National Bestselling Author Janice M. Allen is living proof that it’s never too late to grow and blossom. She was a sought-after developmental, content and line editor before she uncovered her gift for writing in 2014, when she was a co-contributor to Baring It All: The Ins and Outs of Publishing, a self-help manual for writers.
Her foray into fiction began with her first novel, No Right Way to do a Wrong Thing. It became an AALBC two-time Bestseller. She followed that with the short story Cayenne.
She collaborated with eight other authors to co-write a romance novel called Kings of the Castle, published in November 2019. Her novel King of Lawndale is one of eight stand-alone novels released in that series.
In June 2021, Janice released her first Christian inspirational book titled Growth: God’s Extraordinary Lessons from Ordinary Occurrences.
Janice and her husband Pastor Sammie Allen reside in Ridgecrest, California.
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?
JANICE: Thank you, Jimmetta, for this opportunity. So, my story might be different from other authors. A lot of authors knew at an early age that writing is something they loved doing. They are the ones who say they’ve spent their entire lives writing every chance they got. But that’s not how my writing journey came about. I have always been an avid reader, but writing books was not on my radar–that is, until I met a special friend who saw in me a gift I didn’t even know I had. Her pen name is Naleighna Kai. She is a phenomenal author, and she taught me to edit her manuscripts. The more I edited, the more she detected in me a hidden talent for writing. She then mentored me as a budding author. And the rest, as they say, is history.
What I love most about being an author is the elation I feel when someone tells me that my writing has entertained, educated, and/or edified them. The thing that frustrates me most about writing is the actual process of drafting a manuscript. I tend to be pretty analytical, so I sometimes struggle to loose the creative part of me. But when my creativity flows, I’m always very pleased with the end result.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
JANICE: Yes. My latest offering is a Christian inspirational book called Growth: God’s Extraordinary Lessons from Ordinary Occurrences. In it, I relate many instances where I found myself in an uncomfortable/undesirable situation, but God used it to bring about incredible growth in me. I wrote it to encourage anyone who is ready to throw in the towel because of life’s difficulties. Things that seem like obstacles can turn out to be springboards that propel us into our destiny. Growth is one of 9 books in a series known as The Merry Hearts Inspirational Series.
I also write women’s fiction. My first novel was No Right Way to do a Wrong Thing. Next was a short story called Cayenne. I then wrote a novel called King of Lawndale, which is part of the King of the Castles series.
I also collaborated with several other authors to write a self-help book for aspiring authors. It’s called Baring it All: The Ins and Outs of Publishing.
All my books are available online (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Nook, Apple Books). You can find out more about me and my books on my website (https://www.janicemallen.com). Find links to all my online profiles on SociaTap (https://sociatap.com/janiceallen).
3) What projects are you currently working on?
JANICE: I am writing my second Christian inspirational book.
4) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
JANICE: The fact that I have written and self-published several books is a huge accomplishment in my eyes. If someone had told me years ago that I would do that, I would have said, “Who? Me?” (lol)
5) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?
JANICE: That’s a tough one. Sometimes the rejection can be constructive. Like if you get a review and it makes you see where you could have done something differently in your book. But other times, you have to let the criticism roll off you. For instance, I got some really rude and critical comments about my Christian inspirational book from a group of atheists. I was really torn up at first. But then, it occurred to me–this book wasn’t written for them. It wasn’t even marketed toward them. Not sure why they felt they had to attack my belief, but I was able to come to grips with the fact that this sort of thing will happen.
6) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
JANICE: I might be unconventional because I don’t have a set schedule for when I write. I have found by experience that setting a specific time to write or a specific target to write ‘x’ amount of words per day doesn’t work for me. I have learned to honor my process by writing when the creativity is flowing, and not trying to force that flow or dictate when it will happen.
I create a story flow (a detailed outline of sorts) as the story is unfolding, but I don’t outline the novel before writing it.
My first novel took five years to finish, but I finished King of Lawndale in a matter of months. (Go figure)
7) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
JANICE: No, it’s never too late. If that were the case, I would never have written anything. Whether you are young or old, if you can write to touch people’s hearts and imaginations, you should pursue it.
8) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry as it is being represented today? Do you lean more towards traditional publishing or self-publishing as a preference? Does being a hybrid author interest you?
JANICE: I lean toward self-publishing. I’m not cut out for the constant deadlines from traditional publishers. In self-publishing, I write, publish, and market on my on schedule.
9) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
JANICE: I think my authenticity comes through by the fact that I’m not afraid to bare myself and my experiences (the good, bad and the ugly) if doing so will help someone else overcome and succeed in life.