Sunday, March 29, 2009


Carola Dunn's 50th book was just released by St. Martin's Minotaur. MANNA FROM HADES is the first of a Cornish mystery series set in the 1960s. Carola's previously published works include 32 Regencies, a dozen novellas, and her Daisy Dalrymple mysteries.


Who is the one person who most encouraged or influenced you to be a writer—and why?

My (now ex-) husband. When I met him, he still had some classes to complete for his degree—things like World History, Public Speaking, Spanish--that as an engineer he had put off as long as possible. I wrote his history essays and got 'A's on all of them. For some reason,n that convinced him that I ought to write a book. Nine years passed before I did anything about it. While his job kept us moving around the country and my son was small, I had a variety of jobs, part time and temporary, in childcare, market research, construction, building design, and writing definitions for a dictionary of science and technology. When we bought a house and settled down, he decided the moment had come when I ought to get a "proper" job. I decided the moment had come when I ought to try writing a book. He couldn't very well argue after all the times he'd told me I should, so I sat down at the kitchen table, with a pile of lined paper and a ballpoint, and wrote my first book.

How long have you been writing? In what genres do you write?

I wrote my first book in 1979, sold it in 1980, and it came out in 1981. It was a Regency (set in the early 19th century); I went on to write 32 full-length Regencies and about a dozen novellas. Among them are several that can be classified as fantasy/SF, including a ghost book, a time travel, and three fairy tales retold in a Regency setting. In the early 1990s, I was writing for two publishers, both of whom stopped publishing Regencies within 6 months of each other. It was the incentive I needed to try something different, and that was when my Daisy Dalrymple mysteries came into being. They are set in the 1920s. I've now started a second series, Cornish mysteries set in the 1960s.

Who is your favorite author and why do you like his/her work?

I don't have any one favourite author. Two I return to every few years are Jane Austen and J. R. Tolkien. In general, the authors I like take me to a different world, with characters I would like to know. After reading the daily newspaper, what I'm looking for in fiction is to escape the bad news and the troubles of the real world.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

The time, described above, when two publishers stopped publishing the genre that was my bread-and-butter and I had to reinvent my career. I was in the middle of a three-book contract with one of them, a contract that had given me a sense of security (ha-ha!) when I signed it. One book was published, one was finished and sent off, and the third was 2/3 written. Fortunately I didn't have to return any of the advances I'd already received. The third book had a pregnant heroine who was 8 months pregnant when I stopped writing. The poor woman stayed 8 months pregnant for a couple of years before I sold and finished writing her story for another publisher. In the meantime, the Daisy Dalrymple series had got going. I went on writing Regencies for the new publisher for a few years, then Daisy took over my life.

What is the title of your most recently published book? Briefly tell us what it’s about and let us know where we can buy it.

My new book, MANNA FROM HADES, is the first of a new series of Cornish mysteries, set in the 1960s. (It's also my 50th book.) My chief protagonist is Eleanor Trewynn, a widow in her 60s. After a life spent travelling the world, working for an international charity, she retires to a small fishing port in Cornwall. She buys a cottage and turns the ground floor into a charity shop, while she lives in the flat above with her West Highland terrier, Teazle. As Eleanor is not at all businesslike, the shop is run by the vicar's wife, while Eleanor drives around the countryside collecting donations of goods to sell in the shop. In Manna from Hades, she finds a body in the storeroom. Fortunately, her niece, Megan Pencarrow, is a detective with the local police force, though this doesn't prevent Eleanor clashing with Megan's boss, DI Scumble.

MANNA FROM HADES, published by St Martin's Minotaur, is available from any bookstore or on-line bookseller.

What are you working on now and when/where do you expect it to be available?

The next Daisy Dalrymple mystery, “Sheer Folly,” is in production and will be out in September. I'm in the middle of the second Cornish mystery—working title “A Colourful Death”—which should appear Spring 2010, assuming I get it finished in time.

Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer?

Three qualities are necessary to be a successful writer: Luck, Talent, and Persistence. You can get away with just two of these, but the only one you control is Persistence.

What writers organizations claim you as a member?

Sisters in Crime

Do you have any upcoming book signings or appearances? If so, give us all the details.

