About Jan Porter:
I share the soul wisdom, magic and insights of our Ancestors through the ancient art of storytelling and self-counsel works. With the wisdom of everyday unsung heroes and the human condition, we carve a new path.
As a philosophical muse of human nature, quantum physics, spirit world and nature, I do not hold to any one particular tradition as one higher truth or one size fits all.
Viva la diversity!
Even as a young child, I recall being held captivated by the other-worldly magic of indigenous cultures, saints, mystics, shamans and Robert Service’s tales of the northern wilderness. As a teen, I found battered old copies of Voltaire’s ‘Candide’, Margaret Caven’s ‘I Heard the Owl Call My Name’ and anything spirit world that my adolescent soul hungered for. Inspired, I first scribbled then dabbled with typewritten short stories, articles and poetry founding a funky alternative secondary school newspaper ‘Cool School News’. After many years of work in Human Services, evening ferocious spiritual, quantum or philosophical studies engrossed while raising children (all much food for character and story seeds) followed by a long arduous post-secondary completion of world religions, philosophies and spiritual sciences, I completed a Spiritualist Minister’s Degree yet I do not follow any one traditional mindset.
During one life-defining year that turned into many years, I cocooned in a northern Ontario sanctuary and began to polish numerous stories, books and course materials that had long been in various stages of completion~ life is circular in nature, a re-visiting of beliefs and perspectives in an ever upward spiraling of growth.
At my age, I am a ‘been there and done that’ post menopause Nana. With all of the hubbub of spiritual gurus in the world, my heroes lean toward those more authentic ideals such as; my spirit world muses who consist of an ancient multi-cultural mystical sisterhood, angel guides, my Mother, Great Grandmother, family and friends. I admire the 13 Grandmothers as well as former social services clients, a medicine woman daughter and son who all live a life less ordinary.
There is still so much more to do, share, explore and discover with more self-counsel books, a handful of children’s stories and another novel in the works.
I am the Founder of Soul Works Gifting Foundation (ad hoc) and a proud member of; The Writer’s Union of Canada, the Mohawk College Alumni Association and the Bancroft Spiritual Centre.
Formerly published with Moose Hide Books, Canada.
Articles published in: Mosaic Magazine, Owen Sound Sun Times, Wiarton Echo News, Tobermory Press, Medium online, One Thousand Trees magazine, Link magazine and co-founder of Mystical Voices Magazine.
What inspires you to write?
I am always fascinated by;
– the human condition
– unsung (s)heroes – real people, real problems
– the spirit world.
Tell us about your writing process.
I typically only have the gist of each writing project ahead of time with absolutely no idea what details I am going to write until I am actually at my computer and the manuscript is open.
The gist of story pieces typically come through to me while I am driving or tending to other daily living activities; it is much like a movie is playing inside of my mind’s eye or I am actually in a surreal dream journey. When I am writing, it often feels more as though I am merely taking dictation, a scribe.
I suppose I am a ‘seat of the pants’ writer. I do not make story boards, however, I occasionally refer to a picture of what I think a character might look like.
My father and daughter are my listening audience, so I often find out bits as I am talking about what is currently unfolding in a story.
Writing is my personal ‘happy space’, it feels inspiring and it is always interesting.
Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Mostly, it feels like a movie playing within my mind’s eye and yes, I often do step into characters and role play.
What advice would you give other writers?
If you sincerely enjoy the act of writing, don’t ever give that happy space up. If you like to write, then you are a writer. Growing up, I was an avid reader. Now, I rarely read anything trendy or new because I do not want to be influenced by others works.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
My first project was a self help book, with the intention to assist others in their journey. My second published book was a novella, a story that grew out of campfire story time with my children. Having it published would be an extension of that experience, a living legacy.
My most poignant mentor was my former publisher at Moose Hide Books, Ontario. I chuckle here, recalling that he had critically red ink scribbled on every page of that first manuscript draft. I recall our heated telephone debates on story issues. While his criticisms had seemed insurmountable criticism, I rose to the task and hence, thoroughly supported and encouraged to continue.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
While the online digital book world has exploded, I think hard covers and paperbacks will make a come back. Personally, I prefer to read a book in paperback form, in my hands, yet I am grateful for the choice. I love the notion that more writers can simply upload a book online for immediate sale, although, online marketing and sales is often a very different skill set. I hope to see a return of smaller publishing houses, for the personal service and team support.
What do you use?:
What genres do you write?:
literary fiction, personal growth, spiritual, inspiration, metaphysics, visionary, history
What formats are your books in?:
eBook, paperback and large print.
Author Interview By: Asmeret Payne, 'Free The People' news:
"I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jan Porter the author of “Soul Skin Woman have you had enough?” Jan Porter is living the indie author dream a full time indie author with several books out already and a former social services worker and life ceremony officiate.
Jan loved providing Life Ceremonies that may be of traditional, spiritual or non-secular life transition services. She worked with an open-minded higher philosophy based on concepts found in many spiritual modalities, religions and philosophies.
There is an ancient psychology within ceremonies that can assist an individual with the natural changes and stages of life, such as: Marriage Officiating, Baby Blessing, Mensa (A coming of age empowerment ceremony for adolescent girls, based upon ancient traditions and modern philosophy., Menopause: (Embrace and Empower postmenopausal life transition with freedom, wisdom and vitality), Pet Memorials and even House Blessings.
