Janet, tell us a little about yourself and your background. I have been a stay-at-home mom for many years, but I keep busy with writing projects and volunteer work. People are surprised to learn that I was an attorney many years ago. I worked as a federal prosecutor for five years then a staff attorney for the Department of Veterans Affairs for three years. When I had my second child, I switched from practicing law to teaching it for several years before becoming a full-time stay-at-home mom. I also have a Master's Degree in Biblical Studies which I earned in 2015.
What inspired you to become a writer? I took writing courses in college and always wanted to write a novel. I finally had time to write when I was teaching college classes part-time. I made up my own fairy-tale story and then did lots of research to place it in a real historical setting. While I was writing that fiction book, I started thinking about writing non-fiction books that would teach about my Christian faith. Although my novel is not considered Christian fiction, there is an element of faith in it. The process of writing a novel also taught me a lot about the sovereignty of God and helped me trust his long-term plan.
Your book, Brenin's Crown, is part fantasy and part historical. This is different than your other books. What inspired you to write a fiction book? Brenin's Crown was my first book. It is set in the 5th century in a part of England that was only partially conquered by the Romans. After the Romans left in 407 AD, the local Celtic kingdom kept out invading Saxons for over 200 years. My story of a Celtic princess trying to save her father's kingdom is completely fictional, but set in that real time and place. I loved being able to blend fantasy elements with real history. It's the kind of story I like to read, but it was hard to find such stories with strong female characters. So I created my own!
Can you talk about the books you've written and give a short summary of each one? I wrote two non-fiction books after the novel. They are both what I would call "teaching" books and are aimed at helping Christians think seriously about what they believe and then act like they believe it. Since I wrote them, I've realized not all Christians agree with what I was teaching because Christians don't all agree on what we think God wants us to be doing in this world. That realization inspired a new book about Christian worldviews which I hope will be out in 2020.
It looks like your books are self-published and distributed through Amazon (correct me if I'm wrong). What has the process of self-publishing been like? From your experience, are you glad you went that route? Yes, my three books are self-published. Brenin's Crown first came out when print-on-demand publishing was very new. Instead of paying to have a thousand or more copies of your book printed and mailed to you, an author could upload a book to a print-on-demand publisher, advertise it online, and the publisher would print a book each time one was ordered. Some books don't fit neatly into established genres or markets, or the topic may be something that won't attract a lot of attention. Self-publishing provides opportunities for people who feel called to write but who can't get a traditional publishing contract. I'm hoping my new book will be picked up by a traditional publisher, but if it isn't, I would self-publish again.
What has surprised you the most in your work as an author? I've been writing for awhile, and it's surprising how quickly things change. Publishing companies come and go. Technology changes. Even the rules of grammar have changed in many small ways since I started. Being a successful writer requires keeping up with all these changes and finding new ways to connect with your readers. How can we get in touch with you and where can we find your books? I'm glad you asked! My three books are available on Amazon. You can read about each one and get a direct link to the Amazon sales page from the Author pages on this website. You can follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/janetruthbooks and on Instagram at Instagram.com/janetruthbooks. I'm offering a free excerpt of my new book if you sign up for my mailing list!
Things to know about Janet Ruth: 1. Janet lives in Mesa, Arizona, with her husband of 27 years. They have two grown children, and they all love to get together on the weekends to see a movie or take a road trip.
2. Janet is a native of Arizona, where both her parents and one grandparent were born. She has lived outside of Arizona twice - in Saudi Arabia where her father worked for a year while Janet was a teenager, and in Indiana where her husband worked for four years.
3. Janet received an undergraduate degree in Behavioral Sciences and a master's degree in Biblical Studies from the same school. It was called Grand Canyon College when Janet first attended, but it is now a university. It is located in Phoenix and not at the Grand Canyon.
4. Janet served as a trial and appellate attorney for the United States Attorney's Office in Phoenix, Arizona. In addition to her usual duties, she provided training for federal law enforcement officers on current legal issues and also taught at the U.S. Attorney General's Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C. 5. Janet held many different volunteer jobs while her children were growing up. She has been a classroom assistant, an officer of a parent-teacher organization, a judge for We The People and National History Day competitions, the manager of a high school robotics team, a volunteer coordinator for her college alumni group, a board member of a local food bank, a chapter officer and state webmaster for an international service organization, as well as being a Sunday School teacher and Bible study leader. She started a Bible club for girls at her church in Indiana and has directed drama productions at several churches using scripts she has written.