Say Hola to Happiness with
Janet Perez Eckles Newest Book
Interview Questions with Janet
Q: How did you get started in your writing career?
Janet: “Hey, you’ve got to come see this new computer,” a friend said. “It speaks to you. You can hear what you type on the keyboard.” Complete blindness had set in at 31 and as a Mom of 3-, 5-, and 7-year old boys; my life was turned upside down. But step-by-step God ushered me to triumph. And this new computer that “speaks” to me became the tool that opened a new world to me. Like a kid with a new toy, my fingers danced on the keyboard and I began to jot lines about my life—the devastation, the discouragement, the gloom, but also the victory, the joy and the success. Who would read it? My kids and grandkids, who else? But when I published the book relating my story, readers from across the U.S. and other countries—England, Germany, New Zealand wrote comments that nearly jolted me from my seat with joy. I titled it, “Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow.”
Q: What was the first book you wrote?
Janet: Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow: Overcoming Adversities in Life, Xulen Press, 2004. That was my first book, still selling. And its success nudged me to keep on writing.
Q: Why did you choose to write nonfiction?
Janet: Let’s see…writing what I know, relating episodes that entertain, and the stages that nearly drowned me in sorrow became my expertise. I wrote nonfiction because I found thousands of folks are also going through those same dark valleys and want an illustration of the way God restores, heals, comforts and brings success beyond dreams.
Q: What is or has been one of the greatest challenges in your writing career?
Janet: Having time to create more stories, more illustrations and more uplifting books is a big challenge. Blindness took me to a new professional level—public speaking, a career in court interpretation, personal success coaching, radio host and leading a ministry. Although this work eats up my time, I still make it a priority to jot lines to inspire and encourage my readers.
Q: What was the most difficult aspect of writing your book and how did you overcome it?
Janet: Knowing what to exclude from the details I relate. For example, the infidelity episode in my marriage was a delicate topic. I was sensitive to my husband’s feelings in publishing such details. But when he read the manuscript, he said, “If this experience in our marriage helps another couple, I think we should include it.” So we did…he was right. I receive letters from readers telling me that the steps I related about God’s healing power in our marriage touched many and they found their own success in overcoming their marriage struggles. And I follow the same style of inspiration in my second best-selling book, Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta.
Q: What do you enjoy most about writing?
Janet: Receiving comments like these: “Next to my quiet time with the Lord, Janet Perez Eckles’ book, Simply Salsa was the highlight of my day. Janet’s love for God, people, and life is vibrant and contagious. She writes with humor and transparency, and her passion is to help the reader move from tragedy to triumph. Janet doesn’t write platitudes from an ivory tower. She writes from her own trauma of losing her eyesight at age 31 and losing her son. She has woven in the stories of other women to help the reader understand the relevance of God’s Word. Simply Salsa—an uplifting book that bubbles over with hope, humor, and honesty.”OR“Just a note to say—reading your book and LOVING it! Your voice is so distinctively you. I feel as though you’re sitting in a chair beside me, putting your arm around me and sharing truths from your heart.”
Q: What passion drove you as you wrote your new book?
Janet: When I read books that teach in powerful ways, but fail to engage me, I developed a passion to write books with an approach that would teach but also warm the heart and stir the soul. I include colorful episodes that draw them close as if reading a letter from a sweet ol’ friend.
Q: What surprised or otherwise impacted you as you wrote your book?
Janet: Readers’ reactions to my book exceeded my hopes and dreams. And comments like these still surprise me with delight: “It took me a good while to get through your book,” a reader wrote. When I read this opening, my heart sunk. But then she continued, “I had to stop just about every page to highlight the messages that seemed to be written just for me. I had to read them over and over again as they powerfully touched me.”
Q: For whom did you write this book?
Janet: I wrote for that person who struggles with life. For the person who feels like Job did—facing the loss of everything, left devastated and betrayed by life. I write my books for that person who needs to see proof of God’s power to restore a life, to heal a heart, to lift from the darkness of pain and to see how He brings success and contagious joy no matter what one faces.
Q: How do you balance career and family?
Janet: Great question!! Hubby says, “If you could see, you’d be dangerous.” I claim God’s grace every morning. Unable to see physically gave me the gift of insight. The insight to draw wisdom from God’s Word to put in order my priorities, to claim His power to overcome daily challenges, and His constant provision to allow me the energy and health to accomplish my full-time work, traveling across the country and other countries speaking and hosting my radio show as well as helping my granddaughter in her homeschooling journey.
Q: What projects are you working on now?
Janet: I’m dancing to the joy of seeing Simply Salsa released in Spanish. I’m busy promoting it as Simplemente Salsa has been well received. It’s written in a way that speaks to today’s woman with passion, a bit sassy and with a Latina flair.
Q: What book(s) do you have on your nightstand right now?
Janet: The Bible on audio. The headset is plugged in so I can delight in His Word the moment I place my tired head on the pillow and when I wake up in the morning.
Q: What life experience, education, or training helped you become an author?
Janet: Years of critique sessions, workshops, perseverance when facing rejected submissions, comments from fellow writers. The learning never stops.
Q: Which living person do you most admire?
Janet: Cecil Murphy—his generosity, his humility and his relentless pursuit for excellence is admirable.
Q: What do you do when you’re not writing?
Janet: Dancing Salsa, cruising on the Caribbean with hubby and friends, creating books and stories for my grandchildren, playing on the floor with them, and cooking my own recipes on my “Cooking in the Dark” segments which appear on my YouTube channel.
Q: What is your go-to food, snack, or special treat?
Janet: Smashed avocado sprinkled with salt and spread on a slice of Genesis bread. Yeah, I’m a bit strange, but I delight in good stuff that’s good for you.
Q: What three personal qualities are most important to you?
Janet: Honesty, transparency, and wisdom.
Q: What is your life verse?
Janet: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matt. 6:33
Q: What is God teaching you right now?
Janet: To find peace no matter what the world screams. To find trust even when I can’t see the solution. To know His grace when facing obstacles. And when looking for what I need, to receive His provision.
Q: Please share one of your favorite memories of shopping in a local Christian bookstore.
Janet: “Can you help me find books written for the Latina community?” I asked the clerk behind the counter at my local bookstore. And she didn’t name the area of the bookstore. She didn’t look in the computer. She didn’t just point me in the direction. But she stepped around the counter. “Let me help you find some.” She walked with me and took her time, she made suggestions and knowing I was blind, she read some back covers to help me choose. The personal connection with our local stores’ personnel has no substitute.
Q: In what ways do you consider your local Christian bookstore important?
Janet: When I step in to choose a book, I can’t help but find a gift that is just perfect for that someone. Holding the item in my hand is more meaningful than finding something online.