Some students who have taken COM 103 may have been taught by a several time award-winning author and never knew.
Instructor of speech communication Jan Frazier has released more than 10 novels, and continues to write even while teaching at Bradley.
“I started the young adult series J.C. van Winkler Adventure Series because I wanted to teach kids the value of travel, [which is] the number one means of education, in my opinion,” Frazier said. “I did the novels in a fantasy genre so that the kids didn’t know they were learning anything valuable. Every year students wanted a new book, so I’ve continued to write. I’m working on [young adult] book number 10. I then also wrote five creative nonfiction books, and I continue to write and love it.”
Writing her books is a lengthy process, Frazier said.
“I stay up late to write,” she said. “I have to be in the mood to write, but once I start then I don’t want to quit. Most books, if they don’t require too much research, I can finish in four to five months.”
She said editing her books takes much longer than writing them.
“The lengthy process is the editing,” Frazier said. “I probably edit 25 times in all until I get it to where it’s ready to go. Right now I have the next book written in the J.C. van Winkler series, but it’s sitting and I’m letting it go cold. Then I’ll return to edit it again. The getting cold process is important because when I go back to it, I see many areas which weren’t explained well, so I edit again.”
As with most authors, Frazier said she has dealt with periods of writer’s block.
“Writer’s block can be difficult,” she said. “During the writing of the third book in the J.C. series, I had writer’s block. I finally called up one of my children and said, ‘talk to me. What TV shows do you watch’ I really just wanted her to talk and maybe I could come up with an idea. She said, ‘The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and Law and Order.’ When she said Six Feet Under, I knew my next book and writer’s block was broken. The book was instantly formed in my mind. J.C. van Winkler would get pulled into the Underworld and learn how to fight evil.”
Frazier said publishing her novels has not been easy.
“Publishing is difficult,” she said. “You almost have to be in the right place at the right time. The last few books I’ve self-published simply because I don’t have the time with teaching full time to search for a publisher. And I like self-publishing because I can pick my cover and the title of the book that I want. When Sterling House published the first of the J.C. van Winkler series, they changed the book title and also wouldn’t let me have any input on the cover.”
One of her books has recently been released on Kindle.
“The last one of the creative nonfiction, “European Roots and Beyond,” which came out this summer, is available on Kindle,” she said. “The cover was designed by [senior graphic design major] Jacob Weise, and I think he did an awesome job.”
Frazier said she has several passions aside from writing.
“Obviously my past times are reading, writing and traveling,” she said. “Oh, and spending time with my family. I have always tried to instill in them the value of travel, learning new things and higher education.”
Traveling abroad inspired much of her writing, Frazier said.
“After I graduated from Bradley, I taught [junior high] for a year in Bartonville, and then I moved to the Netherlands for several years,” she said. “I loved living abroad, and later, after I took [Pekin High School] students abroad on summer vacations for 15 years, I knew I needed to write some books. In general, I visit every place about which I write. Pompeii I actually had to visit two or three times before I could include it in one of the J.C. books.”
For more information about Frazier and her books, visit janfrazier.com.