Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Janis Thomas tries "Something New", plus a giveaway

Introduction and interview by Tracey Meyers

**Giveaway is now closed**

Over the past couple of years, I've made it a priority to try new things. I promised myself to keep an open mind and only dismiss trying something if I ever had a truly strong adverse reaction to the idea from the get-go.  I kept reminding myself, "Everything is a new adventure and at the very least I would have a good story to tell."

After researching Janis Thomas for this interview, I would surely love to hear some of the stories she has to tell; not only of the new things she's tried, but about things she's done in the past.  Not only has Janis written two women's fiction books - Something New (reviewed here) and Sweet Nothings (which is scheduled to be published in July, 2013) - she has also acted in several plays, played in a band with her sister, bartended (something I've always wanted to learn how to do), and written over fifty songs and two children's books (one of which was co-authored by her father).  In addition to writing, this UCLA graduate also has PTA duties to fulfill and channels her inner Ace of Cakes to create inventive desserts.

Janis currently resides in Orange County with her husband, two children and dog Rudy.  Additionally, she is fortunate enough to have her parents, siblings and treasured loved ones nearby.

So today we welcome Janis to CLC, and look forward to all the new things she has to share with us!

You can find Janis on Facebook and Twitter, as well as her website and blog!

Thanks to Penguin Group, we have a copy of Something New to give away to one of our US readers.

Is there a character from one of your books that embodies your personality traits? If so, which one and which traits? If not, would you ever consider creating a character that possessed your personality traits? 
Although my books are fiction, there are always a few of my personality traits that sneak in—whether I mean them to or not! I am a wife and mom, as are my two main characters, and I think there are universal feelings, thoughts, and secret desires that all moms share. Ellen, in SOMETHING NEW, is much like me in that her kids come first. Her love/hate relationship with her cell phone mirrors my own; although my husband just got me a smart phone and I have to admit (begrudgingly) that I’ve sort of fallen in love with it. Ruby, from SWEET NOTHINGS, is a baker by profession. I bake constantly, though only for love, not for money. Ruby is also compulsively organized, which I am not. In fact, if she ever walked into my house, she’d likely have heart failure!

You've acted and played in a band, why did you choose to pursue a writing career instead of pursuing the other two art forms?
I have always enjoyed performing on stage, and singing in a band with my sister was a thrill. But writing was my first love. I have boxes of story beginnings dating back to when I was eight years old! Even when I was on tour with Forbidden Broadway, or playing out in clubs in NYC, I always had a story in the works, and my clipboard and pen were never far from my grasp. I still sing around the house all the time—to the point that my kids cover their ears and beg me to stop! And my sister and I perform at the elementary school, which is fun. But I am a writer first and foremost.

What do you feel is the biggest reason people shy away from pursuing a career in writing?
Writing is not an easy pursuit. It’s funny, because often, when people ask me what I do and I tell them I’m a writer, their reaction is, “Wow! How fun!” And it is! But it’s also very hard work. There are days when you have the urge to throw your computer out the window, or tear out all of your hair because you cannot seem to type a single word. Writing takes discipline and perseverance. A well-crafted story doesn’t just happen. A book takes months, even years, to write. And then months and years to rewrite. And even when you have an amazing product, something you’re sure will be a best-seller, there is no guarantee it will ever hit the presses. It can be very frustrating. But if your dream is to be an author, you should pursue it with everything you have…and keep writing!

The heading of your website is "Chick Lit Grows Up". What does that heading mean to you?
I began reading Chick Lit a couple of years ago, and fell in love with the genre. I voraciously tore through Emily Giffin, Sophie Kinsella, Helen Fielding, to name a few. But a part of me wanted to read about women in my particular phase of life—the “after” the happily ever after. That’s what inspired me to write SOMETHING NEW. Because for 30- and 40-something wives and mothers, the story doesn’t end when we find Mr. Right. In fact, another amazing, complex, and emotional journey is just beginning for us.

In the section of your website titled, "Fun Stuff" you state you're trying something new everyday until the publication of Something New arrives. Of all the new things you tried, which did you find the most enjoyable? Were you surprised that you enjoyed this thing so much? 
Well, now, I haven’t tasted anything quite like Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter in my entire life! But I have to say that seeing a picture of my book on an actual bookshelf in an actual bookstore was overwhelming. I realized that a lifelong dream had come true. I sat in the car with my husband, showing him the picture (on the smartphone he got me, of course) and just cried with joy. Of course, I was also quite proud of myself that I was able to wear six inch heels all day long without breaking my neck!

What is the most interesting dessert you've ever created? 
Wow, that is a tough question! I’ve made a lot of desserts in my time. My Eggnog Mousse Cheesecake, which I make every Christmas, is quite popular with friends and family. It’s a very labor-intensive dessert, but it comes out light and airy and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I make individual Lemon Flans with tart lemon sauce that pretty much rock! And there’s my old standby, a Cookies and Cream Cookie Pie which was a Blue Ribbon winner at my neighborhood 4th of July Picnic. (Must be heated with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top!)

