Summer has always been one of my favorite seasons for reading--whether on vacation or just sitting inside with a great book. (When I was young, I spent my summers at the library checking out several books every week.) We're halfway through the summer and many people are looking forward to vacation or just sitting around the house and beating the heat by sitting inside reading a book. (Just as I still do!) That's why I'm always watching for new authors to read. My guest today in My Writing Corner, Janie Emaus, brings us a book that sounds as though it's perfect for summer reading.
Janie says she believes when the world is falling apart, we’re just one laugh away from putting it together again. She has always wanted to be a writer and gained inspiration and confidence from her biggest fan: her sister. She is the author of the blended holiday picture book, Latkes for Santa Claus, a 2022 International Book Awards finalist, and the forthcoming Matzo Balls & Easter Eggs, coming out in 2023. The Time Traveling Matchmaker is her first adult book. Her essays, stories and articles have been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, and websites. In 2016 she won an honorary mention in the Erma Bombeck Writing competition. But no award is more important than her family.
Tell us about your road to publication.
I’ve been writing all my life with the goal of someday having a book on a shelf in a bookstore.
That dream came true in 2020 when my debut picture book, LATKES FOR SANTA CLAUS, was published. That book took almost two decades to sell and then sold very quickly after a Pitmad event. And wouldn’t you know, my debut came out during a Pandemic! But I made the best of it.
After that I sold my debut adult novel, THE TIME TRAVELING MATCHMAKER to The Wild Rose Press, releasing July 25th and next year I have a follow-up blended holiday book, EASTER EGGS AND MATZO BALLS.
To quote The Beatles it’s been a “long and winding road.” Along the way, I’ve published articles and essays in various newspapers and online. I’ve had several agents, all which ended without any sales, but brought me one of my best friends.
But through all the “this story isn’t right for us” and “I didn’t love it enough” rejections, I kept on believing in myself and my stories. It’s all about perseverance.
How do you come up with your plots?
I write all the time while walking. In my head, of course. Ideas come from everywhere. Snippets on the news. Eavesdropping. My crazy, complicated life. I usually start with a character. Someone who starts talking to me, telling me about some event which just took place in their life. As I start writing, a story begins to take shape. But I have to admit, plots don’t always come easy for me. I have a great friend/critique partner and we brainstorm a lot.
When I get stuck, I’ll write a blog which directs my brain down a different path. This seems to clear out the clutter and I can get back to my novel.
What is your latest book and how did you come up with the idea to write it?
My latest book is THE TIME TRAVELING MATCHMAKER. I’ve always loved time travel stories. This book started off as a YA novel, then went through many transformations until landing in this final version.
The first nugget of the story came after reading about a girl who had disappeared. I began thinking what if she had been picked up by a time traveling matchmaker and was living happily ever after in another time.
I’m more of a Pantser than a Plotter. I know where the story is going, but not how it’s actually going to get there. My editor suggested the epilogue, but the book definitely leaves some threads open-ended for a sequel.
Let's get a blurb:
In The Time Traveling Matchmaker, love takes on a new meaning when soulmates are brought together through time and space.
Like every goal-oriented twenty-something, Jessica Singleton, an aspiring filmmaker, is obsessed with finding her future as quickly as possible. What she doesn't know is that the future is obsessed with finding her, too. Renn Porter, an agent with Time Traveling Matchmaker's Inc, blasts back in time - and into her life- in order to transport Jessica to the soulmate who has paid for this service...in the future. But things turn dangerous when it's revealed that Renn has been sent after his own soulmate.
Caught between two times, Jessica and Renn must struggle to stay alive. Falling in love is the biggest risk either of them has ever taken - because, as they are destined to learn, the very existence of Time Traveling Matchmakers, Inc. rests in Jessica's hands.
Tagline: A young screenwriter meets her soulmate, only to discover he is from the future and must return in order to save her life.
How about an excerpt?
Renn was coming toward me now and our eyes met. Fireworks went off inside my chest. He wasn’t avoiding me this time. This time I would learn the truth.
I raised my hand in a small wave.
“Watch out!” A bicyclist shouted as he sped down the sidewalk, completely out of control.
He clipped Renn’s shoulder, pushing him up against me. Renn’s coat got caught on the buckle of my purse. I heard a rip. No, more than that - I felt a rip down the center of my body, jagged like a piece of broken glass. Beneath my feet, the sidewalk tilted, and I lost my balance.
A strong a wind kept me from falling. Once steady, I turned to find Renn.
This all happened in a less than a second. And in that second Renn was gone. Vanished. Just like that. All that was left was his lemony scent. And the memory of his hand on my arm.
I didn’t see him in either direction. My head throbbed as if something heavy kept knocking into it.
A minute later a mother with her little girl walked past me. I knew before she stopped, that the little girl was going to bend down to tie her shoe. Time was going to repeat itself. Again.
She giggled, just like before. “Thanks, Mommy,” she said. “Tomorrow I can do it myself.”
I held on to the desire I had seen in Renn’s eyes, wondering about my tomorrow.
What is your next project?
I’m working on a humorous women’s fiction, as well as another picture book. If the Time Travel book does well, I’ll probably write a sequel. And I’m always writing articles and blogs.
What advice do you have for beginning writers ?
The best advice I have is to not ever give up. Believe in yourself. I’ve been a member of several critiques groups, all very beneficial. Make sure you join a group of like-minded writers. But always listen to yourself first.
And read alot. Not just in the genre you’re writing.
As I said, it took me twenty years to sell my debut book. Those years were filled with hundreds of rejections. I even followed advice which took me further from publication. There was a lot of heartache. But I never gave up.
The three most important aspects of getting published: Perseverance. Perseverance. Perseverance.
Thank you Janie for being my guest this week on My Writing Corner. Here are Janie’s buy links and social contact information to learn more about her writing.
Does anyone have any questions or comments for Janie?