Los Angeles, The Mystery Bookstore, March 21st, 1 pm.
Thousand Oaks, Mysteries to Die For, March 21st, 3:30 pm.
Anaheim Library Foundation Mystery Authors Luncheon, March 22nd, 11 am (book in advance).
San Diego, Mysterious Galaxy, March 24th, 7 pm.
Seattle Mystery Books, April 11th, noon.
Portland OR, Murder by the Book, April 12th, 3 pm.

Here’s your opportunity to tell us anything else you care to share.

I'm glad my life took this turn 30 years ago. After 50 books, it's still a thrill to hold the new one in my hands, and I love hearing from readers who enjoy them, especially those who tell me my books have helped them, distracting them from their troubles.

What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):
Also on Facebook

Thursday, March 26, 2009

ARTICLE: Write, But Only if You Have To - by B.J. Daniels

My daughter recently decided to bite the bullet. She had never written fiction. She'd worked for a newspaper and a business journal, she'd written a column and news stories, and she'd done a lot of design.

But she'd never tried her hand at fiction.

When she told me she was thinking about it, I was encouraging, however, I told her: Take a shot at it, but if you're not having fun, then don't do it.

I also told her that I would be completely honest with her. I suggested she write the first three chapters. I would read them and tell her if she should keep her day job.

It was scary for both of us. I have encouraged aspiring writers for years. A lot of the people I've encouraged don't really want to write--and they just haven't realized it yet. This life isn't for everyone, as you all know. I'm sure, like me, you've had days when you start reading the classified ads to see what kind of REAL jobs are out there.

So, it was with trepidation that I received my daughter's first three chapters. I was immediately relieved to find that she had her own voice and a knack for putting words together. There were things she would have to work on, but after reading all of my work for years, she understood what she needed to do.

I was concerned that she only wanted to do this for the money. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I just didn't want that for her. I wanted to be sure that she actually enjoyed this.

She did. In fact, she surprised herself at how much she enjoyed the writing. She also said she had a better understanding of her mother now. Since a lot of days she wanders through the house in her fictional world and often forgets what brought her into a room--or does things like make toast and doesn't remember doing it.

I wanted her to appreciate each accomplishment. Finishing the first draft was a big one. Cause for celebration.

Of course, there were other hurdles to come. Rewriting. Then more rewriting as she honed her plot.

She scaled each of the hurdles and now is at the point where she needs to go line by line to get the manuscript as perfect as possible before sending it out.

I realized as I watched her write every day until the book was finished, then stay with it through the rewrites, that she just might be able to do this. Not so much because of talent, but because of perseverance.

She found out that writing on the book every day was much easier than letting even a day go by. She read other books like the genre she was writing, bought books on writing and devoured those, and studied how other writers did things like dialogue and transitions.

I had to smile, since I'd already taken this journey. It made me realize she'd actually been listening to me all these years when I talked about writing.

If I have learned one thing about writing, it is that you have to stick with it. There will be highs and lows. But if you are serious and determined, then you just don't quit. You get better. You work harder. You learn more.

But you have to enjoy it. This occupation is too hard to do it otherwise. There are so many other ways to make more money with a lot less effort.

My daughter took my other advice as well: "Make the book your own. Write what you love, what you know, write to please yourself."

After discussing the upcoming line-by-line edit, my daughter said, "People don't realize how much work is involved in writing a book."

Boy howdy.

All along, I kept saying: "This is just your first. It might not sell. If you're serious then you'll have to keep doing this without knowing what the future holds."

She said, "I know. But I want my first book to be as good as I can make it."

I smiled to myself, glad she was willing to put in the work, and proud that she isn't expecting instant gratification.

At the same time, I know the highs and lows that come with writing. I wouldn't wish it on anyone--unless they love doing it--or it's in their genes.

Like I tell most aspiring writers: Are you crazy? Some are just crazy enough.

You can find B.J. Daniels at Her bestselling series, Whitehorse, Montana, continues April, May, June, Sept, and Oct of this year with another six coming in 2010 from Harlequin Intrigue.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


B.J. Daniels is the award-winning author of over 50 romance novels for Harlequin's Intrigue line, having earned the Romantic Times' 2002 Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Suspense. She also won the 2002 Best Harlequin Intrigue for Premeditated Marriage (11/02).
B.J. lives in Montana, which is the setting of many of her novels.
Who is the one person who most encouraged or influenced you to be a writer—and why?

