Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Janet Ann Collins Author Interview



Please tell about your background.

I have had over 100 things published in periodicals and some anthologies. I was a teacher, a parent, and a foster parent to kids with special needs.

How did you decide to become a children's writer and what steps did you take to make that happen?

My mother always told me I had too much imagination. From the time I learned to read I wanted to write books for kids. I majored in English in college, but when a professor told me I’d ”never make it” because I had no creativity, I gave up the idea.

Years later I remembered I’d written everything in his class according to the Thesis Sentence Outline we were required to use for the college entrance exams, because I thought that’s what you were supposed to do in college. I wrote down a story I’d been telling my foster kids, sent it out, and it was accepted right away. Then I scribbled out a few more stories and they were rejected, so I attended writers’ conferences, read books about how to write, and joined critique groups.

Tell us about your books:

I’ve had five books for kids published.

The Peril of the Sinister Scientist is about a boy who thinks he may have been cloned from the blood on the Shroud of Turin because a scientist is stalking him. The concept is, “What would Jesus do in Middle School?”

Secret Service Saint is about Nicholas, who discovers the fun of doing secret good deeds and eventually becomes known as Santa Claus.

Signs of Trouble is about kids with learning disabilities who get separated from their class on a field trip and use what they’ve learned about safety rules and recognizing signs to get reunited with them. It also contains some educational materials.

Slime & All is about a giant, talking worm who wants a friend, and a boy who helps him. I hope it encourages readers to accept people who are different.

A Shadow of Fear is about a boy who tries to be like Jesus and face his fears to help a friend with special needs.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

I don’t really have any typical days. Usually I write in between meetings, running errands, etc. I got more accomplished when I had a full time day job because my schedule was predictable.

What is the most difficult part of writing for children?

By far the most difficult part is the marketing. Today writers have to do most of that and it takes a lot of time – time when I’d rather be writing.

What do you enjoy most about writing for children.

I enjoy using my imagination. (I’m still a kid on the inside.) And I love it when kids tell me they’ve enjoyed one of my books.

Do you make school visits? If so, please describe a typical school presentation.

Yes, I enjoy doing school visits. (Some of my books are religious, so I can’t mention them at public schools.) I’ve listed what I can do at school visits on my website, www.janetanncollins.com.

Tell us about the marketing process for authors. What do you do to market and sell your books?

Besides doing school visits I mention my books on various social networking sites, especially Facebook. I also participate in book signings and sometimes sell my books when I speak at conferences.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a story for young kids about how to handle bullying, and also trying to rewrite a middle grade book about kids who time travel to the past, return to their own times, and discover something they did in the past that made a difference.
 What is your best tip for aspiring children's book authors?

Get to know kids and read a lot of books already published for that age group.

Thank you so much for sharing your writing process and writing journey!

Penelope Anne Cole
Multi-Award Winning Author of Magical Matthew, Magical Mea,
Magical Mea Goes to School, Magical Max and Magical Mickey, and
Magical Max and Magical Mickey’s Big Surprise
New:  In and Out, All ‘Round About – Opposite Friends
What’s for Dinner? and ¿Q vamos a comer?:
For Halloween: Ten Little Tricksters and Diez pequeños bromistas
Web:  http://www.penelopeannecole.com/
Blog:  http://pennyreviews-chat.blogspot.com/
FREE Skype Visits  

Janet Ann Collins, #PB, #MG, Children's books, Writer, Author, Slime and All, Being Differing, Signs of Trouble, Special Needs, Disabilities, Helping, Kindness, Secret Service Saint, Santa Claus, Christmas,


  1. Thank you for interviewing me, Penelope.

  2. What a great interview, Penny! Kudos to you, Janet for so many important books for kids. Such a nice variety and all very interesting subjects with lots of research to make them credible. Congratulations to both of you!

  3. Nice interview, Janet. Penelope, you're doing a great service for other writers!