Janice Forrester Harrell, age 73, passed away on March 8, 2018.
She was the beloved wife of Dr. Evans E. Harrell, her husband of 49 years, and the beloved mother of Dr. Waverly Harrell of Durham, NC.
Born in Hampton, Virginia, where her father was stationed during World War II. Jan grew up in Jacksonville and Ocala, Florida. She was the eldest daughter of Edward John Henry Forrester and Clare Warnock Forrester.
Graduating from high school, she stated her ambition as "to travel and write and write and travel," and she was blessed with the ability to meet those ambitions. She was granted a full scholarship to Florida Presbyterian College (now Eckerd College), and
after earning a Ph.D. in 18th century English literature at the University of Florida and teaching as a lecturer at several colleges, she took up commercial fiction and published over 50 books. These included two adult mysteries and many novels for young
adults, including a bestselling vampire series.
She met Evans Harrell at a New Year's Eve party in 1968, and they were so taken with each other that they shortly began to plan a future together and married March 26, 1969. Despite their short courtship, the couple were remarkably well matched and were
blessed with a long and happy marriage.
Jan fell in love with travel after spending a summer at the University of Sussex during college. She traveled with her husband to France during their early marriage and they were so eager to return that they took their daughter for her 6th birthday.
After Jan sold her first book, she fulfilled her dream of seeing the pyramids. With her family she traveled widely across Europe, indulging her fondness for art museums and her husband's for cathedrals, as well as to Kenya, South and Central America and
Descending from a long line of political progressives, Jan also worked throughout her life on behalf of liberal causes and candidates. As a college student, appalled by the destructiveness of the Vietnam war, she organized and led a peace march. She
worked with children at Head Start when she was in the racial minority, and she later tutored underprivileged students at Williford Elementary School in Rocky Mount and volunteered for numerous political campaigns, notably the Senate campaign of Erskine
Bowles, who wrote her a personal letter of appreciation.
A longtime member of the Good Shepherd choir, she had a lovely soprano voice and sang many solos there. She was a fine photographer who never tired of photographing her family and sometimes got a bit too close to wild animals in search of a good picture..
From "Contemporary Authors":
"...The sorts of things I write appear on the paperback shelves of a bookstore for a short time and then only reappear, somewhat tattered, in used paperback stores or on the paperback shelves of libraries. Sometimes I get frustrated letters from fans who
are trying to collect my complete works. My favorite fan letter began, `You are the greatest writer in the world,' and then continued, most satisfyingly, with, `I have bought everything you have written.' The bulk of my work has been comedies aimed at
teenagers, though recently I have also written books for younger children and a couple of adult mystery books soon to be published by HarperCollins.
"I suppose I never really wanted to write anything but sheer entertainment, in spite of studying so much `Real Literature' in school. I have a terrible weakness for a funny scene, and I am a connoisseur of dialogue. I find it restful to be in a foreign
country where I can't continually eavesdrop, which is my usual habit. How else can I keep my dialogue on key?
"My family members find themselves rather distracted while reading my books because I constantly use events drawn from real life--they're so much more comical than anyone's imagination. My daughter brings home amazingly funny tales from high school, for
instance, and driving car pool has provided me with a gold mine of ideas.
"Lately, as the tastes of young people have changed, I find myself writing horror and suspense. It's surprisingly easy to make the switch. Maybe all that laughter was only holding the horror at bay."
WRITINGS BY THE AUTHOR (partial list only):
FOR YOUNG ADULTS
Puppy Love, Silhouette Books, 1983.
Heavens to Bitsy, Silhouette Books, 1984.
One Special Summer, Warner Books, 1984.
Secret Hearts, Warner Books, 1984.
Secrets in the Garden, Silhouette Books, 1985.
Killebrew's Daughter, Silhouette Books, 1985.
Sugar 'n' Spice, Silhouette Books, 1985.
Birds of a Feather, Silhouette Books, 1986.
From Rome with Love, Silhouette Books, 1986.
Castles in Spain, Silhouette Books, 1987.
A Risky Business, Silhouette Books, 1987.
Starring Susy, Silhouette Books, 1987.
They're Rioting in Room 32, Silhouette Books, 1987.
Love and Pizza to Go, Silhouette Books, 1987.
B. J. on Her Own, Silhouette Books, 1988.
Masquerade, Silhouette Books, 1988.
Stu's Song, Silhouette Books, 1988.
Wild Times at West Mount High (first book in "West Mount High" trilogy), Pocket Books, 1989.
Easy Answers (part of "West Mount High" trilogy), Pocket Books, 1990.
Senior Year at Last (part of "West Mount High" trilogy), Pocket Books, 1990. Flashpoint, Pocket Books, 1992.
Tiffany, the Disaster, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1992.
Dead Girls Can't Scream, HarperPapaerbacks (New York, NY), 1993.
The Great Egg Bust, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1993.
Also author of Blue Skies and Lollipops, Silhouette Books.
"THE IN CROWD" SERIES
The Gang's All Here, Silhouette Books, 1988.
Dear Dr. Heartbreak, Silhouette Books, 1988.
Your Daily Horoscope, Silhouette Books, 1988.
So Long, Senior Year, Silhouette Books, 1988.
"ANDIE AND THE BOYS" SERIES
Andie and the Boys, Pocket Books, 1990.
Dooley MacKenzie Is Totally Weird, Pocket Books, 1991.
Brace Yourself, P. J., Pocket Books, 1991.