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Interview With Mystery Author Jean Henry Mead/Review/Giveaway

IN THE August 27 ISSUE

FROM THE 2011 Articles,
andMarilyn Meredith,
andMysteryrat's Maze
SECTIONS

by Marilyn Meredith
& Terell Byrd

Marilyn Meredith interviews mystery author Jean Henry Mead who used to live and work in the San Joaquin Valley, and Terell Byrd reviews her latest book Murder On The Interstate. At the end of this post is a chance to win a copy of this book.

Jean Henry Mead

Though I’ve never actually met Jean, I feel like I already know her since we’ve been on each other’s blogs, I’ve read and reviewed her book, and interacted with her through email many times.

Marilyn: Jean, I’d like to start off first with you telling me about your background.

Jean: I was born in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles, the eldest of five children, and spent my high school years near South Pasadena. Some of my classmates were later entertainers. My first published articles appeared in my high school and college newspapers and my first paid writing job was as a cub reporter for the Hanford Sentinel while serving as editor-in-chief of the Campus newspaper at College of the Sequoias in Visalia. My first five books were nonfiction and I published my first novel, a Wyoming historical in 1999. I’ve published 14 books including three mystery/suspense novels, and my magazine articles have been published domestically as well as abroad.

Marilyn: Since you wrote professionally before taking up novel writing, when did the urge first strike you to tackle fiction?

Jean: I’ve always had the urge to write fiction and my parents said that as a child I had a very creative imagination. I wrote my first novel in fourth grade with pencil on construction paper–a chapter a day to entertain classmates. (Thank goodness it was never published.) It was many years before I actually published a book, in 1982. And it was 1999 before my first novel was published after ten years of research and writing.

Marilyn: Tell me about you latest book?

Jean: Actually, I have two recent releases: a children’s novel titled Mystery of Spider Mountain, which is somewhat autobiographical and takes place in the Los Angeles hills. The third novel in my Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series was also published this year. Murder on the Interstate features two 60-year-old women senior sleuths who travel the West in a motorhome solving murders.

Marilyn: I loved the two women who star in this story. How much of you is in either one or both of them?

Jean: Thank you, Marilyn. I think Dana Logan is somewhat like me. We’re both nearly six feet tall and have similar characteristics and temperaments. Dana’s friend Sarah Cafferty is Dana’s opposite, both physically and temperamentally. While Dana is introspective, Sarah is outspoken and impulsive and they clash at times, although they work well as an amateur sleuth team.

Marilyn: What gave you the idea for this book?

Jean: I have a long-time friend who has been the sister I never had, and I subconsciously patterned my protagonists after our relationship. The idea first evolved from a novel I originally titled Shirl Lock and Holmes, which was set in the San Joaquin Valley. When the publishing company went out of business, I changed the title to A Village Shattered and the character’s names to Dana Logan and Sarah Cafferty when I resold the series to another publisher. My protagonists are both 60-years old and I hope they appeal to older readers as well as younger ones. My friend Marge and I laugh together a lot as do Dana and Sarah.

Marilyn: Tell me what you plans are for your writing future?

Jean: I plan to write more novels for my Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series as well as my Hamilton Kids’ mysteries, and historical novels. I also have two more interview books planned. The novels will take place in both the San Joaquin Valley, where I lived for many years, as well as Wyoming .

Marilyn: Would you like to mention a bit about your previous books?

Jean: I’ve written four nonfiction interview books which include Louis L’Amour, A. B. Guthrie, Jr., country singer Chris LeDoux, governors, U.S. senators, mystery writers such as Carolyn Hart and Jeffrey Deaver, Hollywood screenwriters, actors, artists, and ordinary people who have accomplished extraordinary things.

I also wrote a history book that eventually became a text book at Casper ( Wyoming ) College, a trivia book, and my first book of fiction, Escape: A Wyoming Historical Novel, which has sold to three publishers and remains my best selling book to date.

Marilyn: Anything else you’d like to share with the readers of the KRL Magazine readers?

Jean: There’s never been a better time for aspiring writers to publish first books. So many new small presses have opened their doors as well as self publishing opportunities at Amazon.com, Smashwords, Create Space and other venues. It’s an exciting time to be a writer.

You can learn more about Jean and her writing on her website and these blog sites:

http://mysteriouspeople.blogspot.com/
http://writersofthewest.blogspot.com/
http://murderousmusings.blogspot.com/
http://makeminemystery.blogspot.com/
http://theviewfrommymountaintop.blogspot.com/

Marilyn Meredith is a Springville, CA mystery author and an ongoing contributor to our Local Literary section. Be sure to visit her website; fictionforyou.com

Murder on the Interstate by Jean Henry Mead

Review by Terell Byrd

Fall has always seemed to start for me in late August. The weather remains stuck in summer, the thermometer is still jumping from one side of the one hundred mark to the other on a daily basis. But, in late August you see grapes sunbathing in trays on their way to becoming raisins and the stores are full of clothes in autumn colors.

