Interview with Novelist Janet Lee Barton
1. Tell us about your books.
I write both Christian contemporary and historical romance. My newest release will be in October and it is a 3 in 1 of my historical Arkansas series, taking place in Eureka Springs and Hot Springs Arkansas in the late 1800s. I have just finished the first book in my historical Oklahoma series about the land run to Guthrie.
2. How long have you been writing? What led you to fiction?
I’ve been published for 10 years–writing for longer than that. I have always liked reading fiction, but I love when it reflects life from a Christian world view. I want my characters to grow and change as their relationship with the Lord does–like we do when we are striving to live the life He wants us to live.
3. What do you feel are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?
My weakness is probably grammar. No matter how often I study it, I still get mixed up on comma usage, etc. And I made very good grades in English. But, now I know why we had to take English every year in school. Its the only way to remember it all.
I think my strength is in my characters. I’ve been told they seem very real. And I’ve been told I write children very well.
4. Where do you get your ideas and characters?
Ideas come from everywhere, characters sometimes come from a combination of traits of people I know–family and friends, and other’s I just watch. I think most writers are people watchers.
5. What does the act of writing mean to you? Do you read books on writing?
The act of writing makes me happy and it means more to me than I can say. I always wanted to write and I feel blessed that the Lord gave me the desire to write and that I can write for Him. If I can get a reader to pick up their Bible and find the truth there, find comfort and the Way through God’s word, then I feel I’m doing His will. And I always want to write to His glory.
I’ve read many books on writing through the years. I don’t think we ever stop learning and growing as writer.
6. Did you have storytellers when you were growing up that influenced you? Were you an avid reader as a child?
My grandfather liked to tell scary stories. And my dad could have been a wonderful writer. He did write several beautiful poems. I was a very avid reader as a child. One of my best memories of summer is coming home from the library with an armful of books. Loved going to the library!
7. Describe your editing process.
I like to read over what I wrote the day before and make edits as needed before I start the days writing. Then, of course once the first draft is done, I let it rest, go over it again–I love this edit–and then send it out to those I trust to give me good honest feedback. I go over their suggestions and edit from those, before sending out.
8. Do you outline your books or let the story go where it wishes?
I’ve done both. If the publisher requires an outline, I do that and its a good way to keep on track as one is writing. But it’s not terribly detailed in order to leave room for having fun with the story.
9. Do you write biographies of your characters?
I don’t write really detailed biographies, but I know the most important things that have happened in their lives that will pertain to the story.
10. Where do you see publishing going in the digital age?
I think we will always have print books, but I do believe the ebook is here to stay and will become more popular each year.
11. What lessons have you learned as a published writer?
That I’m blessed to be able to do what I love for the Lord. And I’ve learned to work with editors, taking their suggestions and knowing that most of them will make the story stronger. I’ve learned that rejections come both before and after being published and not to take them personal. I’ve learned to keep writing–trusting in the Lord to help me meet deadlines.