Sunday, 6 January 2013

Author Interview - Janis F. Kearney


Author Janis F. Kearney

Janis F. Kearney is a publisher, author, and oral historian. She was one of 19 children born to Arkansas Delta Sharecroppers T.J. and Ethel Kearney. She Graduated from the  University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a B.A., in  Journalism, and completed 30 hours in public administration, and Journalism.  

She was hired by Daisy Bates in 1987 as Managing Editor of the Arkansas State Press.  In 1988, she purchased the newspaper.  She served as Personal Diarist to President Clinton from 1995 to 2001.  She was the country’s first personal diarist to a U.S. President, and during that time, she also served as White House liaison to the U.S. National Archives.   

In 2001, Janis moved with her husband Bob Nash to Chicago, where she began her writing life.  In 2003, Janis, with her husband’s support, founded Writing our World Press/WOW! Books  in 2003.  Her first book, Cotton Field of Dreams: A Memoir was published in 2004. Her other books include Something to Write Home About: Memories of a Presidential Diarist; Conversations: William Jefferson Clinton…from Hope to Harlem; and Once Upon a Time there was a Girl: a Murder at Mobile Bay, her first fiction. WOW! Books has also published two other authors. Her next book, Daisy: Between a Rock and a Hard Place, is scheduled for publication, December 2012.  Her third memoir, Sundays with TJ: 100 years of Memories on Varner Road,  and her second Once Upon a Time there was a Girl murder mystery are both slated for publication in Spring, 2013.

Janis is an internationally-traveled public speaker, and can be contacted for speaking engagements, by emailing: bookingagent@writingourworldpress.com. 

My immediate family is made up of 19 children. My parents were cotton sharecroppers in southeast Arkansas, which meant that all of us grew up picking and chopping cotton, from the time we turned seven years old.

Neither of my parents graduated from high school, but they were both smart, and wise. My dad always said if you have common sense, that will take you a long way. They both had common sense. They taught us all the importance of hard work, valuing education, and giving reverence to God. They expected a great deal from their children in spite of what we lacked in material wealth.

My favorite quality about myself is that I value the small things in life as much as I do the big things; that I don't really need the big things to be happy, and that I can see value in people no matter who are where they are.

My least favorite quality about myself is that sometimes I'm not agressive about the things I want. It's not a chronic probleme because many times I can be, but there are times when I should be and I'll decide that it's probably not worth it to make a fuss.

My favorite place in the whole world is difficult to answer, because I haven't been that many places in the world - outside the United States. But, if I had to answer that one, it would be Africa. I have been there, and it's such an amazing and diverse region of the world. So much natural beauty that it seems unreal. I also feel a great affinity for it because my forefathers lived there.

What inspired me to write? Reading and listening to my father's stories. I'm not sure which came first, but I had such a vivid imagination as a child, seeing things that my other siblings swore never existed. When I began to read books, that same joy in words and vivid imagination served me well. My desire to create those stories myself was a natural progression.

How long have I been writing? Since I was about seven years old. I have considered myself a writer about 25 years. I have been a published author since 2004. (I was a newspaper reporter and publisher before, and wrote freelance articles for years.)

What genre am I comfortable with writing? I am most comfortable writing fiction. I love creating story and characters. My love for creating is much stronger than my love for research. However, I feel nonfiction is especially important because it allows me to share stories of people who have contributed much to the world, but received little recognition.

What is my greatest strength as a writer? My love for sharing stories with my readers. I love reading good stories and hearing good stories, thus, I try very hard to write a story as if I can hear it, and that my readers can hear it. I imagine that I am in an intimate conversation with a friend.

How did I come up with my book title? Daisy Lee Gatson Bates had a harsh childhood, and grew bitter and full of hate because of that childhood. As an adult, she relinquished the hate, and worked toward racial conciliation and equality for all. Even then, she was harassed for her efforts. She was a leader who finally accepted that she would never please everyone, and would always be castigated by some. In spite of that, she continued to do what she thought was right.

What are my goals as a writer? My goals as a writer is to 1) tell a good story 2) impart some information that the reader finds interesting, and may not have known, and 3) to offer a value lesson about life and about humanity.



Links:



Daisy: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Presidential diarist and author Janis F. Kearney transforms civil rights legend Daisy Gatson Bates’ life from black and white, to living color.  The author, who interviewed Bates many times; recreates her conversations and interviews to “fill in” places left un-filled, and colors incidents and experiences, to bring Daisy Bates to life. Kearney plums the mysterious murder of Bates’ mother, and the orphan’s childhood; the young woman’s prophetic decision to share a traveling salesman’s life; her non-traditional role as co-publisher of an award winning newspaper; and her leadership role at a time, and place where women rarely led.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place is Daisy’s “look back” at her life, and…finally, a self-analysis of how, and possibly, why she became the Daisy Gatson Bates for which she is known throughout the world.  Author Janis F. Kearney recounts the leader’s many friendships, relationships and associations that helps define who she was in the eyes of the world - from Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Clinton; First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt; the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.; Roy Wilson, NAACP President; Thurgood Marshall and Wiley Branton, NAACP attorneys, Maya Angelou and Jackie Robinson… and countless others.

The author met Daisy Bates in the summer of 1969, at the age of16. From that moment, the high school student dreamed of working for the woman her father called one of Arkansas’ greatest leaders – black or white.  The book is based on the author's personal interviews, oral histories, conversations and in-depth research.


Praise
"Thank you to Janis F. Kearney for shedding a critical light on an often forgotten civil rights heroine. Daisy Bates was a woman who refused to be defined by society's rules on both race and place in America. An often controversial figure, Bates lived life on her own terms, for which she paid dearly. She was an American hero who loved her country for all its greatness; but courageously proclaimed it could and should be better." ~Sharon La Cruise, Producer




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BookBlast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 1/21/12

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom

SherbetBlossom

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Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife

Blog-A-Licious

My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo

tbaoo

Blog-A-Licious

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Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun

Greatfun4kids

Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

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Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max


Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry

BlogNostics

My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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