I'm thrilled to have Jean Henry Mead here on her blog book tour for her new novel A Shattered Village.
Writing is My Life
I never dreamed when I wrote my first novel in fourth grade that I would eventually become a writer. When you're nine, you do things for fun, and for me writing a chapter a day to entertain classmates was pure pleasure.
Since that time I've struggled to learn the language of fiction, as Pulitzer winner A. B. Guthrie called it. Guthrie, a newspaper reporter and editor, made the leap from journalism to fiction with great stress and fortitude. I walked a similar path. Why would anyone who writes for a living have a difficult time making the switch? I guess it's because juornalism is objective and fiction delves beneath the surface.
I was privileged to interview the old man of the literary mountain at his modest A-frame home in northern Montana's outback. When I asked Guthrie the difference between journalism and fiction, he gave a great example: “A well-known man in Lexington, Kentucky died and afterward, his widow had a full-size portrait of him in the house, and when people came to visit, she would refer to the picture as if he were still alive, saying, 'Isn't that so, Enoch?' So you see, you can't put that in a newspaper, but it's great for fiction.”
Before I was able to write and sell my first novel, I worked as a reporter in high school, served as editor of my college newspaper and wrote for a number of daily papers in both California and Wyoming. Along the way I served as editor of In Wyoming magazine and freelanced as a photojournalist for the Denver Post's Empire Magazine. My first nonfiction book was published in 1982, a collection of interviews with Wyoming's VIPs, starting with then-Congressman Dick Cheney. Among my favorites were Governor and Mrs. Ed Herschler, infamous lawyer Gerry Spence and sportscaster Curt Gowdy. I also interviewed Ed Cantrell, the Wyoming lawman who shot and killed his own undercover agent between the eyes in the backseat of his patrol car.
Journalism is a great career for the young, but it eventually takes its toll. Reporting on tragedies and the pain and anguish of your fellow citizens either makes you callous or crazy. I opted for photojournalism so that I could pick and choose my interviews and stories. I freelanced for a number of years and won some awards. A number of my articles and interviews wound up in magazines in Norway and Germany, but what I really wanted to do was write novels. After seven nonfiction books, I wrote my first historical l and then the first of my mystery novels. My current mystery/suspense novel, A Village Shattered, is the first in my Logan and Cafferty senior sleuth series . I've always been an Agatha Christie fan and loved her Miss Marple books, so I decided that it was time for some feisty modern senior sleuths.
I was sitting at my computer one day when I began to write about Dana Logan and Sarah Cafferty, two widows who were suddenly confronted with the murders of their friends and club members in the Valley Retirement Village in California's San Joaquin Valley, where I had lived for a dozen years. After three murders they realized that the women were being killed alphabetically. Dana, a mystery novel buff, and Sarah, a private investigator's widow, decide to solve the murders themselves when they discover their club roster had been stolen and the killer is using it to select his next victims. Their own names are on the list and the newly-elected sheriff is bungling the investigation. During the reign of terror in San Joaquin Valley fog, Dana's daughter arrives at her front door and needs a place to stay. She lost her job as well as her fiancé and it isn't long before she's also on the killer's list.
After many years of writing I've finally found my niche. I love writing both mystery/suspense novels and western historicals. I hope you'll follow along on my first blog book tour and learn more about my characters. Six of my blog hosts will be interviewing characters from my book and others will be interviewing me. I'll also be writing some articles about writing. Please join us for the tour. The schedule can be found at: http://myblogtour.blogspot.com/
Thank you for your interest!
Jean Henry Mead
Jean is giving away three copies of her book throughout the blog tour, to those who leave comments on the various posts. You can also buy the book here or on Amazon.