Friday, February 3, 2017

The Very Real Story






Today I welcome my friend, an accomplished author who is giving, gracious, and gifted with humor: Janice Hanna Thompson. 


The Very Real Story

As a child, I instinctively knew how to entertain folks with my antics and my exaggeration. From the time I could offer a curtsy or a bow (anticipating that others would applaud my efforts) my mother labeled me a “ham.” She wasn’t far off in her description. I ended up going into theater, starting as an actress and eventually directing.

One thing served as the glue in all of my endeavors: story.

Story fueled me as a youngster while I persistently scoured the shelves at our local library for something I hadn’t already read. Story intoxicated me as I picked up the pen and crafted my first novel in sixth grade. Story propelled me as I took on roles in high school plays, pouring heart and soul into each performance.

Story lit a fire in me during my college years and pacified me when I had to leave school after my sophomore year. Story nipped at my heels in my early twenties when my father asked me to help him pen a screenplay—Liar’s Moon—which was eventually made into a movie. Story made a playwright out of me in my middle years, when the arts academy where I taught needed performance materials.

Story—specifically, Christian fiction—grabbed hold of my heart, twisting and turning, when I neared my empty nest years. At this time, I truly “felt the call” to publish my first novel. It took years to accomplish this feat, but God eventually opened a door. From that day until now, I’ve been blessed to publish over eighty books for the Christian market—mostly light-hearted romances, loaded with humorous elements. 

I’m probably best known for my quirky Weddings by Bella series, but I’ve also been given the opportunity to write stories like my latest—Queen of the Waves—an intense drama set aboard the Titanic. Though I’m a comedian at heart, I enjoy writing the serious stuff too, because it challenges me as a writer and offers me the opportunity to further develop my skills.

No matter what I write—comedy, drama, devotions, plays or skits—I will remain a storyteller at heart. Writing for the Christian market is perfect for me, because I have the opportunity to incorporate the greatest story ever told into each of my tales. And hasn’t story always been the tool that God has used to touch the hearts of His people?

Consider. . .The Prodigal Son. The Lost Coin. The 99 Sheep. All stories, told by the Master Storyteller, intended to teach, to nudge, to uplift, and to provoke. I pray that my stories will compel people to search out the Ultimate Author and to read His bestseller. (Talk about a great book!) 

These days, as I look back on the stories I’ve published, the plays I’ve written, the articles I’ve penned, I see them all as a whole—part of a bigger story. My story. My legacy. Something I leave behind, not just for my children and grandchildren, but my readers, as well. I hope they see a little of my story in every novel, in every character, in every setting.

Beyond that, however, I pray they see the very real story of a God who loves them so much that He was willing to split heaven wide open to send the ultimate hero into this world to rescue, redeem and revive.

In short, I will cherish every moment, pen in hand, ready for whatever tales—fun, serious, or otherwise—the Lord lays on my heart.  

So, what about you? What’s your story? I pray it’s one filled with joy, peace, and blessing. . .and lots of laughter. 

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