Introducing Our Newest Member: Janice Hardy!

Janice HardyTo kick off this new year of 2014, we here at Pub(lishing) Crawl decided to introduce some fresh meat new perspectives to the blog. We’ve got not one but THREE new members to introduce to you to this week, and we’re kicking off today with the first.

Quickly: in case you missed the awesome guest post from Michelle Schusterman last Friday, go read it! There’s a giveaway…;)

And now, onto our first new, epic, amazing member. We are so thrilled to have her on our team—her writing advice is pretty much famous now and her outreach to aspiring writers is extensive and downright awe-inspiring.

Welcome, Janice Hardy!

For those of you who don’t know Janice, she is the author of the teen fantasy trilogy The Healing Wars, where she tapped into her own dark side to create a world where healing was dangerous, and those with the best intentions often made the worst choices. She also has a non-fiction book, Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure due out early in 2014.  (We can’t wait!)

You can find her writing advice and lessons on her blog, The Other Side of the Story, or you can visit her on her website or Twitter. She lives in Georgia with her husband, a yard zombie, three cats, and one very nervous freshwater eel.

I (Sooz) just have to say that highly recommend ALL of Janice’s incredible writing advice and her amazing fantasy series. You guys should seriously check out her books (good thing we have a giveaway goin’ on, right? *nudge, nudge*.)

Blue Fire

The Healing Wars Trilogy

Nya is a Shifter, someone who can heal by shifting pain from person to person.She’s hunted by those eager to exploit her ability for their own purposes, determined to make her a weapon, a killer, even a symbol for the war that’s brewing.

All Nya wants is to protect her family and regain her people’s freedom, but the more she’s drawn into the plans of others, the more she realizes how key to everyone’s victory she really is.

And how much she’ll have to sacrifice just to survive.

A fantasy adventure for ages 10 and up, The Healing Wars trilogy follows Nya, a war orphan with the unique ability to heal—or destroy—with her touch.

Fortunately for us, Janice was kind enough to do a little introductory interview—so that not only we (the bloggers of Pub Crawl) could get to know her better, but so YOU all could too.

When you started writing The Shifter, which came first for you: the characters or the plot? Or neither…?

The power, actually. Nya, the protagonist, has the ability to heal by shifting pain from person to person. That came to me first after seeing the original X-Men movie. One of the characters (Rogue, my favorite superhero) has a power where she accidentally steals another person’s power by touching them, and she has no control over it. I started wondering, “what if someone could do that with healing? Bump into a sick person and accidentally drain whatever was wrong with them?”

I had no idea who this person was yet, but the mechanics of the power fascinated me. It developed into a skill done on purpose, and then a form of healing magic with consequences—what if healing could be evil as well as good? Eventually I got the idea for people who bought and sold pain like a commodity, and it was right on into the world building to see how a society like this would function.

That’s when Nya showed up. I had the world, and it was time to put someone into it. But she was very two dimensional at the start until I figured out the plot, then I developed her more. So I guess I went world building→light character→plot→deep character. I always discover who my characters are during a first draft by putting them in terrible plot situations and seeing how they react.

Wow—that’s cool. I’m not sure I’ve heard an origin story like that before. I also love that you acknowledge your first draft was weak and that you learned as you wrote—I think that’s how it happens for most authors, and it’s nice to hear your story! Now, what’s a typical writing day for you?

I’m a morning person, so I write from around 7:30 to 11:30. Three to four hours is about as long as I can work in one stretch without getting burned out. I spend a few minutes looking at my working synopsis and sketch out what the next chapter will cover, quickly summarizing how I think it’ll go (things almost always change, but it’s a good jumpstart for the brain). I like to get a rough draft of a story down first, then edit, so I do very little editing during the drafting stage. I leave myself lots of notes though.

I did NaNoWriMo this past November for the first time, and discovered that I can also write in the evenings if it’s in front of the fire. I’m going to test this evening writing thing more this year and see if it continues even during the summer. Hmmm…maybe writing on the deck? That could work!

I take weekends off, because that’s when I do my blog posts for the upcoming week.

Okay, so we’re writing twinsies. I have a very similar method, and I definitely don’t do much (or any) editing in the drafting stage. So cool! So, when you’re not writing, I assume you read. 😉 What are you reading right now?

