Friday, May 26, 2017

Welcome to the Cuckoo's Nest (A Seriously Write blog)

I just got done with another session of Saturday School. The last one of this school year, actually (I’m writing this on May 20th). As an assistant principal of a public middle school, I must point out that there are other pieces to the educational puzzle besides reading, writing, and arithmetic. Acceptable behavior in a group setting is a biggie. Classroom disruptions derail the academic process, which is why we get together in the first place.

Unfortunately, in a society that is slowly lessening the consequences of laws and rules day by day, it’s harder to get students to understand why certain behaviors are unacceptable, especially in a school setting. I mean, they go home and hear parents and relatives talk that way, so why can’t they? They hear the profane language in the movies they watch and the music piping through their ear buds. So, why Mr. Administrator, Mrs. Teacher, do you have a problem with it?

Read on...

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Author Behind the Story Series - Janet Grunst

Greetings from the sunny South! If we do not get some rain soon, it will be the Sahara West!

It's the second Wednesday of the month. That means it's time for another page in our "Author Behind the Story" series! This marks interview #5 of the series. I hope everyone has enjoyed the series so far as much as I have. It's fun getting to know new people. It's even more fun getting to know the authors behind the titles I see on Amazon, Facebook, the store shelves of Barnes & Noble, your local, independent bookstore, and elsewhere. A book title and cover is great, especially when it's a great cover. But who is the person who wrote the pages in between? That's why we're here. So, when you finish reading this page, you can scroll down our home page and catch the rest of the series!

This month, we welcome - to the blog "Where imagination meets eternity" (drum roll, please) - Author Janet Grunst! 

Welcome, Janet! So, here we go! Give us a quick bio. In fifty words or less, who is Janet Grunst?

I grew up in a Navy family and had the opportunity to live in many different locations, mostly on the west coast and east coast, but also in Spain. I was fortunate to be able to live most of my adult life in Virginia – my favorite place of all.

Before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life? 

I’d worked in the mortgage lending and banking industry prior to having children and knew that when the time came for me to seek employment outside the home I wanted to work in ministry. In my mid-thirties as a stay-at-home mom of two little boys I began writing two special interest columns in local papers. In one of the columns, I interviewed people in town who ran home-based businesses. It was fascinating to discover the creative things people came up with to market from their homes. That’s when the dream of writing fiction began to dog me. Could I write fiction while taking care of my children? God made a way.

That's cool. What educational background do you have?

I went to high school in Los Altos, CA and then to San Diego State for college. It was in the midst of the Vietnam War, and San Diego seemed a less hostile place for a conservative girl with a military background. I left before completing college because I was engaged to someone serving in Vietnam. When he got out of the Army, I worked in the banking industry so he could complete his college education.

So, what is your marital status? And do you have a family?

My husband and I were married in 2003. We met through Community Bible Study, the ministry I was employed in and in which we had both served for many years. Ken had a grown daughter, and I had grown sons. His son-in-law is a Colonel in the Army, my oldest son is a Commander in the Navy, and my youngest son is a Major in the National Guard in addition to being an intelligence officer in his civilian job. Ken has two grandchildren, and I have eight grandchildren, four of which are 15 month old quadruplets.   

I’m going to give you a shotgun list of favorites. List your favorite in each category and then tell us in one sentence why it is your favorite.

Favorite Food:   healthy~ fish———less healthy~ popcorn
Favorite Drink: healthy~coffee/ice water————less healthy~diet Coke
Favorite Song:   Mary, Did You Know
Favorite Non-Fiction Book (other than your own & besides the Bible): Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
Favorite Bible Verse: But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” John 1:12  (It helped me to mature to being a receiver, not just a believer — from religion to relationship.)
Favorite Movie: There’s a tie 1. Pride and Prejudice (The 1995 version – most like the book – absolutely delicious!) 2. Ben Hur (The 1959 version)
Favorite Actor or Actress: That’s tough. There are many. Charlton Heston, Susan Hayward
Favorite Novel (other than your own): Pride and Prejudice
Favorite Novelist (other than you): Jane Austen
Favorite Sport: To watch – golf. To do – walking
Favorite Team (Can be any sport, any level): The US Naval Academy – Go Navy ~ Beat Army!!!
Favorite Subject in School Growing Up: History & English
Favorite Subject Now: History
Favorite Teacher in School: Can’t pick a favorite
Favorite Time of the Year: Living in Williamsburg, VA ~ it’s all good
Favorite Place to Vacation: Great Britain and Ireland

If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be? 

Milton Hershey, a man who continually failed in business, before he created his chocolate empire. He built a town, homes, hospital, and schools for his employees and the needy.

I didn't know that about him. I just know he's been responsible for my weight gain over the years. I wonder if he'd build me my own Planet Fitness???

If you had one person you could meet (think ONLY Bible characters here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be besides Jesus?   

The Apostle John, a man with many answers about the future.

Amen to that. Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author?

In late 1993 I had to put aside my writing for many years because my life circumstances required I return to full time employment while raising two sons on my own. God was very gracious and answered an earlier prayer. I was able to get a job in ministry. Years later, with my husband’s encouragement, I returned to pursuing writing.

Why do you live where you live? 

We left northern Virginia eleven years ago to get away from the congestion and traffic. Williamsburg, VA, part of the historic triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown), was our retirement destination. It is a charming and interesting college town (The College of William & Mary – the second oldest college in America). It’s not far from the Richmond, Virginia Beach, the mountains, the beach, and rural countryside. It has a small town atmosphere in the best sense yet is also sophisticated as people from all over retire here. 

We know “Readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.” Is there a book you’ve read in the past five years or so that has helped you become a better you? If so, which one was it, and how did it affect your life?

One of my favorite devotionals that I read periodically is 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Meyer
It really inspires and motivates me to be intentional about praising God in all circumstances. In the early nineties, when I was experiencing many trials, I discovered it improved my attitude as I faced each challenge.   

When you look for a new home, what are the things that are important to you?

My husband and I designed the home we live in to meet our specific needs and wants. It is a ranch style with a walk-out basement and it overlooks a pond and two golf fairways. Ken is a golfer and a luthier, (a guitar builder) and wanted a large workshop in the basement with lots of light and a storage area for his woods. My writing space is on the main level at the opposite end of the house. Given that we are both introverts, it works beautifully for us. J

When you are looking for a book to read, what are the things that are important to you?

I enjoy reading historical novels, biographies, non-fiction, and history books. I’m usually drawn to them because it’s a subject I’m interested in reading.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9  It’s a powerful reminder that no matter what I am facing, that the Lord is always with me.

Janet, it has been a pleasure meeting you. Thank you for taking the time to be  part of our blog series. May God bless your writing endeavors!

If you wish to connect with Janet, you can find her here:

Until next time,