Interview with Janine Caldwell

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Clayton, a small town in the east San Francisco Bay Area. The Vortex Series is set in Pleasanton, a southern Bay Area town surrounded by the famous rolling hills of Northern California. Growing up in such a diverse and highly populated area influenced the nationality of my characters as well as their interests. Millions of people with vast cultural differences and a thousand varied hobbies all living around a beautiful, thriving city is what makes up the Bay Area and what opened my eyes to people's uniqueness.
When did you first start writing?
As a graduate with a BA in English from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, my first job involved technical writing for semiconductor-related patents. Working with electrical engineers on their ideas for chips and fabrication processing inventions introduced me to writing on a professional level. However, once I retired to stay home and raise kids I began writing on a more creative plane. I dabbled in a few screenplays just for kicks, but it wasn't until both my kids were in school full time that I began writing novels. Now, seven years later, I've published four YA books.
What's the story behind your latest book?
VISITED is a story that plays out what would happen if we got everything we ever wished we could change in our lives. This YA coming-of-age fantasy challenges one to accept who they are and to trust they aren't living a life without purpose, but rather by design. Inspired by a jr. and sr. high youth group, I wrote this story to speak to those students battling to trust they were made with intentionality.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
To put it simply, I got tired of waiting. My stories were burning a hole in my computer, and like so many others, when I couldn't obtain an agent after 75+ query letters, I decided to make my career happen for myself. Lucky for me it was just the right time in the ebook revolution to find quality editors and cover artists on my own and, therefore, produce a final product I can proudly celebrate.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
As an indie author, I know I must be willing to shell out dozens of free ebooks to review bloggers. It's the best way to promote your books without having to spend a penny. Awarding free ebooks to random fans is another way to build your social media following. Smashwords allows me to do this in a simple way, which has exposed my books to more people than I ever imagined.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating characters and watching them come to life on the page. To have them become so real, they are the ones who end up telling me how the story should go. Producing something out of nothing, I must admit, feels pretty damn good.
What are you working on next?
My next challenge is to promote the final chapter of The Vortex Series with the release of book 3, DEUCE. It all began with REMATCH, Book 1, where we meet high school tennis prodigy, Cassie Moore, and time-traveling, guitar stud, Trent Astor, and how their lives are intimately entwined. Next, in DOUBLE FAULT, Book 2, Cassie and Trent face many challenges, including parallel worlds and power-thirsty scientists. Finally in Deuce, the epic conclusion, we find out how Cassie and Trent's lives will be connected forever in a way they never thought possible.
Who are your favorite authors?
Veronica Rossi, Colleen Hoover, Melissa Meyer, Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins, JK Rowling, Lois Lowry, and Ally Condie. As you can tell I’m a huge fan of dystopian. Classically, I'm inspired by Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, and Jane Austen.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I play tennis, bend and twist in a yoga class, or take a hike. My other time is happily spent with my husband and two sons, and, of course, I love to read, play drums, go to the movies, shop, or just chill and watch TV. Those are all things I want to do, but mostly end up doing dishes, grocery shopping, more laundry than you could ever imagine, dishes, cooking, and chauffeuring kids to sports practices and music lessons. And, oh yeah, did I mention dishes? Seriously, though, although it's time consuming I adore my family and joyfully take care of them. They are my number one priority.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Mostly by the awesome bloggers I follow, but also from Goodreads. I'm in many reading groups and get curious when a book is getting tremendous buzz. I also like to support other indie author friends.
What is your writing process?
I begin with a broad understanding of the plot line, so I know generally how the book will progress. However, I let my characters lead me through the details of the story. I give the story time to marinate, adding layers while editing many times until the story feels multidimensional.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Kindle Fire
Published 2014-04-10.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Series: The Vortex, Book 3. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 78,560. Language: English. Published: January 28, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance, Fiction » Fantasy » General
(4.00 from 3 reviews)
In an instant everything changes for seventeen-year-old Cassie Moore. Together she and her time-traveling boyfriend, Trent Astor, battle to survive their next impossible challenge. As they navigate through a third parallel world in which Cassie begged Trent to create for her, the two soon discover no world can be made perfect.
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 65,430. Language: English. Published: May 26, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Romance, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(3.50 from 2 reviews)
Seventeen-year-old Joanna Murphy has lost faith in her life. Vying for her mom’s attention, she’s resentful of her stepdad’s intrusion to their family. Her best friend, Tommy, has no clue she’s in love with him as he dates girl after girl without noticing how it tortures her. The final kicker, though, is God’s sick joke to make her freakishly tall when everyone knows boys prefer petite girls.
Double Fault
Series: The Vortex, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 82,090. Language: English. Published: March 12, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance
(4.14 from 7 reviews)
DOUBLE FAULT is the 2nd book in The Vortex Series where Cassie and Trent’s problems have only just begun. As they fight through the repercussions of creating a parallel world, other dangers are lurking. After years of running, Trent and his orphaned sister, Lorelai, sense the dangerous and power-hungry Dr. Fox is close to discovering their whereabouts.
Series: The Vortex, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 85,600. Language: English. Published: March 12, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Romance
(4.70 from 10 reviews)
Trent Astor is many things—orphan, runaway, musician. But what’s most extraordinary about Trent is that he’s a time traveler. His supernatural gift sends him on missions to the past to save unsuspecting victims from harm. However, when he fails to save the life of a young girl, his life changes in ways he could never have dreamed.