Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! I’m so happy to have Janet W. Ferguson as my guest! I thoroughly enjoyed her interview – especially the story of how she began writing. What an incredible inspiration! I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did. Read on to see how you can enter to win her latest release.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Janet W. Ferguson is a Christy Award finalist and the FHL Readers Choice Award winning author of realistic inspirational fiction. An avid reader, she loved books so much she found a job as a librarian so she could be around them all day. Then she turned that love of story into writing faith-filled novels with characters who feel like best friends. You’ll laugh and cry as the quirky heroes and heroines chase their happily ever after.
Janet and her husband live in Mississippi where they say y’all a lot, and she forces him to visit the beach as often as possible. They have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a cat that allows them to share the space.
Tell us about your current release: People can’t be trusted.
Animals always made more sense than humans did to marine biologist Skye Youngblood. After her mother’s suicide, she left Alabama and never looked back. These days, she pours her heart into protecting nature’s sea creatures. When she returns to Dauphin Island, Alabama, for a temporary manatee migration study, her dark past is much too close. She can’t let her guard down. But how can she keep her heart hidden when a kind man with a genuine smile makes her want a fresh start?
Charter fishing pays the bills for widower Pete Thompson and his little girl, but like his father, a pastor, Pete can’t help but fish for men. Only, after growing up under constant scrutiny as a preacher’s kid, Pete’s ways are a bit more unconventional. And the bulk of his life revolves around raising his precious daughter.
When he witnesses the car wreck of a new marine biologist on the island, it doesn’t take a genius to see that more than just her physical pain needs tending. Pete feels called to help Skye find true healing, but he’s navigating dangerous waters. And he’s not at all sure he’ll walk away unscathed.
Grab your copy of Healing Skye…a Southern Contemporary Christian Romance Novel from the Coastal Hearts Collection
If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Yes, I always told myself that when I wrote my first novel Leaving Oxford that if one reader was encouraged and brought closer to the Lord, it would be worth it all.
Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? I don’t feel that pressure because the only reason I ever started writing was to reach people for Jesus. Writing is a hard and fickle journey, and I don’t think I’d spend so much time working on it if it weren’t’ a ministry for me.
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? Twenty-six years ago, a car ran a red light and crashed into the vehicle I was a passenger in. At the time, I was pregnant with my daughter. Time seemed to move in slow motion as I watched the car coming toward us.
On impact, we spun around and landed an inch away from a telephone pole in the yard of a fire station. I left in an ambulance, due to neck pain, but my fear was for my unborn child. She’s grown and perfectly fine, but what I didn’t know would stay with me, other than some aggravating neck problems, after that wreck….was anxiety.
I began feeling tremendous anxiety in vehicles. And eventually, I began having panic attacks on the interstate while driving, which was odd because my wreck wasn’t on an interstate. The wreck triggered something in my brain that had to do with the fight or flight mode—an acute stress response.
I’m an open person. I am what I am. This is it. I share about my problems. I joke with my friends about the fact that if we’re going somewhere requiring us to drive on the interstate, we can take my car, but I’m not going to be the driver. Because I’ve been candid about my anxiety issue, over the years, I’ve met a lot of people who confided that they too had panic attacks, or some suffered from depression, bipolar, or another brain disorder.
I also learned something else that made my heart ache. Not only did these people suffer from a disorder that, in and of itself, was miserable, they also endured shame because of it. They experienced embarrassment because they felt no one would understand–that people would think, like I used to, they should ‘just get over it.’ People like me before I had suffered my own first panic attack.
I wanted to write a story that showed no matter what the weakness or problem or disorder, we are all still useful to our families, our churches, and our communities. We can be a part of doing good things in God’s kingdom, even while we are still suffering. Sometimes, we just have to accept ourselves and look outside of that issue. Look outside and see how we can be a good friend, a good family member, a listening ear, a volunteer—do a job that we can do. And know that God loves us.
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I’ve tried to plot, but typically, I end up veering off my plan. I’m pretty much a seat of the pants writer. I have a good idea of my character’s deep wounds of the past, what they think they want, and a general happily ever after. The middle is often a surprise for me, ha!
What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.) Definitely computer! I have a little arthritis in my fingers, plus handwriting was always my worst subject. I could tell you more about that over my lifetime, but it’s embarrassing. I can barely read my own writing.
What is the farthest location you traveled to in order to research a book? Ireland! So much fun!!
How old were you when you wrote your first book? 49 years old. It’s never too late!
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Find Janet online:
Janet is giving away an eBook copy of the novel about Skye’s sister, Star Rising! Here’s how you can enter to win:
Thank you!! I hope you enjoy!
I do love your answer about why you write and how it has not changed. I was someone who did not understand mental illnesses even though I was getting my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I made some stupid and insensitive remarks to someone who was dealing with depression because I attributed it to sin. I am so grateful for God and my loved one forgiveness and grace. It has been 20 yrs but it is a lesson that have stayed with me.
It’s a hard disease to understand. I’ve made my share is misspeaks. Thanks for the encouragement
marine biologist sounds like a fun profession to read about