About the start The Girl in the Park by Mariah Fredericks. Just finished Gated by Amy Christine Parker (very good), Dare Me by Eric Devine (also good), and Hammered by Kevin Hearne (great series) last week. I was sick so I had lots of reading time (grin).

Ah, the one perk of being sick, I suppose. Do you have any words of advice or inspiration for aspiring authors?

No one gets it perfect on a first draft, so don’t worry if your novel “stinks” in the early stages. Sometimes we need to write a rough draft to get the story figured out, and then we can polish it to something we’re willing to share with strangers. Follow your instincts and do what serves the story. Once that’s right, then worry about the technical aspects. Craft matters of course, but it’s there to help you write a great story, not the end goal.

YES. Great, great, great advice—and very much how I create. Okay, last question—and it’s more of a command: Mix me a literary cocktail! What elements would you include in your ideal book?

Ooo! One part fun characters, one part unpredictable plot, a shot of wonder, and a twist of danger. I read across genres, but that’s what all my favorite novels contain.

Oh, nice. I love that “a shot of wonder” bit. It’s something I also love to see in any genre.

So there you have it, Dear Readers! That’s our first new member, Janice Hardy, and if you’re keen, you can enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a copy of one of her novels. The contest is open internationally, and you can have either a physical copy OR an e-version. It’s up to the winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now stay tuned because tomorrow, we have ANOTHER NEW MEMBER and another giveaway! HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!


62 Responses to Introducing Our Newest Member: Janice Hardy!

  1. Julie Jan 13 2014 at 7:49 am #

    Great interview Sooz! And WELCOME JANICE!!! So great to have you here! 🙂

    • Janice Hardy Jan 13 2014 at 9:16 am #

      Thanks so much! I’m so excited to be here. Looking forward to being part of the team.

  2. Megan Conway Jan 13 2014 at 8:16 am #

    I own THE SHIFTER and BLUE FIRE, but I’ve yet to read them (still waiting for the DARKFALL paperback so I can read them in one go). BUT BUT BUT I’ve been following Janice’s blog for over a year and it has helped me MUCHLY (I know, not a word, but it sounds cool), especially her Real Life Diagnostic section (which I’ll admit I have submitted to).

    So happy you’re joining PubCrawl, Janice, and can’t wait to see what you bring to this already fantastic group of people!

    • Janice Hardy Jan 13 2014 at 9:19 am #

      I like muchly, totally use it 🙂 So glad the blog has helped you with your writing. I love how the RLDs have developed over the years. Such a great group of submitters (like you!) and regular commenters.

      Sadly, my publisher isn’t doing a paperback of Darkfall, but on the upside,m the wait to read is over! The contest here is for the book of your choice, so it’s a great opportunity to win it.

    • Vanessa Di Gregorio Jan 14 2014 at 7:03 pm #

      Totally jumping in here to say READ THEM! They are SO GOOD! 😀

      • Janice Hardy Jan 16 2014 at 6:47 am #


  3. Amy Jan 13 2014 at 8:50 am #

    I don’t own any of the books. Welcome Janice! Thanks for the giveaway

    • Janice Hardy Jan 13 2014 at 9:20 am #

      Thanks for the welcome!

  4. tracikenworth Jan 13 2014 at 9:10 am #

    Welcome, Janice!! I read The Other Story as well, GREAT advice and topics!! I’m sure there are great things in store for you here as well!!

    • Janice Hardy Jan 13 2014 at 9:21 am #

      Thank you! I’m thrilled to be joining Pub Crawl and know I’ll meet lots of great folks over here. And see some familiar faces as well 🙂

  5. Erin Bowman Jan 13 2014 at 9:45 am #

    Janice!!! So glad to have you as part of the crew. Welcome, welcome!

    • Janice Hardy Jan 13 2014 at 10:23 am #

      Thanks! So happy to be here 🙂

  6. Akoss Jan 13 2014 at 9:53 am #

    Great interview!
    Welcome, and thank you for the giveaway!

    • Janice Hardy Jan 13 2014 at 10:24 am #

      Thanks! Was fun to do. And who doesn’t like free books?

  7. Marie Lu Jan 13 2014 at 9:58 am #

    Huge welcome, Janice!! *hugs* I loved reading about your process–and this: “Craft matters of course, but it’s there to help you write a great story, not the end goal.” is such wise advice! <3

    • Janice Hardy Jan 13 2014 at 10:25 am #

      Thanks! It might sound funny coming from someone who writes a craft blog, but it’s the truth. 🙂

  8. JoSVolpe Jan 13 2014 at 10:10 am #

    Welcome, Janice!! We’re stoked to have you with us on Pub Crawl!!


