Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Welcome Jean Henry Mead to the garden

Good morning everyone, welcome Jean Henry Mead my second guest in Mystery We Write Blog Tour. We’re all in for a treat because Jean is not only a novelist but a photojournalist. I hope you brought your jackets, it can still be a little breezy in the garden this time of year. Grab yourselves some refreshments, and let’s begin.

Mary: It sounds like you’ve lived a very diverse writing life. Could you tell everyone a bit about your background, how you started, etc.

Jean: My first writing job was as a news reporter for my hometown daily newspaper while I was a college student serving as editor-in-chief of my campus paper. I was also, at that time, the divorced mother of four young daughters. I worked 35 hours a week at the newspaper and drove 25 miles to the next town to attend classes, carrying 15 credit hours each semester. It makes tired just thinking about it. I remarried and we moved to San Diego where I served as a staff writer, photographer and editor. We then moved again to my husband’s home state of Wyoming where I worked for the statewide newspaper and was later editor of In Wyoming Magazine. I also freelanced for various magazines, domestic and abroad, including the Denver Post.

Mary: What were you like growing up? Before the novelist, journalist or photojournalist? And what inspired you to go in the direction you have?

Jean: I was a shy child with four younger brothers in a neighborhood with no other girls. So I was a tom boy who liked to read. I’d walk three miles every Saturday to a library in Los Angeles and return home with an armload of books, both fiction and nonfiction.  I also liked to sing and I played the violin badly in orchestra, but was chosen as the soprano to represent my high school in the Los Angeles All-City Choir. I also wrote my first novel when I was nine but didn’t write another until many years later after I had published five nonfiction books.

Mary: In your bio, it states you were in San Diego for a while. I love San Diego. Please tell us a bit about the city. What your favorite restaurants were and what you did for relaxation. Did the city inspire any of your books?

Jean: I also love San Diego, but I lived there during the late 1970s and can’t remember the names of any restaurants. We had five children at home at the time and I don’t think we could afford to go anywhere but McDonalds and other fast food restaurants. My husband was in the navy and my news reporting job didn’t earn much over $400 a month. I wasn’t writing books at that time, so the beautiful city didn’t inspire anything but awe.

Mary: There’s more appetizers and drinks if anyone would like some more, help yourself. Jean, when writing, if you come to a scene and your mind goes completely blank—as in stumped what to do next—what do you do to bring the characters back and focus on your writing?

Jean:  Journalism teaches writers to sit down and begin writing. You can’t keep your job by staring at the screen, so that has carried over into my novel writing. I always have more than one project going at the same time, so if the characters in one book decide to go on strike, I go to another. I currently have three projects under construction: an historical Western, a children’s mystery and the fourth novel in my Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series.

Mary: You’ve had a wonderful career, I’m sure you have some advice for the newbie writer. What is it?

Jean: Persistent is more important than talent in this business. If you really want to become a published author (with a traditional publisher), you have to have patience, tough skin and learn from rejections. Also important is submitting your best work. Put it aside when you consider it finished, and take it out a month later to read as though someone else had written it. Then edit and polish again. If you can afford a freelance editor, by all means hire one. There’s less than stellar work flooding the market by self-publishers, which can ruin a fledgling writer’s reputation. So always make sure it’s the best you can produce. My first novel took ten years to research, write and publish and it’s still my best selling book and has sold three times. Several others were written quickly and haven’t sold nearly as well, so I know from experience that editing and polishing contribute to a good reputation.

Mary: What is your current release? Can you share with us a blurb and where to buy?

Jean:  Murder on the Interstate is the third novel in my Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series. I think the blurb written by Carolyn Hart sums it up pretty well:

“Careen into crime with two intrepid sleuths who outwit terrorists in a fast-paced plot taken from today's headlines. A page turner.”

Murder on the Interstate is available at Amazon.com and other online outlets in print, Kindle, Nook and ebook and can be ordered from bookstores.
Barnes and Noble Print
Amazon Print

View Trailer here.