My father’s family were storytellers. They would try to outdo each other. As my Uncle Jack always said, “If you’re going to tell a story, make it good or don’t bother.” So I come from a family that tended to exaggerate. A lot. That obviously had something to do with my wanting to write and tell stories. My father encouraged me always to do great things. He came from a generation where women didn’t have a lot of options and he wanted more than anything for me to have them. He got to see me published before he died and was very proud. That means a lot to me.

How long have you been writing? How many Harlequin Intrigues have you penned? Have you considered writing a mystery/suspense book that isn’t primarily romance?

I started seriously writing fiction while working as an editor and features writer for the local newspaper. I sold my first short story in 1987 to Woman’s World and my first book in 1995 to Harlequin Intrigue. I now have sold 52 books to Intrigue, a novella to Worldwide Mystery, and 38 short stories, most to Woman’s World. Most of my books are mysteries with some romance. There is always a relationship but I have written books that don’t even have a sex scene. I like to delve into other relationships in my books as well as that of the hero and heroine. I love writing Intrigues, but I do have a book I want to write that is mainstream that gets more into dysfunctional family relationships. As they say, write what you know.

Who is your favorite author and why do you like his/her work?

That’s a tough one. I like variety. In fact, I usually read three or four books over the same time period, depending on which one appeals to me that particular day. I love Joseph Finder’s books. I’m a huge fan of Joy Fielding and read everything she writes. I also read a lot of the more literary mysteries. I’m reading “In the Woods” right now by Tara French. I also love Nicci French’s books and on my shelf to be read right now are “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Gargoyle.”

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

That’s an interesting question. I think it has to be writing when my father was dying. It is hard to write when you’re crying all the time and devastated. But I did and I really think it saved me. For a little while, I could lose myself in that other world. I also knew that it was what my father would have wanted. He loved what I was doing.

What is the title of your most recently published book? Briefly tell us what it’s about and let us know where we can buy it.

My Intrigue series, "Whitehorse, Montana, ' continues April, May, June, September and October of this year. The series started with 6 books and has grown to 18. I am just having too much fun writing it as the books are set in my part of Montana with a lot of the local history woven into them.

The April book is titled “Shotgun Bride” and begins with the biological mother of one of my characters coming to Whitehorse to extort money from her daughter. The mother is on the run, desperate, and willing to do anything to save herself. Meanwhile, the daughter, now in her twenties, has only just returned to town to make a new start. Unfortunately, her former fiancé is determined to make her life miserable--or worse. Fortunately, the Corbett brothers have just moved to Montana and one of them finds himself right in the middle of all the trouble.

All of the books will be available at local bookstores or on A lot of the six previous books from the series have sold out but can still be found at used bookstores. Three of the six books made Borders’ Top 10 Bestseller List.

Also: Harlequin is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and has chosen 16 books to represent its line that are available for FREE download. My book, “Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch” is one being offered. Check that out at or also on for Kindles.

What are you working on now and when/where do you expect it to be available?

I am starting a brand-new part in the Whitehorse series that will come out in 2010. The 6 books will tell the stories of the Winchester family April, May, June and October, November, December 2010. I am really excited about these books. The Winchester family is just full of mysteries. Some “missing” characters from the original Whitehorse books will be woven into the series as well.

Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer?

I know they’ve all heard this again and again, but there are three things you have to do to become a published writer. You have to read. You have to sit down and write. And you have to be willing to work at continuing to get better by taking classes, reading writing books, and getting critiqued through contests or workshops. It won’t happen overnight. You have to love writing because you will spend a whole lot of time putting down words on paper that might not sell.

What writers organizations claim you as a member?
I believe my dues are paid up for: Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Kiss of Death, Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Montana RWA, and Greater Seattle RWA.

Do you have any upcoming book signings or appearances? If so, give us all the details.

I will be signing books at RWA’s national conference in July in Washington D.C.

Here’s your opportunity to tell us anything else you care to share.

I never met a writer before I decided to be one. There weren’t books in my home growing up. My father had a 5th grade education, my mother an 8th grade education. Neither encouraged me to read or write. In fact, when I first told them that I wanted to be a writer, they suggested I become a teacher or secretary so I’d have something to fall back on. My point is that your background doesn’t matter if you really want to write stories. All you have to do is try. I do think it helps though if you’re determined or just plain stubborn like me. And if you can stick with it against any odds. I wrote a lot of short stories before I got my first one published and even after that I didn’t sell every one I wrote. I did sell my first book, but that was after quite a few years of working for a newspaper writing most days. I’m always quick to encourage anyone who wants to write because they have a story they just have to tell. The world needs storytellers.

