Janet Sketchley is an Atlantic Canadian writer whose Redemption’s Edge Christian suspense novels have each been finalists in The Word Awards. Janet blogs about faith and books. She loves Jesus and her family, and enjoys reading, worship music, and tea.
How do you connect with your characters?
Janet: I need to find a specific connection point with each one, something I can understand or relate to even if the character is totally opposite to me. Without this emotional link, the character isn’t real in my mind. Sometimes it takes a lot of pondering, and other times it just happens.
In Without Proof, the character of Aunt Bay caught my attention when I “heard” her introducing herself to the heroine. I liked her so much, I put her in the story instead of another character. For the key players, I look to discover the lie they believe about themselves or the world around them. It gives me insight and sympathy for how they act and react, and it adds another layer to the plot as I try to bring them to a healthier place.
Have you ever regretted killing off a character? Why?
Janet: I didn’t plan it this way, but each of my novels are affected by characters who died before the stories open. Of the few I’ve killed off within the pages, the one I regretted most was the villain’s father in Heaven’s Prey. He needed to know the Lord, and I felt like I was taking that opportunity away from him. (Since this is a romantic suspense blog, I should state that this book is suspense, not romantic suspense like my others.)
Would you include curse words in your work?
Janet: I actually work hard not to include curse words, even though a few characters would use them in real life. Some readers wouldn’t care, some (like me) would choose to ignore mild profanity, and some would be upset. To include only mild profanity would already be changing the language of certain characters, so I avoid the whole thing by either breaking them off in mid-sentence, saying “he swore,” or showing another character’s reaction to the first one’s words. I figure, if I don’t want to read it, I’m not going to write it.
Current book: Without Proof
An artist’s assistant suspects the plane crash that killed her fiancé was no accident, but anonymous warnings and threats are her only proof.