R. Janet Walraven
Rainbow of Promise: A World War II Romance
Connect for Classroom Success: A Mentoring Guide for Teachers K-12
What inspired your most recent book?
My parents' love story during World War II.
What was the hardest scene or character to write in your most recent book?
The uncharacteristic and devastating secret.
Do you remember the moment (or person who inspired it) in your life that you knew you were going to be a writer?
Reading the works of Wallace Stegner.
Tell us your favourite character you’ve created.
Sadina. Beautiful, independent, intelligent, optimistic.
What was the first thing you learnt as an indie author that has never failed you?
Be true to your characters, fiction or non-fiction.
How has your life or work experience influenced your work?
I've lived all over the USA; I taught school K-12 for 35 years. I love writing.
Do you use a lot of personal experience in your books, or do you try to write objectively?
My two books are directly from personal experience. I have a few short stories that are totally objective.
Have you ever written a story from a dream?
My teacher stories woke me up at 3am—students and situations remembered.
Did you ever consider a pseudonym?
I have a pseudonym but haven't used it yet. Maybe later when publishing my dark poetry.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Not secrets, but foreshadowing in case I write a prequel or sequel to the romance novel.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I absolutely read all reviews and thank the person who wrote them. I've never had less than a 5-star review.
Do you try more to be original or pander to readers’ wants?
I write from my heart. I want to use my authentic voice.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Each book is entirely different. However, I may decide later to do a historical prequel and sequel.
Does your family support your career as a writer?
Most are verbally supportive but it's like pulling teeth to get some of them to post a review.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I found out how difficult the editing process is. A writer never finishes editing.
How many hours a day do you write?
Three or four hours when I find my voice for that particular book. I like a block of time to really focus.
If you have a day job or family commitment, how do you work writing into it?
Teaching consumed me, even on weekends. After I retired, I gave myself permission to write as much as I wanted.
What did you edit out of your most recent book?
The real reason for the secret.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Stopping myself from second-guessing my ability to write well.
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Allowing others to intrude on my writing world.
Who are your favourite indie authors?
Ann Boelter, Sarah H. Baker, Gregory Gudgion.
Do you ever think it’s ethical to reply to your book reviews?
Only when I want to say "thank you."
Do you have a favourite literary magazine or website that’s excellent for indie authors?
Do you always give books not your own a chance right up until the end, or are you quick to DNF?
I'll give each a go at least one-third of the way. If the book is not well-written or well-edited, I put it away.
Do you think writer’s block exists?
Never, not for me.
Have you ever done a literary pilgrimage or travelled far specifically for a book/author event?
I gave up meeting with an agent because I wanted to hear a panel discussion with Rudolfo Anaya, N. Scott Momaday, and Tony Hillerman. It was the thrill of a lifetime to meet them.
What is the most unethical practice in the publishing/distribution industry?
Amazon not paying enough in royalties and making it difficult to know what the author really earns. Amazon was willing to publish 150 copies of my book through Ingram so they could meet a deadline, but they wouldn't do the same for me. Amazon ended up making more of the profit that way.
What’s been your best experience navigating through indie authoring?
Working with my writing partner and finding a very reasonably-priced formatter and cover designer.
What’s been your worst experience navigating through indie authoring?
Marketing. It takes way too much time away from writing.
What is your favourite character of another author?
Nena, the protagonist of Ann Boelter's Viking Treasure Huntress Series.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Ann Boelter, Sarah H. Baker, Gregory Gudgion. All have freely given time and advice.
Do you have a hidden talent?
I'm an empath. People have always told me I'm too sensitive, but I consider it a positive characteristic. Burdensome, but necessary.
If your book was turned into a musical, who would you ask to write the music and lyrics?
Herman Hupfeld, writer of "As Time Goes By".
Do you have an embarrassing or amusing weakness?
Dry sense of humour that few enjoy.
If you could live as any character in fiction, who would it be and why?
Rebecca. I'd be a stronger, fiercer, more conniving female character.
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