Thursday, 13 June 2019

Meet Our Member: Jeanette Grant-Thomson

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's interview: Jeanette Grant-Thomson

Tell us three things about who you are and where you come from?

A very long time ago, I grew up in a beautiful old Queenslander in Corinda, Brisbane. We were an artistically talented family but a troubled one, so my growing up years were not easy. I often escaped into reading and writing. When I was about six, I suddenly recited a little four-line poem I’d made up. My proud father made me a notebook called “Jeanette’s Poems” and I proceeded to fill it. After a few years, my poems and short prose pieces were often published in the Saturday Telegraph on the children’s page.

Always keen on acting, while at Queensland University I attended a workshop at Twelfth Night. It was run by Jack Thompson, the film actor. Exciting times! I later did a year’s acting course at Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre, then much later picked up my Speech and Drama training, getting my ACTL letters with Trinity College. I loved my thirty or so years of teaching Speech and Drama.

After a colourful time in the arty scene in Sydney, I began to question the meaning of life and became a Christian. This was a huge culture shock at first but gradually I became a very dedicated Christian and used my talents in church and other Christian areas. One high point in my Christian life was a prayer journey to Uluru with the Australian Prayer Network in 1999.

See my blog, for further Christian adventures.

Sorry, it’s a bit long. The lines between my points are a bit smudgy.

Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc).  What do you write and why?

I’ve had a go at writing in most forms, ranging from poems to film scripts to the Teen Challenge newsletter. Then on to books.

I’ve often written because there was a need – e.g. Sunday School books and tracts.

I write mainly because I’ve always wanted to write, it just seemed to come naturally, and I’ve written whatever seemed right at the time.

Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it?

Hard one. Most of my books have had different target readerships. To my amazement, Jodie’s Story (my first book) has sold widely. I intended it for teenagers but it’s been read by people as young as twelve (no doubt some younger) and by other people of all ages. It’s been published in Canada as well and has sold in several countries. I feel it has reached its target audience and much more.

The other two biographies have sold mostly in churches or in musical circles.

My two proper novels (JS is also classified as a novel) have been slow sellers but have reached a wide variety of people, nearly all adults. I’d like to write a better novel and have it reach well-read adults. I’d also like to continue to write books that change the lives of readers, as with Jodie’s story.

Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most?

I’m unpredictable. Every book is different. JS began with the whole story I’d written in capsule form in a Teen Challenge newsletter so the book was easy to write. Now – cover your eyes if you like! – I didn’t do any rewriting or have it edited! And it was published almost straight away. (Presumably the editor from Anzea did something to scrub it a bit.) Teen Challenge were celebrating an anniversary and wanted it launched then, so pre-ordered some copies. Luck! (Or God!)

Mirage began as a true story. The publisher who accepted it went bankrupt and the lady’s situation had changed, so I rewrote it into a novel. A staff editor made some small changes.

Lantern Light – I wrote the climax first and then wrote from the beginning, rewriting the whole book about four times. I wish I’d had it edited! 

Challenges: I struggle a lot with time pressure, health issues and tiredness and I often get stuck with technological issues.

Praying helps a lot. I’ve even asked God to lead me re which character does what! 

Also I always ask several other people to read my manuscript before submitting it.

If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be?

So many of you have given helpful input, ranging from technical to writing tips. Jenny O’Hagan, thanks SO much for your patient help with the tech side of life and for your clear, vivid prose in your books. Nola Passmore, for your writing tips. And Anusha Atukorala for your lovely writing and your never-ending encouragement, which I need so much. My favourite book from CWD is probably Rosanne Hawke’s Zenna Dare.

What are your writing goals for 2019? How will you achieve them?

I’d like to begin another book this year. Preferably a part-biography, part fiction. Faction. I’ll keep blogging just a little longer then have a break.

I’m waiting for the ‘right’ story to come my way. This has always happened so far. So here’s hoping it does again!

How does your faith impact and shape your writing?

I feel God gives me the ideas or leads people with stories to me. My goal in writing is always to reach people with the gospel or with the help Jesus gives.


Jeanette Grant-Thomson is a Christian author living in the Moreton area north of Brisbane. She has been writing in many forms most of her life. Her first book, Jodie’s Story, is in its third edition and has sold quite well overseas as well as here in Australia. She has written four other books and part-written several others. She loves having coffee with friends and walking in the country or spending time at the beach. 


  1. 2 Chronicles 7:14 ... 2:00am on the 14th of July crammed into a tiny room in the moonlit shadow of the rock (or in our case, standing just outside the room because it was full) to stand in the gap with others, to ask forgiveness and to share and to pray for reconciliation and for our nation ... I was there, too, with my children. It was such a privilege; a life changing experience. We met the most amazing Australian Indigenous people at that time, people with inspiring spirituality, faith, and friendship readily given and received. I wrote about my experience there in a creative non-fiction piece, 'Red Rock Reconciliation Song', published in Tales from the Upper Room 2014. Thank you so much Jeanette for sharing your journey with us. What an encouragement to see, yet again, that God has a plan for us and He enables great and marvellous things to occur as we walk alongside Him. I'm excited to hear that you have another book simmering. :)

  2. Wow! how about that ! You were there too. Wasn't it a wonderful time. Such bonding with the others who were part of it too - friends for life really. Thanks Mazzy.

  3. Lovely to read your story Jeanette. I’m always impressed by your wide range of genres. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks Jo. I guess it's just been whatever life's required of me, re different genres. Well, so it seems to me at this stage of my journey. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Lovely to read your interview Nettie. Enjoyed it my friend. Great to hear you have been writing from a tender age but not surprising at all. I really enjoyed Lantern Light and look forward to reading the others. I loved acting too and took part in lots of school plays and operettas so can well imagine the fun you must have had. Thanks so much for the shout-out by the way which was a happy surprise. Bless you. Always enjoy reading your beautiful blogs and love those God whispers. Congratulations on your successes at the Stories of Life competition each year. May God continue to bless our world through your pen. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Anu, thanks SO much! You are such an encourager! You help me to keep going with writing and all this online stuff which I never find easy. Your blogs are always so uplifting too. I'll get to your book before long. Thanks for commenting!

  6. Oh Jeanette, what a fascinating life you’ve led. Rich in experience, faith and creativity. Thank you for sharing your story with us :D

  7. Thanks so much for your encouraging comment, Susan. I really appreciate input.

  8. Hi Jeanette,
    Thanks for sharing more about your background and your fascinating books. It's always great to trace the beginning of a writing life. What lovely encouragement you had throughout childhood and youth.

  9. Thanks so much for commenting, Paula. I'd be interested to know how and when you started out too, with all those great novels to your name. Have I missed an interview with you perhaps? (No need to answer on here unless you like to).