    • Janice Hardy Jan 13 2014 at 10:25 am #

      Stoked to be here 🙂 Thanks so much for inviting me to the gang.

  9. Kaye Jan 13 2014 at 11:02 am #

    Welcome, Janice! I’ve followed your blog for a long time and LOVE it. Looking forward to the knowledge you share here! “Follow your instincts and do what serves the story” is definitely what I needed to hear this morning. *rolls up sleeves*

    • Janice Hardy Jan 13 2014 at 4:21 pm #

      Thanks so much! I’m not even posting yet and I said something helpful, yay!

  10. jodimeadows Jan 13 2014 at 11:09 am #

    Welcome to the gang, Janice!! I’m so happy you’re here! <3

    • Janice Hardy Jan 13 2014 at 4:21 pm #

      Thanks Jodi! Great to be here.

  11. Sandy Jan 13 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    Great interview. I definitely have to check out this series :). Also, thanks for the giveaway!

    • Janice Hardy Jan 13 2014 at 4:21 pm #


  12. Natalie Aguirre Jan 13 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    Awesome that Janice is joining your blog. I love her series and her blog. She is SO knowledgeable about the craft of writing.

    • Janice Hardy Jan 13 2014 at 4:22 pm #

      Thanks Natalie! Nice to see a familiar face here as well 🙂

  13. Robyn Campbell Jan 13 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    Great addition to the family here. Love your blog Janice. I read every word. Your series is wonderful!

    • Janice Hardy Jan 13 2014 at 4:22 pm #

      Aw, thanks bunches!

  14. Adam Silvera Jan 13 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    Congratulations, Janice! The books sound so awesome. It makes so much sense why SHIFTER and BLUEFIRE are constantly being faced out in my bookstore. I must discover who this SHIFTER-loving bookseller is!

    • Janice Hardy Jan 13 2014 at 4:23 pm #

      Are they? How cool. Either that bookstore likes me or it has a fan who’s a regular customer. Or you live near my family. 🙂

  15. Melody Jan 13 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    Welcome, Janice! I absolutely love your blog and am thrilled that you’ll be posting over here as well! So exciting!

    • Janice Hardy Jan 14 2014 at 8:55 am #

      Thanks! I’m really looking forward to it.

  16. Rochelle Sharpe Jan 13 2014 at 5:44 pm #

    Hi Janice, I look forward to your in put on publishing crawl. Your books sound amazing by the way, will be adding them to Goodreads.

    I write with the same method as you, though I prefer to write in the afternoon. I put down my first draft with hardly any or no editing at all, I just need to get the story out of my head.

    • Janice Hardy Jan 14 2014 at 8:56 am #

      Thanks! I hear you. It’s so much easier to revise and flesh things out once I see it all down. And it’s quite freeing since I know nothing is set in stone.

  17. Teena Raffa-Mulligan Jan 13 2014 at 7:16 pm #

    Excellent advice, Janice, and an interesting insight into how you came up with the idea for The Shifter. A totally intriguing concept.

    • Janice Hardy Jan 14 2014 at 8:58 am #

      Thanks! I love playing what if, and I love twisting common tropes. It just meshed in a solid way that time. I’ve always been fond of looking at things from a different perspective, though it doesn’t always work 🙂

  18. Leandra Wallace Jan 13 2014 at 8:53 pm #

    I once was the proud owner of The Shifter… And then I let my grandmother borrow it- and she didn’t realize I wanted it back. She was a little confused as to where it had gone, but I’m thinking somebody at Goodwill found a really awesome book. *sigh* I still love her. =) I need to get on it and read Bluefire and Darkfall too!

    • Janice Hardy Jan 14 2014 at 9:00 am #

      Oh no! I’m immediately reminded of running into a young reader at Best Buy, a boy who was reading The Shifter while his parents were shopping. He said he found it at Goodwill. Now I can’t help but wonder if it’s the same book (grin). Your grandmother doesn’t live in GA does she? How wild would that be?

  19. A. B. Keuser Jan 14 2014 at 10:36 am #

    Yay Janice!
    I’m reading Shifter right now! And actually have “Buy Blue Fire” written down on my never ending to do list. Excited to see your contributions!

