In addition to a talk about her just released Ali Roberts mystery, Deadly Stakes, prolific mystery author and Bellevue resident J.A. Jance begins a round of Seattle-area talks and book signings this week, including in Sammamish and at Lake Forest Park's Third Place Books.
In advance of her visit, Jance dished with Patch (by email, as she's recovering from this year's Seattle cold and saving her voice for the local events) about her newest book, her process, and gave us a juicy clue for local J.P. Beaumont fans:
Patch: You're really great at sharing a little note about the making of each title on your website. Can you give us a preview of the author's note we'll see for Deadly Stakes?
J.A. Jance: Ali Reynolds, through me, is a direct descendent of my mother. My mother was a woman of her word; a loyal friend; someone who, if asked for help, gave it willingly rather than grudgingly. But what she and Ali mostly have in common is a complete inability to mind her own business. That why Ali Reynolds is perpetually finding herself in hot water.
Patch: What are your favorite places or experiences to draw inspiration from in Seattle? Are any of them in the cities you'll be visiting?
J.A. Jance: Last year at a book tour event, a man who identified himself as the former mayor of Sammamish stood up and said he was proud that his city had never had a murder in it, but why didn't my characters ever visit Sammamish. You have to watch out what you ask for. J.P. Beaumont will be coming to Sammamish in Second Watch, and people will die.
Patch: Some authors write a complete series featuring one protagonist before moving on to a next. Is it a challenge to write an Ali Reynolds mystery on the heels of a J.P. Beaumont book?
J.A. Jance: Moving back and forth from character to character and series to series helps keep me interested, and I believe it helps keep me fresh as well. As for writing an Ali book on the heels of a Beaumont book? We'll see how that works when I return to Tagged for Death after the completion of the Deadly Stakes tour.
Patch: You obviously take great joy in connecting with your fans and readers. Is there one of your characters that seems to resonate the most with people?
J.A. Jance: Different characters resonate with different readers for different reasons. Some prefer Beaumont; some Brady; and others like Ali best. All of them are entitled to their opinions. What I appreciate is that even though they may prefer one character over the other, they still read them all.
Patch: Your bio currently says you live in Seattle and Arizona. How do you divide your time between the two these days (and can we come with you during the dark months?)
J.A. Jance: We try to do six and six, a couple of months in the fall and several more in the early part of the year. Last year that program was thrown into a cocked hat by medical issues. This year after a flood in which a broken pipe sent 186,000 gallons of water through our master bedroom and bath we have been preoccupied with construction matters. In other words, our plan to do six and six isn't working out too well at the moment. But if people from Seattle are planning to come visit, timing a trip to coincide with the Tucson Festival of Books would be a good idea.
Jance is a favorite of mystery readers not only for her engaging protagonists, but for her engagement with fans. In the Ali Reynolds series the gumshoe with gumption is a former news reporter, originally inspired, Jance says on her website, by finding out a female news anchor had lost her job because she got too old.
In Deadly Stakes, the eighth title in the series--Jance works on multiple series at once, including the popular Seattle-set J.P. Beaumont books--Reynolds finds herself working against the clock to clear two innocent names in at first seemingly unrelated crimes in Arizona's Camp Verde desert.
Puget Sound Deadly Stakes events:
February 13 @ 12pm / SEATTLE MYSTERY
117 Cherry Street, Seattle
February 13 @ 7pm / SAMMAMISH LIBRARY
825 228th Avenue SE, Sammamish
February 14 @ 1:30pm / SHELTON TIMBERLAND LIBRARY
710 West Alder Street
February 14 @ 7:30pm / OLYMPIA TIMBERLAND LIBRARY
313 8th Ave SE, Olympia
February 15 @ 12pm / BARNES & NOBLE
10315 Silverdale Way NW, Silverdale, WA 98383
February 15 @ 7pm / PIERCE COUNTY LIBRARY
3609 Market Place West, University Place
February 16 @ 12pm / JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD
Building 5280, Fort Lewis
NOTE: Security passes required on base
February 17 @ 4pm / VILLAGE BOOKS
1200 11th Street, Bellingham
February 18 @ 7pm / THIRD PLACE BOOKS
17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park
February 22 @ 7pm / PORT ANGELES MAIN LIBRARY (2210 South Peabody Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362)