Friday, July 19, 2013

Book Review Ring in the Dead & Interview J.A. Jance

Title: Ring in the Dead
Author: J.A. Jance

My Review:
When I received a request from the author to read her new J.P. Beaumont novella, I was honored. I have read several of the J.P. Beaumont novels, definitely not enough, and thoroughly love the character.

The fact that it is a novella, or short story, does not leave anything missing in the way it was written. Complete and not rushed, the story tells of Beaumont's introduction to his partner Pickles. It is also Beau's first days as a detective for Seattle PD.

I loved that it told of his personal life current and past. Learning more about his wife and his interaction with her definitely added dimension to his character. I will love knowing this as I continue to read the earlier installments in the series.

If you are a fan of J.A. Jance's J.P. Beaumont series, I highly recommend you read this new novella. If you are wondering if you would like to begin this series and don't want to commit yourself to a regular size novel, definitely read this novella for a small introduction on the character J.P. Beaumont.



Why did you want to become a writer?

In second grade in Bisbee, Arizona, I was introduced to the Wizard of Oz books. A lot of kids reading those books are struck by the Wizard operating behind the green curtain. I was struck by the notion that L. Frank Baum had put the words on the pieces of paper. From that moment on, I wanted to be a writer.

Who were your “cheerleaders” along the way?

My mother got me to take academic coursework in high school that enabled me to attend a university. My father fostered a love of reading and words by reading poetry to us aloud from the Treasury of the Familiar. I can still recite big chunks of Horatius at the Bridge and the Song of the Shirt.

What authors were your inspirations?

Frank Baum, Zane Grey, John D. McDonald.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

I think my favorite book of all time is the rag/tag copy of the Treasury of the Familiar that
I inherited when my father died.

What was life like before writing?

I wasn’t allowed in the creative writing program at the University of Arizona in 1964 because, as the professor so kindly pointed out, I was a girl. I remember his words verbatim. “Girls become teachers or nurses. Boys become writers.” So I became a teacher; then I became a K-12 librarian. After that I spent ten years selling life insurance. At the time I started writing, in the middle of March of 1982, I was a single parent with two small children, no child support, and a full time job selling insurance. I maintain that the rejection inherent in selling insurance is an excellent precursor to the rejection encountered in the world of writing.

What are your hobbies? 
 I read. I play golf badly. I enjoy my kids and grandkids.
How did the character J.P. Beaumont come to be?

I had written a slightly fictionalized true crime book but the editors turned it down, saying the stuff that was fiction was fine and the stuff that was real was unbelievable and would never happen even though it already had. My agent (who is STILL my agent, 50 books later!) suggested that I try writing something that was completely fiction. I spent the next six months unsuccessfully trying to write the book that would be my first published novel, Until Proven Guilty. The problem with the book was that I was writing it thorough the wrong point of view. When I finally decided to write it through Beau’s point of view, the book practically wrote itself.

Tell us how he has evolved through the series and what a reader can expect if they are new to J.P. Beaumont.

In the early books, he’s busy being a macho kind of guy. He lives alone, drinks too much, is estranged from both his ex-wife and his children. He changes gradually over the years, going into treatment in book number 8. In Beaumont # 21, Second Watch, you’ll see him both as he was in his early years as a homicide cop for Seattle PD and as he is now, working as a special investigator for the state attorney general’s Special Homicide Investigation Team.

How does Ring in the Dead shape his character? What can a reader expect from the book?

We meet him as he interacts with his very first homicide partner, Milton “Pickles” Gurkey. Pickles is a guy with a high school diploma, and he’s not thrilled to have a young “college boy” foisted off on him as a partner.

Could a first time reader of J.A. Jance and J.P. Beaumont begin with Ring in the Dead? Absolutely.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)? Harlan Coban’s Six Years.

Are there any Authors that have grasped your interest recently and why?

I recently read Colonel Pettigrew’s Last Stand by a first time author and loved every moment of it.

If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you?  
Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, and Ronald Reagan.

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