Hello and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules! Since we are a book club, we had to offer something that included a book shelf. A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories. Here on this “SHELF,” we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask. We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but no one has dared to cover them. WE get personal! Because when you sit on the RRBC “SHELF,” YOU are an open book!
Today, I have with me on the “SHELF” our Current “SPOTLIGHT” Author, Janelle Jalbert! Since we know that Janelle just loves dogs, what better way to ease her on into this interview than with just the right music. She walks in, leashed from head to toe. Makes you wonder: Who Let The Dogs Out?
NJ: Before we get started, how does the “shelf” feel to you? Is it comfy?
Janelle: First of all, thanks for having me over for a visit! I love being around my fellow book lovers and super scribes! Hold up, let me grab a glass of wine and kick off my shoes…Okay. I’m good now…nice and relaxed. Let’s roll!.
NJ: (Let’s roll? I’m rolling my eyes at you for kicking off your shoes!) Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?
Janelle: Janelle Jalbert is indeed my birth name. Mom won the naming game (let’s face it…mom’s do tend to have a bit more skin in the baby game at that point) though they went with my dad’s French background as the naming theme. I’ve been told Janelle means “gift from God”. Hopefully, that’s been the case in a good way though I’m sure there have been times that my parents wondered if I was more of a gag gift…after all, as teenagers even the best test parental fortitude, right?
NJ: Tell us where you were born? Do you still live there now? If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?
Janelle: I was born and bred in the Los Angeles area. In fact, I live in Southern California now, but I also consider North Carolina and Charlotte my second home and return whenever possible.
NJ: Janelle, are you married or single?
Janelle: I’m sans hubby.
NJ: Kids or no? If yes, how many? Sons or Daughters?
Janelle: No kids…just fur-babies and book-babies. It may be the result of trauma from more than a decade of teaching and dealing with 100+ kids daily at work. (Just kidding…kinda)
NJ: OK, no kids, but how about some other favorite from another mother?
Janelle: Okay, she’s not my own DNA-wise, but my “niece” Xochitl is my absolute favorite child on the entire planet. She’s a blossoming little lady thanks to a mom who is my “soul sista” and friend of more than 30 years.
NJ: Of course you have pets, as you’ve mentioned fur babies above? What kind?
Janelle: I have two rescue pups. Beau, an English Pointer, was rescued from an Alabama shelter after the Tuscaloosa storms in 2011. (He’s part of WINGDOG: SOUL PUP.) Milty is a terrier mix. (He makes an appearance in TRIANGULATING BLISS.)
NJ: What’s your favorite food, Janelle?
Janelle: Mmmm, does wine count as a food? I’m not a lush or anything, but wine is so fun to pair with all types of food and is good to get a little gastronomical happy dance going. If wine doesn’t count, then I have to say Mexican and Italian dishes are my go-to, with a serious guilty pleasure/comfort food weakness for chili cheese fries.
NJ: How about your favorite color?
Janelle: Seriously, it depends on the day and my mood, but if I have to say one as a default it’s that salmon/orange of a spectacular sunset. When I lived at the beach, there was nothing that could beat a sunset over the Pacific, even on the worst of days.
NJ: Favorite sport:
Janelle: Auto racing (I was a motorsports reporter after all) and surfing.
NJ: Favorite TV Show:
Janelle: Honestly, I don’t have one. I’ve lost interest in most TV. I tend to bury myself in books instead. (Go figure.) If I had to claim any TV it would be whatever NASCAR or INDY CAR race is being broadcast.
NJ: OK, so no favorite TV shows, but you have to still have a Favorite Actress or Actor…
Janelle: Old school-wise it would be a tie between Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart and the Hepburn ladies. Right now, the eye candy votes go to Ryan Reynolds and Chris Evans (both are hotties that can make me laugh) and Gerard Butler (Mmm, manly goodness…need I say more?)
NJ: No, you need not say anymore! I’m with you there. Gerard Butler can knock on my door at any time and ask my husband to leave! And hubby better get to packing! (Of course, when Gerard got tired of my yelling at him, hubby would be welcome back!…LOL) Janelle, couch potato or workout nut? Be honest.
