Retired Long Beach police officer Janice Cantore is now an emerging author, focusing on mystery, suspense, romantic suspense and inspirational suspense. Her novels are based, in part, on her experience on the force, and her first series, Brinna’s Heart Series, are available on Amazon. A few days ago, the first book in her The Pacific Coast Justice Series was released by Tyndale Publishing House.
Carma Spence: How has your work as a police officer helped you as a writer?
Janice Cantore: It’s given me a back ground. I love murder mysteries with cop leads or PI leads and after actually working in a black and white, think I have an insight. I hope this helps me to write believable characters and stories.
CS: You’re writing a series with a female police protagonist. Can you tell us about her … and the series?
JC: Carly Edwards is my main character and she is a composite of officers I worked with. She’s smart and strong, and when the story opens she’s dealing with emotional pain and work frustration. She’s divorced and her ex is also an officer. It’s a murder that throws them back together. She also embarks on a spiritual journey, after they were divorced her husband becomes a Christian and this plays a role in the story as well. Without giving away too much, the series continues with Carly dealing with crimes and life threatening situations.
CS: How much of you is in Carly Edwards?
JC: Probably any indecisiveness, and some of the spiritual questions she asked came from my own journey. I had the privilege of working with some exceptional officers when I was with LBPD. Carly is more a composite of the best.
CS: There is a spiritual component to Accused, is that present in all of your books?
JC: As an officer, I saw a lot of tragedy. I also saw people emerge from tragedy stronger and often that was because of their spiritual strength. My books have that spiritual dimension because it’s uplifting and inspiring. And I hope when you finish one of my books, you put it down feeling inspired and uplifted.
CS: Where do you get your ideas?
JC: A lot of times from news stories. For Accused, the idea began when I was working as a juvenile detective. There was a kid in custody for a particularly gruesome crime. I remember looking at him and thinking, what if he didn’t do it? From there I developed Accused, deciding that the twist would be that it was the officer questioning the crook’s guilt.
CS: Did you always like writing?
JC: Yes, I’ve loved to read and write for as long as I can remember.
CS: Do you have a set schedule to do your writing?
JC: I try to write in the morning after my devotions and the gym, usually by the afternoon I’m distracted. I take care of my elderly parents, my dad is 95 and he has Altzheimer’s and my mom is 88 with stage 1 lung cancer. Sometimes my writing is interrupted by doctor’s appointments, etc. Sometimes I’m writing while waiting in the doctor’s office.
CS: How do you feel about the current state of writing? Is this a good time for writers?
JC: I think there will always be a demand for well written stories. The delivery method is what is changing. As far as the explosion of e-books, I don’t know. I’ve read some bad ones, books that would have benefited from professional editing, and I’ve read some really good ones. Since I have no clue about marketing, I wonder how all these people publishing all these e-books are going to find an audience, unless they are already big names.
CS: What inspired you to become a writer?
JC: Since I’ve always loved to read, I wanted to write at an early age. I loved horse books and at first wrote stories about horses, sometimes finishing where a series left off, and sometimes making up my own. There were a lot of reasons why I didn’t keep up writing, one of which was a creative writing instructor in college who hated everything I submitted. Later, I discovered many fine authors who inspired and intrigued me through their work, I realized that I wanted to inspire and intrigue others with stories and books as well. Raymond Chandler is one of my favorites and he actually lived for a time in Signal Hill. In his books, Southern California comes alive, I love authors who can do that and tell a fascinating story.
CS: What is the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?
JC: It was an answer to the talent question, because of my creative writing teacher, I doubted I could be a writer and I was told that talent was developed by working hard and learning your craft. If I would apply myself I could learn to write. Since I wanted to write, applying myself and learning my craft was and is enjoyable. I know now that the learning never stops and my goal is to always get better.
CS: What is the best advice you can give as a writer?
JC: If it is your dream, stick with it. Accused was rejected many times before it made it to print.
CS: What’s next for you and your writing? There are two more books in the Pacific Coast Justice Series, Abducted will be out this summer and the third next year.
I’m currently working on a proposal for another series. Accused is set in a made up beach town. I didn’t use Long Beach specifically because I didn’t want any one I worked with to think I had an axe to grind, because I didn’t. Accused and the characters are fictional. But my next series will be set in Long Beach and the main character is a female homicide detective.
CS: Are you a Long Beach native or a transplant?
JC: Transplant. I went to CSULB, got a degree in physical education. I’ve lived in the Shore, in North Long Beach and in East Long Beach by El Dorado Park. I was working on a masters when I was hired by Long Beach PD. I love the layout of the city, the parks, the fact that I could bike to the beach and swim or kayak and then bike home. I also love the PD. I think the force is professional, well trained and well managed. I moved away after I retired, and then had to move again to help my folks with their health problems. I miss Long Beach and I can see myself moving back.
CS: What do you like about being a Long Beach writer?
JC: Being close to the water. I find the ocean inspiring and wrote many pages sitting where I could watch the ocean and watch people.
For more information about Janice Cantore and her work, visit www.janicecantore.com. You can also follow her on Facebook.
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