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Friday, September 11, 2009

Spotlight on Janice Thompson and Fools Rush In

Two favorite authors in the same week? How'd I get so lucky? :) Today's spotlight author is not only a favorite but a great friend as well. She's been a wonderful mentor, encourager and given me great support in my career. It's my privilege to introduce her to you today.


JANICE THOMPSON is an award-winning author who also writes under the pseudonym Janice Hanna. She got her start in the industry writing screenplays and musical comedies for the stage. Janice has published over fifty books for the Christian market, crossing genre lines to write cozy mysteries, historicals, romances, nonfiction books, devotionals, children's books and more. In addition, she enjoys editing, ghost-writing, public speaking, and mentoring young writers. Janice currently serves as Vice-President of CAN (Christian Authors Network) and was named the 2008 Mentor of the year for ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). She is active in her local writing group, where she regularly teaches on the craft of writing. Janice is passionate about her faith and does all she can to share the joy of the Lord with others, which is why she particularly enjoys writing. She lives in Spring, Texas, where she leads a rich life with her family, a host of writing friends, and two mischievous dachshunds. She does her best to keep the Lord at the center of it all.

by Janice Thompson
Published by Baker/Revell Publishing


Ever wonder how Italian sounds with a Southern drawl?

Bella Rossi's life is just starting to get interesting. When her Italian-turned-Texan parents hand over the family wedding-planning business, Bella quickly books a Boot-Scootin' wedding that would make any Texan proud. There's only one catch--she doesn't know a thing about country music. Where will she find a deejay on such short notice who knows his Alan Jackson from his George Strait? And will Bella ever get to plan her own wedding?

Fun, fresh, and full of surprises, this flavorful combination of Italian and Tex-Mex highlights the hilarity that ensues when cultures clash.


"I fell in love with the Rossi clan, who feel as passionately about their pizza as Texans do about chili. Add a hunky cowboy with a slow Southern drawl, and you've got a recipe for one terrific story."--Virginia Smith, author, Stuck in the Middle

"A charming tale about stumbling upon love and finding a bit of your true self along life's journey. This fun read makes you grateful for the truly important things in life."--Megan DiMaria, author, Searching for Spice and Out of Her Hands


Fools Rush In is a combination of My Big Fat Greek Wedding meeting a hilarious group of Italian Texans. Like the tagline says above. Ever wondered what a southern accent sounds like in Italian? :)

This book has it all -- a pizza-making uncle with ties to the mob, a woman who shouts in Italian while shaking a broomstick at unruly children, more cowboy boots than you could ever need, and a wedding planner with a penchant for misunderstandings.

And this is only book 1! If the rest of the books in this series prove to be as hilarious as the first, this series will find a favorite spot on my bookshelf. I know for a fact that the author is a previous wedding coordinator, and from the stories she's told, I'm sure some of them will end up in her books.

Readers, buy your copy of Fools Rush In today!


1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

In the spring of 2007, I settled into bed with my laptop. . .not an unusual occurrence. I didn’t have a story in mind. In fact, I was on vacation at the time and wasn’t even thinking about writing. However, the moment I saw that empty white screen, I felt like typing. Don’t ask me why, but the words, “If Uncle Lazarro hadn’t left the mob, I probably wouldn’t have a story to tell” shot out of my fingertips. I stared at the screen, more than a little curious. Who was Uncle Lazarro, and why was he in the mob? Worse still, why was he bothering me in the middle of my vacation?

Those who know me know I’m a plotter. I usually plot out an entire story before writing a word. So, for this very “calculating” author to stare at those “inspired” words and not have a clue where she was going with them was unusual, to say the least. Terrifying, even. A normal person would have closed the laptop and rolled over, forgetting about the whole thing. But an inspired person? Well, an inspired person (a.k.a. writer) has no choice but to keep going, even when all of the signs point at impending doom. Or a really funny story.

I stared at the words awhile longer, this time praying for wisdom from on high. Was I really supposed to take these cryptic words and shape them into a story? If so, what would come next? I drew in a deep breath and waited. Moments later, my fingers started flying. Wonder of wonders! I typed blindly, without thinking. A couple of paragraphs later, I had all of my questions about Uncle Lazarro answered and found myself laughing hysterically as I typed. (By the way, this is how a comedy writer knows her words are not her own. Who among us is really that funny?)

About an hour later, I had written the entire prologue to the book that would become FOOLS RUSH IN. I’d not only introduced Uncle Laz, but the entire Rossi family. Best of all, I had a wacky new heroine, Bella, to wrap the story around. When I signed off of the computer that night, I had the strongest sense she would lead me through the rest of the tale.

Thank goodness, I was right. Bella Rossi—a quirky Italian wedding planner from Galveston Island—had quite a story to tell. And thankfully, she chose me to share it with. Through Bella, I learned that cultures can clash, families can squabble, chaos can reign, and weddings can rule the day. . .but in the end, true love always wins out.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

Usually my own experiences play a huge role in my stories, but not this one. Bella and I don’t have much in common. She’s thin, young and gorgeous and I’m. . .well, I’m not. :) Her wacky Italian family is light-years away from my own, too. These things came from my somewhat overactive imagination! The only things about Bella’s story that ring true to my own life are the setting (Galveston Island, near my home in the Houston area) and the sequined church ladies. (Long story there. I don’t think your readers have the time or the energy for it.) As far as the role my own life experiences played in creating Bella, I would have to confess that I do have some of the same insecurities. I take on big challenges (much like she does in taking over the wedding facility), only to wonder later if I’ve bit off more than I can chew! Still, the Lord always manages to come through, in spite of my stumbles and bumbles!

