The Short Version
My husband (a.k.a. Jedi Master Daddy) and I (a.k.a. Princess Mommy) are raising three energetic Jedi: Master London, Jedi Brandt, and Padowan Khyah. I have mastered the use of my purple light-saber (inherited from Mace Windoo himself), the art of identifying the bad guys (they drink prune juice, NOT water), and the ability of crafting bases and ships from scraps (aka legos).
In my spare time I write children’s books, translate French to English, and keep up with my blog. So yes, my laundry is probably waiting to be done. 😉
The Long Version
In the Spring of 1976, the very bicentennial of our great nation, Janet Sumner Johnson was born of goodly parents . . . okay, okay, just kidding, maybe not quite THAT long of a version . . .
I always love telling people that I was born in California. Santa Rosa to be exact. I don’t know why that sounds so exotic to me, but it does. We moved to Utah when I was one years old, but I’m pretty sure that being born in California gave me my love for all things beach and ocean.
In Utah, I grew up on a cul-de-sac with a ditch at the end of my backyard. The house was built on an old orchard, so we had a couple of pear trees in our yard, and a cherry tree. I used to climb that tree and eat cherries until I was sick!
Following the adage “Write what you know,” I used this home as the setting for my book The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society.
I loved living near the mountains, and we would often go hiking and camping in them as a family (while the hiking was great, I confess, I never was a huge fan of the camping part).
When I was four, I learned to read, and I have been gobbling up books ever since. The Rats of Nimh was the very first “big” book I ever read (in 2nd grade), and boy was I proud!
When I was eight, my family moved again to another part of Utah, and that’s when I learned how hard it is to move. This traumatic event may have helped inspire some of what I wrote. That said, I did survive, and I even made new friends.
In the third grade, I entered my first ever writing conference (the Reflections contest) and took 3rd place for my grade. It was a proud moment! That is also the year I was given the nick-name Janet Planet. I fully embrace it. (Especially because Garbage Pail Kids came out about that time, and guess who was a featured card??? Yep. Janet Planet. I was all kinds of cool.)
In fourth grade, I discovered my athletic prowess, and chose to focus on that. I played softball, basketball, soccer, and dreamed of making it to the Olympics in beach paddle ball. Hard to believe that is still not a thing! In Softball, I played catcher and then short stop. In Basketball I was point guard. In soccer I played defense (and goalie when they made me). In paddle ball, I played the coolest, paddle-diving, ball-scooping paddler the world ever saw. For real. Sports and school were pretty much my life.
In eighth grade, I tried out for cheerleader and made it! It was quite the thrilling moment in my 8th-grade life. Cheerleading made for a crazy life in 9th grade since I kept playing all the sports, but we were a wacky, awesome bunch of cheerleaders who wrote numerous mock-SNL skits to keep the student body happily entertained during school assemblies. One of those skits even involved a food fight (we totally got permission). Pudding. Mashed Potatoes. Green Beans. Spam. Just a few of the glorious food items that were flung at me that day. Who knew that I would grow up to be an author so I could use these awesome events in my stories? Not me, that’s for sure!
Amazingly, I never wanted to be an author. Instead, I managed to make it through elementary school, junior high, and high school with a firm conviction that I wanted to be a Lawyer or Business Woman (there is a short streak of wanting to be an Architect, but that only lasted until I realized I had no art skills. Alas.). And I totally planned to go to Harvard. I even had a Harvard beach towel.
But despite my over-achieving through high school, turns out my practicality and frugality were stronger than my desire to go to Harvard. I ended up going to Brigham Young University where I got a B.A. in English, and then later went to the University of Utah (rival schools!) to get my M.A. in French Literature. I had no idea what to do with such degrees, but happily stumbled into the world of Translation. So in addition to writing, I translated documents from French to English. I really loved it! I only recently retired from my translation job, and I miss using my French!
When I was a kid, I never could have guessed where I’d end up, but I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have had two jobs I love.
But even more important than my work, is my family. I got married to Mr. Mouse in 2001, and we have 3 beautiful children who inspire my writing, drive me crazy, and bring me the greatest joy I’ve ever known.
P.S. So wow, I checked in on what I wrote just a year later, and my family has changed a lot! I feel the need to post something a little more recent (even if I do love that picture). I keep telling my kids to SLOW DOWN with the growing up thing, but as you can see, they don’t listen (okay, okay, I know they can’t, but it’s still perplexing that I can have kids who are so grown up!).
Find me online:
Shepherd: Janet Sumner Johnson’s 3 Favorite Reads in 2023 (November 2023)
Book Q&A with Deborah Kalb (October 2023)
Chelsea’s World of Books, Interview (March 2023)
Voyage Utah: Daily Inspiration: Meet Janet Sumner Johnson (December 2022)
Story Booking Podcast (August 2022)
Jenny Pease: Chat with the Picture Book Lady (August 2022)
Shepherd.com: My top 5 PBs about fathers (October 2021)
From the Mixed-up Files (May 2020)
Pine Reads Review (Jan. 2020)
Ask the Author w/Melissa Roske (Dec. 2019)
Just Another Teen Reading Books: Guest Post
Just Another Teen Reading Books: Interview