Q&A: Janice Hanna Thompson (The Dream Dress)
YOU'VE WRITTEN A LOT OF BOOKS ABOUT WEDDINGS. WHAT IS IT ABOUT A WEDDING THAT YOU LOVE SO MUCH?
I’ve always loved weddings, from the time I first played the role of flower girl at age ten. Back in 2004 my oldest daughter got married in a lovely Valentine’s ceremony. Four and a half months later, my second-oldest daughter got married in a beautiful summer ceremony. Three years later, daughter number three followed suit, opting for a tropical, Hawaiian-themed wedding. Daughter number four got married the following year, a gorgeous traditional wedding. When I think of weddings, I think of the joy on my daughters’ faces as they planned for their big days. I also think of the amount of work that goes into each ceremony. So much labor, and all for a twenty-minute service. Oy! Still, I’m a dreamer. . .one who loves the idea that real happily ever afters do happen in this life. What better place than a wedding to dream of the possibilities for that?
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR MAIN CHARACTER, GABI, IN THE DREAM DRESS?
I had such fun crafting Gabi. She’s a “closet wedding dress designer” (meaning, she works for a famous dress designer and doesn’t want him to find out that she designs wedding dresses, too). Gabi is a creative soul who stays up through the night working on her creations. She likens herself to Cinderella, in that she works for others during the day but enjoys her creative space at night. Gabi watches as others around her seem to live ideal lives while she struggles to find her way. In the end, though, she gets her happily-ever-after, both with her career and her love life!
WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE NECESSARY TO MAKE A WONDERFUL ROMANCE NOVEL?
A great romance must start off with characters the reader will relate to. People often ask why my characters are so flawed/insecure. Many of the females in my stories are birthed out of real life experiences, so how could they be anything but? If you start with an imperfect duo, you give yourself ample opportunity to make things better for them. Of course, a great romance has to have the usual things: romantic tension, lots of near misses, (will they end up together…or won’t they?) and (of course) that inevitable kiss. What sets my romances apart from many others is the addition of wacky sub-characters, usually family members who add lots of chaos and drama to the romance. What fun! When you add nonsensical family members to a blossoming romance, you’re sure to end up with hilarity.
IF YOU WEREN'T A NOVELIST, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
I would bake cakes and cookies! I already do this as a side business. In the same way that my stories are usually themed, so are my baking projects. I recently did a Hello Kitty cake and cookies. I also did a Mickey Mouse cake (for a one-year-old), along with cookies for the birthday boy and his guests. I love baking. I find it very therapeutic.
ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON ANY NEW NOVELS?
Yes! I’m so excited to be writing a Bella spin-off novel (yet untitled). In this fun story Bella opens a wedding facility in Splendora, Texas. Readers who’ve followed Bella’s story for any length of time are already familiar with Splendora, a very real [town] down in Texas, just north of Houston by an hour or so. When I’m done with this book I start a brand new three-book series for Revell about a pro basketball player who takes over his mother’s bridal shop.