Janice Cantore always wanted to write but never felt she had much to say. She graduated from college with two degrees, one in biological science and another in physical education. But, after college, she still wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life, so she applied to be a police officer. It was a decision that provided her with a fulfilling career for the next twenty-two years.
Now that Janice is retired, she has a lot more to say. Drawing from her good, bad, tragic and inspiring experiences while in law enforcement, she has written a dozen suspense novels with another on the way. Breach of Honor releases this month.
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Law enforcement is a demanding career—both physically and emotionally. Has writing about it been cathartic for you?
I don’t know that I’d use that word. I love to tell stories, and romantic suspense, cop dramas have always been my favorite, so I like to work through what-if questions and see what I come up with. I use what I saw and experienced on the job as background most of the time. While my job was sad and hard, I know the Lord protected me at times. I can see intervention as I look back. And when I see what is happening now in law enforcement, I thank the Lord that I am retired.
Was there ever a time when you wanted to write about something else?
I’ve always loved suspense, crime dramas, romantic stories, so I really have not wanted to write anything else. The only time I attempted something different was a couple of years ago when I tried to write a biography of Florence Chadwick, a sports phenomenon of the 1950s. She was a woman who broke down walls and barriers for women in sport, a foundational hero for me. I did a lot of research, even wrote a rough draft. The draft is on the shelf now; I don’t think nonfiction is my forte.
Let’s talk about your new novel, Breach of Honor (Tyndale House, July 2021). Please tell us about it.
As a police officer in Table Rock, Oregon, Leah Radcliff puts her life on the line to help others every day. But at home, Leah’s battling her own personal nightmare: Brad, her abusive husband, a fellow officer, celebrated hero and beloved son of a powerful prominent family. Brad’s violent outbursts and suspicious activities have left Leah physically and emotionally scarred, until one desperate action to put a stop to his abuse results in deadly consequences.
What role does faith play in this particular story?
Ultimately, the story is Leah’s faith journey. She ran away from God when she married Brad. But God never moved. He never lets believers run far. Coming back to faith sustained Leah when she was sent to prison. She realized early on that she would not survive her sentence with nothing to look forward to. Her father’s message that he would always pray for her reignited a faith she’d been running away from.
What part did faith play in your role as a police officer?
I was a little backslidden when I was first hired. Maybe on the fence. Back in the late eighties, early nineties, there were a lot of protests at abortion clinics. One such clinic happened to be in my beat. I was tasked with responding one day, to keep the peace. Once I got there, I soon realized that my job was to “protect” the women who wanted abortions from the praying Christians who were trying to save their babies. It was so completely backward, I realized that I couldn’t be on the fence. I rededicated my life and from that point on tried to be the police officer that the Lord wanted me to be. “Working as unto the Lord” is a very important verse to me, then and now.
Your next project is particularly intriguing in light of today’s headlines. Can you tell us a bit about it?
My work in progress has a working title of Saving Grace. It’s the story of Danni Grace, an officer who is injured during a riot and struggles with the idea of working for a public that seemingly hates her. She is trained to help in emergencies and used to running toward danger instead of away from it. Would she really be happy leaving law enforcement for something else?
What do you do to relax when you want to get your mind off writing?
I rediscovered golf when I moved to Hawaii. I love the game. Nothing better than an afternoon out on the course with some friends.
Thanks, Janice! It’s great to have you as a guest at Divine Detour.
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