5 Questions: Janice Hanna
prolific Janice Thompson, who also publishes as Janice Hanna, writes novels,
non-fiction books, magazine articles and musical comedies for the stage. Her
fiction ranges from romantic comedies to YA fiction to mysteries. Her latest
books include the comedy Hello, Hollywood! (Revell Books), the historical
romance Love Finds You in Groom, Texas (Summerside Press) and the freshly
reprinted romantic whodunit The Wedding Caper (Spyglass Lane Mysteries).
Spyglass Lane Mysteries all have elements of romance, faith, and suspense—which
facet was hardest for you to write? Which was the easiest?
Writing mystery/suspense elements has always been the toughest. I’m a romance
writer, by trade, (and a comedic one at that), so coming up with a romantic
thread was no big deal. As for the faith elements. . .they were the easiest
thing to add, by far. Annie Peterson’s faith-walk mimics my own, so I
incorporated many of the things God has shown me in my own life—the good, the
bad and the ugly.
Q: As a
whodunit writer who is a Christian, in what ways did your faith impact how you
write a murder mystery?
faith is the most important thing in my life. It, like a great mystery,
requires a bit of unraveling. Just about the time I think I’ve got this
faith-walk figured out, another “clue” pops up, usually one that causes me to
re-analyze how and why I’m living my life. All of this spills over into my
books, of course. I work methodically—in many ways, like a sleuth—to make sure
everything is in balance.
us about your amateur sleuth.
Peterson is a 50-something, scatterbrained, menopausal mother of the bride(s).
At the opening of the story both of her grown daughters have received marriage
proposals and two weddings are underway. Not exactly the prime time to solve a
mystery, but that’s exactly what happens when $25,000 turns up missing from the
local bank where Annie’s husband works. She dives in, ready to save the day.
Annie’s heart is in the right place, but her sleuthing antennae rarely is, at
least at first!
you base your characters on people you know or are they totally made up?
my novels are completely fictionalized, but I must say there’s a lot of Annie
in me. (Or would that be, “There’s a lot of me in Annie”?) I’ve never solved
any mysteries—unless you count the time I had to figure out which of my two dachshunds
ate a jar of Vaseline. I have, however, had to deal with multiple weddings at
once. My two oldest daughters both got engaged at the same time. (Did I mention
that I have four daughters who all got married within four years of each other?
Talk about great fodder for wedding-themed mysteries!)
are the authors that inspire you as an author?
I love so
many! I’m nuts about Linda Nichols. Her book At the Scent of Water still inspires me. I’m also crazy about Nancy
Jo Jenkins, who wrote one of the best historicals of all time: Coldwater Revival. As for light-hearted
comedic authors, I love Lisa Wingate, Kristin Billerbeck, Robin Jones Gunn,
Kathleen Y’Barbo and many, many more.