Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Writer's Wednesday: JANUS GANGI

Hello, everyone! As promised, to day we kick off with a new event for Writing World. Interviewing authors is something I've wanted to do for a while, because I believe both readers and other writers are intrigued by the creative mind. Here goes:

Talking now to JANUS GANGI:

Janus Gangi is a native New Yorker and Native American, so blood has always been a part of her life. After graduating from Flushing High School, where she majored in music, she was a professional singer/ songwriter for a short while. She then went on to medical school and became a Hematology Technologist. She worked for a major non-profit organization, where she was involved in distributing the latest AIDS research information to the top doctors in the United States. She then attended Bible School for six years and went on to be ordained and founded a ministry in New York City.

In the early nineties, she moved to East Tennessee where she returned to her roots in the Pagan tradition and went back to school. She now holds degrees in Religious Studies and Psychology, in addition to the others. She is an avid amateur Egyptologist, and now enjoys her new found love, writing.

WW: Hello and welcome, Janus, and thank you for giving us your time. You have inspired many of us and we feel honoured to have this opportunity to speak with you! Let's kick off with a somewhat serious question: According to your bio you are proficient in the fields religion, psychology, medical and music (wow!) and I heard a whisper you now study archaeology (more wow). With such a varied background and fields of interest, what sparked your interest in writing? Your proverbial light-bulb moment?

Janus: First of let me say this, when I write it down it looks impressive, but honestly, it is just because I have lived so long. I had three children that needed to be fed and so, I became a jack of all trades. When I needed a job, I went to school. When I am interested in something, I learn all I can about it. I majored in music in High School and so, I developed a love for it there. The most logical next step was to try my hand at singing and playing the guitar. I had dreams of being the next, Joan Baez. But I got married and had to put my dreams to the side.

Haematology was trade school and then an office job. Although, I worked with people that I will forever admire, brilliant minds and dedicated people, I was never more than a glorified clerk. During my run at National Haemophilia I got to have first-hand knowledge about what it is to struggle in a life that is not always fair.

My religious studies were the result of keeping a promise. When I married my husband I promised to raise our children Christian When I make a promise, I keep it. Otherwise I don’t promise. And so, I went to Bible College for 6 years. I did everything from clean the toilets to lead worship. Although there are many tenants in the Christian religion that I firmly I do not agree with, and most pertain to the way women are regarded, I walked away with a profound belief in a higher power.

Psychology was the just the natural choice to take in college. I had already taken some courses in counselling and quite frankly, it was the course I got straight A’s in so, I stuck it out. Besides, I have always been a people watcher, something that comes in quite handy when you are a writer.

And then there is Egypt, my first love. Many years ago I walked into the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The King Tut Exhibit was making its rounds around the country at the time. From that moment on I have been a sponge soaking up any and everything I could find about Egypt. At one time, it was impossible to walk in my bedroom because of the piles of books and notes that littered the floor (I am just a tad bit OCD about Egypt. (Can you tell? Haha). When I found an online college that teaches archaeology, I didn’t have to think twice about signing up for the course.

So as you can see, I am not that different than anyone else that has lived as long. I could also add that I was a barker in a Flea Market. I sold bubble jackets and wore a purple suede cowboy jacket and a Stetson. I was also a teller in a bank and a cashier in a supermarket. I had children and I needed a job and so, I worked. But all along, the way I gleaned from my experiences.

I never had much time for reading. All of my reading was textbooks and technical journals. Fiction was something for those that had time. I was busy working and changing diapers. But, one day on a whim, I saw the Twilight series in Wal-mart and so, I bought it, read it and said to myself, “I can do better than that”. And so, now I am on my next exciting adventure. I am learning how to write and hopefully someday I will master it. Everything I have ever learned and done in my life adds to what I write about in the Providence Series.

WW: You certainly are multi-talented! Would you say you draw most often from your own knowledge base when writing or do you research for fresh material?

Janus: As I have already stated, most of the bare bones of the Providence Series is drawn from my life, but when it comes to historical facts, I still have to research, which by the way, I happen to love. For example, I researched for six months about Syria before I ever wrote one word in Elizabeth Rose.

WW: And your research paid off. Having reviewed Elizabeth Rose, I am able to confirm it first hand for our readers! Tell us now a bit about your work. Why, for instance, did you choose ‘Providence’ as your series title?

Janus: The majority of my stories come to me in a dream or after meditation. I did not actively seek out the name of Providence. One day, it just came to me. But it is a perfect fit. The definition of Providence in the Merriam – Webster dictionary is:

A)  Divine guidance or care
B) God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny.

It is the name of the Goddess of the Universe and the name for the fictional Heaven in the series. In my mind, they are one and the same. To be in Heaven is to be with the Goddess.

WW: Who do you identify with most in your work? And why?

Janus: Can I tell you a secret?  Promise not to tell? I am Elizabeth Rose.

WW: Love that! We won't tell! ;)
If you could choose who would play Elizabeth Rose in the movie or series made from your work, who would it be?

Janus: By far, there is only one actress that I would like to play Elizabeth Rose, its Christina Hendricks.
Christina Hendricks
WW: Now some more about Janus: do you still write songs? Would you consider publishing them in a poetry format?

Janus: Most of the songs I wrote were destroyed in a flood. I have very few that I remember now. I do still write some poetry they are incorporated into the books as prophecies and spells.

WW: For many, the word ‘pagan’ is a curse word, although here on Writing World we do not in any way judge beliefs, whether of religion, politics or sex. How do you refute that, if you find it necessary to do so?

Janus: I don’t. Everyone has their own path. I have chosen mine. What others perceive about my beliefs has nothing to do with me. That is their walk and their problem. The only thing I can do is to concentrate on what I am doing.

WW: Well said! You are exceptional at networking and you share friends’ work selflessly. Those who know you call you caring, generous, positive and unselfish. Which four words would you use to describe yourself?

Janus: Learning, learning, learning, learning.

WW and Janus: I have to throw this in! That list of favourites we’re all interested in!

Favourite book: The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt
Favourite movie: Ever After
Favourite TV series: Ancient Aliens
Favourite colour: Green
Favourite food: Roast loin of pork, sauerkraut, and mash potatoes with applesauce.
Favourite drink: Coffee
Favourite pet: All of my fur babies are my favourite.
Favourite season: Autumn
Favourite place: My desk

WW: Tell us about your next book (we love to know what to look forward to!).

Janus: Each one of my books has a sub-genre besides Fantasy, Stolen Moments is Romance, and The Christmas Star is Humour. Right now, I am working on the rewrites and editing of Stolen Moments. But, I am also working on the next book in the series White Magick. White Magick is a Dark Fantasy it explores the world of drug addiction.

WW: What comes next for Janus, besides a new book project?

Janus: I have learned to take one day at a time. You never know what surprises are around the next bend.

WW: And finally, if you could choose one person, living or dead, you would like to meet, who would it be and what would you ask of that person?

Janus: It would have to be Mark Twain and the question is simple: Why those smelly cigars???
WW: Ha ha! Thank you again, Janus, for spending time with us! We look forward to hearing more from you and we look forward to great reading experiences with the Providence Series!

Those Links:

Elizabeth Rose

The Christmas Star

Connect with Janus Gangi on Facebook and keep up to date with other readers and writers on Stolen Moments Readers and Authors Group and discover the latest about her work on her Stolen Moments Page 

Writing World will update you with the links to Stolen Moments and White Magick as they become available.
Have a good day, everyone!

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