Shaz’s Stars – Welcome to the regular feature on ‘The Buzz’ of Shaz’s Stars!
Using sun sign astrology I will be interviewing loveahappyending.com Authors to see how the traits of their sun sign affect their craft.
Authors will share with us how they’ve used positive characteristics as well as advice on how they’ve overcome negative ones.
I hope you enjoy getting to know our new Authors as much as I’ve enjoyed interviewing them.
Twitter @shazjera: http://bit.ly/m4lPE2
In the hot seat today I would like to welcome: JANICE HORTON
Hello Janice, thank you for letting us have a peek behind the scenes. Your sun sign is PISCES.
Q. The 9 -5 life does not suit a Pisces due to a dislike of discipline and confinement so your chosen career suits you well. When did you decide to become a writer and did you have anyone to support you?
I didn’t actually decide to be a writer – I was born with a vivid imagination and so it sort of chose me. I’m very aware of my Piscean trait to swim about freely and I’d dearly love to be able to write all day every day in a place of my choosing. Unfortunately, my reward from writing hasn’t yet made me sufficiently financially independent, so like lots of other writers today with responsibilities, I’ve had to struggle with the discipline of turning up to my ‘day jobs’ which I like to think of in terms of being valuable research for my next book.
Q. Pisceans are said to like music. Do you have any playing in the background while you write? What inspires you?
I love music and have eclectic tastes depending on my mood, although, I don’t like any sound around me when I’m writing. If I need to ‘switch off’ and clear my head I lie down, close my eyes, and listen to relaxing music on my iPod. A quick look at my playlist and I can tell you lately it’s been Jack Johnson, Sade, and even Pavarotti. When I feel like I need to loosen up, I put Santana on my sound system really loud and I dance. My favourite track to dance to is Santana’s ‘Smooth’. I can really lose myself in that one!
Q. Apart from Pisces being a water sign linked to creativity, Pisceans are also well known for being impractical and dreamy. How does this translate for you into having to be organised to meet a deadline?
I am certainly dreamy but I can keep a deadline. Problems arise when I have too many deadlines. I must have a practical streak in me somewhere because I constantly have to prioritise tasks to keep on top of things.
(Ed’s note: Janice probably has an Earth Ascendant or Moon sign, keep watching for further interviews using Ascendant/Moon signs)
Q. Personal experiences make great reads when written into a story. Pisceans do not like to reveal their private lives. Does it make you feel uncomfortable expressing anything that has affected you personally in your novels?
I express personal feelings in my writing all of the time by tapping into my own life experiences. Doing so gives me empathy with my characters and can influence how they might behave in certain circumstances – but I have never written about personal experiences. My storylines are fictional and for me that’s the fun of writing – I can make it all up!
Q. Pisceans are kind and compassionate and respond with sensitivity. Do any of your characters display these traits?
I like to think I am kind and sensitive but you know, when I need to be, I can also be quite tough. I believe the two fish symbol for Pisces also represents a two sided nature. In my novel, Bagpipes & Bullshot, the two main characters, Orley and Innes, both possess sensitivity and strength. It’s important to show vulnerability in a character as well as gusto, as it not only brings them to life on the page, it also makes for a satisfying story.
Q. Pisces is a spiritual sign – does it feel as if ideas sometimes come from no-where, as if they’ve dropped out of the ether?
I love it when that happens. It happens to most writers I know regardless of their astrological sign – some call it their ‘muse’ – I call it my ‘mojo’. Some days it is nowhere to be seen and the writing is a struggle. Then it will turn up unannounced and the story seems to write itself. It’s like magic!
Q. A negative trait for a Piscean is a strong dislike of being criticised. How do you feel about constructive criticism?
A personal criticism would hurt me deeply. I would ‘dwell’ on being upset and then I would feel angry and dismissive – as a way of protecting myself. However, constructive criticism is entirely different. I actively welcome it and feel lucky to receive it, especially if it comes from someone I trust and admire. I am fortunate to have a highly respected author as a writing mentor. She is always there to support me if I need her and offers valuable constructive advice when I feel unsure or negative about my writing.
Q. When Pisces find the right situations, they are completely engaged in what they are doing to the exclusion of all else. This translates into a workaholic! How do you deal with this trait? Do you set yourself a schedule for your writing?
I have three children, a husband, a home, lots of lovely friends, several part time jobs, and I like to get involved with lots of different writing projects – and there is no schedule – only priorities. It goes without saying that my writing is usually relegated to the bottom of the list but every now and again I make sure to give it priority. Luckily, my loved ones understand how important it is to me and that writing makes me happy.
Q. Pisces love style, luxury and pleasure. Do you include these in your settings?
Oh yes, I love to live well – and I like my characters to live well too – but I usually make them earn it! I suppose it comes from the belief that luxury and pleasure is all the sweeter if it is well deserved.
Q. When Pisces feel rejected they really do become low. In the publishing world, rejection is a well-known part of that life. How do you cope with rejection? Do you have any strategies to share with other authors?
Well, I’m a slippery fish when it comes to rejection, as somehow I’ve managed to avoid it. My first novel was published in paperback by the first publisher I sent it to from the Writer’s Handbook. Unusual, I know. Unfortunately, I’d just finished writing my second book when the publisher went out of business. So, having become eligible to join the Romantic Novelist’s Association, I sent the second manuscript to an Agent I met at a conference, who immediately asked for the full novel. The Agent read it and got back to me to say she was ‘tempted to take things further’ except that she didn’t normally handle the sort of dark humour I had written (Bagpipes & Bullshot) and so wouldn’t really know where to place it. As I both trusted and respected this Agent, I accepted that it might be a difficult novel to place and decided to have a go at publishing it myself, and that is how I have somehow managed to get to this stage of my writing career without ever having had a rejection. Unusual, I know!
About the Author: Janice Horton lives in Scotland and writes entertaining and humorous contemporary women’s fiction novels which are, for the most part, inspired by the romantic beauty of the heather-filled glens around her country cottage. When she’s not writing novels she writes lifestyle articles and has had work published in national magazines and regional newspapers. She’s also been involved in BBC Scotland’s ‘Write Here Write Now’ project.
Find out more about Janice at:-
Author Page: http://loveahappyending.com/janice-horton/
Author’s Blog: http://bit.ly/iLdONW
Author’s Website: http://www.janicehorton.co.uk
Twitter Account @JaniceHorton: http://bit.ly/iS4x9w