asking myself what needs to happen to produce the needed situations and results. So, I do a lot of planning, but most of it’s in my head.
Is there a special place you like to write?
I like to write in my home office on my larger computer where I have most of what I need at hand. However, I also write on my laptop while traveling and promoting.
What was something that surprised you in the way this book unfolded?
I was actually well into the story before I knew who the culprit would be. I had set it up so that it could have been several individuals, although I knew it would be one of three.
What advice would you give a new author?
Read extensively in your genre before you begin, learn all you can, keep learning, and then be persistent.
What project are you working on now?
I have just published two novellas for Kindle which are realistic, Christian rewrites of fairy tales set in the Middle Ages. My next goal is to combine the two and publish a print version. I’m also working with a producer to put my Christian non-fiction book, On the Road to Jericho, on audiobooks. I have just finished the rough draft of a novel set in 1962, and it’s in the cooling stage before I begin the first edit. In addition, I’m starting to do my final read-through of a historical western trilogy.
Where can we find your books?
They are on most online sites, bookstores can order them for you, or you can order them directly from me (see the top bar on my website for more information https://janicecolehopkins.blogspot.com/). All my profits go to a scholarship fund for missionary children.