Love Finds You in Groom, Texas by Janice Hanna Thompson
Let's chat with Novelist Janice Hanna Thompson, author of Love Finds You In Groom, Texas.(Summerside/ Guideposts, June 2011)
Janice Hanna (also published as Janice Thompson) has published more that 70 novels and non-fiction books. She has also published more than fifty magazine articles and several musical comedies for the stage. Janice makes her home in the Houston area near her children and grandchildren.
Please tell us three random things we might not know about you.
My dad was the president of the University of Houston Cougar Cagers Club, so my birthdays, holidays, etc. were spent at basketball games. Our family traveled to Mexico with the U of H Cougars to watch them compete, which was great fun. When I was eleven, I got to play (for fun, of course) with the Harlem Globetrotters, who came to Houston for a visit. To this day, I love a good basketball game.
I once lied to a fellow camper at church camp, telling her that my dad (Billy Hanna) was William Hanna of Hanna/Barbara (Flintstones) fame. That lie still haunts me, though, to his credit, my dad did eventually work as a movie producer on our co-authored movie, Liars Moon. (Yes, it's true. I got to meet and work with Matt Dillon. Eat your heart out, girls!)
I occasionally bake wedding cakes. In 2009 I baked a lovely four-tiered white cake with strawberry filling and cream cheese frosting that topples less than an hour before the wedding. I managed to piece together two very messy/ugly layers. Thankfully the bride did not murder me. It made for a great scene in a later book. (Nothing ever gets wasted, not even a mashed piece of cake.)
Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Love Finds You in Groom, TX.
Always the groomsman, never the groom..... It's 1914 and Jake O'Farrell has gained an unusual reputation among the locals: He's played the roles of groomsman and best man in all four of his older brothers' weddings, but he's never been able to find a woman to capture his heart. And now with the upcoming wedding of his best friend, Jake will become the last single man in the town of Groom.
Anne Denning has made the difficult decision to move with her sisters to Texas, but a train derailment forces them to seek shelter in Groom, near Amarillo. Mrs. O'Farrell, hopeful that Anne will catch her youngest son's eye, invites the girls to stay at her home until the train is repaired and ready to pull out. Anne has no idea of the blissful chaos that lies ahead!
Tell us something interesting about the town of Groom:
Groom boasts a nineteen story high cross. More than 100 welders worked together to erect it in 1995. This is why I toyed with the idea of writing a contemporary novel!! I wanted to include the cross. Because I went with historical, I decided to give the heroine a small cross necklace to wear, one that symbolizes her faith (and alludes to the "bigger" cross to come.)
Groom is a wedding-themed book. Why do you write so many stories with a strong wedding theme?
I have four grown daughters- Randi, Megan, Courtney Rae, and Courtney Elizabeth. Yes, I really have two daughters named Courtney. (Long Story!) All of my four girls got married within four years of each other. We're told to write what we know. I know weddings, trust me! I helped coordinate all four weddings and even worked as a wedding coordinator at my church for a season. I was also tickled to be the "Wedding Planner Examiner" for the city of Houston for a spell. What fun! You'll see me writing about weddings for years to come, so hang on for the ride!
What is it about your lead character that will make readers care about her?
Readers will care about Anne because she's been through so much and still chooses to move forward. They will also love her relationship with her younger sisters. She's the only remaining parental figure and takes that position very seriously.
Why will readers enjoy your novel?
In spite of the lead character's tough situation, the story is filled with comedic elements. Anne's two younger sisters are a hoot. So is Maggie (the hero's mother). She's an Irish spitfire! I think readers will appreciate the romance between Jake and Anne. It is filled with all sorts of sweet and comic moments.
Why do you write comedies with strong take-aways?
Comedy is a great outlet. We comedians can get away with a lot more than other authors who play it straight. Want the reader to walk away with a little nugget of truth? Couch it in something humorous. I've found that light-hearted writing not only suits my personality, its the perfect vehicle for sharing the gospel.
Tell us a little about your hero. Is he true hero material?
