This week, I have the pleasure of spotlighting another friend of mine, one who has had her fair share of struggles and setbacks, but has always managed to rise above them and deliver stories that make you laugh, cry, smile and frown with each one of her characters. This one is the first in a new series and the leadoff book for Barbour Publishing's new Cozy Mystery Line, launching in 2008! I hope you enjoy.
Janice Thompson is a Christian novelist, who lives in the Houston area. She has authored eleven books, including a line of contemporary humorous wedding mysteries for Barbour Publishing. Janice considers herself somewhat overqualified when it comes to writing about weddings. Janice has coordinated weddings for friends and has incorporated many of her adventures into her stories. She's also tickled to be able to include her canine companion, Sasha, in each of her "tails."
A $25,000 night deposit mysteriously disappears from the Clark County Savings and Loan, and Annie Peterson has reason to be concerned. Her husband's job at the bank makes him a potential suspect, but knowing him to be a Godly man, she can't imagine he'd steal it. But then again, where did the money to pay for his twin daughters' weddings come from? Sure, Warren occasionally jokes about robbing the bank to pay for the ceremonies, but Annie knows him better than that, doesn't she?
1. Congratulations on leading the Heartsong Cozy Mystery Line. Tell us about how that came about.
In 2004, I proposed an idea for a wedding-themed romance to Barbour Publishing titled THE WEDDING CAPER. Sadly, it was rejected for their romance line. I laid the idea aside for a period of time. Then, in January of 2006, I heard that Barbour was putting together a new line of cozy mysteries. My story idea involving a mother of the bride solving a crime just seemed to fit. I quickly put together a new proposal and sent it off to Susan Downs, mystery editor.
I heard back from Susan pretty quickly that she was interested in the books, but was stunned to learn THE WEDDING CAPER would head the new line of mysteries. More stunned still, to find out the book would be released as a trade book! Most mysteries in the line are sold through the book club only.
I can't tell you how blessed I feel to have this very distinct privilege, and how honored. I'm so grateful to Susan (and Becky Germany, my fiction editor), and to all of the fine people at Barbour, who've done so much for me!
2. What did you like most about writing this genre?
For the first time ever, I got to try my hand at first-person writing, and I LOVED it! Couldn't get enough of it. The twists and turns in the mystery are a lot of fun, though a bit of a challenge. But I'm up for the challenge! I especially love writing something fun and quirky!
Perhaps the greatest thing of all has been the spiritual thread that runs through all of the stories. I prayed fervently as I wrote THE WEDDING CAPER - that the Lord would use my words to not only bring a smile to people's faces (and make them wonder "who-dunnit") but would also present a real and lasting impression of our heavenly Father, and His love for us.
3. Tell us a bit about the book.
THE WEDDING CAPER is a cozy mystery set in Clarksborough, Pennsylvania. You've read the summary above, but just about the time Annie thinks she can wriggle Warren off the suspect hook, he mysteriously shows up with enough cash to cover the cost of both weddings. Annie dives into the investigation and the suspects pile up. One by one they fall, leaving her with only one logical choice. Who will it be – a somber-faced loan officer, a security guard with a shady past, a drifter with local ties – or the man she loves?
4. What sparked the idea of combining the stress of a wedding with a cozy?
I know what it's like to be the mother of the bride. I've played that role multiple times now! In 2004, two of my daughters got married within four months of each other. Daughter #3 is now engaged, and set to be married in the spring. Daughter #4 has just announced that she's met the man of her dreams and already has 'that look' in her eye.
Talk about blissful chaos! I know about the ups and downs of wedding planning, and also understand the financial woes connected with putting together beautiful wedding ceremonies on a budget. So, what's a mother of the bride to do, when faced with such challenges? Easy! I just turned them into books, so that readers could join in the fun! I decided to capitalize on my wacky wedding-related experiences by putting them into this series of mysteries, which Barbour has titled "The Bridal Mayhem Mystery Series." As I mentioned before, THE WEDDING CAPER is the first book in the collection. And the 'sleuth,' Annie Peterson—Mother of the Brides is so much like me, it hurts!
5. Tell us about your pets who makes it in all your novels. What role do they play in The Wedding Caper?
My real-life canine cohorts, (red miniature dachshunds Sasha and Copper), make appearances in my mysteries, and help solve the crimes. Sasha is even featured on the cover of THE WEDDING CAPER. I actually wrote Susan Downs a letter early on about this - told her that Sasha insisted upon a clause in my contract stating that she would be on the cover of every book. Barbour didn't actually put it in the contract, but so far my little darling has made it onto the first two covers! Ironically, Sasha and Copper are a bit on the spoiled side. They've really let this publishing fame go to their heads, and are particularly difficult to deal with, now that THE WEDDING CAPER has released. There's just no living with some people... er... dogs. I hope my readers enjoy getting to know them, and fall in love with them, as I have.
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Thank you, Janice, for being in the spotlight. And thank you to those of you who comment and read and visit...for your support. Don't forget to post a comment for your chance to win a FREE copy of this book.
The Weekend Edition
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