Behind the Scenes with Author Janet Jenkins Stotts

Author Interview with Janet Jenkins Stotts

Read Janet’s Chapter 7 online or learn more about the Community Novel Project

Why did you want to participate in the Community Novel Project?

I had just completed the NaNoWriMo challenge and was looking for a reason to keep writing.

What do you like about the premise and characters of this year’s Community Novel Project Speak Easy? What challenges you about them?

The premise and characters give writers a lot of room to maneuver, to make changes and go in different directions. The premise has moved in a direction that is more appropriate to history than cultural anthropology because it is focusing on one woman and not her culture.

What was your first reaction when you saw the chapter before yours?

I thought it gave a lot of background and depth to the character of Julia.

What is your favorite and least favorite addition that you contributed to this novel in your chapter?

My favorite is the cliff hanger at the end. My least favorite is all the groveling Ronni has to do.

What do you hope happens or doesn’t happen in the chapters that come after yours?

I hope they continue to involve Ronni in meaningful and exciting ways, not just Julia.

How did you write your chapter – in a burst of inspiration or carefully outlined?

I wrote in several bursts; each followed by time to think and hope for inspiration.

What have you learned about writing fiction from participating in this project?

I learned that I am really all about strong female characters.

What is your writing background? What do you usually write? How was this project different?

I have written small town news for small newspapers and articles for trade magazines. As an instructor, most of my writing is creating instructional materials. One lesson was included in the national training manual for GED examiners for a few years. The 2012 NaNoWriMo was my first foray into fiction.

When do you write? How many hours do you spend writing in a week?

I usually write in the morning after I have checked my online classes and done any necessary grading. I spend between 5 and 10 hours a week writing and/or editing fiction.

Janet Jenkins Stotts got her MA in Curriculum and Instruction with emphasis in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of Kansas. Until last year, most of her writing was work-related and included federal grant proposals and material published in the national GED Administrator’s Training Manual.  Thanks to TSCPL, she took part in the National Novel Writing Month last November and completed the 50,000 word challenge. She has since turned that novel into The Orchid Garden, a mystery based on the trip to China she made to assist in the adoption of her granddaughter, Ella. She hopes to have it published through Amazon print and Amazon kindle by the end of the summer. She and her husband live north of Topeka with five dogs, six goats and a goat that thinks it’s a dog.


Lissa Staley

Lissa Staley helps people use the library. She is a Book Evangelist, Health Information Librarian, Trivia Emcee, Classics Made Modern book group leader, NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison, Community Novel Project leader, HUSH podcaster, and frequent library customer. She reads a new book every few days, but recently enjoyed Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley.