Today, I'm visiting Sylvia Ney @Writing in Wonderland and talking about Parallels: Felix Was Here and my story EVER-TON!
But here today please welcome
Nancy Lynn Jarvis,
author of the
Nancy is here to give us some insight
into her writing madness
to introduce her latest Regan McHenry Mystery
You can read my review HERE!
1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different, and your approach is unique?
I recently saw a post on Facebook that read, “I am a writer. Anything you say or do may be used in a story.” That pretty much sums up how I get ideas and how I work. Take A Neighborly Killing, for example. I have a real neighbor who was the model for the dead neighbor in the story. I made some observations about him in real life and wove a story around him based on those observations. The ironic thing is that more and more of my made up story line is looking like it’s true. (Oh, gosh, I hope he doesn’t read this; if he does I’m in trouble.)
It’s not the first time I’ve made up things for use in books only to have them come true, either. I know writers do use what they see and hear — that’s quite normal — but having something I made up become a headline in our local newspaper, well. I don’t think that is.
2. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book? Did you learn something unusual during your research that you can share here?
It’s surprising how much research goes into something as straightforward as a current-day mystery. I don’t mind, though, because I love doing the research involved and always learn some new fact. I knew bullets can be tied to a specific weapon, but because of A Neighborly Killing, I learned that gunpowder residue can be as well.
3. Do you use professionals to verify your facts, such as the police? Is there a good way to approach them? How valuable is their input? Or do you just wing it?
The real estate facts I use are easy since, after twenty five years as a Realtor, I’m an expert. For the rest of my research, I use a friend who is a private investigator and the internet. I’ve discovered a website where you can ask a question and police will respond, another where doctors will answer questions, and my favorite, a site where military personnel will offer opinions about the fastest and quietest way of dispatching someone while facing them or from behind. And then, there’s always Decomposition for Dummies which is like the whole series of ...for Dummies books but much more graphic.
4. Does writing provide you a sufficient income to live on? If so, how long did it take before this happened? Is it your goal to be financially successful, or do you write and publish solely for the 'satisfaction of sharing your stories'?
What an interesting question. I could never “live” as in pay the mortgage, feed my family, and keep up with utilities and gas for my SUV on what I make from selling books, but considering I never expected to make any money selling what I wrote, I’m doing very well! I guess my answer is it depends on my perspective. Let’s say I make enough money from book sales to do some fun things with it.
5. What's the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour.
I don’t know if you’ll find it funny as I do or a sad commentary on people. I had a woman pick up one of my books, read the book-back teaser, and pronounce the book as sounding quite interesting. I thought I’d made a sale. Then she asked me what The New York Times Book Review said about the book.
I remember a funny exchange on the TV show “Castle” where he was asked that same question and said the Book Review of New York loved his book and that he had paid a considerable amount of money for that high praise. I considered answering her similarly, but instead told her that my books flew considerably under The New York Times Book Review section radar. I suggested she should read the book and tell me what she thought of it.
Her response had me rolling on the floor. “I could never decide if I like a book or not from reading it. I depend on The New York Times to tell me if I like it or not,” she said.
6. What's the next step for you? Television, movies, a new genre? Tell us what the future holds - what can your fans expect?
I’ve started writing a new series called Geezers With Tools about two retired men who start a handyman business. One of them is a recent widower who needs a diversion and the other is a self-styled player who hopes to meet single women thru the business. They’ll solve crimes in the course of doing fix-ups.
I also got a fantastic idea for another Regan McHenry Real Estate Mystery from a friend recently so there will be a book seven.
And, fingers crossed, The Death Contingency, the first in the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series, has been optioned as has Mags and the AARP Gang, a stand-alone comedy I wrote about octogenarian bank robbers. I’m not holding my breath because optioned to produced to screened is a long and usually not completed journey, but you never know.
What really happened has become more than just a mystery they’d like to solve because the circumstances of their dead neighbor’s past keep interfering with their present and putting them in danger.
Nancy Lynn Jarvis finally acknowledged she was having too much fun writing to ever sell another house, so she let her license lapse in May of 2013, after her twenty-fifth anniversary in real estate. After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, she worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News. A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager for Shakespeare/Santa Cruz at UCSC. She invites you to take a peek into the real estate world through the stories that form the backdrop of her Regan McHenry mysteries. Real estate details and ideas come from Nancy's own experiences.
What about you readers, ever use a real person as the
antagonist or protagonist of your novel?
Would your profession work to create a cozy series?
Do you have a question for Nancy?