About Janet DeLee:
I am a self-appointed, self-actualization guinea pig who firmly believes in leaps of faith and is committed to creating an ideal life for myself. I am also a Texan who lives in the Dallas area, and I was inspired to write ghost stories after experiencing unsettling events during stays at several bed-and-breakfasts, as well as an old New Orleans hotel. In addition to having a hint of mystery, my novels also tend to follow characters struggling to pursue their dreams. It is my goal as a writer to encourage readers with dormant dreams to pull them off the shelf and go after them at last. Taking Leaps and Finding Ghosts is the first in a series where the main character, Ginny Lawther, organizes a six month Ideal Life Club where she will pursue her dreams with the support of other like-minded dreamers. Why six months? Because Ginny is a procrastinator who knows that if she doesn’t set a deadline for pursuing her current dream it will never happen. Four people show up at the first club meeting, and the journey begins with twists, turns, and surprises along the way.
What inspires you to write?
I’m inspired to write ghost mysteries because I’ve had some weird experiences in bed and breakfasts and in a hotel in New Orleans that gave the shivers. I thought it would be fun to write ghost mysteries with clues and red herrings that readers could grapple with to figure out what is up with the ghost and solve the mystery of their shenanigans. There is a certain amount of humor in the situations the characters find themselves in and the ghosts add to the fun.
Also, because I’m something of a late blooming baby boomer, I’ve decided to devote the rest of my life to taking leaps of faith and carve out the sort of life I call ideal. That ideal life requires chasing all sorts of dreams that have been on the back burner a long time. I figure there are other folks out there that may be hanging back on dreams, and I hope my new series encourages them to move forward.
Tell us about your writing process.
My left brain prefers to write an outline on a laptop, but my right brain finds this too confining and wants lots of room to spread out. The right brain doesn’t want to be confined to an outline or linear order, but the left brain shudders at the thought of no structure and doing things out of order. The compromise they worked out is this: both sides collaborate on an outline with the right brain writing one sentence scenes, recording each on a single post-it note. The left brain then sticks the notes on a big empty wall, organizing them into a logical, sequential flow of chapters until an outline is created.
When it’s time to flesh out the scenes in each chapter the laptop will be used if the left brain agrees to let the right brain write the scenes in whatever order it feels like on a given day. The left brain then takes the copy and lines it up into the proper chapters. The right brain is happy to use the laptop once the editing begins, but the left brain keeps a sharp lookout to ensure that if any spontaneous material shows up it continues to forward the story.
This method allows both sides of my brain to do what they do best and work together in harmony.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Sometimes I have to put myself in the scene to make the dialogue flow naturally. I like my characters and I’m especially fond of my new fellow, Lee Blanton, because he has an interesting history he has been trying to put behind him, but which is haunting him. That’s a play on words because his history is that he is psychic, but doesn’t want any part of it. Regardless of how he feels about it, ghosts keep getting in his face and they cause all sorts of interesting difficulties.
In addition, he came off a bad divorce and it left him cynical about women and determined to be done with romance. As a reasonably attractive man, rugged, and a decent enough human being, his stance is an irresistible challenge to women, and it’s fun putting him in situations where he is faced with that.
I will have a group of characters that will continue to appear in each book of the series, and I’m looking forward to the day when I can put them in a situation and know them so well that all I have to do is record how they react. They will write their own reactions. In the meantime, I’m having fun getting to know them better and already have a lot of fun with them.
What advice would you give other writers?
Two “P” words had to be learned and accepted. Perseverance was one, and patience was another. Ugh. I want to move along and get things done, but the creative process is slower than normal human time. Editing takes gargantuan amounts of patience because it takes gargantuan amounts of time. Some writers like the conception stage and dread editing. I’m just the opposite. Once I get the outline and first draft done the pressure is off, and the refining process of editing is something I enjoy, but every now and then I have to step away from it for a few days or a week. There is this circumstance where I think I am reading what I intended, but if I take a break from editing a few days and come back later, suddenly I see errors I did not intend. All of these events have taught me patience and perseverance.
Another thing I learned as a result of being a writer is trust. I learned to trust my brain to make the story happen. And I found out that if I reach a kink in the plot I need to take a break and trust that it will be solved. The subconscious will work it out and send a solution to my awareness eventually, often sooner than I think possible. I can’t tell you how many times I woke up just long enough to turn over in bed at night and suddenly the very answer I needed popped into my mind.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Because it took me so long to screw up the courage to take a leap of faith and write full-time I knew if I faced a lot of rejection from publishers early on I might not be able to push on. Also, I liked the idea of owning the rights to my books, writing what I wanted when I wanted, and being my own boss. It’s my goal to be a best-selling, self-published author and join the growing ranks of other self-published authors who are achieving worldwide success. Other new authors may have more confidence in themselves to go the traditional route and my hat is off to them, but this idea that indie authors are somehow “less” baffles me. Robert Redford does his best to promote indie film makers at the Sundance Film Festival and it’s now one of the largest in the country. Why should indie writers be treated with any less respect? Self-publishing is not only fostering a creative explosion, it’s creating a huge job market of related support industries, such as book editing, promotion, etc., and these services are becoming more affordable as time goes by, which is sorely needed. Now that publishing is more accessible talented writers can get out into the world much faster. Book bloggers and readers who welcome self-published authors are the first to discover exciting new stories and writers. This is all to the good, and I think it is a tidal wave of progress that will not be stopped. How does it serve humanity to limit creativity?
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think self-publishing is the wave of the future, and is opening up new opportunities not only for writers, but also for the services that support them, as in editing, marketing, etc. With the technology now available that make it so affordable, many publishers are now offering self-publishing and trawling self-published authors for potential contracts.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Women’s contemporary fiction, ghost mystery, inspirational fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
Link To Janet DeLee Page On Amazon
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.