Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!

Author Interview with Janice Olson

One of my most-honored mentors is the current president of the Dallas chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the DFW Ready Writers. Janice Olson leads one of the critique groups I frequent and has personally taught me so much, so I’m delighted to support her debut publication! Woohoo!

I hope you enjoy getting to know Janice and her book, Serenity’s Deception. Yes! It’s romantic suspense! Yummy!

        Marji: What inspired you to become a writer?

Janice: A contest. On a fluke, I entered a short story to Writer’s Digest Contest. When my entry came in 33 out of the top 100 out of 30,000 plus entrants, I was blown away. That got me to thinking. Maybe the stories roaming around in my head were good enough for other’s to read.

And the other inspiration—I couldn’t find the kind of books that I liked to read that were clean, wholesome, and worth reading. I didn’t and still don’t believe God is pleased with me reading words I have never uttered in my entire life And then the gratuitous sex scenes in the books are appalling. God has much to say about how we are to have pure, clean thoughts. I wanted to write something that I wouldn’t be ashamed of  saying, here God would you read this and tell me You what you think.

         Marji: I’ve read some of your work, so placing so high in that contest doesn’t surprise me! What is your ultimate goal for writing in general?

Janice: My ultimate goal was pretty much stated in the first question. But to further my answer, I want to write stories that I wouldn’t be ashamed of my daughter, grandchild, friend, or anyone else picking up my books to read. When you read my books, you won’t find me preaching at you, or grinding a point home, but I will present characters who have wants, disappointments, hurts, and most times in need of healing. I like to show my characters as people with everyday problems, aspirations, and dreams that most of us have.

And I love happy endings. I would never say I won’t write a story without a happy ending, you know, with all the loose ends tied up, because as sure as I do, that’s when a story without a happy ending will present itself. However, what I like most is a happier ever after type story. That’s the romantic in me. 😉 In my way of thinking, there is enough terrible endings in real life without hope. I want to offer hope in my stories so that my reader will see God is the only lasting hope in this sometimes dark and troubling world.

         Marji: How does Serenity’s Deception satisfy that goal?

Janice: In Serenity’s Deception, my heroine, BJ Spencer is a broken, young woman that has buried her hurts and longings and is carrying around excess baggage from her childhood. When she is thrust into a situation not of her making or choosing, she has to confront her past to have a future. Mainly, I show her struggles, even what she’s up against, and then what she knows she needs to do, and in the end … well, I won’t tell you about the end. You’ll have to read the book to find out. 😉

         Marji: What inspired this particular story?

Janice: This question is a hard one to answer.

First, I would say—forgiveness, not the Godly kind, although that’s a big part of the story, but the human side of forgiveness. The type of forgiveness that when you ask, it isn’t given or they hold a grudge. My thought process in Serenity’s Deception was—what if BJ Spencer were to face a life altering, horrendous situation for which deep-seeded hate and anger were an issue. How would she deal with the problem while evading a killer.

Second inspiration, the Texas Hill Country, the Brennan area—the contented cows, Blue Bell Ice Cream, rolling hills, Texas history—one of the many places in Texas I love to explore. (The five books in my “Texas Sorority Sisters” series, Serenity’s Deception, Lethal Intent, Chameleon, and two others, all take place in Texas. I may branch out to other states on down the road, but for now Texas is what I love to write about.)

Not sure I answered your question, but that’s a good as it gets. 😉

         Marji: Oh that was perfect! What actors might play your main characters if they made a movie of Serenity’s Deception?

Janice: Most everyone who reads my answer will probably laugh and wonder where has she been all her life?

I don’t have a clue. I’m really stumped for an answer. I don’t follow Hollywood actors or even remember their names. However, I would hope for someone wholesome (if there is such an actor). Someone who isn’t sleeping with this one and the next day with someone else. But that seems to be the plight of Hollywood.

In my head I can envision my characters yet I never think of them in terms of what actor would best fit BJ or Jason (my hero). I have writer friends that pick out actors for all the major cast of characters in their book, but I never could. If it ever comes to one of my books turning into a movie, I guess I’ll have to cross that bridge when I come to it. That wouldn’t be such a bad thing though.

         Marji: Ha! I hope you come to that bridge, too! What’s a lasting line from your novel – like the “Frankly, dear …” or “You had me at hello.”

Janice: Marji, every author thinks every line is the best line. But if I have to pick one, it’s a conglomerate of several sentences.

This is fairly close to the front of the book and a little telling about my heroine BJ Spencer.

Unlike most people, she knew nothing of her family history except she’d been born in Maine. How she got to Texas two months later was anyone’s guess.

End of story. End of family tree.

The above fills the bill for this particular scene and gives you an overview of BJ Spencer and what she knows of her family history. It also reveals the pile upon pile of hurts inside her heart smothering her very existence. And also shows how hard she tries to conceal the pain ever lurking around the corner. And hopefully, it entices you to want to know why, how, and who could do such a thing to an innocent child who is now a grown woman.

         Marji: How does writing fit into your regular day-in-the-life?

Janice: Writing is my time filler, my escapism, my want to, my excess time.

