June 4, 2015

I'm thrilled to have Jana Busenitz on the blog today! She is the co-founder of A Time 2 Write, an amazing writer and one of my dearest friends (oh, and she also married my uncle and so now we're related). Enjoy the conversation specifically highlighting her novel Faith in the Fury, a darling action story that teens love. Faith in the Fury will be available for purchase this weekend (June 5-6) at the CHOIS Convention, or anytime on amazon.

Tell us three interesting facts about yourself.
 I fell in love with the man of my dreams next to a stone well in Mexico, I am allergic to sunscreen, and I earned my bachelor’s degree in 14 and a half months (trust me, I am no genius – you should see me try to do basic math in my head. And let’s not even talk about how long I have to stare at a clock before I can tell the time!)

How long have you been writing and how did you get started?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember, but Faith in the Fury is the reason I am a writer today. Everything I had written before was short enough that I could write it down on a piece of paper. I was a homeschooling kid growing up in the 90s, and learning how to type wasn’t a priority back then. But I was itching to tell my story, so I taught myself to type by writing Faith in the Fury when I was just 13 years old.

Where did you get the idea for your novel Faith in the Fury?
 I think the best stories often come from real life. I was 12 when my grandparents’ home was destroyed by a massive tornado. Something like that really captures the imagination of a 12 year old. I had also read a book about some kids in a tornado around the same time, and I remember thinking after finishing the book, “I can write better than that.” So I imagined what it would be like if it had been me and my siblings in the story instead of my grandparents, and Faith in the Fury was the result. 

What motivates you to write, both on days you feel like it, and days you don’t?
Writing well is such hard work, so it might sound funny when I say that writing is one of the things I like to do to relax! Writing helps me decompress, to work things out that I can’t figure out about life. The idea that I might be able to make even one person laugh or feel encouraged or grow by what I have written motivates me to keep going when I don’t feel like it. Having that purpose of being able to share what I have written also helps me to strive for excellence in my writing, and to not just write for my own enjoyment, but to actually finish my projects! When I do get stuck, I always tell myself, “You can’t edit a blank page!” Giving myself the freedom to not have to write perfectly takes the pressure off of me, and often allows me to get the bare bones of a scene or article down. It’s always so fulfilling to see progress even on days I didn’t think I had it in me. 

Can you give us a teaser for Faith in the Fury?
  The tremendous roar seemed to shake the world, exploding destruction all around the terrified children. A piercing, screaming sound mixed with the deafening roar.  Other sounds mixed with the screaming roar, but Abby couldn’t make sense of any of the thuds or crashes until she heard a long, screechy rip, like a long nail being pulled from a board, and she thought numbly, there goes the roof. She could feel dust and debris whirling all around her, and Abby expected something to slam into her body any second. Her long red hair was swirled tightly around her head. 
   And then to her horror, Abby could feel the wind sucking Sarah from her tight grasp. Abby knew at that moment she was struggling for her sister’s life.

What message do you hope readers take away from Faith in the Fury?
At one point I almost trashed Faith in the Fury. I had the plot all written and a bunch of exciting stuff happened, but I didn’t like it. I didn’t like it because the story had no purpose. I took a step back and thought about what I wanted to share with people who read Faith in the Fury. It’s a simple lesson, but one I am still learning today – God is always with us and He can be trusted, no matter what storms life brings our way.

What is a piece of advice that you would give writers between the ages of 16-19?
It’s a trite old saying, but it’s also really good advice – write what you know. What fills you with passion and purpose? It’s not that you should never research for a story (confession, I love researching for stories!) But writing about what you are interested in or excited about is a great way to hone your craft. If you feel like you don’t “know” much, quit staring at that blank computer screen and go live life. Real life is the best story ever. Train your eyes and ears to see and hear the extraordinary in the ordinary. Meet new people. Listen to their stories. Have new experiences. Develop new skills. Be as well-rounded of a person as you can be, and when you come back to that blinking cursor, you may just find yourself with a story to tell.

Thanks for having me! 

Jana Busenitz is the author of Faith in the Fury and co-author of the book Charlotte's Hope. She was an A Time 2 Write coach until mommyhood stole her heart. Her passion is to glorify God in everything she does. Her favorite things include spending time with her family, traveling, being barefoot, and eating 85% dark chocolate at least once a day.


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