I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Janeen Swart to the Second Act Series. Today, Janeen shares her journey from small town girl to multi-published author and her new release, The Hidden Truth.
Growing up in a small town in Indiana may have been the best experience or the worst depending on your viewpoint. For me, it was the best. My two sisters and I were raised with strict traditional values and rules for the life of a Christian. It was felt that one shouldn’t do anything on Sunday except attend church twice, rest, read your Bible and maybe visit with friends after church. Most of our friends would not have any alcohol in their homes and when the adults visited quite often the topic of discussion was about religion or the politics of the church or the Christian School. Dad was a deacon several times and on the first board for the beginning of the DeMotte Christian School.
Once I left for college, my horizons expanded giving me the chance to see many different viewpoints. I wanted to do it all; visit France (my intended major, French), work at the UN, and travel to see the world. But guess what? After my freshman year, I met the love of my life and we made plans for me to switch colleges and marry after my sophomore year. That meant commuting to finish my classes and moving back to that same small town in Indiana, on a farm no less. However, living in the same area, did not mean going back to the strict life-style of my youth. Our sons were fortunate to grow up within a different focus on Christianity.
Since my career plans had changed dramatically, at first I was at a loss as to what I wanted as my major. My husband suggested teaching, something I had never thought I wanted to do, but as I got into the education classes, it became another love. I taught for twenty-five years and enjoyed every minute. (Oh, is it okay to lie in a blog?) While teaching and reading many children’s books, there was always that little voice that said, maybe I could write books as good as these. But of course, life moves on and there was never enough time in a day with a full time job, being secretary for our business, two busy boys to care for, and various animals, too.
After retiring from teaching at age fifty-five, it was time to move forward with my dream of writing. I took two online courses from The Institute of Children’s Literature and a Children’s Writing Course through Indiana University Northwest. Now I thought I was ready and would soon see my stories in print. Not immediately, but after many rejection letters, A DOG AND HIS BOY, was published through a small Christian publisher. I self-published my other five children’s books using Create Space. During this same time I had joined an online critique group and through that group, my young adult novel, THE HIDDEN TRUTH, became a reality. I submitted it to Soul Mate Publishers and was ecstatic when I received my contract to publish it as an e-book. My experience with the Soul Mate authors has been awesome.
So, coming back to my first statement about growing up in a small, rather traditional town, has it affected my writing? Yes, definitely. I could never write erotica or use sexual scenes in my books. I would feel silly doing that. Not that I haven’t read books with that content and enjoyed them, but for me it’s not a writing option. So, the best advice I can give to those who want to begin to write is be true to yourself, and then, have fun with your writing. Maybe, just maybe, you will become one of those best-selling authors we see featured in the bookstores.
After being struck by lightning while jogging, Clara’s dreams cause her to question the issues of DNA changes, cloning, and genetically modifying food. In her dreams she visits an environmentally perfect world where an angel-like being tells her to watch for a sign.
While Clara searches for answers, her boyfriend, Brian, becomes active in demonstrations against a local biophysics company, named aptly, New Nature. Clara convinces her Science Club to begin a project to confront this company to make them more accountable. She and John, a new friend, vow to do their part, using peaceful strategies.
Brian’s jealousy results in several uncomfortable incidents between the three teens. Things go awry when a few of the Science Club members go beyond simple investigation by breaking into New Nature, then later sabotaging the company’s biosphere.
What’s even more troublesome is the fact that Clara suspects her ex may be the one behind the crimes.
Relationships and beliefs are tested as Clara searches out the truth. In the end, her questions are answered, but at a cost, she hadn’t anticipated.
Where to find Janeen…
I’m always happy to feature a fellow educator on this blog. Thanks for sharing your inspiring journey, Janeen.