Get To Know Me (Pitch Wars #BoostMyBio Blog Hop)

A/N: #BoostMyBio is an optional blog hop hosted by Audra (Auggie) Atoche.  It’s offered as an unofficial part of Pitch Wars, a writing mentorship program/contest with a vibrant online community found on Twitter under the hashtags #PitchWars, #PWPoePrompts, and #BoostMyBio.  You don’t have to be entering Pitch Wars to join this blog hop, so if interested, follow these instructions.

About Me

My name is Janna and I’m a writer of adult historical fiction living in Vancouver, BC on the west coast of Canada.

I am new to the #PitchWars community and have already had a great experience meeting other hopefuls online, learning how to write a synopsis(!), and getting my manuscript revised and ready for the main event in August(!!).

Some random facts about me:

  • I’ve lived in four of Canada’s six different time zones, including Newfoundland Time (that’s half an hour earlier than Atlantic Time)
  • I’m currently on my fourth professional career.  In the past I’ve worked as a park warden in Canada’s national parks service, an ecosystem scientist, and an outdoor environmental educator.  Currently I have two jobs within the same organization, one as a coordinator for youth programming and the other in corporate strategies, research, and performance measures (don’t worry—my mom doesn’t know what that means either)
  • My first career

    I’m a cycle commuter and get almost everywhere I need to go around Vancouver on my beloved bicycle

  • I was Sorted into Ravenclaw, but I have some definite Slytherin tendencies as well.  Like the famous Boy Who Lived, I once spoke to a snake (or rather it spoke to me; it gave me philosophical advice)
  • I hate dark chocolate and all types of melon (sorry, not sorry)
  • I’ve been writing seriously since 2002 and celebrate my writing birthday (the day I adopted a professional attitude toward my writing in support of future publication) every February 10 (or February 12 because I sometimes get the days mixed up)
  • My first novel was a 900-page incomplete(!) fantasy novel that will never see the light of day
  • I am my own most frequently emailed contact at work because I constantly send myself ideas and snippets for my WIP for fear of forgetting them (no awkward visits from the IT department as yet)
  • Definite Slytherin tendencies

    I think about my WIP pretty much all the time, even when I’m trying to focus on other things.  I once asked a famous author who I’ve idolized for years if the same is true for her, and she said it is!

  • I don’t usually use this many exclamation marks (my cousin Sam*, who does some freelance writing, says that in journalism circles, you get one exclamation mark per lifetime).

Things I Love

My favourite genres of fiction tend toward either speculative or historical.

Books:

  • Kushiel’s Legacy series—Jacqueline Carey (my author-idol who told me she thinks about writing all the time too)
  • Sevenwaters series—Juliet Marillier
  • Firethorn and Wildfire—Sarah Micklem (please, Sarah, finish this series!)
  • An Ember in the Ashes series—Sabaa Tahir
  • Captive Prince trilogy—C.S. Pacat
  • Uprooted—Naomi Novik
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses series—Sarah J. Maas
  • Anything by Philippa Gregory
  • Wolf Hall—Hilary Mantel
  • Pillars of the Earth—Ken Follett
  • The Book of Negros—Lawrence Hill**
  • The Shipping News—Annie Proulx
  • The Song of Achilles—Madeline Miller
  • The Cormoran Strike mysteries—Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling
  • The Dictionary (I’m a writer; how could I not?)

TV:

  • Xena Warrior Princess
  • The 100
  • Jane the Virgin
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Game of Thrones
  • Galavant
  • How to Get Away With Murder
  • Star Trek (all of them except Enterprise, which I haven’t watched yet)
  • Sherlock
  • Firefly

Other interests:

My bike is inseparable from me, just like my shadow.

Aside from reading, which is a given:

  • Going to the gym
  • Riding my bike
  • Hiking and backpacking
  • Listening to music
  • Singing (especially in the car)
  • Gardening
  • Vegetarian cooking
  • Nature photography
  • Making greeting cards
  • Second-hand shopping
  • Surfing Twitter
  • Thinking I’ll someday pick up my guitar again

About My Writing

My novel:

The plot:

In 13th century England, a low-ranked lady with shrewd political and household management skills takes a secret job with a baron helping smooth his succession as a means of escaping her abusive father and securing a husband.

~

When I was in high school, I took an ancient history class, where I completed an independent study for my final term paper.  The topic I chose was the role of women in medieval society, which I learned was surprisingly complex and is often underrepresented in mainstream history curricula and mainstream media.