What is the most interesting thing you learned from your bartending days? 
 I was fortunate enough to be trained by one of the best mixologists on the East Coast, so I can make a variety of drinks, from scratch. This bartender called it “building a drink.” No premade mixes, only fresh squeezed EVERYTHING! I spent every Friday morning squeezing cases of lemons, limes and grapefruit until the skin on my hands burned and blistered from the acid. But the resulting margaritas would ruin you for life! I also learned that everyone has a story, and a bartender gets to hear each and every one, and the amount of details you gleaned was directly related to how much alcohol the teller of the tale had consumed. Oh, yes, I also learned patience. (I think it would be great if every student of psychology spent a semester behind the bar. Much better than the textbooks!)

My greatest guilty pleasure of all time is: 
I’d like to say lounging on a white-sand beach in the Caribbean, with a pina colada in one hand, a Godiva truffle in the other, and Hugh Jackman applying suntan lotion to my fair skin. But, since I have young children, my greatest guilty pleasure at this point in my life would be to sit on the couch for a whole day and do nothing but clear my TiVo. The Godiva truffle and pina colada are optional!

How to win Something New:
Please comment below with your e-mail address. (Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)  

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: What is something new you recently tried?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)

5. Follow us on Twitter and/or Pinterest.
6. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

US only. Giveaway ends December 3rd at midnight EST.  


Marthalynn said...

I think it's so cute that she and her sister sing at the elementary school. So sweet!

I recently tried knitting - still not very good, but I'm determined to get better!

I'm a follower.

marthalynn16 at gmail

Elizabeth Seckman said...

You define the job of writing perfectly. Wonderful interview.

Nina said...

Eggnog mousse cheesecake! Now that's something new that I'm going to try! Can that count as my answer?! Hahaha. Also, appreciated her advice on writing--it IS hard work, which I am discovering. But her advice to pursue it if it's your dream may be what I needed to hear today!
I follow on twitter

Kristen said...

Something new... I recently tried cooking a turkey by myself for the first time!

I follow on FB and email!


Kritters Ramblings said...

I am stumped, I don't know if I have recently tried much of anything. I just tried organizing my books in a different way and still working on the system!
i am a fan on facebook
i follow via gfc

DD said...

Yes! What I want more of is after the happily-ever-after. I'm in the middle of my happily ever after and want to read more about it. This is what I've been waiting for. Can't wait to read it! I've recently tried to REALLY lose weight. Not just wish it, but actually go and work out and watch what I eat. So far so good!

dawndennis66611 at yahoo dot com

Jessica said...

1. I tried pumpkin cupcakes and I liked them!
2. I follow this blog through GFC.
3. I posted this on twitter.
4. I'm a member of Chick Lit Central on facebook.
5. I follow through twitter and pinterest. twitter username= xxpaperhearts

-Jessica M

Nova said...

I made pina colada cupcakes from scratch!
I follow the blog through GFC.
I follow the blog by email.
I follow CLC on facebook.
I follow CLC on pinterest.

bn100 said...

I recently tried on new clothes.

I follow the blog.


Unknown said...,com

I tried a new pizza with my daughters.

I am a follower.

I really want to read this book.

EFC Chrissy said...

I haven't tried anything new lately...unless you count having a new baby girl! (I have 2 boys, so this is - and will be - very new!)

I follow the blog, twitter, facebook. You ladies rock!

Maureen said...

I tried a new recipe tonight.
I follow on GFC
I tweeted
I follow on twitter
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Linda Kish said...

About the only thing I have tried recently is eating hospital food...boy is it terrible.

I am a GFC follower

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Bonnie K. said...

I'm always willing to try something new. I've been working hard on eating more healthy. Something new to try would be soaking chia seeds and drinking it.

bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

I follow your blog.

Shared on facebook.

I'm a member of Chick Lit Central.

I follow on twitter. @grobiemum

Unknown said...

Hmmmmm...that's a tough one. I'm kind of set in my ways, so I don't try new things often. I'm also a very picky eater, but I recently tried quinoa. I really liked it, I had it with brown rice.

I follow the blog
I'm a member of CLC on Facebook
I follow on twitter

Anonymous said...

My ex-husband and I had always manged to stay friendly after our divorce, but I always wanted to get back together with him, and he was never sure. So, I thought it was about time I MADE him sure! All it took was to write you on your email: and a request for a specific love spell, and Dr. Antogai powers began to work. My spell is working because guess what: My “ex” is soon to be my husband again! This is nothing short of a miracle. Thank you, Antogai. Words are not enough.

Erica said...

I invited someone to Thanksgiving who had no where to go. Wasn't someone I even knew well. That's a first for me.

I follow the blog, FB, twitter, GFC and email.

wordywon at gmail dot com

Mrs Mommy Booknerd said...

I just recently began teaching cycling, which is totally new for me. I follow the blog and on Facebook!

mrsmommybooknerdsbookreviews at gmail dot com

susieqlaw said...

What an awesome interview! Janis sounds so fun!

Something new: eating more organic foods, local foods, and eating out less. So far, so good!

sendsusanmail AT gmail DOTCOM

I follow the CLC blog, Facebook, and twitter and tweet at susieqlaw to tweet this CLC giveaway!

Jeryl M. said...

I recently tried chicken teriyaki.

I am a subscriber.

I am a Facebook follower.

I follow you on Twitter.

I follow you on Pinterest.

Anny said...