Java With Janice
As one of seven children, six of them girls, I found the best way to get my father’s attention was to trail behind him at the Folgers Coffee plant in Kansas City, where he worked. My earliest sensory memory is smelling coffee in the air. The entire Kansas City block smelled like java.
My father had a deep passion for coffee. He led the marketing charge for Folgers for 37 years. As a little girl, I remember him sitting on the back porch, leaning his wicker chair against the backside of the fireplace, listening to the birds, and drinking his Folgers. He was one of the creators of Mrs. Olson. Remember her? The 1960’s commercial diva who counseled women for decades on how to make the best cup of coffee.
At the Folgers’ plant, I used to follow the cans as they rumbled down the conveyor belt. And then when my father took me to the grocery store to study merchandising, I couldn’t believe that those cans were on the shelves. And at home, I opened up the cupboard and wah-la! Coffee sat in our cupboard.
So the process of making and selling coffee captivated me early. It seemed like magic. How it started as a fruit on a small tree. And then blossomed into roasted beans that were sold around the world.
By sipping a cup of coffee, I could taste Brazil and Columbia.
And when I was given the chance to visit coffee plantations with Whole Foods Market, it was like seeing the beginning of a life cycle. Coffee on trees. Well, it was heavenly. During that time, I visited several coffee farms in Costa Rica. The people there inspired me. And years later Roastmaster (A Coffee Novel) would be my first (published) novel.
Before turning to writing and owning & operating my own businesses, I spent over 20 years climbing corporate ladders at Fortune 100/500 companies, including Johnson & Johnson/McNeil CPC, Heublein, Frito-Lay/PepsiCo, and Whole Foods Market, where I was the president of several subsidiaries.
I enjoyed corporate America, but I alway knew I’d leave it. In my heart I’ve always been an entrepreneur, writer, and poet.
Now, I have a marketing and consulting business where I help companies grow, using digital strategies and writing their promotional materials. And, of course, I write my novels, short stories, and poetry.
My stories are about relationships, family, nature, animals, myths. I’ve always thought I’d write a When Harry Met Sally someday. Or Sleepless in Seattle. (It’s ironic that Meg Ryan stars in both!) But, you know, telling my writing what I want it to be is like telling other drivers to stay in their lane.
Though I start with an idea, my stories tend to tell me what’s happening. Heck, that’s most of the fun of writing.
That means I write about a lot of things—relationships, family, nature, animals, myths. And I tend to see things from a colorful perspective, so I employ magical realism and fantasy in my writing. I like quirky stuff.
My stories and poems have won a few awards, and my work has appeared in literary journals, magazines and anthologies.
Right now, I’m working on a young adult fantasy series, because, well, that’s what’s being told to me. We’ll see where this story goes.