What are the addresses of your web site(s) and blog(s)? You can click on my blog from the website

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

ARTICLE: Thick Skin and Rock-hard Confidence: Survival Tips from a Teflon Novelist - by Darden North, M.D.

When I first decided to write a novel, my children were pre-teens and John Grisham was cornering the fiction market. Grisham was also from Mississippi and selling millions of books so I reasoned that I could do the same, or at least come close. For much too long, I had talked about writing a novel, and by that time I was finally ready to do it. Besides, after 24 years of formal education followed by a decade of private medical practice, I had been exposed to a smorgasbord of colorful folks--and I’m not referring to the patients. In fact, for my first novel, I had the major characters clearly in mind before the plot even developed. That developmental process was to take another decade, culminating in the arrival of my premiere work, HOUSE CALL, on bookstore shelves in October of 2005.

HOUSE CALL enjoyed a limited first edition printing and sale of 5000 copies, followed a year or so later by a second printing of just over 1000. Not bad, if one considers that the average book published in the United States sells no more than 2000 copies, or so I’m told. (As I begin this article, I’m sitting in a booth surrounded by other merchants at an extremely slow spring market festival where I am selling and signing my novels. Glancing up from my laptop, I stare at a few remaining unsold first edition copies of HOUSE CALL. Surely someone will be wise enough to purchase one for investment, if for no other reason.)

My goal in this article is to offer advice or tips to the beginning writer, better known as someone on the brink of plunging into a glorious world of creativity or perhaps better defined as a poor soul preparing to jump off a cliff. Whatever the definition or outcome, I am as qualified as anyone else to offer advice, particularly free advice. The slice of wisdom that immediately comes to mind is this: set one’s expectations of success at the lowest possible level and then prepare to be pleasantly surprised. Gaining worldwide notoriety as an author is overwhelmingly unlikely (a universal assumption unless the author is already a celebrity of sorts). No one could be so naïve to suggest that at début an author could be catapulted into bestselling status--barring the luck of having one’s manuscript snapped up and transformed into a successful movie script, even before the novel itself is published. And, yes, that has indeed happened--see the idealist comparison referenced in the first paragraph.

Although the advice still stands to enter a literary career with great humility, particularly when writing fiction, I must admit that from the outset I set my sights high. Nearing completion of that first manuscript, I followed a friend’s suggestion and innocently sought the advice of a local published author. My zealous objective in talking with her was not to have my work critiqued, but instead to garner the attention of a “real” writer, all part of one giant leap toward publication of my first novel. Just having her return the phone call which led to scheduling our first meeting was exciting enough for me. At the local novelist’s suggestion, we met at a sandwich shop in Jackson, Mississippi, where I handed over the first few pages of my manuscript for her critique. At the follow-up meeting, she returned the portion of the previously unedited manuscript, now read and butchered, and inquired, “Darden, what is it that you are trying to do?” I’m sure that I looked perplexed, maybe surprised, and she explained that she always asked that of any unpublished writer. “One must have a goal,” she expounded, “when deciding to write a book.”

My take on her query was: (1) Is the objective in writing a book to leave an interesting (that is, hopefully interesting) dusty narrative in one’s attic for the grandchildren to discover postmortem? (2) Is this a pursuit to satisfy some narcissistic goal? (3) Is it, perhaps, a quest to win the Pulitzer Prize in literature? or (4) Is this just maybe an effort to garner a couple of lucrative movie deals and retire a few years earlier? My rambling answer to her more direct question was that I hoped and planned to produce a piece of commercial fiction that was good enough for the bookseller’s shelf and that after spending 10 or so years talking about and writing a novel, I wanted people to read it, a lot of people, although I never expected my career as an author to replace my hard-earned, satisfying career in medicine.

After a couple of more phone conversations and emails, I began to feel that my more politically liberal author friend had determined that my medical career as an obstetrician/gynecologist was in no danger; it would never be usurped by one as a notable novelist. From that moment, I began to prove her wrong. My conviction was to write and publish contemporary mystery and suspense novels that would definitely be purchased, read, and enjoyed. And now after the publication of three novels, HOUSE CALL, POINTS OF ORIGIN, and FRESH FROZEN, and the sale of over 15,000 books, I feel I am moving toward fulfillment. Whether or not I have, or ever will, prove incorrect that writer and critic from the sandwich shop is a matter of conjecture.

