Today I’m thrilled to welcome historical fiction author Janet Grunst to the Sparkling Vintage Life blog! Janet’s novels, A Heart Set Free and A Heart for Freedom, are set in 1700s America. Now she’s contributed a heart-melting novella called “The Year Without Summer” to the historical romance collection The Highlanders (coming November 15; now available for preorder). Recently I was blessed to have a conversation with Janet about this intriguing story. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and join us for a chat!
JLL: First the basics. Where are you from, who’s in your family, and all that good stuff?
JG: I was the daughter of a career Naval officer and later married to one, so moving was a way of life. While I was born in CA and resided all over that state at various times, I’ve been blessed to live in numerous other places. Virginia has been home for many years, the last thirteen in Williamsburg. I’m a wife, mom of two sons who serve in the military, and a grandmother of eight including one set of quads.
JLL: Tell us briefly about your writing journey and how you got started as an author.
JG: In the late ’70s, I became a stay-at-home-mom. Before long I had two columns in local papers and I began exploring writing fiction. A history buff my whole life, a pre-Revolutionary War era story was germinating in my head. Writing it was such a learning experience, not just about the craft, but about myself. After a few years of unsuccessfully trying to get it published, I had to return to full-time employment and raise my sons on my own. Dreams of writing were shelved for many years. I eventually remarried and my husband encouraged me to continue writing but the industry had vastly changed including the world of the internet. That first story, A Heart Set Free, was finally published thirty-one years after it was first written. The second book in the series, A Heart For Freedom, was published two years later.
JLL: What inspired you to write “The Year Without Summer”?
JG: I set the story in the villages in the Scottish Highlands and in northern Ireland where some of my ancestors lived.
JLL: Why did you choose to set your story in 1816?
JG: History is fascinating. At times national crises and life-changing, incidents are the result of other seemingly unrelated events. This story came together because of such inciting circumstances.
JLL: Tell us about your research process for your story.
JG: Like most folks who write historical fiction, research is half the fun. Some times the biggest challenge is to halt the research and get back to writing. ;-}
JLL: Are there any particular challenges you’re facing in your writing life?
JG: Since I’m a seat of the pants writer it can be a bit nerve-wracking to wait and see where the characters decide to take me.
JLL: How do you stay spiritually grounded as you write?
JG: I have morning and evening quiet times as well as being involved in Community Bible Study which keeps me in the Word every day.
JLL: What reading material is next to your favorite reading spot?
JG: I usually have another writer’s book to read and review.
JLL: Any can’t-miss movies, TV series, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, etc., that you’d recommend?
JG: I love British dramas.
JLL: What’s the next project coming up from Janet Grunst?
JG: I’m eager for the editing process of the third and final book in the Revolutionary War series. I’m also in the process of research for another story.
JLL: That’s it! Thanks, Janet!
JG: Thank you so much, Jenny, for the visit.
Janet is a wife, mother of two sons, and grandmother of eight who lives in the historic triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown) with her husband. Her debut novel, A Heart Set Free was a Selah Award winner for Historical Romance. A Heart For Freedom was a Christian Indie Award winner. A lifelong student of history, her love of writing fiction grew out of a desire to share stories that communicate the truths of the Christian faith, as well as entertain, bring inspiration, and encouragement to the reader. She’s a contributor to Colonial Quills. Learn more about Janet and her books by visiting her website. You’ll also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.