Janyce Brawn shares a little with us about her writing journey. And, her book sounds like a lot of fun.
Hello, my name is Janyce Brawn. I live in NWPA with my husband and our “nosey” Boston Terrier, Gracie. Our three grown sons’ pranks and struggles over the years have inspired my writing and illustrating. Life in general has a way of sharpening your outlook and honing your skills. I’ve written and illustrated books since I used crayons for the pictures of the stories that my twin sister and I wrote in elementary school. We would make up plays of our understanding of Romeo and Juliet and add goofy lines for the neighborhood kids to laugh at. We let our imaginations soar, the sillier, and improbable, the better. My sister and I devoured Nancy Drew and any other mystery books we could get our hands on growing up. Often we would pretend to be explorers and go into the woods and nearby creek pretending to be Nancy Drew and her girlfriends. We discovered our own “secret place” under pine trees, and a “witch tree” that had a long, low branch that we would climb on and bounce up and down as if we were on a magical ride.
Madeline L’Engel and her book, A Wrinkle in Time, fascinated me with her unique names of characters, mystery, connected and disconnected family elements, and wonderful possibilities that all stoked my imagination. My own stories then took on an other worldly aspect.
In college, I studied art, Spanish and English as a second language and then taught for over 25 years, retiring to finally write and illustrate. I have illustrated for the Time of Singing Poetry magazine, one issue of 12-15 pen and ink illustrations each, for over 20 years. My creative works have always nurtured my spirit. After my husband and I put our young sons in bed, and had our story time, I’d make jewelry as something feminine to balance all the maleness in my life. My creativity grew to encompass poetry, inspirational articles, illustrations, and illustrated prayers in the Penned From The Heart anthologies, and with illustrating the chapter books Angels in the Forest, and Compassion in the City- Amish stories by Tim Moriarity.
I love to explore imaginary worlds where I can create unique, fun characters in unusual situations. This is true in my new middle grade fantasy novel, David and the Drainosaurs. This story evolved from an exercise I did with one of my English as a Second Language students. We picked an alphabet letter (D) then opened a dictionary to the d section and closed our eyes and picked 3 words. We chose: drain, dinosaur and diamond. My student wrote his story and I wrote mine. My simple paragraph evolved from a paragraph to a picture book to a novel after winning a writing contest. The judge, an editor, told me it was a fun story but should be developed into a novel. So, my journey began, with my critique groups helping me hone the story and conferences feeding my knowledge of the craft of writing.
Likewise, my main character, David is also on a journey. He accidentally drops his mother’s diamond ring down the kitchen sink drain. In a struggle with a dinosaur-like creature, Princess Doris Drainosaurus, who thinks it’s her kingdom’s missing crown, David shrinks and falls down into Drainovia. He has three days to find the real missing crown to exchange for his mother’s ring or be stuck forever in a land where doors fly, hats teleport and treachery abounds.
In the story, David’s character goes from a basically selfish boy who wants to do only ‘his’ thing. He has to learn to put others’ needs before his before he can have any success in his quest. This parallels life too. When we serve others, we are rewarded more than we can imagine.
I hope you read my book. I’m working on a companion coloring book to go with it. Books 2 and 3 are in the works with coloring books also. You can follow me as Janyce Brawn on Facebook and you can write me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for allowing me to share a bit about my writing and life.