"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


Biographies and Those Who Write Them --JCS

Biographies—those written accounts of someone else’s life that a writer arranges into words—are a pleasure to write. Don’t get me wrong, because our lives don’t follow strict outlines like a novel might, it is challenging to take snippets of life events and arrange them into organized (and accurate) thought. Even a small book requires months of examining, sorting, and rewording. But whether writing an extensive biography or using a more thematic approach, a biographer cannot help but learn and grow from someone else’s story.
When I wrote The Prayer That Makes a Difference, Oma Van Gelderen was no longer living. I relied on written and verbal accounts—notes saved by Oma’s daughter and interviews with family members. The goal of the book was not to cover her entire life, but to encourage readers to get to the heart of intercessory prayer. With my second inspirational biography, This Side of Heaven, I was privileged to glean sermons and audio accounts directly from my subject, Charles Elliott. I asked an extravagant number of questions (he is a very patient and humble man) and drew out memories that were safely tucked in the recesses of his mind. Charles graciously answered every one of my questions! And while his blindness would be woven into the fabric of the story, the book was not about a blind man—it was about prayer, as Oma’s book had been.

I’ll admit it. In every biography—whether the tiny 24-page gospel tract I wrote entitled Now I Am Forgiven or the two books focusing on prayer, I eventually reached that point in the process when I could not make sense of my gatherings and resorted to a more visual method: spreading out pages and pages of notes on my large kitchen table and literally cutting and pasting what went where. Sometimes it felt as if those notes spoke back to me: I defy you to arrange me in a logical story progression!

I always prayed through the writing process, but it was right about the kitchen table scene  that I cried out to God wondering if the light at the end of the tunnel would end up being an empty, rusted out Kerosene lantern. In each case the Holy Spirit comforted and enabled me as step-by-step the biography came to a satisfying conclusion.

JANET CLARK SHAY is a freelance writer with a special heart for writing from a Christian perspective. Born in Colorado, she spent most of her elementary school years in Redondo Beach, California and graduated from high school in Healy, Kansas going on to attend Fort Hays State University and Emporia State University in that state.
       Moving to Arizona in 1987, Janet  worked in the Sears advertising department and later in the ad design office of the News Sun. She also completed the Trompe L’oeil course at the American Academy of Decorative Arts in Scottsdale, AZ and faux painting training at The Faux Finish School in Louisville, KY. In addition to doing freelance advertising and graphic design work, Janet spent many years teaching art to children. She completed the Magazine Article and Novel Writing courses through the Institute for Writers. 
       Her short stories have been published in Mature Living Magazine, and she has written numerous programs and skits including a full-length musical/dramatic play for church use.
        Janet owns and operates SABLE CREEK PRESS, a traditional independent publishing company. Through Sable Creek Press she has also self-published several biographies, including The Prayer That Makes a Difference and This Side of Heaven.  She is currently planning a mystery series for midgrade children entitled Eloyse Bylo Mysteries.
         Janet lives with her husband, Harold in Glendale, AZ. They have two children and eleven grandchildren.