Since then, I knew I wanted to write a story that demonstrates some of these roles—a story about a protagonist who struggles with the undeniable oppression of women during the medieval era, yet is able to address her problems through feminine strength, resilience, and attitudes and skills appropriate to the time period.

The Hostage by Edmund Leighton

I haven’t gotten around to making an aesthetics board for my novel yet, but I’ve drawn inspiration from this painting by Edmund Leighton (1852-1922) called The Hostage.  In particular, the woman in the background who is the most modestly dressed, with her head covered.  The one staring directly at the viewer.

My writing process:

My revision progress over multiple drafts (some occurring simultaneously!) There is actually a logic to this chaos.

I’m a real workhorse when it comes to my writing, putting in six days a week for set durations of time.  Consistency, discipline, and multiple drafts are my greatest writing tools (as is unplugging my modem while I’m working).

I’m a plotter (although I have a theory about the underlying similarity of plotting vs. pantsing), but I’ve been known to go through some major pantsing stints as well.

I run my own critique group of local writers—as well as a separate writers’ social meetup group—and like to form a clear plan for tackling revisions.  I also keep close track of my revision progress.

Me as a mentee:

Another picture of me handling a snake. A couple of my past careers used to see me doing so quite a bit.

If any Pitch Wars mentor feels drawn to my novel and thinks they might want to work with me, I would be thrilled to receive your suggestions on how to make my story stronger.  I’m a great communicator and will have lots to say to ensure I fully grasp your notes.

From there, I generally like to put my head down and just go at it on my own when it comes to revisions, unless I have additional questions.  If you point me in the right direction, I’ll make a run for it!

I’m open to anything and ready to work, both on my novel and on making the experience positive for both of us.

I am keen to connect with other writers as well, so feel free to leave a comment, subscribe (I add new posts every Monday), or find me on Twitter at @jgnoelle.

~

*Sam is not my real cousin

**I once saw Lawrence Hill on a plane—one of those huge skyliners with two aisles—but didn’t get to talk to him because he was in the opposite aisle that I was, and I literally could not find a way to get to him short of climbing over half a dozen people

Read other #BoostMyBio posts

(Images #1-4, #7, and #8 – J.G. Noelle; #5, #6)

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14 thoughts on “Get To Know Me (Pitch Wars #BoostMyBio Blog Hop)

  1. Very nice – and what is it about outdoors people that drives them to writing? I know some other committed outdoorsy types who write. Breathe some clean air for me – I don’t get out much, and all my houseplants are now dead or gone in preparation for a move to the opposite side of the country. Some I’d had longer than my kids, but the painter/stagers somehow let them get mildew while we weren’t here, and they were not salvageable. Daughter took her cacti – possibly they survived.

    Best wishes on finding support and connections.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Alicia. I’ll definitely take some deep breaths for you; next week I’ll be breathing eastern air for a while. That is sad about your houseplants; they become like members of the family after a while. My dieffenbachia and pothos are both too large to move, so while I’m away, I recruited a friend to come water them for me – and she lives some distance from me. That’s a good friend.

      Like

  2. Hi Janna!
    I tend to use ! a lot when communicating online with people for some reason.
    Your careers with the environment are similar to my background, so I imagine the experiences give you a lot to incorporate into your writing. I’m going to check out some of the books on your list as I haven’t heard of some of them, so thank you for the recommendations! I love that you have a writing birthday! I’m not sure what mine is, but I know it was in 2007 when we moved to Vancouver Island and being there made me realize I wanted to be what I always said I wanted to be since I was a little girl 🙂 Good luck with Pitch Wars!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t even know for certain the day of my writing birthday. It’s just my closest guess based on an email I sent to a friend years ago celebrating the first 100 pages of the novel I was writing the time. The actual date is less important to me (as evidenced by the fact that I’ve inadvertently used both Feb. 10 and Feb. 12) than what it symbolizes. So you can choose your own writing birthday too if you want. 🙂 Vancouver Island seems like a very nice place to be a writer. Good luck to you too!

      Like

  3. Xena, Star Trek, and Sherlock. YAS *high five* – Also 900 pages?! That’s some dedication! And never say never! Maybe someday you’ll pull that sucker back off the shelf.

    I love that you send yourself e-mails with your thoughts/ideas, because I do that with text messages.

    Good luck in PW this year!

    Liked by 1 person

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