Janelle: I’ve been more of a couch potato the past few years than I care to fess up to…but I’m working on changing that by prepping for my first half marathon in more than 5 years. Talk about a way to celebrate your birthday weekend, right? 13.1 miles in Hollywood. We’ll see if I survive.
NJ: Biggest pet peeve that makes you want to stomach-punch somebody?: (For the record, NJ does not condone violence but she does believe in being honest so she has to admit that there are times when she feels like some friendly stomach-punching is a little necessary).
Janelle: I absolutely can’t handle judgmental / troll-esque people. I have no problem with opinionated, but judgmental…no way. No one can truly understand what any other person is experiencing, and we all have weak points and insecurities. There’s nothing redeeming about putting someone down to make yourself appear “better”.
NJ: Well, there you go! Now Janelle, your response to this next question, could make or break you (no, literally, you could accidentally take a tumble and end up on a special island). Are you neat or messy?
Janelle: I fall in-between on that spectrum, so it depends. Some areas, like my kitchen cupboards are organized, and I get my panties in a bunch if someone messes with my system. In other areas, I go through bouts of overlooking the clutter building up (especially when in drafting or editing mode) then swinging into to clear-and-purge mode.
NJ: Facebook or Twitter?
Janelle: I’m more likely to be on Twitter than Facebook, but I’m active on both.
NJ: Name two of the most supportive people you’ve met on either Facebook or Twitter? Hurry and tell us so we can become their friend.
Janelle: When I was first getting my bearings in RRBC, Jason Zandri ( @Gunderstone ) was immensely helpful and encouraging. Natalie Ducey ( @NataieDucey ) is awesomely sweet and supportive soul too!
NJ: Nonnie Jules or Wonderwoman? Be honest.
Janelle: GIRL POWER! I say thumbs up to all the women who navigate this crazy thing we call life and leave a positive mark on the world, so that includes both. Therefore, I vote Wonder WOMEN.
NJ: Everyone knows the names Mark Twain and Stephen King but how about you give us two names of some INDIE authors that you favor:
Janelle: Vickie McKeehan and her Pelican Pointe Series. Julianne MacLean for her Color of Heaven Series
NJ: What is it about them that you’ve come to like?
Janelle: The mix of paranormal/supernatural with romance and everyday life resonate with me and are similar to my own stories, so it’s nice to read stories that are akin to my own.
NJ: Name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read:
Janelle: I am currently reading a RRBC member’s book that I want to highlight since I’m truly enjoying it. Deb McEwan’s Beyond Death (The Afterlife Series Book 1) has my attention right now. A similar paranormal read that I enjoyed (geared more for YA, but still it sucks you in) is We Walk in Darkness: A Spell Weaver Novella by Bill Hiatt.
NJ: ONE good INDIE book you read that was so good you wished the entire world would read it:
Janelle: Color of Heaven by J. MacLean.
NJ: What was so great about it?
Janelle: It touched me on many levels as one of those serendipitous arrivals at just the right time with just the right message. In fact it made such am impact on me that I reached out to her to say so, and we ended up developing a rapport. It proves that if someone’s work touches you, take the time to reach out to them and let them know. Because I took that step, I found out that my struggles and frustrations weren’t something directed at me. She had the same types of problems, despite an agent and traditional publishing deal for other works.
NJ: Janelle, after you read books, do you post reviews?
Janelle: Maybe half the time I post a review. Most of my binge reading happens before I doze off, so sleep often wins out. Life can get pretty busy, so I forget to double back for reviews after the next morning’s coffee.
NJ: Janelle! I’m shocked! Didn’t you read the sign on the door? It says “Reviews make an author’s world go round!” C’mon, you gotta post the reviews! So, what do you think readers should base their reviews on?
Janelle: The reviews I find most useful are the ones that hit on what makes a book memorable / useful or why it missed the mark. Reviews that include “bombs” that make things more personal are an automatic no-go for me. Also, with the way the trends are going, I appreciate reviews that give a heads up about cliffhangers.
NJ: Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?
