Thursday, January 26, 2012

Blogside Chat | Janice Cantore

I am so honored to have Janice Cantore with me today! I had the opportunity to read her latest novel Accused several weeks ago and absolutely loved it! Janice was a new-to-me author but one I will be following closely! Let's dive right in . . .

i blog 4 books: Janice, thanks so much for stopping by for a chat! For any readers who might not be familiar with you, please tell us a bit about yourself.
Janice Cantore: Born and raised in Southern California, I have three brothers and one sister. I grew up kind of a Tomboy, loved sports and horses, was fortunate enough to have a horse while I was in High School. I went away to college, first to San Jose State, then UC Irvine where I earned a BS in Biology. Not sure of the career direction I wanted to take, I went back to school, to Long Beach State where I just decided to have fun and earned a degree in physical education. I was working on a master’s degree when I saw a flyer about the Long Beach PD hiring and I applied. I tend to get bored easily and decided that police work would be different and changing. For the most part I wasn’t disappointed. I spent 16 years as a regular uniformed officer before retiring early with a bad back. I was rehired as a non-career officer and worked in that capacity for 6 years.

ib4b: Wow! Sounds like you've got a lot different experiences! Give us a little background on your latest novel.
JC: Accused is the first novel I ever attempted to write. I’d gotten to a point in my life where I was certain I wanted to write a novel, and I started attending conferences and reading books about writing and, after years, completed Accused. When I finally felt it was ready to be submitted, I was so excited, so certain someone would buy it right away! Years later, after many rejections and many revisions, I put it on the shelf and went to work on something else. After writing more books (including two more after Accused that would become the next two in the Pacific Coast Justice series) I sold a book to Oaktara, The Kevlar Heart. That book caught the attention of an agent and eventually, led to a contract with Tyndale for a dusted off Accused.

In Accused, Detective Carly Edwards hates working in juvenile—where the brass put her after an officer-involved shooting—and longs to be back on patrol. So when a troubled youth, Londy Atkins, is arrested for the murder of the mayor and Carly is summoned to the crime scene, she's eager for some action. Carly presses Londy for a confession but he swears his innocence, and despite her better judgment, Carly is inclined to believe him. Yet homicide is convinced of his guilt and is determined to convict him.

Carly's ex-husband and fellow police officer, Nick, appears to be on her side. He's determined to show Carly that he's a changed man and win her back, but she isn't convinced he won't betray her again.

As the investigation progresses, Carly suspects a cover-up and strikes out on her own, uncertain whom she can trust. But when danger mounts, she begins to wonder if she made the right choice.

ib4b: Well, I for one am glad you persevered. I absolutely LOVED Accused! What was the inspiration for the book?
JC: I was working as a juvenile detective and there was a kid in custody for a particularly gruesome crime. I remember looking at him thinking, what if he didn’t do it? From there I played the ‘what if’ game and developed the idea of having a cop be an advocate for a seemingly guilty criminal. Carly Edwards was born as a cynical ‘he must be guilty’ cop who begins to believe the kid is innocent.

ib4b: Interesting how real life often leads to great fiction. What do you hope readers will take away from reading it?
JC: First of all, I hope readers enjoy the book and find it suspenseful. Second, there is a strong spiritual component that I hope believers find inspiring and non-believers find interesting.

ib4b: If your book was being made into a movie, who would you cast as the main character(s)?
JC: Well, since I’m a Castle fan, I think I’d like Stana Katic as Carly, and James Caviezel as Nick.

Stana Katic as Carly (credit)
ib4b: Okay. This is the second week in a row that Castle has come up. I don't watch the show but am going to have to check it out! I can totally see these two as the main characters. What were some of your favorite books growing up?
JC: Horse books when I was a kid--Black Beauty, My Friend Flicka, etc.--The Secret Garden, Christy, and I went through a science fiction phase, with Edgar Rice Burroughs.

ib4b: The Secret Garden (sigh). I may have to re-read that one soon! What was the last "must read" Christian fiction book that you read?
JC: Leota’s Garden by Francine Rivers. This book hit me hard because right now I’m taking care of my 95-year-old father and my 87 year old mother. The whole idea of “putting old people away” sounds horrible, but now that I’m dealing with it, and a father who suffers from dementia, I realize that nothing is black and white.

ib4b: Do you have a "life verse" or favorite Scripture?
I’ve discovered that a “life verse” can change to apply to whatever life happens to be throwing at you at the time. Proverbs 3:5,6 has been one, so has Psalm 37:3-7, Romans 8:28 is near and dear to my heart right now.

ib4b: Totally agree! Those are some great verses. Okay. These next three are totally random! What is your biggest pet peeve?
JC: Books with downer endings.

ib4b: What was the last thing you bought online?
JC: A book by Anne Perry from Amazon

ib4b: If you could only drink one beverage for the rest of your life, what would it be?
JC: Coffee
James Caviezel as Nick (credit)

ib4b: Can you tell us a bit about what you're working on now? When can we expect to see it in stores?
JC: Accused is the first in The Pacific Coast Justice Series and I have completed two more in the series. Beyond that I’m working on a proposal for a new suspense novel about two people who meet, not knowing that they share a common obsession, to solve a 25-year-old murder. They discover their common interest about the same time the killer decides they are getting too close to discovering the truth. 

ib4b: Ooh. sounds interesting. I can't wait to read more! Is there anything else you'd like to share with us before we go?
Just that I love to write and I hope people enjoy my work!

ib4b: Janice, thanks again for stopping by! I enjoyed getting to know the person behind the book and know my readers will too!

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