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)


  1. I did a mini study of Koontz, too, once. I analyzed a book of his. It was a valuable exercise.


  2. Koontz definitely has a way with words, although some of his early work tends to be a bit flowery. I especially like his book, The Watchers and his dog, Einstein.

  3. Ah hah! So you will write for hot fudge sundaes!

    Excellent interview!

  4. (Hopefully this won't show up twice, since I already thought I posted it!)

    Jean, glad to see you here! I've been wanting to ask you about your move from L.A. to the "outback of Wyoming" - that's a pretty big change! Do you miss the big city, do you ever visit, and what's the best thing about your new, rural, digs?


  5. Goes to show that grammar school teachers have a big influence on young lives.

    Morgan Mandel

  6. Dana, I would sell my soul for a hot fudge sundae but I ate so much chocolate that I'm now allergic to it. How soon you forget. :)

  7. Anne,

    It would take ten blog sites to tell you the differences I've encountered since I moved here years ago. It took a while to get used to the slower pace, but that only scratches the surface. And we're getting ready to move to our little mountaintop ranch, so talk about rural . . . :)

  8. Morgan, I couldn't agree with you more. Elementary school teachers are much more important than those who teach junior and high school. Kids' personalities and work habits are already set by the time they reach the upper grades.

    Thanks, gals, for stopping by. :)