When asked why she wrote “Soul Skin Woman Have You Had Enough?” Jan responded with
“Soul Skin grew out of a ten-year journey journal while raising children and working in social services. Woven into the story are snippets of my own life experiences with a great deal of artistic twist.
I realized years ago, that many of us are so engrossed with daily life that we lose our sense of self worth, wonder and magic. We also have few authentic female mentors and heroines to refer to. When I say heroines, I do not mean Hollywood celebrities, rather, those with the honourable grit of surviving raw human hardships. I reference our Ancestor dreams and struggles with a dash of magical re-connection to the spirit world. I also wove in some personal old gal soul wisdom insights that I wish I understood as a young woman. On a higher level, I shared some soul wisdom and insights from our Ancestors through the ancient art of storytelling in one everyday unsung heroine named Navi.
The novel includes several historical journeying events experienced by Navi through a variety of characters. This sacred dream journeying shares the timelessness of the human condition and how our Ancestors overcame life’s adversities. I have always been a spirit world journeyer.
Soul Skin was my first full length novel and in the writing of it or better, journeying the process of writing it, I often felt as though I was living inside a 3D movie. I am happy to share those heart wrenching, at times humorous, inspiring and empowering tales of Navi’s stumbling of many raw challenges. Hence, I hope to snag readers into relatable cathartic journeys of their own.
Much of my vocation life has been in human services – which still offers much food for story lines and character development.
As a former northern Ontario social services worker, I had several clients who had left lucrative professions and lifestyles behind and homesteaded off the grid, deep in the bush. These people had profound contagious smiles and the light in their eyes could literally, light up a football stadium. Despite whatever of life’s hardships had brought them to the bush, it appeared they had grown intimately connected with something magically profound. All of them lived simply, yet were profoundly kind philosophers who would readily give away the last of their deer meat or the worn shirt off their backs, to those in need.
In retrospect it makes perfect sense, I have always loved my clients and those spirit world journeys.”
Jan lives in a dry cabin out on the lake in northern Ontario where she writes her books.
“Understand that this lake cabin on is a perfect writer’s sanctuary. It is close to midnight now, I smell tendrils of campfire smoke in the summer breeze and am aware of a Loons alarm call; a Muskie fish must be disturbing their nest. I will move into a more suburban house this fall and in the meantime, I explore other people’s lives in my mind's eye. After chores and errands in the afternoon, I will have a coffee at the dock, feed my little chipmunk friend named Calvin, cashews and peanuts and watch the dragonflies dance over the water’s surface.
Candidly, when I first came to this cabin nearly ten years ago, my plight was like the main character Navi in my book Soul Skin; necessity and at a crossroad in my life. I have grown to love the sanctity and living simplicity of this lake cabin and have written almost every book here. I do love a city fix, a great chef dining experience, live theater, live music and time spent with good friends and family.
I suppose the short answer to your question is both;yes and no. While I love the sanctity here at the lake I am also a people person and would not choose to live completely isolated in the wilderness indefinitely. When cottagers and tourists return to the city during the winters, there is a blanket of wilderness that descends upon the lake and I am acutely aware that the land ultimately belongs to the wildlife.
I love what I do. Much like an artist engrossed in creating a sculpture or painting, writing is a delicious and all-encompassing mind space to wander in. Creative space, I highly recommend, if you step out of structure mindedness and forgot what you think people want to buy or what will sell and just create from your soul. I am snickering here and candidly confess that I occasionally suspect that I am boring company. Those closest to me understand that I am pondering someone else’s life experiences. For example; in Soul Skin, I
spent time pondering what it must have been like for a young woman to navigate the Nazi death camp experience and the death process, be in battle as Joan of Arc and as a wolf. I have spent nearly a year pondering a current novel in the works where a female air auxiliary pilot is crash sea landing a bomb and ammunition loaded B-26 air plane during WWII. The main character in this book is in latter years, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and so, I am pondering the slow memory loss and confusion symptoms process of the disease.
I typically write from 10:30 at night until 3:30 or 5 in the morning. The nights are where the outside world grows quiet and this time space is usually free from distractions. While I am on my computer writing during these late hours, I am always thinking about story bits during the day.
There is a great deal of creative freedom in indie publishing and for several of my books, the online self publishing industry suits my lifestyle. Indie book sale royalties are a strange animal and all books take on life of their own. If you are the type of person or have significant other to provide for and need a stable income while your are growing your creative works, the unpredictability of royalty income can be stressful at first.
I do however, look forward to working with a traditional publisher for future novels in the works.
If you enjoy the act of writing, then never give up! Finishing a writing project is a monumental feat, so kudos for getting it done! Once a project is completed, there is a whole new world to learn and explore in the ever-changing publishing industry. It is easy to feel disheartened if you expect fast monetary success and popularity. If you enjoy the act of writing, then never give up!
I am one woman who has been there and done that with a great deal of life experience. You have your own heroic stories within you, just for surviving your own challenges. Thus, you matter in the grander scheme of life. Collectively, we are all a part of timeless sisterhood/brotherhood tapestry and we are making the world a better place.”
Snipits from the archives and local fundraising shenanigans: