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An Interview with Janie Sullivan, author of A Bloody Blade and a Ballot Box

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Janie Sullivan, MBA, MAEd, has been teaching adult learners for over 30 years; online for over 25 years. She specializes in writing, communications, and small business applications. She was a faculty trainer for over 15 years at both the University and Community College levels. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism, a master’s degree in both business administration and education administration, with an emphasis on training and performance improvement.

Her publications include multiple articles in magazines and newspapers, books on writing and teaching, a fiction anthology and novel co-written with Rhonda Jackson. She wrote hundreds of online content articles and published a two-novel cozy mystery series called the Wise Acres Cozy Mysteries. She recently finished a memoir about her journey through multiple medical situations.

In 2022 she published her first fantasy fiction book, The Tremane Grove Fairies. The first book in a planned two-book Witch Cozy. A Bloody Blade and a Ballot Box, was published in 2023 and she is currently working on book two in the series: Say the Word: A Bookshop to Die In.

She moved from Arizona to Texas in 2016 where taught Snapshot memoir classes at senior living facilities throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex before moving back to Arizona in 2023. Janie also helps writers self-publish their work. She specializes in editing, formatting, and small book publishing for Indie Writers.

Janie lives in Apache Junction, Arizona with her cat, Cleo. She has eight grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.

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Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

When I was in the 8th grade, I earned a C in English, but when I advanced to 9th grade, I was mistakenly placed in an honors English class. My father was a teacher at the junior high and he encouraged me to stay in the honors class. By the end of the school year I was earning all A’s in English and had developed a love for the language and words. It was my teacher, Mr. Bergstrom, and my father who both encouraged me to write. I was 14 years old and have not stopped writing for the past 60 years!

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I have done it all. From head lamber on a sheep ranch in Montana, to school bus driver, to bartender, to secretary, to faculty trainer, to teacher, to editor, to small publisher. And always a writer! The head lamber on a sheep ranch one cold Montana spring is something I will always remember, but not many people know about that endeavor!

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

A Bloody Blade and a Ballot Box was the third or fourth title I came up with. This is probably the most difficult title I have found—I usually get the title right away.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

I designed the book cover from a set of rubber stamps I had on hand. Holding the book in my hands is always satisfying. I get a sense of wonderment, awe, and sometimes disbelief when I actually hold the book. Did I actually write this book?

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

My perfect reader is one who likes to escape into a fictional world that could be true—if there were actually witches, fairies, and dragons in real life. My reader must believe in the supernatural, as well as acknowledge that ghosts do actually exist.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

The best part is when someone discusses the characters with me as though they are actually sitting right there in the room with us. They’re real—in my head. I find I make lots of new friends in my characters and seeing them doing things in my books makes me feel good.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

I am writing the second book in my Witch Cozy series: Say the Word, A Bookshop to Die In. I am also starting a new endeavor: podcasting. I just ordered the equipment today and am excited to get started with it, both for myself and for a client.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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