Saturday, October 06, 2012

Queen of the Waves

Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you an interview I did with my dear friend and accomplish author, Janice Thompson. Along with being a gifted writer, Janice is also an award winning author of nearly 80 books.   

Before we get started, please click on the picture below. Janice will tell you all about her latest book, Queen of the Waves. After that, she'll answer a few questions about her writing and so much more.

Let's set back and enjoy the journey...

Janice, you are one of the first two authors to release a book in the American Tapestries series. How did you become involved in the project?

My agent asked me to put together a story idea focused on the Titanic. I’m usually a comedic writer, (and he happened to catch me on my way home from the theater, where I direct musicals), so I quipped: “Only if I can throw in a song and dance number involving an iceberg!” He laughed and responded with, “No, we have to play this one straight.” At first I wasn’t sure if I could come up with a serious plotline, but 24-hours later I had the story idea and the first chapter. My editors at Summerside (Rachel Meisel and Susan Downs) read the idea and loved it. When they saw me at the ACFW conference I got the news: “We’re going to publish your novel!” I was especially thrilled to hear that my book would be among the first to release in the new line. What a privilege!

Writing historically accurate novels take a lot of research. How much time and effort went into researching for this book?

Oh my goodness! Talk about a lot of work. Not only did I spend months researching Titanic’s story (reading every available book and watching every conceivable documentary), I also drove from Houston to Branson Missouri to the Titanic museum. Talk about an eye-opener! The exhibit covers everything you could imagine, and includes all sorts of artifacts from the ship. When you write about an event such as this, particularly one that has been so well documented in movies and books, you need to get your facts right. Even the “little” things (like, how long did it take to load everyone onto the ship) can bog the writer down. Dozens and dozens of times I would stop writing just to look something up. And don’t even get me started on the clothing and hats! I created a board on Pinterest to study 1910 fashion!

Talk about your reenactment of the night the ship went down.

Our QUEEN OF THE WAVES journey coincided with the actual dates that the ship set sail. I knew that we would eventually have to “sink” our proverbial ship. So, on the night of the 100th anniversary, we all met in the group at a designated time and (literally) reenacted the entire event. It took a couple of hours to accomplish (with lots of weeping and wailing, as you might imagine) but we got the deed done. The various “characters” (many of whom were named for real-life passengers) re-lived the event in real time. I will tell you that I was completely worn out (emotionally and otherwise) when the night ended. I don’t recall every feeling so drained! (It takes a lot out of a person to drown that many people!)

Is there a spiritual thread through the story/a message that you hope readers come away with?

Absolutely. Several of my characters (primarily Tessa) face their own destiny. They come to grips with the brevity (and value) of life. They see first-hand what’s truly important and what isn’t.  In my story, Tessa learns that her picture of God has been skewed (since childhood). She discovers a relationship with Him while onboard the ship, but that relationship is tested the night the ship goes down.

What’s next for you, Janice? Will you be writing another release in the American Tapestries line? Where will you be taking readers next time?

I’m currently writing historicals for the “Belles and Whistles” line (for Summerside). The first book (Wedding Belles) just released. The second (Sleigh Belles) will release in a couple of months. These stories are more light-hearted in nature and deal with comedic women from the West.
We often think of the opulence of the Titanic and how some of the world’s richest people were aboard the ship. There were also very poor passengers as well, hoping to start a new life in America. Do you know how much it would cost for a ticket?

Cost of a ticket (one way)
First Class (parlor suite) $4,350 ($83,200 today)
First Class (berth) $150 ($2975 today)
Second Class $60 ($1200 today)
Third Class $40 ($298 to $793 today)

Where can readers buy Queen of the Waves?
The book is available through amazon, and
Thank you, Janice, for sharing your time with us today. Hope you can come and visit us again!!! 
Love ya,
PS: Friends and family, please go out and pick up one (or more) of Janice Thompson's books. I know you'll enjoy them as much as I do.