An identical twin, Janice Richardson is the opposite of her super-sibling. She is day person, a people person, a window shopper and a computer dud, her twin is a night person, not a people person, not a shopper and a computer geek. Somehow they manage to happily live together in the Niagara Region of Canada, along with a rescue cat named Vegas, aka Kittybrat. Janice, a retired funeral director started writing late in life, beginning with a non-fiction work – The Making of a Funeral Director. Fiction followed with the Spencer Funeral Home Niagara Cozy Mystery series. Book 1 Casket Cache, then Books 2,3 and 4 – Winter’s Mourning, Grave Mistake and First Call.
Judy: Tell us about the setting for your Spencer Funeral Home series.
Janice: The cozy mystery series is set in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Who doesn’t love Niagara Falls? The region is known for its wine, lavender, agriculture and trails. The area is rich in history and a visit to the various museums show the important part Niagara played in the early history of Canada.
But a cozy set in a funeral home? Seriously? Yes. While the books are in the cozy genre, they also educate and entertain the reader. If one learns something along the way, then it was worth the journey.
Judy: What’s the best writing advice you have ever read or been given?
Janice: It’s your work. Write what you know, what you need to write, not what others tell you is correct or what is popular. Then, when you are happy with the manuscript, get a good editor.
Don’t give up your day job.
The most important thing an author will learn – It’s not all about you. It is about your readers and responding to them. It is about other authors, encouraging them, promoting them on social media, reading their books and reviewing the books that you liked.
Judy: Describe your writing process and/or a typical day in your life.
Janice: Most of my day is spent reading books or news, playing the occasional computer game and marketing. Much of my day is quiet. I wrote my first two books in a few months, which meant non-stop writing, my favourite way to write. We acquired a rescue kitten who has changed my writing habits. When she is awake, no writing takes place. She tries to get on the keyboard, or plays with my feet or demands attention. Of course she comes first.
Absolute silence is the only way I can write, sitting in an old recliner with my laptop perched on my knee. When I am up and about I am engaged in whatever activity is in front of me and the work in progress doesn’t exist. I try not to think about it or discuss it. My friends and family deserve that. Plot bunnies come out only at night and romp in my brain.
I don’t plot out a story, I start writing and it takes on a life of its own. I tried outlines, they didn’t work. I may write from start to finish or in bits and pieces, the last chapter before the first one, or a middle section that gets “written around.” I know most writing professionals would have a fit if they knew there was no story line to follow, but that is how I work.
Judy: Can you recommend a lesser-known author well worth reading?
Janice: Ha! There are not too many “lesser-known authors” than me, so let me recommend another indie author who I know will continue do well. Jennifer S. Alderson, author of Down and Out in Kathmandu and ‘The Lover’s Portrait (jennifersalderson.com) is a gifted story teller. Her books are entertaining, educational and rich in description and story. The Lover’s Portrait is its own work of art.
Find Janice and her books at all the usual suspects, including Goodreads.