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Interview with Janet Sketchley

Janet Sketchley lives in Atlantic Canada. She loves Jesus and her family, and enjoys reading, worship music, and tea--there are over 50 varieties of tea in her house. Things she has done include having once worked at the busiest McDonald's in London, England. She has also taken fencing lessons and ridden an elephant.
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What led you to choose the genre in which you write?
My first novel (Heaven’s Prey) caught me off guard, and I started writing to get the story idea out of my head. That one’s darker and more suspenseful than I write now, but I need a little mystery or suspense or adventure in a story if I’m going to enjoy it. And I need a Christian element in my stories. If faith is part of our lives, why leave it out of our fiction?

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
In the middle of the mystery and suspense, my characters are transparent about their struggles and spiritual growth. It’s not about trying to preach, but about letting them—and me—work through questions and issues that arise from the plot. So the stories end up with less of a driving pace and, I hope, a sense of heart. Also, I suspect my voice has an “accent” as an East Coast Canadian.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
Connecting with other writers at conferences and online helped me learn the writing mindset and also showed me how much there is to learn. Each little success along the way paved another step. My first publishing contract—and then my publisher closing and my decision to publish independently.

Where do your story and character ideas come from?
It’s usually a situation of some kind, maybe a quick idea of a scene, that catches my imagination and begins to grow. There’s always been a little nugget to explore, until now. I’m discovering Green Dory Inn book 4 and basically started with “Okay, this one’s at Christmas, now what?” I have the slow-growing romantic arc that spans the series, but other than that I’ve been listing random ideas of what could happen. Two have caught me, and I’ve been able to start building. Every answer at this stage brings more questions!

How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
I like to read Christian living books as well as too much fiction (is there such a thing?), and before focusing on fiction I wrote devotionals and inspirational articles. Sharing faith and spiritual growth feels like a natural part of writing. I admire Christians who write to sow seeds in the general market, but my niche is nurturing the growth of readers who know at least a little about the Lord.

What message do you hope readers take away from this book?
Bitter Truth explores mercy vs. judgment, forgiveness vs. vengeance. I hope it will challenge readers to choose mercy and forgiveness and to trust God to work out the bigger picture in His wisdom and love.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Definitely a plotter! I have so much fun with the discovery and organizational stages, and then I can write with a good sense of where I’m going. I “pantsed” my first novel and learned how much I dislike making structural rearrangements afterward.

What is your writing routine? Any quirky habits or must-have snacks?
I try to carve out a few hours each weekday to show up and work, beginning with a prayer for the session. We never know what He wants to slide into our writing, and I don’t dare miss something He might use to bless a reader. The more I write, the more aware I am that I can’t do a God-worthy job without Him.

Quirky habits: These days, plotting involves huge sheets of graph paper and various coloured pens. And lots of muttering to myself. I write in Scrivener (my must-have), and that part probably looks pretty normal. I have a beautiful resin-coated thermal tumbler one of my sisters-in-law crafted for me that’s covered with quotes from my previous books. It comes with me to my office, holding filtered tap water and two ice cubes.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
I love hanging out with my little grandkids or anyone else in my family. I read a lot, and there’s usually a knitting project on the go. I’d like to get back into jigsaw puzzles and cross-stitch. And I love listening to worship music.

What books are on your nightstand right now?
The to-read stash is slowly shrinking, but then I’ll randomly ignore it and pick up something new. I’ve just finished Heather Day Gilbert’s new mystery, False Pretense, and my daily book for this year is the updated version of Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest.

Finish this statement: If I were not an author, I would be ____________.) Let me guess: an amateur sleuth?
Oh, no, I’m too much of a chicken for that! And I don’t think I’d be any good at solving mysteries. I’ve always kind of wanted to work in a library, but if I weren’t writing I’d still like to be an at-home wife—but to do a better job of keeping my home, volunteering, and growing relationships.
Pearl Fredericksen lives on the beautiful west coast of Canada, where she enjoys photographing the scenery and writing about her favourite places. She also loves to read and post reviews to spread the word about good books. Her little dog, Bear, sits under her desk to keep her feet warm while she writes. He's very cute, and you can see him in quite a few photos at

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