Posts by Janet

An Interview with Clarice James, author of Manhattan Grace

Posted by on Jun 8, 2018 in Blog, Books | 8 comments

 

Clarice James

Manhattan Grace is Clarice G James third novel. I’ve enjoyed them all, so I’m thrilled to welcome her back for another visit.

Your knowledge about sports impressed me in Double Header, and Party of One was one of the most entertaining stories I’ve ever read. Manhattan Grace is full of fascinating characters with such diverse backgrounds who connect with each other.

How did you come up with this story?

Years ago, when my friend’s young daughter, Shannon Grace, was asked to take a picture of her brother, she protested, “But I belong in front of the camera not behind it!” She was always dressing in costumes and taking selfies. When I was writing my first novel, Shannon asked, “Am I in it?” Inspired by her chutzpah, I created Gracie Camden, who first appeared as the hostess in Party of One. Throw in a Messianic mohel and an international jewel thief to round things out and voila!

Your theatrical knowledge is impressive. Do you have a background in theater?

No, I don’t have a background in theater, but I called on a few friends who do to supplement my extensive research.  

Manhattan Grace also enlightened me on aspects of Judaism I’d never known before. Do you have a background or experience that drew you to incorporate these practices into the story?

A few years back a missionary friend serving in the hills of Israel mentioned that the mohel (circumciser) serving their poor region only had one eye. That little tidbit fueled my imagination. Since my pastor identifies closely with the Jewish roots of Christianity, we’ve often had Messianic speakers at our church. Mix in a little research and sing a few songs from Fiddler on the Roof and you get Seymour! 

Your sense of humor always comes through. I can’t even develop questions about your books without laughing. Your contemporary stories incorporate quirky characters, interesting events, inspiration, a bit of romance, and some mystery. What aspect (humor, inspiration, romance, mystery) is your favorite to write?

Since I’m not a mushy or serious person in real life, I’m more comfortable writing quirky characters in funny situations—sometimes based on my real-life experiences. I enjoy writing authentic dialogue, too.

In your experience as a writer, you’ve shared in the past the importance of having a critique group. Do they write in the same genre as your stories? Since your husband is also an author, I’m curious, is he your first “editor” and if so, how does it work for you?

I had previously facilitated a large writers’ group. Eventually, six of us spun off into a group all working on novels. I am the only one who writes women’s contemporary fiction. The others write speculative fiction or fantasy. Ironically, I got my husband involved to help me critique their excerpts. He’s an integral part of our group now. Yes, we do submit our excerpts to each other first.

So, tell us, what you are working on now and when might it be available?

I’ve completed my fourth women’s contemporary novel. The working title is Reconciliation for Charlie. The storyline is much more serious than my previous books, but I may have to go back and add some humor. If all goes well, it will be out in 2019.

I’ve just begun my fifth, the working title is The Least of These. I have a vague idea where the story is going, but I expect it will take a few sharp turns before I’m finished.

How can readers find your books?

Readers can ask for my books at their local bookstores or find them online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

FEATURED BOOK: Manhattan Grace

AUTHOR: Clarice G. James

PUBLISHER: Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.

GENRE: Women’s Contemporary Fiction

MANHATTAN GRACE BOOK COVER BLURB:  When a door opens for Gracie Camden to leave Cape Cod and move to Manhattan as a nanny for a Juilliard drama instructor, she fully expects God to use her acting talent and launch her to stardom. She’s been there been six months. What’s taking him so long?

 

Manhattan Grace: https://www.amazon.com/Manhattan-Grace-Clarice-G-James/dp/1948888130/

Party of One: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946638137

Double Header: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018A9G40W/ref=cm_sw_su_dp

 

What are your social media sites?

Clarice G. James Website: https://claricejames.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clarice.g.james

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ClariceGJames

Email: cjames@claricejames.com

 

A GIVEAWAY for a Continental US commenter: The choice of one print copy of any of Clarice’s three books.  A winner will be chosen on June 12, 2018.  You’ll be glad you entered.

 

AUTHOR BIO: Clarice G. James writes smart, fun, relatable contemporary women’s fiction from a Christian perspective. Manhattan Grace (Elk Lake Publishing, Inc., 2018) is her most recent novel. Her previous novels include Party of One (Elk Lake Publishing, Inc., 2017) and Double Header (Mountainview Books, 2015). Clarice grew up on Cape Cod, but she and her husband David now live in southern New Hampshire. Together, they have five married children and ten grandchildren. When Clarice isn’t writing, she’s reading, encouraging fellow writers, participating in ladies Bible studies, or involved in a home decorating project.

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Cover Reveal for A Heart For Freedom

Posted by on May 18, 2018 in Blog, Books, History | 4 comments

It is always such fun for an author to see the cover of their newest book. So I am sharing it with you. A Heart For Freedom is scheduled to release on October 1, 2018.

 

A Heart For Freedom is a stand-alone book, but continues Matthew and  Heather’s story begun in A Heart Set Free.  I hope those of you who have read and enjoyed the first story will enjoy this one as well.

By 1775, the conflict has escalated between Loyalists and Patriots throughout the colonies. The Stewarts’ ordinary and the surrounding Virginia countryside are not immune from the strife, pitting friends, neighbors, and families against each other.

Matthew Stewart has avoided taking sides and wants only to farm, manage Stewarts’ Green, and raise his family. But political tensions are heating up and circumstances and connections convince him that he should answer a call to aid the Patriot cause … with conditions.

Heather Stewart, born and raised in Scotland, has witnessed the devastation and political consequences of opposing England. Threatened by the prospect of war, she wants only to avoid it, and protect the family and peace she sought and finally found in Virginia.

