A retired Long Beach police officer, Janice Cantore always wanted to write but never felt she had anything much to say.’ In college, she earned two degrees, majoring in biological science and physical education. After college, she applied to be a police officer.
Now a prolific author, with eleven romantic suspense novels and three series to her credit—and more to come—Janice’s twenty-two years of experience on the police force lend authenticity to her stories.
She was born and raised in Southern California.
Let’s talk about Cold Aim, the final book in your Line of Duty series (Tyndale House, July 2019). Please tell us about it and the real-life cold case that inspired it.
I’ve always been fascinated by cold cases. In Long Beach, there were a couple of long-cold murder cases where officers were killed and their killers never caught. One was shot and killed in his driveway as he got home from work. My prayer is that the killer will be caught, someway, somehow. In my novels, my imagination can dream up ways for cold case killers to be brought to justice.
In Cold Aim, Police Chief Tess O’Rourke’s small town is still reeling from a devastating fire when the FBI asks for help: Could she shelter a witness in a high-profile human trafficking case? Initially reluctant to put the townspeople of Rogue’s Hollow at risk, Tess is swayed after she sees Pastor Oliver Macpherson’s genuine conviction to rescue those in need, a trait in him she’s coming to love more each day.
What part does faith play in the book?
Tess and Oliver suffer through the same tragedy but from different perspectives as the fire rips through town. Tess is on the front lines, trying to save people in the path of the flames, but she starts out with shaky faith. Oliver is dealing with the aftermath, helping people pick up the pieces. It’s watching Oliver and his strong faith, no matter what life throws at him, that helps her grow.
How have you seen your own faith grow through writing this series?
Writing in general strengthens my faith. I start with a blank sheet of paper and pray the Lord will help me put together 85,000 words into an exciting, inspiring story that people want to read. It’s always a leap of faith!
“I usually start with a character, a place, and a spiritual struggle.”
Speaking of blank pages, how do you put together your story? Do you begin with an outline? Or do you write from the seat of your pants?
I write by the seat of my pants. I try to outline but always lose focus, so I just have to write the story. I usually start with a character, a place, and a spiritual struggle. Often a news story about a case or a crime will start me thinking, “what if?” and that will generally get me started. Sometimes, something that happened when I was still in uniform will come to mind and it will work into the story. Currently, the book I’m working on deals with domestic violence. I responded to many, many domestic violence calls, so I can put my main character in my shoes, so to speak, and the story moves forward from there.
You have three, distinct threads (suspense, romance, and faith) to weave into your stories. When you’re visualizing your story, is there one element that usually drives your plot?
Probably faith; whatever the Lord has brought to mind. Usually it’s a struggle of some kind: a struggle with belief, a struggle with forgiveness, etc. I try to make it true to life. People struggle with all types of issues, because, well, that’s life. As far as police work goes, issues of life and death are at the forefront, so the struggles are more pronounced. Always, I ask a lot of ‘what if’ questions. Sometimes the questions go nowhere, and sometimes they drive a scene, or the climax of the book.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m working on a new book with a new main character. It deals with trusting God when you don’t want to or when you don’t understand why you’re going through what you’re going through. The law enforcement topic is domestic abuse, and the police officer finds herself on the wrong side of the victim/protector wall.
Thanks, Janice! It’s great to have you as a guest at Divine Detour.
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