Janis Fisher Chan, CA

Premium Writer

Janis didn’t set out to be a writer. When she was five, she announced to anyone who would listen that she was an actress. But life has a funny way of tossing changes your way. While studying for her master’s degree in theater, Janis landed a job in the copy department of a controversial national magazine (now defunct). She discovered her love of words, and she has never looked back. Since then, she has spent her career writing and helping authors tell their stories. She’d love the chance to tell yours!

As a StoryTerrace writer, Janis interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

Fields of Girasoli

A chance encounter with a colleague of my husband changed our lives. We met Scilla when she came to San Francisco on a visit to her son. She was funny and smart, and we became instant friends. When we said goodbye after dinner on her last night, she hugged us and said, “Come visit us in Rome.”

We laughed and said we’d think about it, then promptly forgot as we went about our busy lives. But Scilla didn’t let us forget. She repeated the invitation several times during the next year.

“Maybe we should go,” I ventured one evening. “I’ve always wanted to see Italy.”

The next morning we called Scilla and said, “We’d love to come!”

Scilla and her husband met us at the airport, greeting us as if we were old, old friends. After piling our luggage in their too-small car, they drove us past fields of sunflowers toward the city.

“Girasoli,” Franco told us. It was the first of many Italian words he would teach us during the next four weeks. Even though he worked for the United Nations and his english was perfect, he loved his language and thought everyone should speak it.

Franco also loved the city in which he had grown up. “He always wanted to be a tour guide,” Scilla explained. “He can’t wait to show you around.”

Show us around he did! That evening, still fuzzy from jet lag, we followed Scilla and Franco down the hill from their apartment in Monteverde Vecchio to the then-working class area of Trastevere and into the center of the city. They showed us the Trevi Fountain, Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, and more. We ended the night in a small bar with Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong playing softly in the background while Franco told us what it had been like growing up in Rome during the war.

Get in touch today to work with Janis!