Friday, October 20, 2017

A Chat With Author Janet McHenry-By Linda Kozar

Annie's Attic Antique Shop Mysteries
Author Janet McHenry

                           See below for today's giveaway!

All About Janet...After Janet graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in journalism, she married her high school sweetheart Craig and worked as a newspaper reporter and editor.  They eventually settled down in the Sierra Valley in northern California, where Craig is a rancher and where there is not a single stoplight in the entire county. In their town of 700+ folks, she says they have raised four pretty good children – all done with college and married – and are now enjoying the grandkids, all of whom are perfect. Visit the Family GalleryAs a busy writer, speaker, prayer coordinator at her church, and board member of The Sierra Schools Foundation, Janet says the only pastime she has time for is friends!  And she looks forward to knowing you better! Find her on Facebook or her Looking Up! blog.

1.    I read about the story behind what inspired you to write Prayer Walk. What is prayer walking? Prayer walking is praying for whatever God puts within your eyesight. I live right on Main Street in my little town in the Sierra Valley. So, as I walk past businesses, I pray that God will favor the owners and workers in their business and families and that they will know that blessing is coming from God and serve them with their lives. 

2.     What are your favorite elements of mystery and suspense? I love quirky characters with secretive pasts. It's fun bringing them into a story, each with means, motive, and opportunity--and then let the sleuth do the digging to better understand that person. I believe characters should always drive a story--even with the mystery form.

3.     Who is your favorite or most memorable character in one of your books? If you could, would you want to meet that character in real life? I really like Maggie Watson, the sleuth in the Antique Shop Mysteries, published by Annie's. She's a 40-some widow who inherits her Aunt Evelyn's estate on the Maine coast, complete with an antiques shop on the property. I love hunting for antiques, and I love the stories behind them. I can picture myself doing what she does in her stories.

4.    Do you incorporate settings in your books from your real-life travels? I did travel to the Maine coast before writing Bride and Seek, the mystery I wrote for the Antique Shop Mysteries series. I wanted to take in all the sights, sounds, and smells of the area. I particularly loved the small towns, the lighthouses, the beaches, and the fresh ocean air. 

5.    Tell us your favorite book signing or book launch story. For one of my books on prayer, the local newspaper in my small town hosted a signing for me. A friend bought a couple books and then said, "Oh, pray for 'John.'" This was a person I HAD been praying for for several years, so I said, "Wow! I have been. What's going on?" She said, "Well, he's been coming to church and reading the Bible all the way through." This good news truly touched my heart, because I knew he had had a troubled past. That he was now seeking a personal relationship with God was good news indeed. 

6.    What advice would you give to a beginning author? Go to a writers' conference--a good one of many days. It's the best investment I made in my writing career. In fact, I went to THREE of them the first year I sensed the call to write. At those conferences I began to understand the various forms of writing--both articles and books. I kept going to the Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference for at least 15 years. At those conferences you not only get professional instruction; you also get to rub shoulders with agents and editors and to get professional critique and help so you can get better as a writer. 

7.    Name one of your favorite classic books or authors.  This is a great question for a former high school English teacher! The quintessential American classic, I believe, is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. In fact, we should all read it again and again. It encourages us to put ourselves in other people's shoes before we judge them or think ourselves superior. The novel not only deals with racial prejudice, but also delves into social class discrimination, religious intolerance and hypocrisy, and sexual discrimination. A contemporary Christian novelist I'm especially enjoying right now, though, is Cynthia Ruchti. She weaves strong thematic ideas through her beautiful prose. I want to be like her when I grow up.  

8.    Tell us about the book you're giving away to one lucky reader on Suspense Sisters today. I will be delighted to mail a copy of The Secret of the Locked Trunk, the second in the Annie Shepard Mysteries that I wrote for Cook Publishing years ago. It's a fun little series for juvenile girls--sort of a Christian Nancy Drew read. 




  1. Boy, I'd love to read the :Secret of the Locked Trunk"! Sure sounds like a good book to me!

  2. Thank you for taking the time to answer all the questions. I would love to read Secret of the Locked Trunk.

  3. Enjoyed learning more about Janet. I love mysteries and look forward to reading yours!

  4. That would make a good gift for my granddaughter! My parents used to work for David C. Cook Publishing many many years ago! My mother was an editor long before my Dad headed the shipping department. Thanks for the giveaway.

  5. A great interview! The Secret of the Locked Trunk does remind me of a Nancy Drew book. It looks great!!


  6. Mysteries are a favorite and I'm thrilled that you wrote the Annie Shepard books for young adults. Janet, when I used to drive to work every morning I often prayed for the people along the way and I didn't realize that I was engaged in a "Prayer Drive". Thanks for a great post.

  7. Love the cover of Secret of the Lost Trunk!

  8. A lovely interview thank you.