This latest volume in the Dana Logan & Sarah Cafferty series is the perfect read for this transition time of year. Dana and Sarah are sixtyish – well into the golden fall years of life. There is the intelligence and maturity that middle age brings. Yet both of our heroines retain the bright energy of a hot summer day and the zest for life that remains when we pass twenty-five but don’t feel any older.

The story starts as Dana and Sarah are driving back to Dana’s new home in Wyoming. Preferring the comfort of a motor home, they are moving through a dark rainy stretch of monotonous highway in Arizona when a sports car and pickup truck zip around them – jarring the almost dozing Dana back to wakefulness. She sees the sports car wrecked on the side of the road and gets out to help. She has just discovered the spider web pattern of glass broken by a bullet in the car window, when shots ring out and pass through the RV. The pickup speeds away and as Dana evaluates the damage on the motor home a big rig truck pulls up.

What starts as a Good Samaritan act by the long haul driver morphs into a chase by lettuce truck, motor home and rental Hummer through the southwest as Dana and Sarah pursue the murderer. The two senior sleuths encounter gorgeous older men, flash floods and terrorists as they search for the truth. They escape bullets, embraces and ladies restroom windows as they try to stay alive long enough to bring the villain to justice.

This is a truly enjoyable novel that has the lightness of summer reading but the weight of real issues of national security and life in the western states. I highly recommend it!

To enter to win a copy of Murder On The Interstate, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife.com with the subject line “Interstate”, or comment on this article. U.S. residents only please. A winner will be chosen September 3, 2011.

If you love mysteries, why not check out Left Coast Crime:
Mystery Conference in Sacramento, March 29-April 1, 2012.Registration through 12/31/2011 is only $210 (it goes up to $225 after that). Registration information can be found at the conventionwebsite, or by sending an email to rb@robinburcell.com or cindy@cindysamplebooks.com.

Terell Byrd is a native Fresnan, who was born, raised, & educated locally. She graduated from Fresno Pacific with a B.A. in Classical Studies & Psychology. In the course of a mad gypsy life, she has taken classes in Electrical Engineering, broken into bank vaults at night & worked as a Tax Examiner for the IRS. She now lives quietly, with more cats than she admits to, spending her free time doing accounting.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carol MNo Gravatar August 27, 2011 at 1:43pm

Since I’m a sixtyish woman also I think I would enjoy this book! lol It sounds like a great series!

Reply

2 Madeline GornellNo Gravatar
Twitter: @mmgornell
August 27, 2011 at 2:00pm

Great interview and review! Looking forward to meeting you Jean, Lorie, and Terell somewhere down the line on the conference/festival road! maybe at LCC in 2012? Just downloaded to my Kindle–though reading queue is long!

Madeline (M.M.) Gornell

Reply

3 Charlene HammondNo Gravatar August 27, 2011 at 5:55pm

Hello Aunt Jean,
I really enjoy your books. I look forward to reading your newest publication.

Reply

4 shirley nienkarkNo Gravatar August 27, 2011 at 5:58pm

Traveling in a motorhome was how I wanted to spend my retirement years. Can’t wait to read the book.

Reply

5 Jean Henry MeadNo Gravatar
Twitter: @jeanhenrymead
August 27, 2011 at 7:58pm

Thanks, Lori, Marilyn and Terell for the lovely interview and book review. I certainly miss the San Joaquin Valley.

Reply

6 Jean Henry MeadNo Gravatar
Twitter: @jeanhenrymead
August 28, 2011 at 4:36am

Hi, Carol, Madeline, Charlene and Shirley. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you all get a chance to read the series.

Reply

7 Anne K. AlbertNo Gravatar August 28, 2011 at 5:19am

Great interview, Jean and Marilyn, and a super review, Terell. Murder on the Interstate sounds like my favorite kind of book.

Reply

8 Jean Henry MeadNo Gravatar
Twitter: @jeanhenrymead
August 28, 2011 at 9:19am

Thanks, Anne. Good to see you here.

Reply

9 Marge HughesNo Gravatar August 31, 2011 at 1:14pm

Hi I just read about the interview with my long time friend Jean. I am the other half like a sister. I am Marge. Have read all of her books. Enjoyed every one of them. She is a great long time friend. Thanks for writing the artical

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