This week, I’m delighted to invite Janet Sketchley back to talk about writing and her debut novel Heaven’s Prey. Janet is a member of Inscribe who worked with me on FellowScript for years. We live on opposite coasts of Canada, but perhaps someday we’ll make it to a writer’s conference together and get a chance to meet in person! Today, I’m excited to talk with Janet about her Redemption’s Edge Novel series.
TKM: I’ve heard you talk for years about working on a novel. Would you share with us how long it took you to write Heaven’s Prey and why it was a long process?
Janet: I hope this number doesn’t discourage anyone who’s just starting their writing journey, but it was almost 20 years from my earliest notes until the book released. That’s not 20 years of full-time writing. I wrote in spare moments with two toddlers, and took a year off with a new baby. Then there were several rewrites for me to fix my beginner’s mistakes, and I set it aside while writing another novel. I kept coming back to it, and I’m happy to have finally found a publisher who believed in the story enough to guide me through even more revisions.
TKM: The antagonist Harry Silver is a racing legend. Are you a race car fan or did you have to do a lot of research to write his character?
Janet: I took Harry as an excuse to indulge my curiosity about car racing. This was around the time that Canadian Jacques Villeneuve debuted in Formula 1, and I wanted to see how he’d do. It’s amazing how much research I picked up by osmosis. Harry only raced in North America, so I did need to learn specifics about stock car and Indy-style racing.
TKM: Can you give us a taste of the next Redemption’s Edge novel?
Janet: Secrets and Lies releases this fall. Heaven’s Prey mentions Harry’s sister, Carol, and this is her story. What would it be like to live with the public shame of having a dangerous offender for a brother? What if his enemies, who can’t get at him easily, decided to target Carol and her son? And what if this single mom had to handle all this in her own strength, because she was afraid to pray for help?
TKM: Do you have a daily writing schedule or do you write when inspired?
Janet: Part of why Heaven’s Prey took so long is that I only wrote when inspired and when I had extra time. I’m excited to have a contract for two more Redemption’s Edge novels, but that means I don’t have the luxury of waiting for inspiration. I’m finding it difficult to organize a schedule that lets me write and keep up with homemaking (and with life in general!) but daily writing and daily marketing and networking have to happen. Little chunks will add up
Janet: My favourite parts were those rare moments when an entire scene or conversation would unfold in my imagination, and I’d be writing as fast as I could to get it down. And I loved the racing scenes. They were good, clean fun. Least favourite: that would be Harry’s violent scenes. I had to write them a bit at a time, and not too close to bedtime.
TKM: What advice would you give to other writers working on a novel? 🙂
Janet: Again, little chunks will add up. [smile] Persevere, keep learning, and develop connections with other writers. I think novels are like children, in the sense that we’ll likely “birth” one at a time, but we can go on to produce a large “family.” As novelists, our careers will build from one story to the next.
TKM: When you aren’t writing, what might we find you doing?
Janet: Not enough housework, despite my best intentions! I read a lot, cross-stitch and knit when I can, watch Doctor Who, drink tea… Lately my husband, one son and I have been watching the complete Babylon 5 series. Oh, and I confess that after years of avoidance I’m a happy member of a gym. I’ve discovered I like to run and to do Goodlife’s BodyPump classes. And I love music, especially Christian and Billy Joel. How’s that for a combination?
Thanks so much for reviewing Heaven’s Prey and for inviting me back to your blog to chat. I don’t know how you keep up with all you do, but I’m looking forward to reading your novel about Charlotte Small when it’s ready.
Check out my reviews of all three Redemption’s Edge novels: