Monday, August 18, 2014

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Jansina Grossman

Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I’m an editor and an author and can’t remember a time I didn't love words. When I was younger, I would tell stories verbally—usually things that had happened to friends (or, more often, fictional characters from books, movies, or Adventures in Odyssey). It was a natural progression to writing after that.

In 2012, a year after I self-published my first book, I started my editing and publishing company, Rivershore Books. The business began out of a desire to help my fellow authors see their books in print while doing something I enjoyed, and it is continuing to grow. My goal is to honor God in my writing and encourage others to do the same.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?

It changes all the time. My regular spot is in the living room, with my laptop and some coffee. When I start to get stuck or distracted, I’ll move to my room, head outside, go to a coffee shop, or switch to a notebook. I also have a typewriter I’ll sometimes use.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

I love to see characters come alive on the page. Those rare moments when the writing just “flows” make it worth the frustrating days—the times when writing even one sentence is a struggle. Usually my writing speed falls somewhere in between those extremes.

How do you come up with your characters? Why would readers want to get to know them?

All of my books take place within the same “world,” so the main group of characters is in each of them, though the POV changes. New characters appear when the plot calls for them, and I get to know them by writing them into different scenes and filling out “character interviews” from their perspectives

My goal is for them to be realistic and easy to relate to, which is why I put myself into their shoes. Some characters are more likable; some are more flawed.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

I’m on Facebook and Twitter and have two blogs (one as an author, the other as a publisher), so I’m slowly gaining followers and likes, but I haven’t done much actual marketing. When I was first beginning, another author gave me advice (paraphrased): “Wait to market until you have three or more books published. When readers find and enjoy your book, they’ll have more to read right away.” I’m working on my fourth and fifth books now, and then I’ll start pursuing marketing (mainly by contacting bloggers and reviewers).

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

In short: I don’t schedule it. I know many authors have success when they set specific times to write, but I’m not one of them. I do make a point to write something creative every day. It doesn't matter if it happens at 7 a.m. or midnight. Sometimes it’s thousands of words, and sometimes it’s under a hundred. Any writing is a success.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

Tomatoes Don’t Judge is my current work in progress. It’s a novel about a girl who meets a boy and falls in love...with his family. She comes from a family that neglects her, so being involved in daily things (i.e., planting tomatoes) is huge.

My most recent books are As Fairydust Settles (sequel to Shrouded Jewels and a modern retelling of David and his first wife Michal from 1 Samuel 1:18) and Life is Crumbly (“morbidly funny,” illustrated short story about the ways cookies can die), both released in December 2013.

Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

The prequel-of-sorts to Tomatoes is called Potatoes Still Bruise. It’s the main character’s journal from her early years. Just like a small bruise can affect the entire potato, Kara's scars have an effect on the way she views the world.

While this book is first chronologically, I think it makes more sense to read Tomatoes before it, which is why this is on the back burner for now.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

You are your own biggest critic. It can be frightening, but sometimes the most helpful thing for your writing is to share it with others. Find a couple people you trust and ask for their opinion of it. You might be surprised by how encouraging they are.

In the meantime, keep writing and reading. The more you do both, the better you’ll become. It’s not about being “good enough.” It’s about letting your story be told in the way only you can tell it.


Thanks Jansina!

Learn more about Jansina and her books:

Purchase Forgotten Memories
Purchase Shrouded Jewels
Shrouded Jewels: 

Short Stories:


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