Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Author Interview - Janet K. Brown Visits Write What Inspires You with Donna McDine

Today, I’d like to introduce author Janet K. Brown. As many of my colleague friendships, Janet and I met online quite some time ago and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. It’s particularly enjoyable for me to watch friends go from aspiring to published authors. Janet welcome!

DMc: Janet, congratulations on the July 25 publication date of your inspirational young adult novel, Victoria and the Ghost. Please give us the synopsis.

JB: Yes, thank you, Donna, for having me here today. Here’s what happens in Victoria and the Ghost.
To VICTORIA PETERSON, life is a shopping mall where choices for the latest styles abound. Her party-loving, shop-aholic mother is her hero, and Victoria is Mom’s treasure.

Then, divorce fractures the mother/daughter relationship. While Mom remarries and climbs the social ladder, Dad turns his back on the corporate world for a small ranch in North Texas where he plans on Victoria and her sister helping him with cows, horses and crops. Would Victoria ever awake from this nightmare?
After three weeks of summer in the country, she ventures out to explore. Ending up in Clara cemetery, the only place with trees, she encounters strange, unexplainable happenings that peak her interest as well as her fear.

Her nearest neighbor initiates a friendship but changes moods as fast as the weather. One day, she is a friend, but the next, she gossips and fights. Still, she does introduce Victoria to a cowboy hunk, one of the few other teens who have entered Clara Cemetery alone.

The pastor’s wife at Clara tells Victoria the story of the ghost and advises her to pray before she trespasses.
Bound by their interest in the “ghost of Colonel Specht,” Victoria and the cowboy encourage each other and visit the ghost’s territory together.

Victoria assumes country life is temporary until her mother summons her back to Dallas, but she tries to fit in by taking riding lessons from her neighbor. This activity results in more and more tension and finally a big fight between the two girls. With his work on two ranches, Victoria’s cowboy hunk has little time for the bored city girl.

The first visit with Mom and the new stepfather ends with Victoria feeling left out and called a thief. A new stepsister seems to have replaced Victoria.

Finally comes the big date with the cowboy, but the night ends with Dad passed out and rushed to the hospital. Shaken and scared, Victoria faces the possibility of losing her father, too. 

School starts, and circumstances force Victoria to begin her sophomore year in strange surroundings.    
Days later, a lonely Victoria hikes to Clara to see the pastor’s wife, and discovers a note left on their church door threatening the building and the pastor. Because of their need for support, Victoria gives up an opportunity to visit her mother. Through overhearing a conversation and piecing together other information, Victoria detects a plot, but what can a fifteen-year-old almost-stranger do to save her friends?

The conflict escalates.

Victoria is forced to apologize to her teenaged nemesis.

The cowboy hunk accuses Victoria of  betrayal.

Can it get any worse?

DMc: What is your process in developing three-dimensional characters?

JB: I start with faces with which I’m familiar—someone I know, a film star, newsperson, whatever. I determine the main points of the plot. Then, I interview my main characters with questions such as: “What can you tell me about yourself that you don’t want anyone to know?” or “What scares you? And then, “What is your ethnic background?”

One main thing to remember is every good person has a flaw, and every villain has some good.

DMc: What type of research did you conduct for intertwining the living with the spirits of the beyond?

JB: Since my book happens in the historical ghost town of Clara, Texas, I researched the area today, and also how the town began.

Colonel Hermann Specht established the town. He was never in the German military, but his bearing and dress caused Texans in the 1860s to refer to him as “colonel.” He loved North Texas. In a few short years, he made an impact on the area. He named Clara for his beloved wife. When he lost her, he was bereft. His brother convinced him to visit them in Germany. While there, he became sick and then trapped by World War I. He died without ever returning to his adopted home.

Victoria came to Clara in present day, against her will, disappointed, and lonely. The sadness of Colonel Specht’s story calls out to a teenager in despair and proves that God uses the supernatural to heal today’s wounds.
DMc: What’s your current work-in-progress and where can readers find out more information about your writing career.

JB: My website includes devotions, nutritional and diet helps, and writing craft articles. I also post on my Facebook page what’s happening with my writing. I started with articles and short stories for both teens and adults. Find them in such periodicals as Live, Brio, Standard, the Gem, Cross and Quill, Christian Life, and Write What Inspires You.

Since I retired as a medical secretary six years ago, I’ve completed seven novels, mostly inspirational romance and women’s fiction. I sold my YA first.  May, 2012, I made a proposal to a publisher for a 365 daily devotion book for compulsive overeaters. He requested the full manuscript, so now I’m busy editing that to send.

Other than that, I’m working hard on another inspirational romance that I plan on pitching at ACFW conference in September. All my stories deal with compulsions or addictions where the only hope of healing is God.

DMc: A signature request I like to ask every author, illustrator, editor, etc., I interview is for the individual to share with us a tidbit from his or her live that the reader will find either humorous or surprising. Janet, can you please share one with us?

JB: I guess the obvious is about my own healing from God that is why I write what I do. I spent my adult life overweight, self-conscious, and depressed. When God healed me, he healed the inside and the out. I lost ninety-five pounds and quit biting my nails. That was visible, but the invisible part blows my mind. I’m amazed every day that I can even talk with people much less think about starting a writing career at this point in my life. God is awesome.

I love to hear from readers. Find me at:

Thanks again, Donna, for this opportunity.

Janet, thank you for the opportunity to interview you! I’ve enjoyed getting to know you better and wish you all the best. 

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
Connect with
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist


  1. .thanks for sharing

  2. Great interview, ladies! Your book sounds wonderful, Janet. Good luck in your future endeavours.

    Karin Larson

    1. Hi Karin,

      Thanks for stopping by and visiting with Janet. We appreciate your support!

      All the best,

    2. Thanks so much, Karin. Appreciate your words of hope.

  3. What a wonderful interview Donna. I enjoyed it so much. I wish you great success Janet. Thanks for sharing your inner thoughts with us. Your new book Victoria and the Ghost, sounds intriguing. We can all benefit from someone Else's empowerment in life. God does really carry us at times in our life{story of the footprints}

    1. Thanks, Susan for the encouragement. Yes, I love that footprint story. God always stands by ready to carry us. I, for one, often need it.

  4. Hi Donna,
    Very inspirational interview and story. Gives us all much needed hope at trying times. Blessings for success to Janet.

  5. Donna and Janet, It was an inspirational interview.
    Janet you book sounds interesting. Good luck with it.

  6. I'm delighted everyone is enjoying getting to know Janet. Thank you for stopping by and visit. We appreciate the support!

  7. Thank you, Donna. It's been fun. God bless.

  8. Very informative interview Donna, And your book sounds like a "must" read for young teens, Janet. Congratulations, mate. I enjoyed the read.

    Books for Kids - Manuscript Critiques

    1. I think teens will find some answers & some fun in the book. Thanks, Margot for your encouragement.

  9. Good luck with your book. It was a pleasure getting to know you a bit in the interview. Thanks, Donna, for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Nancy. I appreciate the comment & the look-see.

  10. Janet: I love what you said in your answer to Donna's question about the unusual tidbit about you. 95 pounds! WOW! you are very inspirational. good luck with your book!

  11. Great interview, ladies! :-)



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