Monday, February 08, 2010
My mystery author guest: Sue Ann Jaffarian
Sue Ann Jaffarian's February release is Corpse on the Cob, the fifth book in the Odelia Gray mystery series published by Midnight Ink. Isn't that the cutest cover you've ever seen? I can't wait to read the book myself. Here's how Sue Ann describes the book:
What do you have to lose when you go searching for the mother who walked out of your life thirty-four years ago? I mean, besides your pride, your nerves, and your sanity? Odelia finds herself up to her ears in trouble when she reunites with her mom in a corn maze. For starters, there’s finding the dead body in the cornfield—and seeing her long-lost mom crouched beside the corpse with blood on her hands.
Now, here's Sue Ann's guest blog post:
I see dead people. When Haley Joel Osment uttered those now iconic words a decade ago in The Sixth Sense, little did I realize I was hearing what was to become my life and passion.
I see regular dead people. I see the ghosts of dead people. I see vampires, which are undead dead people. What I’m trying to explain is that I write three very specific amateur sleuth mystery series. The Odelia Grey series features a middle-age plus size paralegal stumbling over bodies much to the chagrin of her friends and family. The Ghost of Granny Apples series joins a 100-year-old ghost with her great-great-great granddaughter to solve the murders of ghosts. And my most recent entry, the Fang-in-Cheek mysteries, teams up a young edgy woman with a community of vampires to solve murders that threaten to expose the vampires’ existence. The first book in the vampire series, Murder In Vein, will be released September 1st.
One of the most asked questions I get these days is how do I keep these three different series straight in my head. Truth is, I’m not sure, but so far it hasn’t been an issue. But part of that success is that although all three feature amateur sleuths, they are very different from each other in tone. For starters, the Odelia Grey mysteries are written in first person, the other two in third. If I were measuring them with the cozy vs. hard boil measuring stick for sex and violence, the Ghost of Granny Apples mysteries would be considered cozy or PG-rated, while Odelia Grey books would be soft-boiled or PG-R rated. The vampire mysteries would be labeled medium boiled or given a soft R-rating. The body count and violence is definitely ramped up in the vampire books. What they all have in common, besides the author, is that all take place in Southern California and all use humor to leaven the horror of murder.
The next question I get asked a lot is why did I sign on to write three different series, which boils down to writing three books a year. That question has several answers. The consensus is that I’m insane. Maybe. But maybe I’m also crazy like a fox. In today’s unstable publishing world, it’s difficult to get published and just as difficult to stay published. Having three solid series helps build my reader base throughout the year, instead of a once a year book release hopeful stab. Having three very different types of mysteries also exposes my work to readers with different tastes – readers who may discover my other series after enjoying the one they are drawn to initially. Writing is about words. Publishing is about numbers. Writing more than one series can help build a writing career faster and keep your publisher happier longer.
Another reason I write three series, is that I simply want to do it. I love writing each of the series and they force me to discover and hone very different skills. While the Odelia Grey series is based on a more normal lifestyle, the vampires allow me to explore fantasy. It’s a kick as a writer to flex my different make-believe muscles.
As for juggling the three series time-wise, together with my personal life and my full-time career as a paralegal, it does take a lot of discipline and sacrifice to meet the various deadlines thrown at me with regularity. It seems if I’m not writing or editing, I’m promoting or plotting. There is seldom any down time from the writing world. But I love what I’m doing, and that is what makes the long hours at the computer or attending conferences and book events fun and satisfying.
Whenever I feel I can’t write another word, let alone another book, I hear Tim Gunn of Project Runway fame whisper in my ear: “make it work.”
Everyone should be sure to check out Sue Ann Jaffarian's website to get more information about her books. Okay, readers, fire away! What do you want to know about Sue Ann? Want more information on her paranormal visitors? :) Got anything else to say or ask?