"A writer seldom runs our of ideas. They may not always know how best to arrange them into words,but those ideas continue to lurk in the recesses of the mind--longing to be released and appear in story form." --JCS

Janet Clark Shay

A  U  T  H  O  R

My Love Affair with Books 

OLD LETTERS are by their very nature a thing of the past, and as times change our ways of communication, old letters will eventually be rare antiques. If you have any, keep them! They embrace the past in a way that emails and texting cannot rival.
I LOVE BOOKS. I love storybooks, historical fiction, mysteries, biographies, and especially good Christian books. I started to say I love to read books, but it isn’t that simple. I love to hold them, smell them, turn their pages, and line them up on bookshelves.

Someone once told me you cannot love an inanimate object. I suppose that's true, but (sort of like Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind), I'll think about that tomorrow—maybe when technology does with books what it’s done to my Daddy's black typewriter with the left-hand return. Until then I really do love books! And more and more I like audio books. They add interest to long stretches of land when traveling, or even running errands around the city.


WHEN I WAS A GIRL, my great aunt wrote lengthy letters about the comings and goings (gossip?) of the large Italian family on my mother's side. They lived on the California coast. In those days it was truly "a world away" from our ranch in Colorado. My aunt could take the most mundane events and weave them into "can't put it down" sagas. Because we did not think to keep her  letters, they exist now only in our fickle memories.

I once collaborated with author, Barbara Waite  who had an extensive collection of journals, written by her grandmother. As a woman just out of college, Elsie left her family home in Long Beach, California  to teach school for a year in northern Arizona. The description of this itinerant teacher's daily life with the students and their families in remote areas is both enlightening and fascinating.

Elsie's collections are not merely diaries. They are colorful reenactments of life as it was just after the turn of the 20th Century. They include a love story that ends in tragedy--more believable than some Christian historical fiction I've read. In case you're interested, the book can be found on Amazon and is entitled Elsie: Adventures of an Arizona School Teacher 1913-1916.  It is enlightening and well worth reading.  Elsie's journals  renewed my appreciation for old letters, especially when flavored with history and times easily forgotten. 

My book, The Prayer that Makes a Difference  would not have been  possible had it not been for stories and incidents recorded on paper by family members of Oma Van Gelderen. Our  minds play tricks on us, and when  writing  a biography, we are always thankful for written accounts. Most of us have experienced times when one family member does not remember events as we remember them. When we find written accounts they are not only interesting--they sometimes save getting singed by heated family discussions.

Writers of historical Christian  novels benefit from the wealth of information preserved through the written word. The way we read may change--Christian  eBooks and Christian audio books  are  wooing readers away from the traditional print versions more and more all of the time.  But the fact that we keep "reading" Christian books in one form or another  will always be with us. Save those old letters. You never know when they will come in handy when writing a good Christian historical fiction or inspirational work.