I cannot wait to share Jana Grissom’s story. I was blown away by what an inspiring, strong woman she is. So everyone meet Jana Grissom, author of One Prince, Two Kingdoms.
“Imagine a magical world where anything is possible; that is where I want to be! I am a mom of two amazing teens, married to Roy, my high school sweetheart (Yes ladies, fairy tales do come true!), a middle school teacher, an advocate for foster children and at-risk teens, and a never-ending student!
I hold a Master of Education in Administration and Policy Studies and I’m chasing my doctorate in Special Education. Currently, I offer professional development in bullying identification, prevention, and intervention and I am available to speak to students at secondary schools about the writing process or bring a message that challenges them to S.T.O.P. bullying and suicide. Oh, and one more very important detail: I love CHOCOLATE!” – Jana’s bio from Goodreads.
1. How did you get started writing? Was it something you always knew you wanted to do?
Who doesn’t dream about becoming a rock star? (In my mind, authors are rock stars.) Rock on!
2. How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since l learned how to spell. I made up stories and sometimes believed them. My entire teenage experience is documented in a locked diary. Some of it is true and some of it I made up because real life was boring. I have always loved telling and writing stories. They make the unimaginable become reality!
3. Do you write full time or do you also have an adult job?
By day I am a 7th grade science teacher, by night I am the creator of imaginary worlds! I love both of my jobs. Plus I am a mom of two teens and married to my high school sweetheart! Did I mention my doctorate courses?
4. What inspired you to start writing “One Prince, Two Kingdoms?”
One Prince, Two Kingdoms came about in response to the disturbing nightmares my two foster children at the time were experiencing. After several nights of being awakened by their screams and running to comfort them, I had an idea – write a story and let their imaginations defeat their fears. The children were excited to hear stories of magical worlds and powerful celestials sent to guard them. Each night before bed, I would add new scenes and more adventures. After a few weeks, the nightmares were replaced with excitement to hear the next chapter read.
The children are now with their family, but their pictures remain on my walls. “One Prince, Two Kingdoms” is dedicated to them and all the foster children who have been in my care, as well as my past and present students; my family, my two amazing teens, Kaylee and Cody, and my husband and best friend, Roy. I hope “One Prince; Two Kingdoms” will encourage teens in a place of transition to have hope and never give up.
5. It is coming out soon I see! Are you freaking out? What is the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome as a writer on the road to publication?
Editing! The editing process is grueling. I am learning that ultimately it is up to me to make it perfect. Talk about scary! So, I am taking my sweet time to make sure it is perfect. I want everyone to love every part of One Prince, Two Kingdoms. In reality, you can’t please everyone but I am going to try!
6. Was there any moment where you felt like you were about to give up? If so, what pulled you through?
Giving up never crossed my mind until the editing started. I have doubted my ability more than ever before. Part of me is afraid no one will like it. My wonderful kids and students won’t let me quit. They believe in me and I refuse to let them down.
7. Is there one moment from your career where another writer/editor/blogger/industry person gave you encouragement or kindness that really stands out to you? And one you will always remember?
There have been so many authors that are so supportive! I am pleasantly surprised by the tight nit community in the literary world. J.P. Lane has been a wonderful mentor. Krissi Dallas has been a sweet friend/author who has introduced me to local authors and pushed me through the editing process. I genuinely admire and look forward to developing life-long friendships with the authors I have met and will meet!
8. Why did you go the small publisher route?
Honestly, I didn’t know anything about publishing. My students encouraged me to publish. I submitted my manuscript as a class project to teach them about the writing process. Boy was I surprised when my manuscript was accepted for publishing with a small press! I had to call my husband and tell him what I did. He was so awesome and supportive. I am here today because of my students and family!
9. I see you too feature a lot of authors on your blog! What was your inspiration for that?
One thing I am learning about the literary world is that authors support authors. We are not in competition, we are a community. I love to spread the word about authors and provide advice along the way. It is a small way that I can give back!
10. What is one adjective you would use to describe writing?