In her previous career, Janet Stobie was a United Church Minister, caring for congregations across Ontario.
Seven years ago she decided to serve in a different way; one where she could stay put and enjoy a new phase in her life with more time for her own family. With each new book, Janet experiments with different publishing mechanisms to make the projects more viable, and is developing a following with her diverse book styles.
While writing is a fairly new endeavour, as a pastor Janet was accustomed to communicating complex messages to diverse audiences, which equipped her for this next leg of her journey. She often used stories in her sermons as a way to engage her congregation members, both young and old, wanting her message to be relevant. Sticking with the theme of faith and its role in everyday life, Janet ventured into writing in her first book, A Child Speaks, which introduces the Bible’s life-lessons to children and adults. Now in its second printing, another book entitled Can I Hold Him? includes eleven Christmas stories for all ages. Based on Bible stories, the embellished tales provide a deeper understanding of the Christmas message and relates it to issues faced in modern life.
In November, her third children’s book entitled Elizabeth Gets Her Wings was launched. It is illustrated by a special friend, Olivia Phillips, who grew up in the Sunday school at Janet’s last congregation in Dunsford, Ontario and is Olivia’s first professional commission. When the pair first discussed the project, Olivia drew an image of her vision of the main character, and Janet was thrilled to see Elizabeth come to life. Olivia’s image is a playful reflection of the book’s enthusiastic angel anxious to make her mark in the world.
Spectacular Stella was written for Janet’s granddaughters and tells the tale of a lost star looking to find her way home, finding inspiration along the way.
One of her most rewarding projects was a commissioned work for a homeless shelter in Lindsay. Entitled A Place to Call Home. She was asked by the shelter to write a “Good News” story about a child who was homeless, believing a children’s book would be a good tool to teach people about the plight of the homeless, thinking that if parents and children read it together they would all understand. The project raised $10,000 for the shelter. It includes a teacher’s guide and a handout for use in schools.
The audience she targeted in her novel Fireweed is teenagers. This mystery novel offers messages of hope for teens dealing with grief, and Janet is currently working on a sequel which continues the tale several years later.
Janet’s approach to her faith is practical and consistent. In her Millbrook Times’ column she shares straightforward suggestions for dealing with everyday challenges, and reserving judgement for others. In her writing career, she is achieving her objectives of helping to build loving communities by supporting individuals through difficult times with her writing. Her books are available on Amazon or through her website at www.janetstobie.com. KG