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Interview with Janet LoSole



She is the author of Adventure by Chicken Bus: An Unschooling Odyssey through Central America. She lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and two daughters. A staunch advocate of community-based tourism, Janet has made numerous presentations on the concept to community groups, encouraging people to eschew corporate package tours to support local family-owned businesses.


Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
A
. I began traveling the world before graduating high school. It was in my blood. A backpacking sojourn through Europe even interrupted my university studies. I met my husband, Lloyd, at Nipissing University’s Faculty of Education program. When the relationship turned serious, we presented each other with proposals. Mine was radical: get our degrees and find overseas teaching positions. His was more traditional, suggesting that perhaps getting married could be accomplished first. A stipulation of accepting Lloyd’s marriage proposal was that we travel immediately after the wedding. Of course, he agreed to my terms.

Q.2 Do you have any upcoming books?
A.
I’m working on a YA coming-of-age.

Q.3 When did you decide to write Adventure by Chicken Bus: An Unschooling Odyssey through Central America?
A.
Even before we left. A friend donated a laptop to the cause so I could furnish our daughters with a detailed account of our adventure. Traveling requires confidence. We hoped to instill conviction in their abilities to travel while they were young. Recording our adventure would inspire them to travel as young adults and even as parents with their own children.

Q.4 How did the title come about?
A.
The title was self-evident as it acts as the perfect ten-word summary of the book: Adventure by Chicken Bus: An Unschooling Odyssey through Central America.

Q.5 If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
A.
Start writing sooner! I never thought I could write. I didn’t know I had any skill. A friend encouraged me, so I started to learn. Anyone can learn it.

Q.6 How did you deal with the emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you’re writing the story?
A.
I like to go for walks or bike rides to clear my head.

Q.7 Memoir is such a delicate craft - a balance between the personal and the universal. What do you consider to be the most essential elements of a well-written memoir?
A.
I think a well-written memoir has to have a theme or a focus that connects the anecdotes. This is difficult when writing a travel memoir because you can fall into the rut of recounting day-to-day observations. In my case, I was careful to focus on the theme of community-based travel.

Q.8 How long does it take you to write a book?
A.
This book took years. First, I had to compile the blog entries into chapters. Then, I attended writing workshops and read tons of books about writing. Then I completed the first draft. The final copy was years in the making as I lived life at the same time.

Q.9 What were your feelings when your novel was accepted/when you first saw the cover of the finished product?
A.
I was nervous opening the email from the publisher when they sent the cover. However, once I saw it, I was ecstatic. They did a great job on the cover.

Q.10 Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?
A.
I am going to write forever. I am working on a YA novel at the moment.

Q.11 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
A.
When I wake up, I allow myself some time to have my tea and interact on social media. That way, I can get the distraction of Twitter out of the way and begin working.

Q.12 Do you believe in writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?
A.
I have never had writer’s block, but I see writers on social media who talk about it.

Q.13 What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your book?
A.
How methodical it can be once you reach the editing stage.

Q.14 What is your favorite book from other authors and why?
A.
Anything by Jon Krakauer. He is an adventure/travel writer. Into Thin Air was a standout because not only did he write about the tragedy on Mount Everest, but he also lived through it.

Q.15 How does your family/friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?
A.
My family is so sweet and supportive. Without them (especially my husband), I would have quit.

Q.16 What preliminary steps would you suggest a writer take before he/she begins to write a memoir?
A.
Join writers’ groups in person once we can meet again or in Facebook groups. Read lots of books about writing and read everything in your genre. I probably own most of the travel books ever printed.

Q.17 Did you have a clear outline of the book before you began writing, or was it more organic, stemming from memories as you wrote?
A.
I had written a blog about our travels and sent them home to friends and family while we were on the road. I used those to form the base of the book.

Q.18 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
A.
Read.

Q.19 What was your hardest scene to write?
A.
My youngest daughter got very sick on the road. That section was hard to write.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
A.
The learning curve to publishing has been steep. Sometimes I felt like my brain hurt as I tried to grasp the basic rules of writing.

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