Most Thursdays in 2019 we will be interviewing one of the members of Christian Writers Downunder – to find out a little bit more about them and their writing/editing goals.
Today interview: Jan Morris – author name Janet Elizabeth
Question 1: Tells us three things about who you are and where you come from.
I am 61 years old and live in Brisbane and have been married to Philip for 30 years. We have a son and have been in Australia for 16 years and became citizens 12 years ago. We love living in Australia and love being Aussie Citizens. I was saved in the rivers Apostolic Centre in Slacks Creek 10 years ago followed by both my husband a week later and son within a couple of months.
I am an army kid and was born in Malaya before it became Malaysia, and have also lived in Singapore, Germany, Spain, Mallorca, Tenerife (Canary Islands) Scotland, London and Wales. We seem to move a lot – even here in Australia we have moved over 8 times in 16 years. Itchy feet!
My work background is diverse, Holiday Resort Manager, looking after holiday makers overseas, Travel Agent, Training and Personal Manager. Business owner and trainer in MLM for 7 years. Now an author / illustrator – which is a total dogleg! I don’t ever remember wanting to be a writer or illustrator.
Question 2: Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc). What do you write and why?
About a week after I was saved, my mentor and friend, Christine Gear (who has since gone to heaven) suggested that I journal. She told me to write my questions, worries, ideas, ‘thank you’s’ and general chitchat in my journal as this would give me answers and bring me closer to God. I really liked Christine and, even though I thought that was very weird to suggest chatting to God through a journal, I chose a posh, velvet-covered, gold-embossed journal, and started meeting with God every morning for an hour, writing down everything that was in me. That’s when the rhymes and poems started emerging. I would read back through my week and think, “I must have seen that somewhere before”, because it didn’t seem like something I would write. Even now, as I dip into a poem in my book “Heaven is all about Him” I often think “wow — that’s so beautiful! Go, God!”
God would prompt me to share these little poems with specific people and they would deliver words from Him and insights into things they were dealing with. It was pretty mind-blowing to me because I’d never come across this before!
After Christine went to heaven, my friends were so encouraging about me putting it into print and continuing to share them with people. Today when someone buys a book - they also get a poem that is specifically for them. The results and feedback from these little poems have been amazing!
The rhyme about the Good Samaritan popped up in the journal too and I felt that God was saying how important it was to teach children about loving everyone in these very diverse times. So The Good Samaritan came from that and as I was searching for someone to illustrate it, a friend told me she thought God wanted me to do it, which was a bit strange because she didn’t know that I could draw.
Anyway she went to her cupboard and presented me with some watercolor paints and brushes. I was scared out of my wits because I really didn’t think my very scrappy hand-drawn style was suitable for books. However, since then I have progressed to watercolor pencils and am really enjoying it!
The Prodigal Son was launched in May this year and we had some lovely children who joined me in reading it to our audience. I feel that God has given me 2 more to work on next. Watch this space!
Question 3: Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it?
I have my books in 5 libraries in Logan and online at Vision Christian Media Bookshop and Koorong.
I also sell through my church, have several of the books in local school libraries (Carindale area) and sell through my own website www.jemorrisbooks.com
I would love them to be in more schools and am looking into home schooling with downloadable lessons to go with the children’s books both for schools and home-schoolers.
Question 4: Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most?
I don’t really have a process. So far the ideas and subsequent results are as a result of questions and prayer, downloads through my journal. I have to be very discerning because my head is so full of ideas that I can be taken off track very easily. I know that God wants the writing and poems to be simple, there are many many awesome prophets, teachers and writers out there with amazing books and teachings. I feel God wants me to be a 1st step. A little trip to what’s possible starting at ground level. Keeping it super simple! K.I.S.S. Listening to Him helps me the most and my main challenge is the marketing. I love the writing and illustrating and have had to learn a lot about Facebook, website creation and have so much more to learn!
Question 5: What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why?
I have never sought out writing craft books, I wouldn’t know what one looked like to be honest. I have an enormous respect for authors who work for years on their manuscripts, perfecting their craft. As I have described, the poems and rhymes have been coming as a download and are not something that I sit and ruminate over. They are very simple and come in a note format which I sit on, re-read and work out….always asking, questioning. If something doesn’t feel right I scrap it and start on another tack. My head is so busy I have to have ‘Be still and know that I am God” time-out!
Question 6: If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be?
She was the first person to acknowledge that the path God has me on is where I should be – not only that but that I’m a fit for it. She invited me to be on a panel of authors at her Deborah Conference. She didn’t know me personally and so it was an absolute thrill to be asked.
We expect that family and friends will encourage us (though some don’t) but when complete strangers start to take note and make wonderful comments and really ‘get’ where God has you; that’s the catalyst of ‘I am where I am supposed to be’
At her conference I also had a prophetic word delivered by Wes Leake that said there would be children’s books. At that stage no - one knew that a rhyme about the good Samaritan had popped up in my journal and I had no inkling that God would be leading me in that direction. I started having conversations with God about teaching children kindness, love, gifts and forgiveness. So it was very on point and gave me permission to explore those subjects further with a sense that I was on track.
I see how many lives she is touching, and I love that she does it with such humility and grace. There’s not one single ‘look at me’ or ‘look how good I’m doing‘ in her. She knows 100% that it’s all about Jesus. Plus she gives the most incredible hugs.
Question 7: What are your writing goals for 2018? How will you achieve them?
I am in the middle of a project that will be released for Christmas. The perfect gift for your family and friends. I also have 3 online courses that are in the ‘ideas and set out’ stage. I am sure that it not only is on track with what God wants me to do but that it will bring me a residual income that will release me to do other things without the worry of finances. (not that it’s worry – but I’m sure you all know what I mean) I have peace. He delivers me peace and joy and they are my most favourite parts of me. I have to be disciplined and on task to achieve this. I’m doing ok so far!
Question 8: How does your faith impact and shape your writing?
Fixed front and centre – there is no Janet Elizabeth - author without Holy Spirit, without Jesus and the Father. They are what I write, how I think, how I love and how I encourage others. They are who I am. My prayer is always that I can be a person that even the most anti-Christian person would be drawn to, so many are lost in the world of me, me, me that I was a part of before I saw that there was another way. He’s got me!
Jan Morris writes under her Christian names Janet Elizabeth and she lives in Brisbane with her husband of 30 years. She has been an author for just 3 years.
Her first book is a collection of prophetic poems “Heaven is all about Him” taken from her journal over 7 years. She loves to gift a specific poem to the people who buy the Heaven book and finds that they deliver a special word from God and are usually spot on.
There are also two children’s books featuring her own hand-drawn illustrations and rhymes, re-telling the two most well-known parables of Jesus ‘The Good Samaritan’ and ‘The Prodigal Son’. Plus, she has downloadable colouring pages for everyone who buys a book. You can connect with Janet www.jemorrisbooks.com and on Facebook Janet Elizabeth - Author