Mary: Great trailer, thanks for sharing. Last, is there anything I haven’t asked that you’d like to share?

Jean: I like to add humor and light romance to my novels, and aim to entertain as well as inform. My novels—as well as my nonfiction books— are heavily researched and based on relevant facts.

Mary: Thank you, Jean, for visiting with us today. I hope you have had a great time.

Jean: I had a wonderful time and I love your garden. Thanks for inviting me.

20 comments:

Beth Anderson said...

Very interesting blog, Jean and Mary. Jean, I do NOT know where your energy comes from. All the blogs would flatten me, and then on top of that, writing novels and I bet there's a lot more going on in your life that you didn't tell us about. Good luck with all your projects!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

First off, Mary, I love the way your blog looks. Jean, I've been having a great time learning more and more about you while following everyone on this blog tour. If and when we ever run into each other in person, you'll feel like and old friend. And I've said it before, but for anyone reading the comments, Murder on the Interstate is a fun read.

Marilyn

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thank you, Beth. Sometimes all my writing projects are a bit overwhelming but I love what I do. I have a large clipboard with monthly calendars to keep everything on schedule. If I lost it, I'd be in trouble. :)

Jean Henry Mead said...

Marilyn, I not only love your books, you also feel like an old friend. I look forward to meeting you in person one day soon. I'm glad you enjoyed Murder on the Interstate. It was a fun book to write.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Murder on the Interstate is not yet out in kindle and Nook editios, but will be soon.

Mary Martinez said...

Thanks Jean for dropping by the Garden today! I had great fun interviewing you, and finding out more about you.

Marilyn, thanks I love my blog too. The pictures were taken at Red Butte Botanical Gardens, in Salt Lake City.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thank you for hosting me, Mary, in your lovely garden. I'd like to take the Red Butte Botanical Gardens home with me. :)

Anne K. Albert said...

Sound advice, Jean, whether for writing or living. Thank you for sharing!

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thank you, Anne, for instigating the Mystery We Write Book Tour!

Lindsay said...

Jean Henry, Can I have some of your energy. Please.
Murder on the Interstate sound like one for the Kindle TBR folder. I'll have to keep an eye out for it.

Marja said...

Another wonderful interview! And, Jean, I learned even more about you. After reading your "Village" book, I can't wait to get started on Murder on the Interstate.

Mary, If I didn't mention it, you have one of the best websites around.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Lindsay, I just received notice that Murder on the Interstate will be available on Kindle within 24-48 hours. Thanks for your interest in my work.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thanks, Marja. I enjoyed reading your Bogey Man, too. I agree that Mary has a great blog site.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Jean,
You sure have had an interesting life! And you're so right about the importance of persistence in this writing business.
Marilyn

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thanks, Marilyn. I'm glad you agree. Best wishes for your own new release.

jenny milchman said...

What a wonderful blog and interview format! Jean, I was right there with you on the walks to the library. Some of my fondest childhood memories took place at the library--and oh, the anticipation on the walks. I second your shout out for persistence. The only way not to get published is to stop submitting.

Jean Henry Mead said...

How right you are, Jenny! Persistence is more important than talent in the publishing industry. And I share your fond memories of libraries as a youngster.

Mary Martinez said...

Jean, thank you for bringing all your friends to share in your post day. I've had a blast reading all the comments.

Thanks everyone for commenting on my garden, I have a lot of fun here.

Please come back any time.

Jean Henry Mead said...

It's been a fun garden party. Mary. Thanks again for hosting my blog book tour.

Jackie King said...

Jean and Mary, Great interview, I really enjoyed it. My comment is late due to computer problems, but I hope I've wrestled that monster to the ground for awhile at least.

Jean,Let us know when MURDER ON THE INTERSTATE is on Kindle. I will download it.
Hugs to all,
jackie