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A Passion for Story

Some writers nudge their way onto the publication scene with a lovely resume in hand, one that includes a degree in English or Literature. Others experience a “lucky break,” an amazing opportunity that propels them through the publication door, bells clanging and whistles blowing.  Most press their noses to the grindstone—grunting and grappling their way to publication, one sour rejection after another. Then, there are those who come out of the womb writing—child prodigies, who pour out their heartfelt stories onto the pages of their elementary school notebooks, destined to become one-day-stars. As the years progress, they morph into the very thing they were destined to be all along—writers. 

I suppose you could say there’s a little of each of these in me.  I was born with a passion for both story and performance and always saw myself as having a great call on my life. As a child, I instinctively knew how to entertain folks with my antics and my exaggeration. From the time I could offer a curtsy or a bow (anticipating that others would applaud my efforts) my mother labeled me a “ham.” She wasn’t far off in her description. I ended up going into theater, starting as an actress and eventually directing. 

One thing served as the glue in all of my endeavors: story. Story fueled me as a youngster while I persistently scoured the shelves at our local library for something I hadn’t already read. Story intoxicated me as I picked up the pen and crafted my first novel in sixth grade. Story propelled me as I took on roles in high school plays, pouring heart and soul into each performance. Story lit a fire in me during my college years and pacified me when I had to leave school after my sophomore year. Story nipped at my heels in my early twenties when my father asked me to help him pen a screenplay—Liar’s Moon—which was eventually made into a movie. Story made a playwright out of me in my middle years, when the arts academy where I taught needed performance materials. 

Story—specifically, Christian fiction—grabbed hold of my heart, twisting and turning, when I neared my empty nest years. At this time, I truly “felt the call” to publish my first novel. It took years to accomplish this feat, but God eventually opened a door. From that day until now, I’ve been blessed to publish over eighty books for the Christian market—mostly light-hearted romances, loaded with humorous elements. I’m probably best known for my quirky Weddings by Bella series, but I’ve also been given the opportunity to write more intense stories like Queen of the Waves a drama set aboard the Titanic. Though I’m a comedian at heart, I enjoy writing the serious stuff too, because it challenges me as a writer and offers me the opportunity to further develop my skills. 

No matter what I write—comedy, drama, devotions, plays or skits—I will remain a storyteller at heart. Writing for the Christian market is perfect for me, because I have the opportunity to incorporate the greatest story ever told into each of my tales. And hasn’t story always been the tool that God has used to touch the hearts of His people? Consider. . .The Prodigal Son. The Lost Coin. The 99 Sheep. All stories, told by the Master Storyteller, intended to teach, to nudge, to uplift, and to provoke. I pray that my stories will compel people to search out the Ultimate Author and to read His bestseller. (Talk about a great book!) 

These days, as I look back on the stories I’ve published, the plays I’ve written, the articles I’ve penned, I see them all as a whole—part of a bigger story. My story. My legacy. Something I leave behind, not just for my children and grandchildren, but my readers, as well. I hope they see a little of my story in every novel, in every character, in every setting. Beyond that, however, I pray they see the very real story of a God who loves them so much that He was willing to split heaven wide open to send the ultimate hero into this world to rescue, redeem and revive. 

So, what comes next for me? I’m focusing on several books for Barbour Publishing and Dayspring, and I’m hyper-focused on my baking blog and this website, as well.   

So, what about you? What’s your story? I pray it’s one filled with joy, peace, and blessing. . .and lots of laughter. 

Connect with Janice:

Facebook: Janice Hanna Thompson

Twitter: booksbyjanice

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