Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Guest Blogger Janice (Hanna) Thompson on Writing for Heartsong Presents

One of the things I love most about writing for Heartsong Presents is that I get to “travel” to real places across the United States in my stories. I particularly love writing about places I’ve actually been to. Several years ago my family took a trip to New Jersey. My sister lives in the Philadelphia area, so we flew into Philly, stayed at her place, then drove over to Jersey. Talk about a beautiful drive! We did all of the “usual” touristy things – went to the boardwalk, had saltwater taffy, went to Ellis Island, saw the Statue of Liberty – you name it, we did it!

I was particularly intrigued by Atlantic City and loved the boardwalk area. I’m a candy fanatic, so I started thinking about how much fun it would be to write a story about a family in the candy business. That’s how the first book in my New Jersey series was born. This fun, quirky trio of books covers the lives of three sisters in “the candy biz” – Taffie (the oldest), Candy (the middle child) and Tangie (named after the flavor of the month when she was born).

SALT WATER TAFFIE, which released through the Heartsong Presents bookclub a few months ago, is the oldest sister’s story. Taffie meets the love of her life when a taffy machine breaks down and the hero sweeps in to fix it. He’s not the only thing that sweeps in! An incoming storm wreaks havoc, as well! The story is sweeter than candy, (pun intended), filled with ups and downs!

COTTON CANDY CLOUDS (the second book in the series, which releases this month) is my tribute to my sister-in-law, Stacey, a female pilot. For some time I’ve wanted to write a story about women in the industry, but I needed some help, so I called on Stacey. She helped me with the ins and outs of the story, particularly all of the things related to what took place in the cockpit. (And listen, folks. . .we might think we know a lot about flying, but try writing a book on the subject! I quickly learned that my knowledge was completely limited to what took place in the back of the plane, not the front!)

This fun-loving story is set in Newark, NJ. Middle sister Candy Carini is a female pilot for a regional airline and faces a tough road when the men at the company give her a hard time. The hero in the story, (Darren Furst), is a pilot, as well.

I had such a great time writing this story, and I know Stacey (who’s a born romantic) loved it too! Of course, I dedicated the book to her! She saved my neck on all of those flight terms. And she even knew which “types” of planes to suggest for some of the scenes. (Thank goodness!)

Be on the lookout for the third and final story in the trio, SWEET HARMONY. This is my favorite of the three! The youngest Carini sister (Tangie) is an aspiring Broadway star who ends up in the tiny township of Harmony, NJ, working at a church as a children’s drama director. Chaos ensues when she has to merge forces with the straight-laced music director to put on an Easter production with the kids. I’m a drama director, myself, so you can imagine how much fun I had writing this story! Of course, love wins out in the end. (Ah, love! The stuff romance novels are made of!)

Before I sign off, I want to answer a question some have asked: “Why are you writing under a new name?” All of my Heartsongs are now written under the name of Janice Hanna. My father passed away a couple of years ago and using my maiden name is a tribute to him. It’s a way to keep that name alive.

Thanks for letting me share. I love writing for Heartsong Presents and always look forward to letters from my readers. Have a blessed day, everyone!


CatMom said...

Thanks for this post, Janice. Your books sound great! :) And I love what you shared about your name....such a sweet tribute to your Dad.
Blessings, Patti Jo

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Thanks for posting, Janice. I have Salt Water Taffie in my to-be-read pile. I love reading novels that have food, sweets, or cooking involved!

Carrie Turansky said...

HI Janice, as a resident of New Jersey, I am so glad you are the one writing about our state! Many people make fun of NJ, but it is a beautiful state, and a great place to live. We love our ministry and friends here. Your stories sound wonderful. I will look forward to reading them!

Vickie McDonough said...


Your new books sound like fun reads. I've never been to New Jersey-not yet, anyway--so I'll just have to read about it in your books.

Erica Vetsch said...

Janice, your sweet spirit comes through in your books (okay, pun intended.)

I look forward to reading these books.

Mary Connealy said...

Janice, great interview. I am now most unfortunately starving and that is all your FAULT