About Janette Rallison
Janette lives in Arizona with her husband and divides her time between her children, grandchildren, writing, and wandering around the house looking for items she has misplaced. (This is how she gets most of her exercise.) She has two dogs and enough cats to classify her as “an eccentric cat lady.” She did not do this on purpose. Every single one of the felines showed up on its own and refuses to leave.
Since Janette has five children and deadlines to write books, she doesn’t have much time left over for hobbies. But since this is the internet and you can’t actually check to see if anything on this site is true, let’s just say she enjoys dancing, scuba diving, horseback riding, and long talks with Chris Hemsworth. (Well, I never said he answers back.)
Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve been writing since I was six years old. I still have my first book which consists of several pieces of notebook paper stapled together. If I ever become really famous, I’m sure my children will dig it out of my memorabilia and sell it on eBay.
Much longer than it takes to read a book—something I’ve always found vaguely unfair. I will work on a book for an entire year or longer, and then someone comes up to me and says, “Great book. I read it yesterday afternoon.”
Anyway, depending on how much revising, editing, and rereading there is to do on a manuscript (and there’s always a lot of that), when all is said and done, I spend about an hour to two hours on each page. I am the slowest author I know of. You should feel sorry for me and buy more of my books because of this fact.
Ha, ha, ha. If you’re looking for a career that would actually pay you a decent wage per hour (see last question), try driving a truck, flipping burgers, digging ditches—anything instead of writing. Most authors write not for the money, but because they love writing. Or as my friend Jennie Hansen says, “Writing is my favorite way to make myself miserable.”
This is a frequently asked question by my children. The answer is usually, “I’m busy writing. Pour yourself some Cheerios.”
Read the genre you want to write in. Read books on writing. Develop friendships with people who’ll read your work and give you honest feedback. (As opposed to your spouse who is smart enough to reply, “It’s good. I liked it,” to everything you write.) Then write and write and write.
Oh, one other piece of advice: if you happen to be a teenager and write cheesy, melodramatic poetry, DON’T give any to your boyfriend. Years later when you actually become a writer, you’ll worry that he might have kept all of that stuff, and it will resurface someday, and you’ll become the laughing stock of anyone who reads it.
Are you actually some sort of identity thief? Don’t ask those kinds of questions?
A wonderful small town called Pullman, Washington, which is why most of my books are set in small towns. I love them. (Bonus trivia point to impress your teacher: All’s Fair in Love, War, and High School; Revenge of The Cheerleaders; and Blue Eyes and Other Teenage Hazards are all set in Pullman.)
I set Playing the Field in Gilbert, Arizona, because that’s where I lived at the time. It’s easy to write about places you know. But since I couldn’t set every story in Gilbert, I branched out to other warm climates. Most of my stories take place in Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada, and Texas.
I try to stay in warm climates because quite frankly I’ve lived in Arizona for so long I’ve forgotten what the cold is like. When I first wrote about Washington, I almost had a scene where people mowed the lawn in December. Oops.
I’ve had three teenage daughters, which is sort of like living in your own reality show, but with fewer commercials. I borrowed from their lives a lot. In fact, while I was writing It’s A Mall World After All I once lifted dialogue for a scene right off the text message log in my daughter’s cell phone.
Unfortunately yes, but generally only the parts where characters are making fools of themselves. I did that a lot as a teenager. I don’t think there’s such a thing as an easy or graceful adolescence. It’s all about embarrassing yourself.
Authors have very little say over that sort of thing. (Ditto for the book covers.) But if I hear anything, I’ll let you know.
If your teacher asks about theme, tell her/him that the book is about forgiveness. Unintentionally, most of my books are. I didn’t even realize this until the last book. My husband asked me what it was about (I think he asks these questions so he doesn’t have to actually read my books.) I told him, “On a basic level, it’s about realizing when you’re wrong and about forgiveness.”
He said, “Wasn’t that what your last book was about too?”
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