Welcome author Janie Franz to Flavours of Sage!
The business ones
Please give us a short introduction about yourself: I tired of telling other people’s stories as a freelance journalist so I began to write my own. My first book was picked up in 2009 by a publisher. I found my current publisher in 2010, becoming a house author, and produced eight titles with them. I moved my first three titles to them when my contracts ran out so now all of my books are under one roof. I relocated to Santa Fe, finally settling down to write my twelfth novel…. I’ve also been a radio announcer, a booking agent/publicist for a jamband, taught yoga and relaxation techniques, and taught art and world dance to children.
What genre(s) do you write in and why? I write fantasy, thrillers, paranormal horror, and archaeology thrillers.
Tell us about your favourite book. I’m quite fond of Verses, the first book of The Lost Song Trilogy (and book four in the Bowdancer series). The trilogy follows Jan-nell, the heroine of the Bowdancer series. Eleven summers after Jan-nell the bowdancer left her daughter Mira-nell with the sisterhood of hunters on the mountain and came to live with Khrin to raise their son, Bearin, she is called by the sisterhood to find their origins. The first clue is a bit of song Jan-nell learns at the deathbed of the oldest woman in the sisterhood’s village. Jan-nell and her companions seek the origins of the mysterious women on the mountain through the verses of that song. Master hunter Bekar and master trackfinder Chandro accompany Jan-nell and Bearin on a quest for the lost song that takes them from their local inn out across the landscape of their world as they meet bee spinners and kings and risk their lives to achieve their goal.
Do you need a special setting to write in or do you have a ceremony to get you in the mood? What does it look like? Actually, I write wherever I can put my feet up. In my tiny little casita in Santa Fe, I normally write sitting on my bed because I can put my feet up. I do have a banquette where I have my meals but I find sitting with my feet on the floor isn’t good for my circulation. My feet fall asleep. (I’m not a youngster anymore.)
Describe your feelings when you learnt that your first book was accepted for publication. This was something I’d dreamed about as an eight-year-old little girl when I first started scribbling bits and pieces of stories. I had some stories printed in my junior high and high school anthologies, but that wasn’t true publishing. While in high school, however, I had two poems and an essay printed in three different publications for which I was paid a total of maybe $20. It took me almost four decades to get paid again for anything I’d written, including all of the non-profit newsletters I did. That was when I started my writing business and did editing, copywriting, and ghostwriting. Quickly, I began to write cover and feature articles for regional, national, and international newspapers and magazines (print and online). But having my first tittle (a novelette) published was the realization of a lifelong dream. I was thrilled but a little awkward when I was suddenly the focus of someone else doing the interviewing.
Has the release of your first book changed anything in your personal life? If so, what? I think it has in some way. It was part of a series of changes that happened around the same time. Also, the writing of those books was great therapy for me. Warrior Women, the third book in my Bowdancer series, changed my life. It showed me that I had been ignoring a significant part of who I was. I eventually came out---at a very, very late age.
Where do you find inspiration? Everywhere. There is the saying that writers put people they know into their books, heavily disguised. That’s probably true. But I must confess my inspiration for the Bowdancer series came from a meditation. I was on the floor, letting whatever come, and Jan-nell, the Bowdancer, came fully drawn. I knew her motivation and why she was hurting. I quickly wrote down a paragraph. It sat for several years before she came to life.
Who is your favourite character and why? I’ve always been fond of Bekar, the master hunter, in my Bowdancer series. But I also love a lot of the other characters in those books: all of the sisterhood, the beespiners, the muscular dark sword dancers, the desert beastmaster, and Khrin, the bard. But I also adore the crazy characters in my contemporary novel about the music business, Sugar Magnolia: the Reverend, Mama, the bassman enamored with an antique espresso machine, and old blues man Bull Weaver. What fun to write them!
A favourite line from one of your books. From Verses, “You are not dead inside,” Bekar said. “And that is a good thing.”
Your favourite drink and food when writing. Water. I don’t eat when I write. I get into a zone and nothing breaks that until I sort of come up for air.
The nosy ones
How much of the real “you” is in your stories? I think my values are very present in my main characters. They are all strong women and I think I am one, too.
Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character? Who was it? Oh my gosh, yes! I’ve had a huge crush on Bekar, the Master Hunter, who first appeared in Warrior Women and then in The Lost Song Trilogy. She became very real to me during the writing of those books and that lingered for a year or two after they were published. Today, I look on her fondly, rather like an old flame of my youth. I’m much too old to entertain thoughts of her today.
Who is your least favourite of the characters you’ve written? Why? Bastin, the love interest in the first book of the Bowdancer series. He was important to the series.
The steamiest scene from your books. I think it was actually from Sugar Magnolia, my contemporary novel about the music industry, a m/f lovescene.
Favourite comfort food? Homemade mac and cheese—often with green chilli.
If you could ask any person in the world one question of your choice, who would it be and what would you ask them? I already did. When I was a freelance journalist, I interviewed Mickey Hart and I asked him about the spirituality of the drum. It was a marvellous exchange. The interview netted three articles for three different publications: one was about his appearance at a festival; one was about the new album with world musicians; and the other was the one about spirituality.
The fast ones
Favourite colour? Yellow
Favourite pet? Cat but I can’t have pets where I live now.
Coffee or tea? Coffee for breakfast. Tea for relaxing
Quickie or candles? Oh, give me the whole package and make it last.
Hunky or chunky? I like a study butch woman.
Suit & tie or jeans & boots? Both, depending on the occasion.
Walk in the park or chat over cocktails? Both, depending on the butch.
Janie Franz comes from a long line of Southern liars and storytellers. She told other people’s stories as a freelance journalist for many years. With Texas wedding DJ, Bill Cox, she co-wrote The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book and The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book, and then self-published a writing manual, Freelance Writing: It’s a Business, Stupid! She also published an online music publication, was an agent/publicist for a groove/funk band, a radio announcer, and a yoga/relaxation instructor.
Currently, she is writing her tweveth novel and a self-help book, Starting Over: Becoming a Woman of Power.
Author website / blog: