Interview with Author Janet Syas Nitsick
A picture of Janet on her web site shows a gentile lady wearing a large brim, straw hat set back on her crown. I found the image fitting for a woman with a slight figure who is the daughter of late Nebraska State Senator George Syas.
I met Janet at the 2011 Beatrice Nebraska Business Expo. She seems every bit the classy lady who loves her state and family above everything except God.
Janet’s book SEASONS OF THE SOUL reveals her versatility as an author. The small tome filled with short stories such as a heart stopper titled ‘The Game of Life’ a fictional account of an alcoholic’s attempt to deal with life and grief.
‘Family Boston Trip’ is a true story about Janet and her husband taking a flight with their two autistic sons. Janet boldly opens up about introducing the family to the scenic areas of and around Boston. She also relates how on the flight one son had a temper tantrum and the other a grand-mall seizure on their return flight.
A fable called ‘Squirrel Chatter’ tells of two squirrels playing the summer away until time to prepare for winter. One squirrel prepares while the other makes minimal effort for preparation.
Janet has raised four sons. Two of those sons with different types of autism and other disorders present challengers. However, Janet’s photo album on her web site and her stories reveal a loving family with no question of the importance of all their children.
Go to http://www.janetsyasnitsick.com/JanetsBooks.htm and read enthusiastic reviews of Janet’s spiritually charged book SEASONS OF THE SOUL.
Janet will be releasing a new book soon called Lockets and Lanterns.
Q. Janet, I know it takes a lot of strength to be open about disabilities or any brain disorder. Why have you chosen such a bold approach to speak and travel unapologetically with two autistic sons?
A. Our personal experiences of raising two different autistic sons - one nonverbal and low functioning and the other verbal and high functioning - provides hope for those struggling with children with disabilities as well as educating those unfamiliar or with only peripheral knowledge of the affliction. It also gives people a personal glimpse into our lives but in addition shows the small joys of having these children, such as Brad, our low-functioning, nonverbal son, giving us the television remote so he can watch “Sponge Bob.”
Q. I have mentioned your history as the daughter of a Nebraska State Senator. What is it like growing up in a political environment? Can you relate how that affects your life and career today?
A. My father was a common man. When not in session, dad worked as a Union Pacific machinist. He made more money at the latter but his passion was politics. There are many memories - one was where a gunshot grazed a hole in our picture window. Another was when a number of state senators gathered in our living room to redistrict their legislative boundaries, according to the new census. Dad won many education and conservation awards, including the school bell award (which sits on my computer desk) and a wildlife area named after him, the George Syas Wildlife Management Area in Genoa, Neb.
Because of him, I too am a political animal. Although not involved in any campaigns, I follow political stories from the local to the national.
Q. It is impossible to read your book SEASONS OF THE SOUL without commenting on your deep faith in God. Please tell us
the importance of relating that in a world that tends to shy
away from Christian values.
A. As Christians, we need to be bold about our faith. The celebration is Christmas to honor Christ’s birth not holiday. Every time I purchase an item, my reply to the attendant is “God bless you.”
Q. WVNE 760 am radio in Massachusetts interviewed you about SEASONS OF THE SOUL. KMTV did a feature of your family and your book. SEASONS OF THE SOUL won best of the year book by Christian Story Teller.
As someone still breaking in, how does that feel? Is SEASONS
OF THE SOUL your first published book? That has to be rare.
A. As a former language-arts teacher and journalist, I was schooled in the writing craft, but I always wanted to be an author. Thus, when my book arrived, I could not have been more proud. However, the real glory goes to those, such as my husband and great professors, who edited and ignited my writing career.
Q. You are releasing a new book LOCKETS AND LANTERNS soon. Can I ask for a short summary?
A. Locked in the groom’s heart is a secret which once unlocked exposes his wife to much anguish. LOCKETS AND LANTERNS, a gripping tale of love, loss, and forgiveness, takes readers back to the 1900s when life was simpler, but sustaining love was just as difficult.
LOCKETS AND LANTERNS Excerpt: Red looked at his wife while the early morning sun drifted over their bed. Peace and contentment filled his being. He no longer pined over a lost love. He rubbed his head against the pillow as he pondered their future. He took a deep breath, knowing he did not tell his wife about the family secret.
Janet’s sense of self and family never seems to waver. Reading SEASONS OF THE SOUL brings to light her depth of spirituality. Her talent as an author through a career as a journalist and now a novelist I cannot question.
Janet’s sensitivity to others, her boldness, and grace engaged me the day I met her. She insists on pointing out that her two autistic sons are different. Janet told me she makes the distinction so people know the disorder is not the same and each has their own personality.
Janet’s dogged insistence that each person is different is one reason that I bring the author to the front in these interviews. I believe that knowing the author makes their work more interesting. That is certainly true of Janet Syas Nitsick who walks proudly through her stories true or fiction.