The journey the Stewarts take is not an easy one and will involve sacrifice, and questioned loyalties. Lives and relationships will be changed forever. Ultimately the knowledge that God is faithful will equip them with courage to face the future … with a heart for freedom.

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REFLECTIONS ON MOTHER’S DAY

Posted by on May 10, 2018 in Blog, Journal | 8 comments

A holiday fraught with so many different emotions for people, many which I addressed in a Mother’s Day blog post four years ago. 

https://janetgrunst.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=705&action=edit

This year as I reflect on Mother’s Day, I give thanks for my mother-in-law and my mother. When I think of these ladies,  the word spunk plays through my mind. 

I grieve because one Mom will leave this life within days of this Mother’s Day, the other Mom left this life within days of Mother’s Day thirty-eight years ago.

My husband and I wait for news of the imminent death of his ninety-nine-year-old mom. She is quickly fading. She didn’t live a remarkable life as the world views success. But this lady faced life with grace and grit. Like so many others, her husband served his country in Europe during WWII, leaving her at home with a baby son. Fortunately, she had a large and close family in their small mid-western town. When the war ended, her husband returned and they had a second son. But when their boys were thirteen and seven her husband died from cancer. A woman of strong faith, she soldiered on, got a job, and raised two godly sons. Life wasn’t always easy, but she had spunk and lived many years serving her family and her church.

My mother was not able to continue her education beyond the eighth grade because her father was a naval officer and the family was stationed in Asia. She didn’t let the lack of formal education keep her from continuing to educate herself. She was an avid reader who loved to learn. Raised in the 1930’s, she was not allowed to get a job because her parents thought it unseemly. She married in her mid-twenties to a naval officer and served as a wife, mother, and in the many different roles that were part of being a senior officer’s wife. Again, not a remarkable life by the world’s standards, but a wonderful role model in so many ways. She was a wonderful cook, played the organ, keep the books, sewed, and made hats to perfection. She faced the many moves with grace, grit, and a positive attitude. I am forever grateful for her spunk facing all of life’s challenges, even cancer that took her life thirty-eight years ago.

So there is a feeling of loss this Mother’s Day, but I am also inspired by these two remarkable women.

I hope this Mother’s Day, you can reflect on women who inspire you and give thanks.

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A WRITER’S WOES

Posted by on Apr 9, 2018 in Blog, Commentary, Uncategorized | 4 comments

Writing can be a very isolating and introspective pursuit.  Here are some thoughts that plague writers:

~ What if I can’t find an agent who wants to represent my work. If I do find one, will we be a good fit?

~ What if I can’t find a publisher who wants my manuscript?

~ With all the changes in the publishing industry and the decline in bookstores, it’s getting so much harder to get published.

~ There are so many other good writers out there, what makes me think my story will shine?

~ Facebook is a great place to connect with other writers and to applaud their successes. Some are getting contracts, others are elated about writing 2000 or 4000 words that day, all certainly praiseworthy. But some of us groan because it’s a struggle to get 300 words written in a day.

~ For those of us who rely heavily on research to write stories, we anguish in trying to get every detail right. But we love the research part of it, sometimes so much that we have a hard time getting back to writing the story. See how conflicted we are?

 ~ Okay, got the book published. What if the readers don’t like it? What if the publisher we prayed would say yes, is disappointed in sales and having second thoughts? What if they don’t want my next book?

~ And then there is the whole platform and marketing aspect. Many writers are introverts, so the prospect of self-promotion is daunting. Authors must be on all sorts of social media, have their own websites, hopefully, be featured on other’s websites or blogs, have book signings if possible, give talks; all which require a different skillset than making up stories. Marketing takes a lot of time.

~ Are we nuts?  Neurosis: a relatively mild personality disorder typified by excessive anxiety or indecision and a degree of social or interpersonal maladjustment.

But then:

I’m reminded that in writing inspirational fiction we don’t just write for the readers who hopefully like our stories, we write primarily for an audience of One.

~ Some of us believe we are called to write as a means of sharing our faith. Inspirational authors want to encourage and edify the reader as much as entertain them.  

~ We ask the Lord to direct us in every aspect of our vocation from the creation of the stories and their themes to opening the doors that He wants us to go through. We ask for patience needed to wait on His timing, which is typically not our own.

~ We aren’t to compare ourselves to others, just do the work we’ve been given to do, and do it with a grateful heart. Now I need to get back to writing that story. 

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 1Peter 4:10   

 

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Countdown to A Heart For Freedom

Posted by on Mar 6, 2018 in Blog, Books, History | 4 comments

A Heart For Freedom, the Sequel to A Heart Set Free releases in less than six months.

So much goes into the publication of a book. Like other authors who write historical fiction, I spend a lot of time researching the era, the locations, and every facet impacting the story. Then comes months of developing and writing the tale interspersed with prayer, constant editing, more prayer and more research.

Any fiction writer will tell you that a writer’s imagination is the foundation of the project. We picture what our characters look like, where they live, places they go.

                                         Stewarts’ Green

 

 

In a Heart For Freedom, Matthew and Heather Stewart’s dream of building an ordinary at their farm has been realized. This is a similar picture of Stewarts’ Green which Matthew and Heather Stewart built perpendicular to their original cottage. It’s only missing a bigger front porch.

 

 

A nearby pond as well as the Potomac River figure in both stories.  

            The pond at Stewarts’ Green 

   Potomac River near Stewarts’ Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict is escalating between Britain and the colonies. Like so many other families, the Stewarts struggle with the prospect of a war that divides friends and families.

I can’t wait to share more about this story, and someday the cover.

         

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