I work a job—6:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., one I might add God gave me when I was desperately in need of a job. I was able to pick my hours so I pick these particular hours so that I could come home and be able to write.

I generally write or edit my manuscript 2-4 hours a day and on the weekend I write anywhere from 8 to 20 hours depending on my deadlines. My husband has sacrificed much in order for me to fulfill my dream, and he’s my biggest fan and cheering squad. I do see a light at the end of the tunnel though. One day I’ll be blessed to write like other authors I know – 8 to10 hours a day, then maybe have a semblance of a normal life enjoying my husband and other pursuits. That isn’t to say that we (my husband and I) don’t have time together and go out and do things, we do, but I would love to have just a little more free time, if there is such a thing.

Suffice it to say—I write any and every minute that I can free up and sit down at my computer. (I have never been able to put pen to pad—my brain only works when my fingers are on a keyboard.) Also, God has blessed me with the ability to make good use of the small increments of time that I am able to pull together during the day.

         Marji: My goodness, you’re busy! How would your heroine deal with your daily life?

Janice: BJ would hit life face on. She wouldn’t let anyone or anything stand in her way of success or her doing what she knows she is right or what she’s meant to do—unless it would hurt others, then she’d rethink, regroup, then would do the right thing.

         Marji: Okay, favorite meal, both yours and your heroine’s.

Janice: Mine would be Mexican—shredded beef enchiladas and taco, rice and beans, or shredded beef taquitos California style with homemade guacamole to smother over them. Sweet tea to drink.

BJ’s is lean barbeque brisket, fully loaded baked potato, green beans, and fried okra. Sweet tea to drink.

Both of us—Chocolate Sheet Cake for dessert with a cold glass of milk.

         Marji: Ooo! Yummy to both! (I’m easy to please with either Tex-Mex or BBQ!) Tell my readers a little about your book and where they can purchase Serenity’s Deception.

Janice: Serenity’s Deception is available for all eReaders and also in Trade paperback on my Website, and/or other major internet sources. Also, I am having two giveaways, a wooden jewelry box and one book of Serenity’s Deception. (When you read my book you’ll understand the significance of the jewelry box.) All you have to do to be eligible is register at Entry deadline is December 21, 2012. Also the second in the series Lethal Intent will be launched on December 24, 2012.

Here is a short blurb for Serenity’s Deception

A letter launched it all …
wealth, love, and forgiveness, along with a town of suspects.  

No stranger to Serenity, Texas, BJ Spencer’s homecoming is met by more than bad memories. Her return provokes a furious ex-boyfriend, menacing threats from a Sheriff, and a town full of people who wish she would disappear … for good.

Engaged in a battle to stay one step ahead of the assassin, BJ and Jason O’Connell join forces to unravel the truth behind the lethal attacks. BJ’s quest for legitimacy uncovers secrets buried deep in deceit that threatens to destroy her. Plagued with doubts, she wonders if love can be found in a town filled with lies and deception. And can forgiveness be given when they are asking from the grave?

Marji, this was fun. Thanks for the opportunity to connect with your readers. For you and your readers, my hope and prayer is that forgiveness will be given and received freely.

Janice Olson

         Marji: I’m so glad Janice joined us today and I’m SO excited about her debut, Serenity’s Deception. Here’s a little more about Janice!

Janice Olson is the author of Romantic Suspense and Woman’s Fiction. As a minister’s daughter and a minister’s wife, Janice has firsthand knowledge of the unwarranted hardships life can bring and has incorporated those experiences into her books. Her heritage and years of working alongside her husband have taught her that only faith in God can be trusted for the best of times and the darkest times. Standing against all odds is a picture of Janice’s life through dyslexic eyes and how she became an author by working with the inherent problems of dyslexia. She has encouraged school children with dyslexia, enforcing that they are unique, made by God, and He has given them natural talents and abilities and they can overcome dyslexia. Janice, as an inspirational speaker, motivates her audience that nothing is impossible.

As a wife, mother, and proud grandmother, Janice believes her greatest accomplishment was when she met then married her husband Harry. Together they have raised a Godly and talented son and daughter, both who give of their talents to the church they attend.

Janice is an inspirational speaker, with involvement in community, church, and with women’s, reader’s, and writer’s groups, she loves to motivate her audience with nothing is impossible …YOU CAN DO IT … JUST TRY. It’s just another way of saying you can stand against all odds.

You may contact Janice Olson for a speaking engagement for your meeting or group by emailing her at:

Your turn: If you’re a writer, why do you write? If your a reader why do you read? 

Author: Marji Laine

Marji is a recently "graduated" homeschooling mom whose twin girls have blessed her by sticking around the nest for a little longer. She spends her days directing the children’s music program at her church and working with the authors of Write Integrity Press to put out the best possible version of their books. Raised in suburban Dallas, she got her first taste of writing through the stories of brilliant authors of their day, Mignon Eberhart and Phyllis A. Whitney, and through stage experience. After directing and acting in productions for decades, Marji started writing her own scripts. From that early beginning, she delved into creating scintillating suspense with a side of Texas sassy. She invites readers to unravel their inspiration, seeking a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s Great Mystery that invites us all.

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