Exclusive Interview with

Janice Spina

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When did you start writing?

I have always loved writing. I began writing poetry and creating greeting cards for Mother’s Day, etc. when I was just nine years old.

It wasn’t until my twenties that I wrote my first children’s story and many others followed. I did not publish any of them until 2013, a few years after I retired from an administrative secretarial position in a school system in Massachusetts.

There was no stopping me after that!

Janice Spina
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What makes writing your passion?

It makes me feel alive when I sit at my laptop and place my fingers on the keys. They become like lightning bolts of energy and can’t stop tapping away. I get lost in creating my stories.
There is nothing else I do that gives me that jolt.

Janice Spina
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How long have you been writing?

I have been writing since I was a young child but didn’t get serious and begin writing actual stories until I was in my twenties. It has been too many years to count now since then.

Janice Spina
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What was the feeling when you published your first book?

Euphoria! I couldn’t believe that I had finally published my first book in 2013! I felt empowered and a wonderful sense of satisfaction at attaining my goal even if it took many years to do it!

Janice Spina
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What’s the story behind your choice of characters?

For children’s books, I create stories around baby animals. I feel that children can relate better to animals that are small like them. I don’t want young children to be frightened or intimated by what they read of is read to them.

For MG/PT/YA I try to create a story around subjects that, though they are sometimes tough, need to be discussed e.g., bullying, unkindness to other with differences, etc. All these books deal with young adults who are struggling to do the right thing.

For 18+ group I write about mysteries, suspense, thrillers, paranormal activity, and clairvoyance or anything else that may pop into my already overcrowded head. The characters in these books are strong-willed, determined but sometimes feeling their way around tough situations.

Janice Spina
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What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?

I try not to get discouraged about some of the things that can be annoying, e.g, people who read my books don’t always review them, family doesn’t support me as much as I would like (except my husband), and trying to compete with myriad books that are on Amazon and increasing every day.

As an Indie Author I do everything myself along with my husband’s help to create and illustrate my children’s books. I think the most difficult thing to do as an Indie Author is to promote my books. I blog, use social media and some promotion sites to assist me in getting word out there about my work.

Janice Spina
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How do you get over the “writer’s block”?

I have been fortunate not to have that yet. I don’t want to jinx myself by saying this though!

Janice Spina
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We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?

I love what I do. I can’t imagine ever stopping unless my health suffers to keep me from writing. God willing, I will continue to write as long as I can to do the thing I love to do!

I would advise aspiring authors to:
1. Believe in yourself
2. Don’t listen to others
3. Pursue your dreams
4. Write in some form daily
5. Read, read and read some more of other authors’ books in order to learn more and increase your strengths in writing.
6. Don’t get discouraged, keep moving on and never give up!

Janice Spina
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If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?

I would tell my younger self not to be afraid of what others think, get yourself out there, and pour your heart into your writing so others can see what you feel.

Janice Spina
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Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?

I do read book reviews. Love the positive ones! Don’t like the negative ones but I do learn from them. I have been fortunate to receive more positive ones so far.

I remember receiving one with no review but with just one star on Goodreads. I was devastated to say the least! But I checked with Goodreads to see if there was a mistake since the person gave one star to all her reviews on everyone’s books.

The best thing for me to do is look at it, then erase it from my mind and move on. That is only one person’s opinion. How important is that to me? I can’t please everyone. I have to ask myself, “Are you satisfied with your work? Then that is all that matters.”

Janice Spina
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What is the feeling when you get a good review?

I feel empowered to write some more. It’s a wonderful and fulfilling feeling to see that someone out there likes my work.

Janice Spina
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Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?

I did feature something similar to an experience that I had in one of my short stories. This story was loosely based though. In writing it brought the angst I felt at the time which I’m sure readers could feel.

I do also put myself and others I know or have met in most of my work in some form or another. It’s important to write about what you know to make it more authentic.

Janice Spina
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Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?

Some of my personality, character traits are in every one of my books in some way or another. In my historical novel I am the narrator. In another romance/clairvoyant novel I am the lead character when I was younger and felt shy and insecure.

Janice Spina
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What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?

Yes, I do think the cover is extremely important to entice the reader to open the book. I have to admit, if I don’t like a cover I will not read the book even if it is a best seller.

My husband creates all my covers and does a splendid job, I think.

Janice Spina
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Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?

I write a lot better than I speak. I guess it is my innate shyness that is still under this older veneer. I smile all the time to hide my insecurities that are deeply rooted from childhood.

I have done book signings in the past before COVID and never had a difficult time meeting and greeting people. Smiling helps to put them and me at ease. In fact, once I get started talking about my books I can’t stop. I feel sorry for the poor people who are polite enough to put up with it.

Janice Spina
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How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?

I feel honored but a little embarrassed at the same time. It is a powerful feeling to hear someone say something good about me and my work. I become speechless. I utter a lot of ‘thank you’s.’’

Janice Spina
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Who is your favorite author? Why?

I love to read and have so many favorites - Mary Higgins Clark (RIP), Jeffrey Archer, John Grisham, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Harlan Coben, to name a few.

They are powerful writers who know how to create a story that a reader cannot put down. They create intriguing characters, good and bad, that one loves or hates, and a powerful ending that is unforgettable. They inspire me to be a better writer.

Janice Spina
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What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?

Wow, that is a hard question. I don’t know if I will ever be anywhere near as good as any of them in my ability to write but I would love to be as big as Mary Higgins Clark. Boy, I have a lot of work to do and many more books to write.

Janice Spina