Janet Sketchley, Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m thankful to have been raised in a Christian home, and that God gave me a believing heart at a young age. It doesn’t mean I haven’t struggled, but Jesus has kept me out of a heap of trouble that I’d otherwise have created.
The tenacity of God is one of my themes in writing, because it’s something I’ve experienced in my own life. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, and we live in Atlantic Canada. When I’m not writing, I can often be found reading, with a cup of tea close at hand. Worship music is an important part of my life.
How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
As a child I pretended to be a writer (complete with “author” badge), and I started a truly horrible imitation of Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion. Then I got interested in romances, and made some equally bad attempts at those. I guess whatever genre I was reading at the time influenced me. It was science fiction by the time I hit creative writing assignments in school, and then life got too busy and I stopped.
Years later, God led me back into writing with personal experience stories. The fiction started again when an idea took root in my mind that I didn’t want to daydream. I thought writing would get it out of my head, but instead it became my first published novel, many revisions and many more years later. What’s kept me writing? When I quit, I feel miserable. When I write fiction, I feel alive.
What do you write?
I’m the author of the Redemption’s Edge Christian suspense series, with another series in the works. Non-fiction-wise, I share weekly devotionals on my blog, as well as book reviews and other posts.
What special something do you try to bring to your work?
Whether I try or not, I write about God’s tenacity—how He never gives up on us. And I write to encourage our own tenacity, in not giving up on Him, on others or on ourselves. Naturally, this looks very different in a novel, where there’s no room for overt “preaching,” than it does in a devotional post.
How would you define a successful writer?
There are different aspects to that, including, one would hope, some level of earning more than one spends. No matter how many people read our work, or what our bank accounts look like, I think what marks genuine success is this: are we true to our calling as Christians and as individuals? Are we speaking with integrity and love, from the heart, with thoughts informed by our faith, with a desire to serve other people rather than to push anything on them? Whether we’re writing news articles, technical pieces, poetry, fiction, songs, notes to shut-ins… the list is endless. Are we using the gifts God has given us in the way He’s leading? In the end, will we hear His “Well done”?
What would you say to an aspiring writer?
The only way to know you won’t succeed is to quit, so persevere. Connect with other writers, attend conferences if you can. Be teachable, and don’t turn getting published into an idol.
Make this one more facet of your life with Christ. Write prayerfully, and cultivate an enjoyment of the process. Don’t be in a hurry to “arrive,” whatever that means for you at this moment. You have talent and interest, but we all need to learn the craft as well. Be diligent, and grow toward excellence because what you’re writing is for the Lord. Give Him your best.
If want to learn more about Janet Sketchley’s books or purchase them, you can find them below:
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