3. If your hero/heroine were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

Bella would be Rocky Road, no doubt about it. She’s got a lot of “stuff” in her life, and the path isn’t always smooth. But, oh! Talk about delicious, especially once D.J. (her love interest) enters the scene!

4. Are there any themes in Fools Rush In that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the stories progressed?

Fools Rush In has a wonderful family theme. The Rossi family is loud, fun and in your face. But they’re a terrific bunch. I hope that readers see a bit of their own family members in these quirky characters. As for themes that developed as the story progressed, I would have to say that “coincidences” (or “God incidences”) played a major role in the progression of the story. We often look at things as coincidence (or happenstance) when, in reality, God is giving up opportunities to try new things and meet new people.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

I honestly can’t think of one part of the book that was difficult to write. I did spend an extra amount of time tweaking the prologue because I wanted it to be just right, especially Uncle Laz’s Damascus Road experience. One of my favorite sections to write is also found in the prologue:

How my uncle settled on Galveston Island is another story altogether, one that involves the untimely passing of my beloved Aunt Bianca, may she rest in peace. Upon her deathbed, she mumbled these strange and startling words: “Toss my ashes into the Gulf of Mexico.” At least we think she said the Gulf of Mexico. My mother insists she must’ve meant Galva Messio’s, her favorite shoe store. Then again, my mom is always looking for an excuse to shop.

Regardless, the entire Rossi clan ended up in Texas, a far cry from Atlantic City, not just in miles, but in personality. Transplanting the whole group of us—three adults and five children—was no small feat. And the little things nearly proved to be our undoing. For example, I spent the better part of my elementary years figuring out how to transition from “you guys” to “y’all,” something I thought would never come naturally. Now, I can “y’all” with the best of ‘em.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

The second book in the WEDDINGS BY BELLA series is titled SWINGING ON A STAR and it releases in December. Here’s the synopsis:

Bella Rossi's life is nearing perfection. She's got the perfect guy, she's running a successful business, and she's about to plan her most ambitious wedding yet, a Renaissance-themed fairy tale come true, complete with period costumes and foods, horse-drawn carriages, and even a castle. There's just one hitch. The best man just happens to be Brock Benson, Hollywood's hottest and most eligible bachelor. Oh, and did we mention he's staying at the Rossi house to avoid the paparazzi?

With all the pressure surrounding this wedding, Bella's not sure she's going to make it through. Add her star-struck sister, her feuding aunt and uncle, and a trio of large, sequined church ladies with even bigger personalities, and you've got a recipe for disaster--and a lot of laughs. This hilarious romantic comedy is sure to delight both fans and new readers alike.

* * * * *

Thank you, Janice, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Fools Rush In.

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when the winners are announced each time.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.


Anonymous said...

This book sounds great. thanks Aprilr

Renee (BlacknGoldGirlsBookSpot) said...

I've been reading about this book EVERYWHERE! It looks so cute! I want to read it! Please enter me!

XOXO~ Renee

Unknown said...

Oh, bless you Tiff! I'm so excited! Things are going so well with this book! I can't wait for you to read book two. And book three. You'll be tickled pink to learn what happens to Rosa.....(and to Guido)! Thanks to all of our blog readers for their interest! Woo-hoo!

Lori (sugarandgrits) said...

This book is at the TOP of my Wish List! I can't wait to read it! Please enter me!

Swinging on a Star is already on my Wish List, too, and I haven't even had a chance to read Fools Rush In. LOL

Thank you,
~ Lori


Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

I've been seeing this book everywhere and it is on the top of my wish list too! I'd love a chance to win it. :)

I'm wondering, did Janice plot the rest of the book or did it just fly out her fingertips?

Anonymous said...

This book sounds wonderful...would love to read it. thanks for the opportunity.

karen k

Edwina said...

Thanks for such a great interview! I would LOVE to win that autographed copy!

Carole said...

I am eager to experience Janice Thompson's books and this one is at the top of my wishlist also. Thank you so much for the giveaway.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Edna said...

Great interview, please enter me into the contest for the free book. May God bless


Cherie J said...

Sounds great! Would love to read this. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. Enjoyed the spotlight.


adge said...

I would love to be included for this giveaway. That prologue was hilarious and I always enjoy reading books that make me laugh. Thanks.

Molly said...

Please enter me in this giveaway! This book sounds FANTASTIC!!! Thanks for the opportunity!


connie e said...

Please enter me! Book sounds great!


Carolynn said...

Been hearing a lot of good things about this book, thanks for the chance to win!

Sylvia M. said...

This book sounds good. I like plots like this.


Merry said...

Janice knows how to make me smile, I love her stories! Please include me for Fools Rush In, thanks.


Mark said...

please enter me

Michelle said...

Thank you for the opportunity to win this book!!!

scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

Anonymous said...

Please enter me.....sounds like a great book! Thanks.

Shirley @ Sunny Glade said...

This book sounds awesome!! Enter me please!

shirley at shirleymcclay dot com

Linda said...

Please enter me. Sounds like a good read. thanks.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

JJ said...

Thanks. I found your blog from the Back 2 School Bonanza. :)


Erin said...

Count me in please, sounds like a wonderful book!

ellybean (at) connected2christ (dot) com

Sherry Kuhn said...

This looks like a really fun story. Please enter me in the drawing.

Sherry K


Emma said...

Fools Rush In sounds wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com. Thank for the giveaway.