Our interview today is with Nancy Jill Thames. Thank you, Nancy for being here today and for agreeing to do this interview
1. Question: Tell us a little about your “real” (Non-writing) life — family, job, church life. Does it give you inspiration for your writing? Does it get in the way of your writing, or are there times when you get help, from people or circumstances?
Answer: My life is ideal. I write full-time, my husband totally supports my work, and I get to travel for book research. We live in Leander, Texas, a growing suburb of Austin. We enjoy taking part in our church home, New Hope FBC, only a couple of miles away.
2. Question: Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction?
Answer: For fun, my husband and I watch Netflix at night, play Rumikub or Gin Rummy, and enjoy holidays with our four grown children and their families. I play the piano and serve afternoon tea for my personal enjoyment. Since I love people, I love social media – it’s ideal for interacting with friends, who often turn into fans. Facebook and Pinterest are my favorites.
3. Question: Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books — Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?
Answer: I create the cover and synopsis first, using CreateSpace. After I write the first draft, it goes to my Beta readers. When I receive their input, I do a rewrite. After the rewrite, I send it to my editor, do a rewrite and then she does a proof reading. I found Beta readers on Facebook, and in my writing group. My editor is a well-seasoned Christian author, also in all three of my writing groups.
4. Question: Tell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it.
As our heroine, Jillian Bradley is almost ready to embark on her honeymoon, tragedy strikes. Now, she must help exonerate Richard Zhou of murder. When Jillian’s health fails, she must call upon a friend back home to help her solve the case. Even with Teddy at her side, will she have the strength to find the real killer? “The Long Trip Home” is an ordeal no one should ever have to face.
5. Question: What is the “message” of your writing? (For example, is your purpose to encourage old-fashioned values, encourage romance, or do you have different purposes in different books?)
Answer: I write stories to entertain, but at the same time, I want readers to experience how a Christian lives a life of faith. The books are also laced with wonderful memories of my travels, epicurean delights (including afternoon tea, of course), family times and pets.
Teddy, Jillian Bradley’s Yorkie companion, is a favorite with readers. Except for his introduction in Book 1 “Murder in Half Moon Bay” and in Book 7 “The Ruby of Siam” when he’s staying with Jillian at the Lanesborough in London, I include a little friend for him to interact with in each book.
He’s so well loved that I get emails and reviews telling me if I’m not taking enough good care of him!
6. Question: Share something that’s amazing, touching, or that makes you angry.
Answer: God’s faithfulness at directing my writing is a constant wonder. He gives me the stories, the timing and resources to continue on with the series. I’ve been a believer since the age of nine, totally aware of The Lord’s leading, confident He’ll continue to show me what to do every step of the way.
7. Question: What’s the worst trouble you ever had with getting a book written (plots, finding needed information, getting a cover done)?
Answer: Formatting headers and footers has taken more time than I care to remember. There are tricks, but they’re hard to remember since one doesn’t do them every day.
8. Question: What’s your next project? Tell us so we can’t wait for it to come out!
Answer: Book 9 “Murder at Mirror Lake” takes place at the Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid, NY.
Here’s the synopsis:
When Jillian and her garden club friends decide to take a fall color tour, they have no idea the resort they choose as home base will soon be a setting for murder. And more than one.
Who killed the hotel’s head chef in his own kitchen and why? His cuisine was excellent, but his personality left a bad taste. Together with Jillian’s Yorkie companion Teddy, and the help her garden club, Jillian works with local Police Chief Taylor in uncovering the killer.
9. Question: How many books do you have out?
Answer: There are eight books out in the Jillian Bradley mystery series.
10. Question: What are your future projects?
Answer: A collaboration of our Cozy Mystery Magazine authors, “A Cup of Cozy, 2” is due out in December 2014.
A new series called “Lawrence,” a bumbling amateur sleuth, is in the works with 9 titles.
I’m also doing research on a fictitious memoir called “The Wedding Vase,” and have another idea for a novel called “A Picket Fence.”
My problem (or gift) is my youngest son keeps giving me ideas to write about.
11. Question: Are their characters/stories/scenes/etc based on anything in real life?
Answer: The settings are almost entirely based on places I’ve been. I used our family reunion locale in San Diego for the scenes for “Pacific Beach” as well as borrowing the relatives’ personae’s, with their permissions, of course. Even the cover on “Pacific Beach” was from a photo I took at our hotel. Other characters are loosely based on people I’ve met in airports and places I haunt.
The stories are, for the most part, fiction but some real events sneak in occasionally. I try to make sure no one is offended or compromised before using the information. Sometimes my friends want me to include them, so I do. The name of Jillian’s personal shopper in “From the Clutches of Evil” is someone who wanted to be immortalized in a book. Another couple wanted to be characters in my latest book “The Long Trip Home” so I made them Archie and Mildred Clark, owners of the bed and breakfast where Jillian is taken after her fall.
My favorite review is from a retired high school and college creative writing teacher:
“Hooked on Jillian and Teddy”
From the first book, I was hooked. Who can imagine a female protagonist-our age-Baby Boomers-who gets into so much trouble? At every turn, Jillian is engrossed in a mystery. Her little friend, Teddy, (whether one likes dogs or not) is another character in this fantastic series. I can’t put them down once I begin. I read quickly…then read them again–on my Kindle, of course. — Brenda Burke Johnson
Thanks for the interview, Russell. It was a pleasure to be here.
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