Interview with Janis Cox and Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and you responded with some fantastic questions that make these interviews something special!  Last year, I opened Readers Write to Know to mainly romance authors.  This year, I’m focusing on Christian authors of all genres.

This week, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Janis Cox.  Janis is the author and illustrator of the children’s book Tadeo Turtle. Tadeo Turtle is a little turtle who longs to be different. Through an exciting adventure he learns to accept how God has made him. The book children’s references and activities, and Janis has also written a curriculum to go along with it!

Janis is giving away a copy of Tadeo Turtle to one of my readers! So, be sure to enter the giveaway!

Welcome, Janis.  Thank you for being a guest on my blog today.

JanisCox-photo2webTell us a little bit about yourself.

 I am almost a “senior”. I have been married for over 42 years to a sweet, loving man. We have three married children and six grandchildren. We spend our spring, summer and fall in Ontario, Canada. Then we migrate with the snowbirds to Arizona for the winter.

Although I spent most of my life involved in a church community my relationship to Jesus didn’t happen until 2001. From then on my life has never been the same. I read more, write more and live more with my focus on Jesus.

This year I will travel on my fifth mission trip to Poland to teach English at a Family Camp with International Messengers.

I belong to The Word Guild, Inscribe Writers Fellowship and American Christian Writers. I love to attend conferences both for the writing experience and the inspirational experience with fellow Christians.

Tell us about your current release.

Tadeo Turtle is a story about a turtle who longs to be different. Through an exciting adventure he learns to accept how God has made him. The story, geared to children aged 2-7, is written in rhyme. I also illustrated the story with watercolours. In the back are further resources about turtles and craft ideas. You can hear me read the story at Tadeo Live.

Tadeo won an award for the Best Children’s Book for 2013, given out by The Word Awards, sponsored by The Word Guild in Canada.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush?

My first crush was Dr. Kildaire on television. I loved watching that show and listening to him sing “Love Me Tender”. I had many dreams about marrying him. (Richard Chamberlain) And so when the movie The Thorn Birds came out I was first in line. I had read the book too.

Studded Tadeo Turtles made by Janis inspired by her book

Studded Tadeo Turtles made by Janis inspired by her book

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write?

I loved writing in high school and university. I had the most fun and the best marks writing research projects. I typed on a manual typewriter, had my Dad edit and then I retyped the manuscript. During my teaching career I wrote a bedtime story for my grade ones each Friday as a take home. This helped them learn to read. Most of these were in rhyme.

When I became a follower of Jesus, I wrote over 150 poems through my study of the Bible. It became my way of digesting what God taught me. These poems led me to my first Write! Canada Conference in 2004. I started to blog in 2008, writing whatever God put on my heart.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher?

 Getting an illustrated picture book published by a traditional publisher from an unknown author is next to impossible. I approached a few agents and publishers and got the same advice – self publish. Also as an artist I couldn’t see my book illustrated by anyone but me. (I know that sounds conceited but when I could picture the characters in my book it would have been hard to accept someone else’s idea.)

What made you take the plunge and finally do it?

 This is an interesting story. I had the words to my book and the pictures finished. I had made up a mockup of the book. I decided to have Shutterfly print the book so I could take it to my Write! Canada Conference and show it around. I ordered 10 copies. They were very expensive. They didn’t arrive by the time of the conference.

Tadeo-Cover-final-for-web Rather than be discouraged, I prayed that God would show me if He wanted this book published. I went to the conference with the mockup Tadeo Turtle, and an order page and lots of prayer. I priced the books at $22.50 (including shipping). I said to God, “if you want me to publish this little book, please have me get 5 orders by the end of the conference”.

By checkout time, I had sold three and given one away. Not discouraged I said okay, maybe I will do it anyway. At the checkout the woman who cashed me out said, “I would like a copy”. That made four. And at the same moment, another person said, “I would like one too”. And that made the five copies.

Now I would like to say I ran home and said, “I am going to publish Tadeo Turtle”. No – Instead I hummed and hawed, prayed, talked to my husband for over a week. Finally I just felt compelled to publish it and I made the phone call.

Have you always wanted to write a book?

No – Actually writing, publishing and marketing a book was the furthest thing from my mind. I enjoyed blogging and writing an occasional article for a magazine. I did not envision me as an author of a book. But now I have 2 additional children’s books written and a devotional in the works.

What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.)

I write on paper most of the time. Every morning I pray, read the Bible and devotionals and write what I feel God is telling me. Most of my blog posts come from this quiet time with Him.

Occasionally I will type something up on the computer such as the answers to these questions. When I write my Five Minute Friday post on my blog I type directly into the blog post. I wrote the last post about the word “write”.

Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? (Book series, maybe?)

 As a child I loved to read Nancy Drew, and Trixie Belden. In my teen years when I didn’t know Jesus I read books that I would not suggest to a teenager today. I don’t like violence, or murder mysteries. I loved the Narnia series and The Secret Garden but didn’t read these until I taught school. Now I love Christian historical fiction.

 Do you remember where you were or what you were doing when you started this story?

 Yes I remember exactly where and what I was doing. I was sitting in my reading chair and writing into my journal one morning in Arizona. All of a sudden I started to write a poem. “Tadeo Turtle loved to laugh and play, until he met Sam Squirrel one day.” And I continued to write the whole poem. At the end I asked God, “What is this all about?” I read the poem to my husband and my daughters and my grandchildren. Everyone liked it. Some day I will print out the original poem exactly how it came out. Editing changed some of the lines but the bulk of it stayed the same.