    • Janice Hardy Jan 15 2014 at 6:14 am #

      Thanks! I hope you enjoy it 🙂

  20. shivani Jan 14 2014 at 10:58 am #

    hey…. welcome janice… 😀 <3

    • Janice Hardy Jan 15 2014 at 6:14 am #


  21. Maria DMarco Jan 14 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    Janice! So great to see you and your words of wisdom in another venue! I am following you from your ‘place’ to here – what fun – great interview too. You’ll be gettin’ shout-outs on the street soon!

    • Janice Hardy Jan 15 2014 at 6:16 am #

      Thanks so much! When I go to conferences, more people *do* know me from my blog than my novels. I guess it makes sense since I write for teens and do a lot of writer-focused cons, but it’s funny how it’s worked out.

  22. Julie Musil Jan 14 2014 at 6:10 pm #

    Yay for Janice! She’s amazing. So glad she’s joined your team.

    • Janice Hardy Jan 15 2014 at 6:17 am #

      Aw, thanks!

  23. Vanessa Di Gregorio Jan 14 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    Woooooohooooooo! Welcome to the group, Janice! I FINALLY got my hands on a copy of Darkfall (I know, I know! I read the first two books years ago!), but I’m always loathe to finish a series! But it’s about time I return to Nya and the gang :p

    • Janice Hardy Jan 15 2014 at 6:18 am #

      Whoot! Better late than never, and thanks. That’s so funny you don’t like to finish a series. I can see that, though. It’s hard to say goodbye to characters we love sometimes. Ive read plenty of series where it was so sad to get to that last book.

  24. Jan Weir Jan 14 2014 at 9:39 pm #

    I’ve followed Janice’s blog for about a year. Janice knows the Tao of teaching creative writing.

    She writes in a totally different genre from mine, but it doesn’t matter. Her principles are universal.

    • Janice Hardy Jan 15 2014 at 6:20 am #

      I love that” “The Tao of teaching creative writing.” Thanks so much. I do love it, and I love watching new writers (and old writers) get that light bulb moment when something they’ve struggled with finally clicks.

  25. Janice Hardy Jan 15 2014 at 4:48 pm #

    Hi Janice. Welcome to Pub (Lishing) Crawl. I am struggling writing my first book, actually I have 2 going. Guess I will need to publish under a different name as you are doing well with our shared name. Your blog is helpful.

    • Janice Hardy Jan 16 2014 at 6:44 am #

      Oh wow! Hi there. I’ve met a few Janices, but never another Janice Hardy. How very cool. The same name might not be a problem depending on what you write. If you write MG/YA or SFF, odds are you’d want to change it. But if you write adult mysteries or something far removed from what I do, you can probably just add an initial or vary it a little. You’ll just have to check with your future agent or editor when you sell that first book 🙂

  26. Alexa S. Jan 15 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    Welcome to Pub Crawl, Janice! It’s pretty darn awesome to see that there’s a new contributor on the team. I’m certainly looking forward to reading all your writing advice — and checking out your books, which sound FANTASTIC!

    • Janice Hardy Jan 16 2014 at 6:45 am #

      Thanks! I’m equally excited to be here and look forward to hanging out at the Pub.

  27. Rubianna Masa Jan 15 2014 at 11:19 pm #

    Congratulations and welcome over here! You’re amazing blog has taught me so much and my craft has improved. Everyone here is fortunate.

    • Janice Hardy Jan 16 2014 at 6:46 am #

      Thanks, I’m so glad 🙂 Lots of fun things happening with is this year, too. It’s been a few years since the last upgrade and it’s time to do it again. Pretty big changes so I’m both nervous and excited about it.

  28. Cailtin Vanasse Jan 16 2014 at 1:49 am #

    Welcome, Janice! I’ve heard so many good things about The Healer but haven’t managed to read it yet. I’ll have to bump it ot the top of my list now. I’m so excited to see what you’ll bring to the Pub Crawl team!

    • Janice Hardy Jan 16 2014 at 6:47 am #

      Thanks so much!

  29. Adria Alberico Jan 18 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    Wow! The magic system in your trilogy sounds so unique and fascinating!

    • Janice Hardy Jan 20 2014 at 11:00 am #

      Thanks! I had a lot of fun creating it.

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