Born in Dallas, Texas, in 1950, Janie B. Cheaney "grew from a baby to a shy, skinny kid with straight brown hair and big teeth." Though she read a great deal as a child, the young Cheaney "wasn't that interested in writing," as she puts it. "I started one play and a couple of short stories, but none of them were finished because I could never figure out what would happen next."
After becoming seriously ill with myocarditis in the seventh grade, she spent a month recovering in the hospital, and another year recuperating at home. During this time, she didn't attend school until the eighth grade, a teacher coming to her instead. Because of her long absence, she began ninth grade with no friends "and no idea how to make them." "The next two years were miserable," says Cheaney, "until I found my niche in high school: acting and singing. In my junior and senior years I performed in the concert choir, the show choir, and two musicals. I was still a shy kid when playing myself, but it was fun to get up on stage and act like somebody else."
After high school graduation, she attended a Christian junior college in Dallas before she transferred to a four-year college in Abilene, Texas. She became a college dropout in 1971 in order to get married. She describes her life in the thirty-plus years since: "My husband and I have lived in six different states and moved a total of 23 times, raised two children, and homeschooled them from grades 1 and 3 (that is, we started when our son was in first grade and our daughter in third)."
Cheaney taught her children at home for twelve years, during which she also conducted creative writing classes for other homeschool students. She has seen her work published in magazines (including, lately, World Magazine) and literary journals, and has worked with students in theater design and performance, authoring several plays for young people. Her first novel, The Playmaker, was published by Random House in 2000, followed by The True Prince in 2002. She lives in the Ozarks of Missouri with her husband. When not writing, or thinking about it, she enjoys traveling, reading, singing, sewing, doing needlwork, and (of course) sleeping.
Did you find this review helpful?