Mason Cooley said, “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”
A Center Stage Moment shines a spotlight on writers who give us great places to visit with the characters we love and want to call friends.
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you Janet Nissenson!
Janet is a lifelong resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, and currently resides on the northern California coast with her husband Steve and Golden Retriever Max. She worked for more than two decades in the financial services industry before turning her focus to producing running events. She is a former long-distance runner, current avid yoga practitioner, is addicted to Pinterest, likes to travel and read. She has been writing for more than three decades, with her first book in the Inevitable Series – Serendipity – published in December 2013.
I love reading author bios. Many of them did not start out as writers. Sometimes people stumble upon the craft. Did you always want to be a writer? I started writing (short stories, school essays, etc.) when I was in the sixth grade and I’ve always done some form of writing ever since.
Why did you choose to write your genre? I started reading romance when I was a teenager, so I was most familiar with that genre. And it’s contemporary romance because that’s much easier for me to write about and research, as well as create more realistic characters and dialog.
What is the strangest story you’ve ever written? This probably goes all the way back to high school when I was in an Advanced Placement English class, and had to write a paper on the book Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. That’s a classic, of course, but also a really bizarre book in a lot of ways, so the paper wasn’t the easiest to write.
What are you currently working on? I’m in the early chapters of Serenity, which is book number five in the Inevitable series.
What motivated the plot of your latest book? The characters in Serenity were both introduced in earlier books, and I always knew they would wind up together. The heroine in the book is a yoga teacher, and since I’ve been a yoga devotee for almost eighteen years I’ve always wanted to work this into one of my books.
What was the hardest story for you to write? Definitely Shattered, the third book in the Inevitable series. Both the hero and heroine were flawed people, not particularly likeable, and their story took me into some dark places that I don’t like to venture.
What process do you use to plan your novels? First I write out a fairly detailed, overall plot, then I break it down chapter by chapter. Of course that changes a lot during the actual writing process but it gives me a good starting point.
Who has been your favorite character to write and why? I would have to say Lauren McKinnon, the heroine of Sensational (book four of the Inevitable series), who is also featured in the first three books. She’s fearless, sassy, funny, but also vulnerable, and she was great fun to write about.
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it? God, yes! Especially when I was writing Shattered. And I don’t think it was so much a case of writer’s block as just being reluctant to write that particular book. I got over it by making myself a schedule for writing the book, when I had to get each chapter finished by, and then just sticking to it.
Do any of your characters reflect facets of your personality? Not my personality per se, but different parts of my own life experiences have found their way into the books. For example, the heroine in Shattered – Angela – is a stockbroker, and I worked at a brokerage firm for over twenty years. She’s also a long distance runner, which I was for almost three decades.
If you were to choose another genre to write in, what would it be? Why? Probably paranormal romance because there was a time when I was really into that genre. And I’m still a big fan of shows like The Vampire Diaries. I’m also really into the whole superhero thing now (The Flash, Arrow, etc.) so maybe I’d try something in that genre. [Some of my guilty faves, too.]
Which authors inspire you? I’m definitely old-school there, so I would have to include Barbara Delinsky, Sandra Brown, Linda Howard, and Judith McNaught. Nobody writes like they do anymore, and unfortunately they only release about one book a year nowadays.
What novel would you read multiple times? After the Night by Linda Howard. It’s still amazing after all these years.
If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or deceased, who would it be and why? (Person could be a fictional character) Michelle Obama, because she is the epitome of class, intelligence, and kindness. [Great choice!]
What is your favorite quote? “She was a wild, wicked slip of a girl. She burned much too brightly for this world” (from Wuthering Heights).
What is your favorite animal, real or imaginary? I’m a dog person, especially the big dogs like my Golden Retriever Max.
What is your favorite color? Blue
When you’re not writing… I don’t have another job since my husband is already retired, but I don’t devote more than a few hours a day to writing and related tasks (promotion, social media, etc.).
Catch up with Janet online at
It was a pleasure getting to know you, Janet!
Join me next week when Heather Anastasiu drops by.