N.J. Lindquist a.k.a J.A. Menzies (Part One)
N. J. Lindquist is an award-winning-author, a motivational speaker, and an empowering teacher who loves helping people live joyful and meaningful lives.
Her published work includes four YA coming-of-age novels; a new adult novel; three discipleship manuals for teens; and three mainstream adult mysteries (Shaded Light, Glitter of Diamonds, and Shadow of a Butterfly) which are published as J. A. Menzies.
N. J. is the co-founder and former executive director (2001 to 2008) of The Word Guild, a Canadian association of writers and editors who are Christian. From 2002 until 2012, she directed or co-directed Write! Canada, the largest Canadian conference for writers and editors who are Christian, and the flagship conference for The Word Guild.
Her speaking topics, for both adults and teens, include creativity, leadership, and making disciples. She’s also been teaching writers in both Canada and the United States since 1992, and she has a website for writers.
She’s been married to Les Lindquist since 1972. They live in Markham, Ontario. They have four adult sons, three daughters-in-law, and a number of grandchildren.
Q:When you are writing, what treat do you like to keep you going?
N.J. : I drink coffee in the morning (which is strange because I only started drinking it a year or so ago). I grind it from beans, and we’ve found several kinds I like. Snickerdoodle, Lush, and Kenya are a few. I don’t like what you get in coffee shops. After lunch, I drink a pot of black, Oolong, or white tea; then a pot of green tea; then rooibos at night. I drink water in there, too.
My snacks are primarily fruit (fresh or dried) and nuts. We’ve been eating very healthy for the last 3 years. No processed foods, sugar, dairy, or grains, and only healthy fats (butter, olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil). Occasionally a few squares of dark chocolate.
And I feel terrific!
Q: If you were to pick one character out of your books that could materialize and become a real live person, a friend, who would it be and why?
N.J. : Wow! That’s a tough one. I think maybe John, from my Circle of Friends series. He’s a garage mechanic who has a childlike faith in God and is really practical and unashamed. I sort of modeled John after a man I met a few times, who I’d love to see again.
Q: What do you do to get into “the zone” when you are writing?
N.J. : I usually have either music or a radio on. That’s because, when my kids were younger and I was writing, I played music to drown out the sounds from the rest of the house. Now I need the sound because it’s too quiet otherwise. I generally listen to country, folk music, or jazz; sports talk radio; or baseball games. Of course, I did do my homework with the TV or radio when I was younger. ☺
I don’t tend to have much trouble getting into the creative writing part. I love creating the first drafts where it’s all about making things up, and I love making sure everything flows, and filling in necessary details. Where I start getting antsy is after a few edits, when I begin to get pretty tired of the whole thing.
If I run out of ideas or get stuck on some issue, instead of sitting at the computer stewing, I either do jigsaw puzzles or go to the mall and observe people. For some reason, both of those things seem to help my creative juices get flowing again.
I should perhaps mention that two people had a huge impact on my love of reading, and probably my career as a writer. One was my grandmother, Jenny Shaw, who gave me my first Bible, Little Women (my all-time favourite book), and a number of other books.
The other was my mother’s uncle by marriage, Uncle Frank. At age 80, he came by train from San Francisco to rural Manitoba to give Mom a diamond ring that had belonged to her aunt. He knew there was a child, so he brought me A Child’s Garden of Verses, which I pretty well memorized. You see, at that time, I had only a few Golden books and there was no library in our town. When Uncle Frank saw its impact on me, he kept sending books. Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales, Alice in Wonderland, and many others. To me they were of far more value than the diamond ring he brought my mother.
(By the way, if this story interests you, I wrote about it in more detail in Hot Apple Cider, which you can get for free on my website.)
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