Author Combines Love of Reading, Outdoors, Christianity and Scientific Research
Janice Boekhoff is a former research geologist who pours her love of science and the outdoors into her suspense novels. One of her favorite things to do, other than write, is to research the settings for her novels. Whether climbing Mount Rainier in Washington State, hiking in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona or pushing through the cloud forests of Costa Rica, she strives to bring realistic details to her writing. While there are certainly Christian themes in her writing, they are not the driving force of the narrative, but rather incorporated into some of her characters’ makeup. Her books appeal to anyone who loves an edge-of-your-seat suspense novel with a bit of romance.
From The Author:
Voices in My Head
I’ve always had trouble living in the here and now. If daydreaming was a sport, I’d be an Olympic Gold Medal winner. It’s not that I don’t care about what’s going on around me, it’s just that what’s going on in my head is usually more fun—and there, I’m in control. Pretty addicting, right?
In my writing life, daydreaming is my superpower. In real life, I have to fight this tendency. People don’t like it when you forget to pick up their kid for carpool because you got caught up in brainstorming ways to kill off a character. Or when you say yes to your child who asked for candy before bedtime because you didn’t even hear her question over the dialogue running through your head.
Qualifier: Please don’t make an anonymous call to the mental health professionals on my behalf. I promise I know the difference between the voices in my head and the ones outside—the ones outside are usually asking me for candy or if I’ve done the laundry.
My entire life, the real world and the world in my head have been at odds.
Somewhere in my teenage years, I read my first Stephen King novel. Oh, the nights I spent flinching at every creak in the house and leaping into my bed for fear of what was under it. The power of his words affected my life in an amazing, scary kind of way.
What would it be like to be able to take your thoughts and project them into someone else’s head? I wanted to know. And the tiny dream of being a writer was born.
Dream in crisis
But this tiny dream had many sister dreams to compete with. Simultaneously, I wanted to be the first woman president, a veterinarian, an archaeologist, a paleontologist (after I saw Jurassic Park), and of course, a movie star (I might be a science nerd, but I’m still a girl). Since I was busy pursuing all of that, I didn’t even try to write.
Until one day in high school English class, our teacher told us to write a short story. This was my chance. I wrote one, the best one I could, but I hated it. I knew the teacher would say it was awful. As she passed the graded stories back, I held my breath. She handed mine to me upside down.
When I gathered the courage to look at it, I flipped it over and saw the grade—a low B. Not bad, but not good. She didn’t hate my story. She didn’t love it. It hadn’t moved her at all. Right then, I decided I didn’t have any talent.
Tiny Dream Unleashed
I didn’t write for a long time. Instead, I chased after other dreams. Nobody was funding my political career, and I passed out cold when I tried to watch a dog autopsy, so I eventually settled on becoming a geologist. And I loved it. The research, the outdoors, testing new ideas, stretching myself to go places I’d never been. And the rocks! Granite, tourmaline, gemstones and fossils—I couldn’t get enough.
But as much I loved Geology and the study of what God created, I still had a tiny dream to put words on a page and create something new.
I felt God leading me to tell stories of struggle and loss, love and hate, faith and failure, in a way that honors Him. So, I grabbed a notebook (I didn’t have a laptop then) and started writing scenes longhand. The going was slow. I was a busy, working mom. Even when I left my job to stay at home with the kids, there never seemed to be enough time for writing. And yet, I knew staying at home was God’s plan for me.
My writing was relegated to fifteen minute increments: waiting in the carpool line, the rare occasion when all three kids napped at the same time, or just before dropping into bed. When that first novel was finished, it was a monumental accomplishment—and a monumental mess.
I cleaned it up, and then, I wrote more and more. I knew I had found the one pursuit that could incorporate all my wild thoughts and varied interests—the one thing I could be happy doing forever.
Soon, I also fell in love with boots-on-the-ground research. From climbing Mt. Rainier to hiking in the cloud forests of Costa Rica, setting details have always been important to me.
All of my kids are in school now and I’m blessed to be able to spend my days playing in my playground on the page—dreaming up plot twists, crafting meaningful dialogue, and yes, killing people (it’s just what suspense authors do).
Every character in my head has a unique voice and an individual journey, even the ones who die, and I get the privilege of sharing their stories with you. I pray you will find a little of your own journey mirrored in their adventures.