In the early 1990s, the writing bug hit Jan hard. She quickly finished the first novel she’d started in her twenties. It’s still in a drawer. She next turned to short stories and found she loved writing them. Over a period of a few years, she had three more novels written, plus a pile of short stories.
Some of the short stories began to appear in print magazines in the mid-to-late-90s. By this century, more appeared in both print and ezines, and now her list of published stories numbers over fifty. She’s been nominated for two Derringer Awards (for short mystery stories) and won several other awards for her short pieces.
In 2004, one of Jan’s novels, “Sara’s Search”, was published and is now available for the Kindle. Since then she’s had two more novels published, “Revelations” and “Organized to Death” with another, “Perfect Victim”, coming out in April, all in both print and ebook formats. Also, a small collection of some of her previously published short stories for the Kindle is available titled “Warning Signs”.
Jan has also had several non-fiction articles published and has a regular column about reading in Mysterical-e called Reading for Smarties. She blogs about writing on Fridays and personal organization and time management on Mondays to tie in with her new mystery series about a professional organizer.
And now from the author herself:
When people ask me what books influenced me the most, I have to list two books in particular, and one genre. The first book I remember my mother reading to me was Alice in Wonderland. The next book I can name that greatly influenced me was Cheaper by the Dozen. And the genre I enjoyed in my teens and into adulthood and still enjoy the most is the mystery genre.
Cheaper by the Dozen taught me about time management and goal setting. Although I don’t enjoy fantasy books very much as an adult, Alice in Wonderland taught me about humor and that books should be fun to read. (Cheaper by the Dozen was a fun book, too.) And many mystery writers write with humor.
Mix them all together, and except for the occasional segue into dark mysteries, most of my stores tend to be light and have at least a hint of humor. Frequently I have an ordinary person (like Alice) surrounded by extraordinary people and events. Another theme I seem to keep coming back to is female friendships. My first published novel, Sara’s Search, is based on one, and it runs through my third, Organized to Death. (My second, Revelations is one of those darker stories.) Back to a strong female friendship theme is my upcoming private eye novel, “Perfect Victim”.
Since I am fascinated by organization and time management (that Cheaper by the Dozen influence), I made Tina Shaw, the protagonist in Organized to Death, a professional organizer. Also in the planning stages is a second book with Tina and a non-fiction book about those two topics.
I do love to write short stories, and when you think about time management, a writer can get out a lot more of them in a short timeframe than she can novels. When I started writing and joined my first writer’s group, I decided to write a short story to submit every time we met—every two weeks. I experimented with all sorts of characters and plots, and I learned the habit of sitting down to write at a regular time and finishing what I started. It did spoil me, however, for sticking to one type of mystery story, and I’ve found it harder to market the novels because of that.
The most luck I had with a short story was one I first had published in “Hardluck Stories” ezine, later published in a western noir anthology edited by Ed Gorman, Dave Zeltserman, and Martin Greenberg titled, On Dangerous Ground, now out of print. In April “Going Where the Wind Blows” from that anthology will be available in ebook format from Untreed Reads Publishing. Untreed has also published my four short crime capers about a hapless burglar named Artie. He keeps running into beautiful women who need his help, and he’s helpless to turn them down. The wonderful thing about the stories being in ebook format is that they should be available for a very long time, maybe even forever.
When people ask me for advice about writing, I always say, “Write every day. Read every day.” It’s a wonderful life.
I couldn’t agree more. Thank you, Jan. You can find more about Jan and her writing via…
- Website: www.janchristensen.com
- Blog: www.janchristensen.com/blog
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jan.christensen.9275
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/JanSChristensen
- Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/463095.Jan_Christensen
- Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/janchristensena
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