Talking Thrillers with Author Janis Thomas: Finding Grace

Janis Thomas
Author biography: Janis Thomas is the author of bestselling domestic suspense novels What Remains True and All That's Left of Me , as well as three critically acclaimed humorous women’s fiction novels, Something NewSweet Nothings, and Say Never. Janis is a popular workshop leader and speaker and a passionate writing advocate. When she isn’t writing or fulfilling her PTA duties, she loves to spend time with her family, sing with her sister, play tennis, and throw lavish dinner parties with outrageous menus. She lives in Southern California with her terrific husband, amazing teenagers, and two crazy dogs.

TFx: Your book shines a light on the relationship between a mother and daughter. Why chose to write about this and was it hard to write?

Janis: Mother-daughter relationships are complex, even those that are healthy and loving. I was fortunate enough to have an amazing relationship with my mother, so it was interesting for me to explore a mother-daughter bond fraught with dysfunction, untruths, resentment, and miscommunication. The difficulty for me was that writing about Grace and Louise made me miss my mother so much and brought back the grief of losing her.

TFx: What was the hardest scene to write in this book?

Janis: As a mother of a teenage daughter, it was difficult to write a scene of violence involving one of my main characters, a twelve-year-old girl. Compared with today’s horror movies and video games, this scene would be considered mild, but the gravity of the crime, and how close it hits to home when thinking about my own child and the dangers that lurk around her, I found myself deeply unsettled by where I had to go.

TFx: What was the most surprising thing you learned about yourself while writing? 

Janis: I used to be a ‘pantser,’ someone who just sits down at the computer and lets the words come. That was easier with my humorous women’s fiction. But with Finding Grace, because of the multiple POVs and timelines and locations, I couldn’t fly by the seat of my pants. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to write as a ‘planner,’ that somehow, I would be killing the magic by outlining, that I’d be so constrained by a plan, I might not be able to produce, let alone finish the book. I proved myself wrong and learned that I can ‘plan’ and ‘pants,’ and that for me, at my current stage of writing, the best thing for me is to do a bit of both.

TFx: Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Janis: I have always wanted to entertain people, to make them laugh, touch them in some way, provide them an escape. From early childhood, I used my imagination, making up stories and creating characters, from the scenes I acted out in my backyard to the imaginary friends to whom I spoke. So, I guess being a writer was meant to be! Although it took a long while, a lot of belief, and dogged determination to make the dream a reality. 

TFx: What are you reading now, and what good books have you read lately?

Janis: I just finished the fifth and last book in the Jane Hawk series by Dean Koontz. My sister has been urging me to read the series for a while, and she was right. They are fantastic! The Jane Hawk series is about bad people using biotech for mind, population, and political control, and Dean Koontz not only builds a captivating character and an engaging story, but he makes something seemingly outlandish sound terrifyingly feasible. 

TFx: What are you working on now?

Janis: I’m working on a suspense novel that involves dealing with grief, but not in a therapeutic way, rather in a slightly more technological way that may or may not be sinister. And that is all I can say because I’m only a third of the way through. Wish me luck!

Get Janis' latest release, Finding Grace, out now on Amazon.

Finding Grace

A young girl is in terrible danger … but can they reach her in time?

Somebody’s coming for you

California: Twelve-year-old Melanie has been in foster care her whole life, moving from home to home—unloved and unwanted. And although she has found relative contentment with her current foster parents, Melanie harbors a secret that, if discovered, would blow her world apart. Someone talks to Melanie, a presence no one else can see or hear, and this presence has a message for her: something bad is about to happen.

New York: After years of battling with her troubled, unpredictable mother, Louise has managed to find peace in her solitary existence. Until the day Grace crashes back into her life and entreats Louise to help her save a child from imminent danger. Unwilling to get caught up in her mother’s madness, Louise resists. But she realizes the only way to be rid of Grace once and for all is to play along.

Louise and Grace set off across America in search of Melanie, driven by Grace’s firm belief that they have to get there before the bad thing happens. To do that, Louise must first come to understand and trust her mother. But after a lifetime of pain and dysfunction, can the two finally heal old wounds in order to save one young girl?

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