Pasco native, a successful author, returns for signing

Janie Johnson says she has a Thomas Paine philosophy about being a responsible American that's based on common sense.

She's written a book about it, Don't Take My Lemonade Stand.

"Peace and prosperity are not inconsistent with common sense, conservative principles, integrity and transparency," Johnson wrote in the book, recently published by Bascom Hill Publishing Group. "We as American citizens must make it so."

A former Pasco High tennis star and mother of four, Johnson stumbled into writing after her 10-year-old son asked, "How do you know who to vote for?"

"At the time, I wasn't sure how to give my son an informed answer," she said in a telephone interview. She said she fumbled through an explanation, but, "He just continued to stare at me with his big brown eyes filled with confusion."

Don't Take My Lemonade Stand argues that the political system allows and encourages deceitful and deceptive politics, at the expense of everyday citizens.

Johnson will be in the Tri-Cities this month for a book signing from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Hastings Books Music Video & Coffee in Richland.

She's perhaps better known here as Janie Thomas, the youngest of nine children who grew up in Pasco, where she was a tennis standout at Pasco High in the 1980s.

She later attended the University of Southern California, where she earned All-American status in tennis and briefly played professionally.

"I still have brothers who live in the Tri-Cities," she said. "I'm looking forward to the book signing and coming back to the Tri-Cities where I spent so much of my youth."

Johnson, who now lives in Nevada, claims no political affiliation, but rather a desire to inspire a path of peace and prosperity through common sense.

She said when her book was first published she received a lot of criticism from people who tagged her as a radical Republican.

"The personal attacks did sting a little, but when someone would make a snide comment about something I wrote in the book, I would ask them point blankly to show where I was wrong," she said. "No one would answer that question."

Johnson sent an e-mail to Steve Forbes, publisher of Forbes Magazine, asking him to read portions of her book and to give her some feedback.

Forbes endorsed the book, telling Johnson he liked her five basic rules that she says Americans should live by: Don't spend more than you make; don't borrow more than you can repay; don't print so much new money that the currency is devalued; don't tax achievers so much they lose the incentive to achieve; and plan and save for a rainy day.

Don't Take My Lemonade Stand is gaining national recognition and is selling well on Amazon.com, where it is listed for $16.47, Johnson said. That's kept her busy on a national book signing tour. She also was a recent guest on Sean Hannity's national radio show in New York.

"I'm truly surprised, but pleased, by the book's acceptance," she said.

Johnson credits her Stevens Middle School teacher Mr. Cox with inspiring her patriotism. "He introduced me to the fascinating history of our Founding Fathers and the values this country was based upon," she said. "But it was my son's innocent question that spurred me into action."