Interview with Author Janis Cox
Janis Cox is a creativity catalyst and spiritual mentor who writes, paints and podcasts the Word of God. Founder of a Facebook group Growing Through God’s Word, she would love to help you go deeper into your relationship with God. Connect with Janis at her website or on Medium. Even though Janis has many pages on Facebook, her profile is where she posts the most. Please tell her where you found her name and she will answer friend requests. Connect with Janis on Facebook, Twitter, and her Facebook group, Growing Through God’s Word.
Growing through God’s Word, a compilation of devotionals on how reading God’s Word can help us grow, first aired on Hope Stream Radio.
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Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
I graduated from university in 1970 with a BA in English. Then I trained to be an elementary teacher. During teaching I wrote proposals and had many opportunities to edit the children’s writing along with teaching English.
The desire to write came in 2000 when I made my commitment to Jesus. All of a sudden, I started to journal and wrote 150 poems. That led me to my first Christian writers’ conference, Write! Canada and from that I published my first article in The Upper Room.
What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?
The last book is not fiction. It turned out to be 20 devotionals about how God talks to us.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
Looking back to my two children’s books, my characters are definitely from my imagination.
What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books?
I guess learning about turtles, their habits and types was the most interesting. Researching background of Bible verses as I was studying His Word each day is part of my life.
Where do you go to do your research?
I used my study Bible first, then online looking for commentaries. I also ask my minister if I get stumped. Of course, I ask God about everything and He answers the questions.
How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write? How long does it take you to write a book?
Oh, my that’s different with each book. My first Bible study came about after meeting the author for Battle for the Soul of Canada and being captivated by what He wrote. Inspired and enthused I sat down and wrote a Bible study, with the scriptures and questions just came to me without effort.
Time: That varies. The last book took two months. The first couple a year. And the first Bible study, as I said, languished in my files for years.
Are you currently working on any new book projects?
Yes, I am almost ready to publish a Bible study/colouring book based on Psalm 119:1-8. I worked with another artist for the colouring pages.
And also, I am also working on writing the second in the series for Growing through God’s Word.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book? Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?
My first advice is to write. Start with a journal. Even doing what is suggested in The Artist’s Way, to write morning pages (writing for 15 minutes – about 3 pages) can stir your imagination and spirit.
What is your favorite work of literary fiction and why? Do you have a favorite literary author?
I love Lynn Austin’s books, especially her books that are historical fiction which is my favourite.
Who is your favorite contemporary author? Are you currently reading any contemporary novels?
Mostly I read the Bible and non-fiction on Christianity.
What’s your writing schedule like? When do you find time to write?
I write whenever I get time. Today I have been on a virtual writers’ retreat which taught me to use my time wisely. And be productive.
I also run a publication called Koinoina on Medium and am an artist, so I have to find the right time to do what God wants me to do.
How did you find your publisher? What was your journey to publication like?
My first publisher was a vanity publisher and cost a lot of money. They did a fabulous job but it is not possible to make money when the cost to print is so high. The next one was a little bit less but still expensive. Those books were children’s books and that’s expensive to print when you pay someone else.
Now I am going to do my own books on Amazon. I am learning through being a part of the Christian Book Academy. It not only takes time and the learning curve is steep, but it will be worth it.
How have your friends and family received your career as an author? Are they supportive?
Good question. My husband supports me but calls it a hobby and so did the government since I didn’t make money for five years. But that’s using all the expenses. So, during that time I learned so much that now maybe I can make some money.
What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you? - POV issues; using too much passive voice and not enough active voice; trouble creating active and engaging dialogue; using too many similar words in starting sentences; or something else?
My challenge is time, making myself sit down and write. Just like doing this interview. Lol
I use “really” too much. And “had”. And using the passive voice. I love Grammarly as it helps me figure out silly errors.
A special thank you to Janis Cox for doing this interview today for Mustard Seed Sentinel. We truly appreciate her time.
Feel free to comment with any questions for Janis.