- What was your motivation or inspiration for writing “The Seasonaires”?
I had gotten wind of this new phenomenon: brand ambassadors who get handsomely paid to go to beautiful places around the world and promote everything from clothing to liquor to sneakers. Their job is to live an aspirational life – party, enjoy the scenery and in the case of clothing lines, wear great outfits. A huge part of the job involves posting for throngs of followers on social media. I was fascinated by this curated life that becomes very public. The brand ambassador venue was a jumping off point for a suspenseful story in which a perfect world goes off the rails. All my characters present themselves in a certain way, but they are not who they seem to be. The inherent contrasts were compelling to me, and I also saw a juicy way in to a murder mystery.
- What are your goals for the reader to take away after reading your novel?
First and foremost, I hope it’s entertaining. It’s a summer book that invites the reader to escape during an afternoon on the beach or by the pool. But I also wanted to explore the concept of “a perfect picture” like those often posted on social media – filtered and manipulated. There is usually messiness underneath a facade of perfection – dark beneath the light. This messiness is not always terrible (though it does get out of hand in my novel) – it’s what often unifies us, despite our differences. I’ve embraced my own internal messiness, which helps inform my writing. The novel looks at social media – the good and the not-so-good. Social media can be a source of competition. It can be a venue to vent in a way that’s hurtful. But it’s also a powerful way to connect and express creativity, thoughts and opinions.
- What is a typical day in your life as a writer?
It changed a lot this past year when my second child went off to college. I spent 20-something years as a freelance writer/mom, alternating between writing and caring for my kids. I would write wherever I could – waiting in the carpool line at school or during karate class. Now, with both kids out of the house (sob!), I wake up around 6:30 a.m. and try to work out before I do anything else. I need to sweat for my mental health as much as my physical health. Then, with coffee in hand, I plop my rear in my desk chair, put my head down and write. When my husband returns home at night, he often says that he finds me in the same place he left me. I do love collaborative meetings and projects, but I spend a lot of solitary time working. I am really in heaven when I’m writing.
- What are things you like to do in your downtime?(Hobbies)
I take hikes with one of my rescue pups. The other is a bulldog who stops in her tracks when I try to get her to go farther than our front lawn. My husband and I go on drives – he’s a total gearhead, and I have a light blue 1967 VW Beetle named Dayzee (her name when she was passed on to me). When I tool around in her, my mood always skyrockets! I am also a huge music fanatic – everything from classic rock to rap to old blues and guilty pleasure-pop. I’m an avid reader – I’m fond of memoirs and biographies, in addition to fiction. My new goal is to be a better gardener! I have a notoriously brown thumb, but I’ve been encouraged to give it another go.
- How do you keep a balance in your life as an author?
Since I work out of my house, it’s hard to “put the job down.” I get a little obsessive when I’m writing. But I adore my family. I live to Skype with my kids at night and I need to hang out with my friends. As a writer, it’s easy to become a hermit, so I have to make a conscious effort to get out there. I volunteer at 826LA, a fantastic organization that offers tutoring and writing workshops for kids 6-18. Taking time for myself is a challenge, but I’m learning it’s okay to breathe and do some pampering “self-care” things sometimes.
- Can you tell us something of what you are writing now?(or future)
I write for some children’s animated TV series, which is a blast. I’m pondering new books and working on some original TV concepts – movies and series. I just finished producing a short animated film with my daughter, who wrote it. I like to exercise other creative muscles – producing and directing. I’m also co-founder of The Broad Life (www.thebroad.life), where women share their stories and experiences.
7.How would you like readers to connect with you?
I’m so grateful to connect with readers and book bloggers like you! I’m on Instagram as jannakingk, Twitter as amiwritejk and as Janna King on Facebook. I have an author website: janna-king.com, and can also be found on Goodreads. I hope people say “hello.” What are we if we don’t have each other, right?
Armed with a BA in English from UCLA and an MA in Film/TV from LMU, Janna King began her career with a job as a movie studio receptionist. She went on to become an assistant for TV executives and producers, reading much material, which in turn, prompted much writing. Her spec scripts garnered work on various one-hour dramas.
When her two children were born, she turned her focus to kids’ animation, but kept one foot in the “grown-up” live action world. Her produced credits include TV movies for Lifetime and The Hallmark Channel, series for Sony, Spelling, and more, and in children’s entertainment, Disney Junior, Warner Bros. Animation, and Children’s Television Workshop.
Janna segued into directing with her original short film, “Mourning Glory,” based on her feature script of the same name. The short was an official selection at several film festivals. She is following up her second short film, “The Break Up” by producing the animated short, “Willow,” written and co-produced by her daughter, Izzy Kalichman.
In theater, her first one-act play, “Double Date” was performed at The L.A. Renegade Theatre’s One Act Festival 2014. At Renegade, she also directed her original plays, “Boners & Other Stupid Mistakes” and “The Bluff.”
She is a freelance journalist and blogger, co-founding the website, The Broad Life.
Her debut novel, The Seasonaires, will be released May 2018 from Pegasus Books.
Janna lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two rescue pooches.