The Jade Hunters

Q. Does The Jade Hunters have a special meaning to you? i.e. where you found the idea, its symbolism, its meaning, who you dedicated it to, what made you want to write it? I’ve known I was going to write The Jade Hunters for some time, because it’s the third installment in my “Sinner’s Grove Suspense” series.  I already knew the characters and what problem they would face, partly because of plot points I had set up in my historical series, “The Golden City.” The novel was fun to write because I was able to revisit characters from previous books.  In addition to the fast-paced “outer story” – i.e., the quest to uncover a theft that turns into murder—I wanted to explore a number of ideas, including the difficulty of becoming a parent “midstream;” the challenge of overcoming personal fears in order to survive, and, perhaps most importantly, the notion of pursuing a goal beyond the point where it’s healthy to do so. I dedicated the book to my dear friend and colleague Beverly, who opened my eyes to the world of gemstones and jewelry-making.

Q. Where do you get your storylines from? I read a lot, both fiction and non-fiction.  I also surf the net (probably too much) and am always coming across weird stories. For example, I saw an article about a secret society that explores urban underground locations that are off limits to the public.  That gave me the idea for the location I used for the climax of the novel.  The fun part is gathering all these strange but noteworthy items and coming up with a believable story that incorporates them.

Q. Was this book easier or more difficult to write than others? Why? I can’t say I’ve ever had an easy time writing a novel, but contemporary stories are generally more difficult for me because the reader already knows the world I’m writing about. That means I have to make sure I get all the geographic and procedural details right or else risk a reader saying, “What? Why didn’t they just do thus and such, or call so and so?” But none of us was alive back in the early 1900’s (the historical period I write in) so it’s easier for me to create that kind of world as long as I have the main historical details right, such as what technology existed.  For example, it wouldn’t work someone to have a refrigerator in their home because they weren’t invented until 1913!

Q. Do you only write in one genre?  Currently I write historical fiction and contemporary romantic suspense, and the characters in those two lines are related.  But I’ll be adding two more genres because I’m working on a couple of spin-off mystery series. One is straight historical, based on characters introduced in The Price of Compassion (Book Four of The Golden City) and one is a “time slip” concept that features Dr. Leo Brunt from The Jade Hunters.  I can’t wait to dig into them—I have some pretty cool ideas I’d like to explore.

Q. Give us a picture of where you write, where you compose these words…your inner sanctum.
My home in Boise has only one room upstairs, over the garage, and it’s my “woman cave.”  It’s awesome: big enough to house a desk, several bulletin boards, bookshelves and cubbies, and two comfy beds for my “posse” (Ziggy, a rat terrier, and Teddy, a long-haired not-so-mini dachshund). There’s also space for my sewing machine and cutting table (I’m a quilter), a microwave, mini fridge and hotpot.  I even have a bathroom with a shower! I hate to admit it, but I’m not the tidiest person in the world, which is why my husband’s office is downstairs by the front door, and mine is hidden away upstairs!  The windows in the room are fairly small, which is good, because it they were any larger, I’d probably spend my time staring out of them instead of concentrating on my work. When I’m in the thick of creating, it comes down to me, my keyboard and my computer screen.  Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to put anything on paper, and at other times, it feels like I’m channeling someone else and the words just flow onto the page.  I’m the luckiest person in the world to be able to create in my own dedicated space. 

Q.  And finally, was there any specific event or circumstance that made you want to be a writer? That’s a great question. I remember when I was in elementary school, I wrote an essay about “What Aerospace Education Means to Me” (or something like that—it’s been a long time!) and I won a trip in an airplane. That may have triggered something in me, because I continued to love my English classes (I had a fantastic teacher my junior year of high school). I wrote for the local paper in high school and the school paper in college and just had a knack for it, which led me to write in the marketing and public relations fields for many years.  But it took me a long, long time to work up the courage to write fiction, to believe in myself enough to keep at it until I had something worth publishing. Once again, I’m soooo lucky: we live in a time when writers of all types can express themselves, and readers aren’t limited by the material that a select few deem worth of publication. To tell stories that entertain and at times enlighten people is truly the best job on the planet.

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