My advice to any person planning to write for publication is to muster every ounce of self-confidence and hang on to it, not with a Teflon coating, but with resolve. Naturally, there will be readers who will love and appreciate one’s work, and, believe it or not, there will be a few ignorant, unfortunate souls who will trash it. (Incidentally, be careful when submitting your book for a formal review. Do a little research to make sure that the reviewer is someone who writes in your genre or at least reads a lot of work in your genre.) Anyone entering the field of entertainment (and writing novels certainly qualifies as entertainment--at least let’s hope so) must realize that assembling a permanent record of one’s thoughts for posterity is indeed a brave act, whether or not those thoughts are a twist on history or a product springing from a zealous imagination. As the local writer was trying to explain when she met with me at the sandwich shop early in my career as a writer, one should choose his/her writing goal and remain true.

Then, as that writing career is pursued, there will be days when the author is trapped indoors during the first glorious day of a new spring (as was my case this past weekend), manning a book signing table at a tediously slow market festival or at a bookstore. At those moments when the brain questions the soul’s decision to attend the event, one must remember that each book sold likely will be read by a minimum of four people. Most people genuinely admire writers, particularly authors of books, respecting the diligence and imagination required to pull the piece together. Sitting under the artificial lights at that slow convention center market or in that bookstore while one’s friends are out on the golf course or out by the pool or working in the yard or getting some other physical exercise, one must remember that the golf score or the suntan will fade. In marked contrast, a novel with one’s name printed on the front and spine will last much past the author’s own lifetime, leaving a piece of art to be shared. No one can argue that anything considered creative, imaginative, or positive is ever a waste of time. I guess the one truly useful piece of advice that I can share with the beginning writer, particularly the ambitious one interested in fiction, is to abandon the thin shin and the faint heart. Seeing one’s own words filling lots of pages is indeed a release for the imagination and the soul. As for attracting readers to become fans of that work, count on nothing, and then become pleasantly surprised.

Darden North, MD, is the author of three mystery and suspense novels and lives with his family in Jackson, MS. Please visit his website at .

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Darden North, M.D. is a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist in Jackson, Mississippi--a background that lends unmistakable authenticity to his medical thrillers. All three of his books--FRESH FROZEN, POINTS OF ORIGIN, and HOUSE CALL--have earned numerous awards and impressive sales.


Who is the one person who most encouraged or influenced you to be a writer—and why?

My family, particularly my wife and mother, encouraged me to write a novel although I’m not sure why they thought I could do it. Now, four years and three mystery/suspense novels later, my wife wants me to slow down! She’s pushing toward wanting us to travel more, and not to book signings. But on the promotional side of that concept, a trip to Italy or Costa Rica could blend nicely into writer’s research!

Many of us have heard that we’re supposed to write what we know. Tell us how that works for you.

Since I am a fulltime practicing ob/gyn physician, I naturally went the route of medical thrillers. However, my novels dig deeper into character development and social interaction than do many other such works. Of course, my books are set in the South and that sets them somewhat apart. Beginning with my third novel, however, I had to reach beyond my immediate acumen, since I do not deal with frozen human embryos on a regular basis in my medical practice.

Who is your favorite author and why do you like his/her work?

I admire the work of fellow Mississippian Greg Iles, who has had a long, successful literary career, including one novel made into a movie. Greg has the freedom to come up with some really twisted, demonic plots while still portraying the South in contemporary fashion. Nevertheless, he occasionally lets our region’s bad ghosts surface from time to time and that is a disappointment. As an author, it is a fantastic compliment for me when a reader compares me favorably to Greg Iles. Also, some compare my work to James Patterson, John Grisham, and Mary Higgins Clark.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

My biggest challenge to becoming a novelist and remaining one is finding the time to write while still practicing obstetrics and gynecology full-time. This double career of writing murder mysteries and delivering babies has been a fascinating mix for many, although I assure you that I have had no trouble keeping the two straight.

What is the title of your most recently published book? Briefly tell us what it’s about and let us know where we can buy it.

My third and current novel is FRESH FROZEN, released in hardcover by Ponder House Press in October 2008, 300 pages.

