Please introduce yourself and your books!
My name is Janice Spina aka J.E. Spina of Jemsbooks.com.
I am a published author of 24 books and counting, a blogger, copy editor, poet, avid reader and reviewer of books, and supporter of my fellow authors. My books have earned 1 MOM’S Choice Book Awards, 9 Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards, 2 Reader’s Favorite Book Awards, Silver Medal in Authorsdb Book Cover Contest, Finalist in Authorsdb First Lines Contest, and Finalist in Red City Review Book Awards.
My husband, John, is my illustrator, cover creator and collaborator who supports and enables me to keep doing what I love to do – write.
He was not, at first, happy to take part in this adventure but once I convinced him that it would be less expensive to go this route than pay for an illustrator he agreed.
What is/are the story(ies) behind your books?
Many of my books are dedicated to my grandchildren or other children I’ve met who have taken an interest in my work. I have 12 children’s books at present, some of which are about real life pets that I have had such as a dog, cat, crayfish and a hermit crab with real photos of the crab in its habitat.
Each of my children’s books and middle-grade books carry life lessons that encourage children to respect elders, parents and each other, friends and family are important, bullying is never tolerated or expected, love one another, and be kind to others. My goal is to encourage children of all ages to read.
My motto is Reading Gives You Wings to Fly!
Soar with Jemsbooks.com all year through! Happy Reading!
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
My grandchildren have inspired me to write. With my MG/PT/YA series for boys and girls I dedicated these books to my two middle-grandsons and my only granddaughter who all love to read about mysteries, magic and adventures.
When I first began writing these series they were all excited to read them. Some of my grandchildren have shared these books with their school classrooms and reviewed the books as projects. I am thrilled when I hear that they and their classmates have enjoyed these books. This only encourages me to want to write more for them. What better inspiration is there to have than children who love to read?
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
I choose my titles before I begin to write. The titles just come to me. I have no special way to share about this. But once I have the title I feel inspired to write and the story flows out of the tips of my fingers as the characters take over the story.
I think a writer needs to feel inspired by a subject in order to want to write about it. This inspiration will help them choose their title as the story progresses.
Choosing covers is my husband’s job. John looks over the blurb and makes a decision. Of course, I have to approve or disapprove of his choices. Ha! I agree with him most of the time due to his creativity to come up with great covers every time. I feel blessed to have him. I don’t think I could do this without his input. We’re a good team.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how you deal with them?
This is a tough question. When I first received a less than glowing review of one of my books I was crushed. I almost gave up. After many tears and soul searching I realized that not everyone will like my stories. A review good or bad was just that a review, an opinion by one person. It didn’t define me as a writer.
I still try to see the good in the negative to help improve my writing and go on from there. I don’t dwell on it and never respond to this type of review. All authors receive some of these negative reviews even the best-selling authors which is some consolation to me.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your books?
The best parts of this whole process are the writing and creating, the opening up of myself to the characters and the plots as they grow, and getting to know the characters and loving or hating them.
The worst things are the formatting, editing and marketing that is involved in each book. It can all be exhausting and disheartening but necessary. It is a process that all authors must endure unless they have someone to do all of this for them. I am not at that point in my writing career to do that. Maybe one day! Sigh!
The surprising things are getting feedback from fellow authors and help along the way whenever I have asked. Once you are a published author or even a struggling writer there is always someone out there who has gone that route and will offer assistance to you. I have made so many good friends in cyberspace. I, in turn, am grateful and support them avidly on my blog.
What are your plans for future books?
I write in different genres for different age groups from PS-Grade 4, MG/PT/YA to 18+ and love every minute of each creation. I plan to keep writing this way to give something for all ages and groups to read.
I am presently working on Book 3 of my Abby & Holly Series for girls and boys. This series was introduced in Book 5 of my Davey & Derek Series for both boys and girls. I have so much fun writing these books. I plan to complete this book and Book 4 by the end of this year.
These books make me feel like a kid again and I haven’t been a kid for a very long time. I am young at heart though.
I will continue writing in these series. The characters are ingrained in me and feel like a part of my family now. Thankfully they have been well received by adults and children of all ages.
My husband, John, is currently working on illustrating a new dragon series of six books for children. We hope to have book 1 completed this year. The rest will be published, hopefully, over the next few years. John keeps reminding me he is only one man, can only do so much and is not getting any younger! Sigh! I am a task master.
I would also like to do another novel for 18+ but time with tell if a title and inspiration comes to me. I do have, however, book 1 of a YA fantasy series started that I plan to work on maybe next year or in 2021 and beyond. It will have about 8 books in the series. It is a complicated work in progress that will take time to evolve.
Who knows where the inspiration will take me to write more in different genres or maybe even book 2 of a short story collection.
Tells us some quirky facts about yourself.
Ha, I have to laugh at that. I am a quiet person who is introspective most of the time. But I do love to surprise people. In the past I have won more than a few contests hula hooping (nothing spectacular but can keep up the hoop for hours which is surprising for my age even now), in my youth I won a limbo contest while vacationing in Aruba, and a jitterbug contest with my husband while on a cruise.
I still love to hula hoop and dance but no more limbo for me. If I get down someone has to lift me up again. LOL!
Here are my links to my books and social media.