Jake is a hunka-hunka Texas man! He's a railroad man who loves his job, loves his family, and loves the heroine. He's got a great sense of humor, which is perfect for this story, because the heroine's little sisters are loaded with antics! Jake has a lot to deal with: he's the town's last single man, which has made him the brunt of many a joke. His older brothers (all married with children) taunt and tease . Jake can never catch a break. Unless he's with Anne, of course! Then he catches far more than a break... he catches the woman of his dreams!
What are readers saying about this book? Have you had any feedback so far?
So far the book has all five star reviews on Amazon.com (Which makes me smile, of course) Here's a review I found that got me really excited:
5.0 Out of 5 Stars: A Delightful Read
This delightful tale of romance which emerges out of tragic circumstances is set in a wonderful town called Groom in the panhandle of the great state of Texas. It is a story of tragedy, love, and God's divine hand of providence that enters a situation just at the right time and changes everything. Young Anne finds herself on a train heading to Dallas with her two younger sisters after the loss of their father. When fate intervenes, the train derails and their future is forever altered. And then there is Jake, the last available young man in Groom who finds himself to be the recipient of many jokes about his situation, especially from his brothers. Jake's mother, Maggie embodies everything wonderful that Anne remembers about her own mother before she died. Throw in a mixture of the antics of Aunt Bets and the perceived sternness of Uncle Bertrand, and you have a story of new revelations and delightful outcomes.
How absolutely wonderful, in this day and age when problems seem to loom on every side and people have lost faith and hope, to read this story that is all about faith and hope. It is refreshing to read a story set in an era when one's word meant something, when prayer was the first course of action, when faith ruled our very existence, when people looked out for one another, even during hard times. Perhaps after reading this book, your faith will be renewed as well. - Cherri Taylor
What are you working on now?
I just turned in Love Finds You In Daisy, Oklahoma, a fun historical about a single woman in her late 30's who moves from the Gulf Coast to the landlocked state of Oklahoma to become the director at an orphanage. It's a love story, of course! She falls in love with the town sheriff, who has adopted two of the unruliest boys from the orphanage. I'm currently writing Wedding Belles, the first book in the Belles and Whistles series for Summerside/Guideposts.
I know that you enjoy teaching. Can you tell us about your online courses?
Thanks for asking . I enjoy teaching almost as much as I enjoy writing! For many years I taught creative writing at a school of the arts. These days I teach through my online courses. They're audio/video driven, which is great fun. I get to go into a recording studio to record them! My courses are as follows:
- Becoming a Successful Freelance Author
- Fiction Writing Master Course
- Navigating the Business of Freelance Writing
- Magazine Article Writing Master Course
- Creative Writing
- U.N.I.Q.U.E. - Finding Your Unique place in the Writing Industry
- Non-Fiction Book Writing (coming in August, 20011)
I understand you have a new VIP bookclub. Can you tell us about that?
Yes, I'm so excited about this, too! I came up with this idea several months ago: Why not create a "club" where members can each get a new Janice Hanna/ Janice Thompson book as it releases for a set price of $11 with shipping included. Books are autographed and mailed out to club members before they ever hit the stores. I also encourage my VIP members to leave reviews, as they are able to, on amazon, christianbook.com, and http://www.barnesandnoble.com/. If people are interested in joining the club all they have to do is shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the words "VIP Bookclub" in the subject line and their address in the body of the email.
Where else can readers find you online?
I love to connect with my readers at the following places:
Love Finds You in Groom, Texas can be purchased at any number of online stores, as well as my website, http://www.janicehannathompson.com/ (front page). Readers can always join my VIP bookclub.
Thanks for spending time with me! I had a blast!!
Now for the Giveaway.... One signed copy of Love Finds You in Groom, Texas by Janice Hanna will be given to the winner. The winner will be selected based on the best answer to this question and announced on August 15th on this blog. Please include your email address in your post so that we can contact the winner.Comment to this post with your answer to this question:
Which character from a novel do you feel like you most resemble and why?Thank you, readers, for participating and Good Luck!