In FRESH FROZEN, someone wants to steal a movie star’s embryos. Controversial infertility practices, an abundance of frozen human embryos, and a case of questionable mental stability are not only fodder for the Internet, newspapers, and television news, but also the contemporary themes entangled in a brutal, unexplained murder. A nearly-bankrupt young policeman and his tormented, infertile wife find themselves outcasts in the renewed baby boom sweeping the United States. However, there is one last hope for them: a catalogue of human embryo and egg donors peddled by a woman whose standards are easily dismissed for the right price. This purportedly last chance for Wesley and Carrie Sarbeck to satisfy their place as parents in Middle America unknowingly tosses them in the midst of a grisly murder plot, the world of Hollywood celebrities, and a heist of freshly frozen human embryos. While an Internet voyeur and thief looks on, human reproductive tissue becomes a fatal commodity.

FRESH FROZEN is available anywhere books are sold. My website offers a convenient listing of online sites and bricks-and-mortar stores.

What are you working on now and when/where do you expect it to be available?

I have several ideas in mind for my fourth novel, which I hope will be released in late 2010. Even though I do not consider my books a series, my readers seem to enjoy seeing a few of their favorite characters repeat and develop through the different story lines. So I’m trying to decide whether or not to continue with some of the favorites or start with a whole new crop--or maybe somewhere in between. Vampires seem to be a hot item right now in fiction… Maybe a vampire doctor in my fourth book? Of course, another author has approached me about collaborating on a series of medical romance novels, and that prospect does intrigue me as well.

Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer?

Don’t be afraid to start the process. Stop talking about writing, and go ahead and do it! Remember: there is always room at the top.

How do your patients feel about your writing?

Most seem supportive of it, and jokingly (I think) express concern that my writing novels successfully will catapult me completely away from practicing medicine. They ask me if I have a new book out when they come in for their annual check-ups or bring me newspaper or magazine clippings about my writing, and I see many of them along with their spouses, friends, and relatives at book signings. However, I take the practice of medicine seriously and humbly appreciate the faith entrusted in me in that regard by my patients and their families. As a doctor, my two careers (the real life of practicing medicine and the fictional world of writing novels) are separate. Indeed, I am blessed with a rewarding, successful medical practice in obstetrics and gynecology, now in the midst of its twenty-third year. Nevertheless, I believe that most professionals need and should seek divergent, constructive creative outlets as they grow and mature in their primary occupation. It is healthy to develop other talents and express one’s imagination and personality.

Do you have any upcoming book signings or appearances? If so, give us all the details.

July 13, 2009 – 7:00 p.m. – Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Annual Banquet; FRESH FROZEN nominated for Fiction Award; Lauren Rogers Museum of Art; Laurel, MS

May 2, 2009 - 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.- Jackson, MS - St. Dominic Memorial Hospital Auxiliary biannual fundraising event Southern Entertainment Book Signing - St. Dominic Hospital Medical Mall - 770 Lakeland Drive; Jackson, MS 39216

April 14, 2009 – 6:00- 7:30 p.m. – Magee (MS) Public Library – Book Signing and Reading; Magee, MS

March 26, 2009 -- 12:00 noon - 2:00 p.m. -- Monroe(LA) Books-A-Million Book Signing --1201 Lamy Lane; Monroe, LA 71201 -- 318-323-3322

March 26-29, 2009 -- Monroe (LA) - Junior League Spring Market Book Signing- Monroe Civic Center Arena - Lea Joyner Expressway - Monroe, Louisiana.

Here’s your opportunity to tell us anything else you care to share.

As an author, I take great pride in the fact that my first novel, HOUSE CALL ,(hardcover 2005, paperback 2007) was awarded Finalist in Mystery/Suspense by the 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and my second novel, POINTS OF ORIGIN, (hardcover 2006) was recognized in Southern Fiction by the 2007 Independent Publishers Book Awards. All three of my novels have been nominated in Fiction by the Southern Independent Book Association (SIBA) and the Mississippi Institute for Arts and Letters (MIAL).

I am a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the Mississippi Writers Guild, and the Independent Book Publishers Association and have served as an author panelist in “Murder in the Magic City” (Birmingham, AL), “Author! Author! Celebration of the Written Word” (Shreveport LA), “Murder on the Menu” (Wetumpka, AL), and “Thriller Author Panel – 2008 Southern Independent Book Association Trade Show” (Mobile, AL). In addition, I have also participated in the 2005 Texas Book Festival; the 2007 Kentucky Bluegrass Book Festival; and the 2008 South Carolina Book Festival. I actively promote my writing through the media and enjoy speaking engagements, Internet blogging, and hand-selling my books.

