Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Interview and E-Book Giveaway With Janet Sketchley

by Jeff Reynolds


Ladies and gentlemen, today's interview is with Janet Sketchley. She'll be giving away an e-book copy of her debut novel (and also her latest release) Heaven's Prey. More about that later.

Jeff Reynolds:  Welcome to Sleuths and Suspects, Janet. I'd like to ask first about your testimony and your family.

Janet Sketchley: Thanks, Jeff, I'm glad to be here. I've read some fun interviews at Sleuths and Suspects. Hmm...

Faith: I'm thankful to have been raised in a Christian home and that God gave me a believing heart at a young age. It doesn't mean I haven't struggled, but Jesus has kept me out of a heap of trouble that I'd otherwise have created. The tenacity of God is one of my themes in writing, because it's something I've experienced in my own life.

Family: My husband and three sons are wonderful men who add warmth, encouragement and laughter to my life. Everyone's still at home, but our sons may all leave the nest within the next year. Major adjustment!  

JR:  Your debut novel has just come out. Would you like to tell us about Heaven's Prey? (I'm in complete suspense on how you'll answer that question -- any chances of you saying "no" to that one? LOL)

JS:  (Smiling) Why, this question is a complete shock, Jeff. What can I say? Despite her husband’s objections, 40-something Ruth Warner finds healing through prayer for Harry Silver, the serial killer who brutally raped and murdered her niece. When a kidnapping-gone-wrong pegs her as his next victim, Harry claims that by destroying the one person who’d pray for him, he proves God can’t—or won’t—look after His own. Can Ruth’s faith sustain her to the end—whatever the cost?
JR:  One thing that made an impression about your book, released Nov. 1, 2013, is that the Amazon page mentioned it received a third place finish in Risen Book's 2011 contest and was on the short list for the 2008 best new Canadian author award. Considering these awards were accomplished years before its release, it sounds like getting this published has been a journey. What was the process like?

JS:  Long! These and a few other "so close" moments began to feel like all I'd ever find. Heaven's Prey needed the right timing and the right publisher, and I needed to learn a lot about crafting a novel. Truth told, I got so used to "no" that I wasn't sure what to do with a "yes" when it came.

JR:  The accolades I mentioned in the previous question weren't the first for a book you've been involved with. You also have a true story published in A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider, which won the 2012 Christian Small Publishers Gift Book Award Winner and also received six 2012 The Word Awards and seven Awards of Merit. Would you like to tell us about your contribution there?

JS:  I loved being part of A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider. The 37 authors worked as a team, and we learned from one another. My story, "The Road Trip that Wasn't," shares how God showed Himself faithful when my car died on a remote stretch of highway—when I had three young kids and no cell phone.

JR:  Another outlet of your writing is reviews, including some by authors I've interviewed on this blog (Kerry Nietz, Sandra Orchard, Jayne Self, and Lynette Eason, for example.) What advice would you give to writing a review? And how has your review writing (both fiction and non-fiction) helped with your fiction writing?

JS:  Main piece of advice: never give spoilers. Introduce readers to the book, give your impressions of what worked and what didn't, and let readers know where they can find the book/author. If the book is outside of what you usually review, make sure readers are aware of the difference in case their tastes aren't as broad. (eg. I mention any language issues if reviewing a mainstream book, since my readers are used to me reviewing Christian books)

The biggest thing review-writing has done for my own fiction is to help me pick out the key details for a plot summary. It also gives me practice looking at the overall book structure instead of getting bogged down in the details.   

JR:  You've written an excellent guest blog on praying for others ( I don't know if you keep up with what's going on down here in the United States, but what trends in Canada prompt the greatest prayer? Any other comments on intercession?

JS:  Cyber-bullying and teen suicide. Abuse and violent crime. The need for integrity and wisdom in leadership. Right now, typhoon devastation in the Philippines. I could go on. In interceding for such high-level needs, we need to be careful to bring them to God and leave them in His hands. If we start carrying them ourselves, we'll break. We don't have the power, and often we don't even have the words, but we know our God does. And we know He cares. A key part of my prayers for such big needs is that in some way He will reveal Himself to the ones in pain, that they'll see His love and the difference He's making.

JR:  Back to your reviews -- I noticed two of the contemporary fiction works you reviewed have "Dog" in the title. Is that a hint that I'm interviewing an animal lover?

JS:  It's actually a coincidence, but I'm very fond of animals. We have a pet-free house due to allergies, so I have to visit friends for my animal fix. I'd love to have a cat, but I'd rather keep my husband. :)

JR:  Thank you for your time. Could you pass along your website and any other information you'd like us to know that I haven't mentioned?

JS:  Jeff, thank you for putting so much thought and research into preparing these questions. I hope your readers realize the effort that goes into making an interview like this. My website is I guess I should say, Heaven's Prey is book 1 in the Redemption's Edge series, and book 2 will release in 2014. Thank you again for having me here at Sleuths and Suspects.

Jeff to the reader: Now it's time to give away an e-book copy of Heaven's Prey. Here are the simple rules:

  1. Leave a comment, as usual.
  2. Include your e-mail address -- again, as usual. 
  3. Janet mentioned using the news as a prompt to intercede for others. What news stories have led you to prayer?


  1. Thanks for the chance to chat with you at Sleuths and Suspects, Jeff!

  2. Great interview. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.
    I was prompted to pray for a woman whose daughters died within the span of a few weeks.

    1. Heidi, it's so good to know that even if we don't have personal contact with people like this grieving woman, we can make a difference with our prayers.

  3. Enjoyed this interview.
    I have prayed for typhoon, hurricane, tornado, fire, flood, earthquake and war victims. Victims of random acts of violence. Murderers, lost people, politicians - I pretty much pray through the news if I watch it. Sometimes praying has also prompted actions like giving tangible items or monetary, attending an information meeting so I can understand and write about a topic.

    1. Sheila, that's one way our prayers for others change us -- sometimes they make a way for us to get involved. And they always invite God into the situation.

  4. Jeff, your interviews are always done with excellence. Your questions are thoughtful and well researched. I'm impressed! Janet, I pray all the time about everything. I can't imagine a life without prayer and the ability to talk to God throughout my day. I love that He listens. How wonderful He is!

    1. Karla, I agree about Jeff's interviews. And yes, the gift to pray without ceasing is a wonderful blessing!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Just checking to make sure, Karla -- you didn't include the e-mail with the comment so I'm making sure you wanted to be in the giveaway.

  5. I'm not going to leave my e-mail because I think it might look a little fishy if the interviewer won the drawing, but I do want to answer the question. There are people I've felt led to pray for, sometimes celebrities. One person I feel led to pray for is documentary maker Micheal Moore. It will be interesting to see what happens with the people I'm praying for. I'll mention one other, because to me it's a sad case -- I had been praying for former Beatle George Harrison for years before he passed away, and if my prayers resulted in him coming to the Lord, I'd be very pleasantly surprised.

    1. I thought I replied, Jeff, but I guess it didn't take. I sometimes find myself praying for celebrities too, because they have so much temptation coming at them. In this life you won't know the difference these prayers have made... may you indeed be "pleasantly surprised".

  6. Nice interview. Thanks for pointing out that writing the book is only one step in getting published. It can be a long road. If the daily news about our country doesn't compel us to pray, I don't know what will.


    1. Wes, sometimes the news can be overwhelming, can't it? I find I need to know enough to pray, but not enough to drown me. I'm glad God hears our prayers.

  7. Great post. Enjoyed meeting Janet. I pray for many things I see on the news. Families of murdered victims, earthquake, tornado, flooding...the list is long. pat at ptbradley dot com