Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California, where spring is already springing! Today I have the joy of interviewing one of our newest CAN members, Janice Thompson! Janice is the author of numerous novels and devotionals. I’ve known Janice for years, and I love her sense of humor, her storytelling, and the photos of her almost-too-gorgeous-to-eat cookies! Janice is combining these strengths in her new devotional.
Welcome, Janice! Please tell us about your book Just Roll with It.
Whether you love to bake or just love to laugh, these real-life kitchen stories, yummy sweet treat recipes and inspiring Bible truths are sure to bring a smile to your face, satisfaction to your belly and fullness to your heart. You’ll learn about life and faith as you embark on this baking journey.
What inspired you to write this book?
For the past fifteen years I’ve been baking specialty cakes, hand-painted cookies, and other sweet treats. Over the years many fun (and sweet/tender) things have taken place in my kitchen. I decided to compile those stories into a collection of devotions, sure to make any baker happy.
Sounds fantastic! Why did you write this book?
I wrote the book, in part, to honor my mother, who passed away a couple of years ago. She was an amazing baker. I use many of her recipes, in fact. Quite a few of my stories involve my mom.
What a lovely legacy she left. What is the primary focus of your book?
The focus of the book is to add humor and joy to the baker’s soul. There’s nothing like a fun story from the kitchen to uplift!
What surprised you the most during the research or writing of your book?
I was surprised by how many of my stories involved my mom and/or my caregiving journey. (I took care of her for the last few years of her Alzheimers journey.)
That must have been emotional to write. So, what do you hope readers will take away from this book?
There’s joy in the kitchen! Even the biggest flops can turn out to be the best stories after-the-fact. And there’s always something to be learned, whether the cake rises or falls.
How has God used the message of your book in your own life?
It has been very therapeutic to write down these stories, mostly because they took place in the home where I lived with (and took care of) my mother.
What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
Limiting the number of recipes! I have so many that I wanted to add. I had also hoped to add photos of my cakes and cookies, but that didn’t happen.
What was the hardest part to write?
The Upside-Down Cake was a tough devotion to write. I didn’t enjoy re-living one of the most humiliating days of my life, when a wedding cake tumbled just before the reception. Boy, was that a rough day. Thankfully, the bride took it in stride!
How awful! At least you got a story (or several stories) out of it. What’s your favorite section in this book?
My very favorite story is Wag the Dog—a tail (er, tale) about my dachshund Copper getting covered in powdered sugar. I think that one touches my heart because Copper and Sasha (the other dachshund in the story) have both passed on. I miss them both so much but I’ll never forget that fun day when they were both in powdered sugar heaven.
A sugar-coated dachshund—I wish I could see a picture! So, how do you share Christ in your writing?
I try to do it through humor. It’s actually easier to get the faith elements in when you’re writing a funny book.
What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
Cakes. Baking. Dogs. Weddings. These are the things I know best.
How has being a writer impacted your relationship with Christ?
As I mentioned above, writing (especially non-fiction) can be very therapeutic. I’m able to work out on paper the things I might not otherwise confess or talk openly about.
What would be your ideal writing place? And…what’s your actual writing place like?
If I could have the writing place of my dreams it would be near the ocean or lake on a beautiful outdoor balcony. I love the sound of water.
That sounds wonderful! Why do you love writing?
Writing comes so naturally to me. I’m a story-teller (a playwright first and foremost) and love hearing people laugh. It’s a gift I can give them through my stories.
When did you first recognize God’s call to write for Him?
I wrote my first book when I was in sixth grade. It was a rip-off of the Bobbsey Twins, but I didn’t know anything about plagiarism at the time!
Why do you write devotions?
Devotions come naturally to me. It’s so easy to compile my thoughts and put them in short story form, then give a solid biblical takeaway.
What is one thing about writing that you wish non-writers knew?
Writers live a solitary life. We’re tucked away in our hidey-holes much of the time, dreaming up ideas or jotting down the latest, greatest story. We don’t have as much time for face-to-face meetings with friends and family as we might like. And when we are with them, our thoughts are often shifting to our work.
So true! What ministries are you involved in, and why?
I do community outreach with a ministry called Relentless Love. We use the arts (drama, mime, dance, baking) to minister to underprivileged kids in a local inner city (high crime) apartment complex. We give a clear presentation of the gospel and enter into relationships with the kids and their parents.
What talents do you have aside from storytelling?
I love to bake! To see photos of my specialty cakes and cookies, join me on my Facebook page at: JaniceHannaThompson. Go to “photos” and choose “albums.” You’ll see pictures galore!
They are fabulous—you have a true talent for that. What do you read for pleasure? What are you reading right now?
I just wrapped up three really good books: A Time for Confidence: Trusting God in a Post-Christian Society, The Girl with Seven Names, and The Secret to Hummingbird Cake. They were all spectacular!
Do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?
I ran a bakery out of my home for several years and it definitely influenced my writing!
Do you have pets and do they inspire your writing or hinder it?
I rescue/foster dogs for our local animal shelter. Since this past summer I’ve had 13 dogs in my home. One of them (Bella) ended up joining the family. Another (Bandit) is high on my “wish I could adopt him” list.
Tell us about your next project.
Paws for Reflection (from DaySpring) is a collection of fifty dog-themed devotionals for dog moms. Loaded with sweet stories, this canine-happy devo is the perfect companion for dog lovers of every age.
What a fun topic for a devotional! Thank you for sharing with us, Janice.
Writing for Him,