I invite readers of my work to join the Novels by Darden North Community at

What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Jean Henry-Mead is a novelist and award-winning photojournalist. She began her writing career as a news reporter and photographer in California. She later worked for the statewide newspaper in Wyoming where she also served as a magazine editor, freelance photojournalist and editor. Her novels have been published under the name Jean Henry; her nonfiction books and magazine articles as Jean Mead, S. Jean Mead and Jean Henry-Mead.
Who is the one person who most encouraged or influenced you to be a writer—and why?

Mrs. Rector, my fourth grade teacher, not only inspired me to write, she held a short story contest that I won and was taken to a concert in downtown Los Angeles, with a hot fudge sundae afterward. That inspired me to write a novel, a chapter a day to entertain my classmates. Fortunately, it was never published.

How long have you been writing and in what genres do you write?

My first novel, as stated, was written when I was nine, but my first published article was published in my high school newspaper. I was later editor-in-chief of my college newspaper, but my first paid article was published as a reporter for my local daily newspaper while still a college student. I was newly divorced with four young daughters at the time.

Who is your favorite author and why do you like his/her work?

John Grisham, hands down. I’m also a long-time fan of Agatha Christie and Dean Koontz. I learned to write fiction by studying Koontz’s work because I like the way he strings his words together. John Grisham is my favorite because his novels keep me reading long past bedtime and his characters are interesting and make me care about them. Agatha Christie first introduced me to the mystery genre.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

Making the transition from a journalist to a novelist was my biggest challenge. I worked for years as a news reporter, photojournalist, and magazine editor before I attempted to write fiction. In fact, I wrote a number of non-fiction books before I wrote my first novel, “Escape on the Wind.” I’ll never forget my interview with Pulitzer Prize winner A. B. Guthrie, Jr., who wrote “The Big Sky,” “The Way West,” and other novels. He said, “Most newspapermen think they can write a novel. Very few of them ever do, and very few of them know the difference between the language of fiction and the language of newspapers.” The difference being, of course, that non-fiction is on the surface and fiction delves beneath the surface. One is objective, the other subjective, and the leap from one to the other is never easy.

What is the title of your most recently published book? Briefly tell us what it’s about and let us know where we can buy it.

My most recent book is “A Village Shattered,” the first mystery/suspense novel in my Logan & Cafferty series. It will be joined the first week in March by “Diary of Murder”, the second book in the series about Dana Logan and Sarah Cafferty, two 60-year-old feisty widows who solve the murders of their friends in a California retirement village (in the first book). In "Diary of Murder," they’re vacationing in their motor home when Dana receives word that her wealthy sister Georgi has died in Wyoming. Georgi’s husband says it’s suicide but Dana knows better, so she and Sarah set out for Wyoming to prove it was murder. Their first challenge is to survive a surprise Rocky Mountain blizzard. The second is to survive a vicious drug ring. Both books are available from and Fictionwise from ePress-Online.

What are you working on now and when/where do you expect it to be available?

I’m currently working on the third novel in the series, “Died Laughing,” as well as a children’s novel, “The Mystery of Spider Mountain,” which is somewhat autobiographical. "Spider Mountain" takes place in the Hollywood hills, where I grew up, and “Died Laughing” continues in Wyoming, where I now live. Both will hopefully be released late this year by my current publisher.

Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer?

Read everything you can get your hands on, especially in the genre in which you plan to write. I heard when I first started that a novelist should read at least 3,000 books before attempting to write one. I think that’s a bit stringent but the more you read and study author’s styles, the easier it will be to begin your own first novel.

What writers organizations claim you as a member?

Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Women Writing the West, Wyoming Writers, and until recently, I was a 29-year-member of Western Writers of America.

Do you have any upcoming book signings or appearances? If so, give us all the details.

I live in the Wyoming outback and traveling to other towns is prohibitive. I’ve done my share of book signings and appearances but much prefer to concentrate on book promotions on the Internet. I have a worldwide audience and I don’t have to worry about getting caught in a Rocky Mountain blizzard this time of year.

Here’s your opportunity to tell us anything else you care to share.

Thank you for the interview. I hope everyone will stop over to visit Mysterious writers. I have interviews with writers from around the world.

What are the addresses of your web site(s) and blog(s)?

My temporary website is:
My blog sites include:
Muderous Musings:
Write On:
Logan & Cafferty Series: (includes my last two book videos)