Janelle: I’m honest, but I really don’t like the star system. I know it makes it easier to visualize and quantify those types of reviews, but I find ratings – well, overrated. For example, I read a memoir about a woman that thrived after a hellacious childhood. I couldn’t in good conscientious say I “LOVED” (i.e. 5 stars) a story where someone suffered so much. For books I don’t finish, I don’t write reviews. I believe that a review should be a product of a full read-through.
NJ: You mentioned two titles above so by now, we’re pretty sure you’re an author. How long have you been writing?
Janelle: I started penning stories for my friends in 5th grade. I did a writing contest or two in high school where I won awards, but I didn’t aim to publish until 2001. I didn’t publish fiction until 2014.
NJ: What books have you written?
Janelle: WINGDOG: SOUL PUP, A Magical Mutt Memoir,
is my latest release (as in released THIS WEEK…YAY!) It is only available on Amazon right now. This June, it will go to a full release (eBook and Paperback) across all major book sellers. Other works include: TRIANGULATING BLISS
NJ: Which one do you think is the best?
Janelle: Fiction-wise, TRIANGULATING BLISS gets the vote. Non-fiction-wise, WINGDOG: SOUL PUP gets the nod.
NJ: Do you have a blog or website?
Janelle: I do. Triangulatingbliss is my primary website/blog with all sortsof information about not only my writing, but also tidbits on finding and following your bliss and other endeavors. Also, I have a more traditional author page at Janellejalbert.
NJ: Name three great online resources or organizations that you feel every author should belong to…
Janelle: Of course, RRBC has been instrumental in supporting and promoting my writing. For those indie publishing, Joel Friedlander and his website provide a plethora of information about the task of actually putting a book together. I always learn a little something more with every visit thanks to him. For those stressing about developing a platform (often a headache-inducing word in the writing world), I recommend Kimberley Grabas and her website for valuable free resources on that endeavor.
NJ: Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?
Janelle: For overall promotion, connecting, and support it’s been RRBC. RRBC has given me a sense of camaraderie and a foothold into promoting my work as well as exposure into some great reads that I wouldn’t have come across otherwise. My RRBC experience has been invaluable and has gotten me to venture into new territory that has benefited both my writing as well as my fellow members
NJ: Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what do you “REALLY” think of the club?
Janelle: RRBC is truly an asset, but it works on a single principle…what you put in is what you get out of it. There are some amazing opportunities through RRBC (and more continue to be added), but you have to participate to truly appreciate what the benefits are for members.
NJ: Janelle, I can honestly say that I haven’t had anyone to put it in just the right terms as you have, in a very long time. That response shows that you “grasp” the full concept of RRBC! Good job! Have you come across any other online entities like it?
Janelle: I haven’t come across any other online entities that cover as much ground as RRBC does. Sure there are mentoring and support groups for writers and there are other book clubs for readers. Some specialize in promotion but it is more of a one-way street rather than a network such as RRBC. That’s where the real bang for the buck is with RRBC.
NJ: That’s exactly the way we feel about this awesome community. Would you recommend it to your friends and family?
Janelle: Most definitely! I have recommended it to both fellow writers (looking for a tribe) and readers interested in discovering writing talent.
NJ: Well, Janelle, this shelf is getting hard on my hiney, so we’re going to wrap this interview up. Any final words?
Janelle: Yeah, that’s probably a good idea. All this chatting made me thirsty and my magical wine is gone now, too. Thanks, so much to you – Nonnie – and the wonderful RRBC tribe for letting me visit and for providing this spotlight opportunity for me to share more about myself and my work. I am truly honored! Please feel free to reach out and connect any time. After all, it really does take a village and a tribe to raise a writer. Remember, always follow your bliss! Have a good one!
NJ: Janelle, thank you for joining me ON THE SHELF today and for being one of those guests who had lots to share! To my guests, please support Janelle by picking up a copy of one (or all) of her books above. You can also support her by visiting the blog stops along her tour which ends on Saturday. You can find the tour line up here. If you missed Janelle’s BlogTalkRadio interview on RAVE WAVES “BRING ON THE SPOTLIGHT” earlier today (3/10/16), you can catch the archived version here!
Have you joined Rave Reviews Book Club yet? Well, here’s your chance! And since Janelle was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you. Take care and we’ll see you next time, right here on the shelf, with another AMAZING RRBC member!