My guest this week is Jean Henry Mead, author of the Logan and Cafferty mysteries, The Mystery Writers, and others.
There were no self-help books available for writing novels back in the dark ages (before computers), but I was only nine and my classmates seemed to like what I took to class for them to read. Years later I signed up for a Famous Writers Fiction course, although I was working as a news reporter at that time, and my fiction sounded like journalism—too terse and lacking description.
Fortunately, a couple of award-winning writers took me under their wings and taught me the language of fiction. They asked that I return the favor by serving as a mentor when I had enough experience of my own. So, when I began blogging after I had published a number of nonfiction books and a couple of novels, I decided to mentor a lot of novice writers in my own way by inviting bestselling, award-winning and other midlist authors to my website titled Mysterious Writers.
When I had accumulated well over a hundred interviews and articles written by them, I put them into a book titled Mysterious Writers and sold it to Poisoned Pen Press in 2010. The book has sold well in ebook form but I wanted to also provide a print edition, so The Mystery Writers also became a book. Sixty bestselling novelists, award-winners and journeymen writers appear in this new edition, including Ellis Vidler, Sue Grafton, Lawrence Block, Julie Garwood, Vicki Hinze, J. A. Jance, and James Scott Bell (former Writer’s Digest fiction columnist).
Some of the authors are living and writing from
Brazil, Thailand, England
and what they have to say will not only entertain and inform readers, but shock
them as well. Canada
Twelve subgenres of the mystery genre are represented in this latest collection: traditional mysteries, cozies, private eyes, police procedurals, crime, humor, noir, contemporary western mysteries, thrillers, historicals, amateur sleuths and suspense. In essence, something for nearly every reader and novice or veteran writer.
The 406-page book is loaded with advice that I wish had been available when I was a fledgling novelist. James Scott Bell begins the book with “The Ten Commandments for Writers.” I especially like the following, “Thou Shalt Write Passionate First Drafts:”
Don’t edit yourself heavily during your first drafts. The writing of it is partly an act of discovering your story; even if you outline. Your plot and characters may want to make twists and turns you didn’t plan. Let them go! Follow along and record what happens. I edit my previous day’s work and then move on. At 20k words I ‘step back’ to see if I have a solid foundation, shore it up if I don’t, then move on to the end.
Bio: Jean Henry Mead is an award-winning photojournalist who has been published nationally and abroad. She’s served as a news, magazine and small press editor and was a correspondent for the Denver Post. She’s also writes the Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series, Hamilton Kids’ mysteries, historical novels and nonfiction books; 17 books in all.