Thank you for the opportunity to be a guest on your blog. Blessings, Janis

blog: UnderTheCoverofPrayer
website and
shared blog:Family and Faith Matters
Facebook Page: AuthorJanisCox
Facebook Page: Tadeo Turtle
Twitter: @AuthorJanisCox
Pinterest: AuthorJanisCox
Google+: JanCox

I’m so happy you could join me today and meet Janis Cox.  Janis is giving away a copy of Tadeo Turtle!  You can enter with the Rafflecopter below! The giveaway will end on Thursday, February 13, 2014, at 5PM EST.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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    • Pam Hargraves on February 12, 2014 at 09:59
    • Reply

    Loved this interview!!! My favorite book was The Secret Garden or The Password to Larkspur Lane or any Perry Mason Mystery I could go on and on I was a voracious reader as I was growing up and I still am!

    1. Pam,
      Oh I remember The Password to Larkspur Lane. I also read Perry Mason. There was another book like Tracy Belden but can’t recall the name.
      Thanks for dropping by,

    • Phronsie on February 12, 2014 at 10:17
    • Reply

    I love Harold and the Purple Crayon books! I think my favorite (when I was a kid) is a book called Beanie. It’s really hard to find now though. Sad! 🙁

    1. What a beautifully illustrated book. Janis, I am so glad you decided to publish!

    2. I had some children’s books that were favourites. Deggie and the Fairy Princess and The Chipmunk book.
      Thanks for dropping by.
      Janis Cox recently posted…How Can Going on a Mission Trip Change You?My Profile

  1. This was a great interview. Thank you Hallee and Janis. I’d love to win a copy of this adorable book. My favorite children’s book was The Little Engine that Could. Thanks again ladies.

    1. Rose,
      I loved that and still read it to my grandchildren.
      Thanks for your comments.
      Janis Cox recently posted…How Can Going on a Mission Trip Change You?My Profile

    • Elizabeth Dent on February 12, 2014 at 21:54
    • Reply

    Love your interview . I would love to win your book or the turtles . When I was a kid I lime to read. Nancy Drew books .

    1. Elizabeth,
      I am sorry but I don’t give away the stuffed turtles. I only sell them at craft fairs with the book. Maybe I should go into stuffed Tadeo Turtle design. Nope – no time. lol:)
      Maybe we should read Nancy Drew again and see how she drew in our little eyes.
      Janis Cox recently posted…How Can Going on a Mission Trip Change You?My Profile

  2. Positively love the name Tadeo Turtle. (love turtles!) If I win, I will share w/my grandsons (of whom I NEVER thought I would have grandchildren). My youngest grandson just turned two and he’s the light of our eyes. The other two (9 and 10, adopted) are precious to our hearts too. Thanks for sharing and enjoyed reading the interview. 🙂

  3. Carole,
    I think God was showing me love for all His creatures when He gave me this story. Strange – I had never even thought of them since I was little. We used to have little turtles as pets.
    Hope you consider purchasing Tadeo if you don’t win. I know your youngest grandchild will love him. My grandson is almost two and he has had Tadeo read to him a lot. He now can anticipate the rhyme and loves hunting for Tadeo’s shell.
    Blessings to you,
    Janis Cox recently posted…How Can Going on a Mission Trip Change You?My Profile

  4. Great interview. I’ve read Tadeo Turtle and it’s a fantastic book for children of all ages. Jan’s artwork is beautiful.
    I’ve always been a huge Dr. Seuss fan. “Are you my mother?” is a personal favourite!

    1. Thanks Kimberley,
      Appreciate the kind words.
      yes I am a Dr. Seuss fan too – I can repeat many lines by memory. That is why rhyme is so good for children.
      Janis Cox recently posted…How Can Going on a Mission Trip Change You?My Profile

  5. Loved the interview. Thank you to both of you. There are so many delightful stories for children it’s hard to choose any one. But like Kimberley, Are You My Mother? is one of my favourites for little people. Growing up In England I was exposed to books from across the pond, like the Enid Blyton’s stories.

    1. Oh Mary,
      I remember those stories too. Since I taught school and had three of my own children I read many books. I now have 6 grandchildren and am reading many more books.
      Janis Cox recently posted…How Can Going on a Mission Trip Change You?My Profile

    • CarolM on February 13, 2014 at 21:17
    • Reply

    Hi Janis,
    Your book looks lovely! I loved the old Nancy Drew books as a kid, too. And Trixie. Kim Aldrich, too. Absolutely inhaled them! The first Nancy Drew book, “The Secret of the Old Clock” was my favourite, but it had to be the original 25-chapter version, not the shortened 20-chapter “yellow spine” version that came out in the 60’s & 70’s.

  6. Carol,
    Oh I do remember the Secret of the Old Clock. Funny hadn’t thought of that for a long time. I had some old copies too.
    Thanks for the comment.
    Janis Cox recently posted…How Can Going on a Mission Trip Change You?My Profile

  7. So delighted to find out more about the author! My favourite children’s book was Alice in Wonderland…Brenda J Wood

    1. Brenda,
      Interesting how interviews tell us more about who we are, isn’t it.
      Great to have you drop by.
      Janis Cox recently posted…Do You Want a Chance to Win Tadeo Turtle?My Profile

  8. Great interview, Janis. Enjoyed getting to know you a bit better, and hearing about your writing and spiritual journeys. Would love to win a copy of your book!

    1. Thanks Susan,
      I would love you to win a copy of Tadeo Turtle too.
      Thanks for dropping by.
      Janis Cox recently posted…Five-Minute Fridays – GardenMy Profile

    • JenniferB on February 16, 2014 at 15:21
    • Reply

    My favorite would be God gave us Love-such a cute story with a great message about God’s love.

    1. Jennifer,
      Thanks for commenting.
      Many blessings,
      Janis Cox recently posted…Watchful Wednesdays – Who is Kimberley Payne?My Profile

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