Sunday, November 02, 2014

A Conversation with Mystery Author J.M. Edwards

Omnimystery News: Author Interview with J.M. Edwards
with J.M. Edwards

We are delighted to welcome author J.M. Edwards to Omnimystery News today, courtesy of Great Escapes Book Tours, which is coordinating her current book tour. We encourage you to visit all of the participating host sites; you can find her schedule here.

J.M. introduces PI Ruby Wisdom in Handcuffs & High Heels (July 2014; ebook formats) and we recently had the opportunity to spend time with her discussing the series.

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Omnimystery News: Introduce us to Ruby Wisdom. What is it about her that appeals to you as a writer?

J.M. Edwards
Photo provided courtesy of
J.M. Edwards

J.M. Edwards: Ruby Wisdom is clever, confident and thoughtful. She's also willing to admit mistakes and missteps, on the rare occasion that she stumbles. After a brief stint working in the financial services industry in New York City, Ruby returned home to the small Upstate New York town of Wormwood. After bouncing around for a bit, trying new careers and occupations, she decided to pursue her license as a private investigator.

When Ruby first walked through the door one day while I was working on another project, I was intrigued. After spending time with her and meeting a few of the residents of Wormwood, I also realized that she would make an engaging protagonist for a cozy series. She makes me laugh. She makes me think. And she makes me excited to go to work each day and discover the next twists and turns in her adventures.

OMN: Into which mystery subgenre would you place this series?

JME: The Ruby Wisdom books are cozy mysteries set in the fictional town of Wormwood, New York. I often read suspense, hard-boiled and police procedurals, but when I sit down to write the results always fit snugly in the cozy category. The advantage to categorizing books by genre is streamlining the experience for readers who prefer specific types of novels. With thousands of new titles published each month, it's essential to classify books by genre — especially for first-time authors or the debut entry in a new series.

OMN: Give us a summary of Handcuffs & High Heels in a tweet.

JME: HANDCUFFS & HIGH HEELS: fast-paced cozy mystery featuring humor, romance, memorable characters and a smart, sassy sleuth.

OMN: Describe your writing process for us.

JME: My writing process is a blend of preparation and inspiration. Before I begin the first draft, I prepare an outline that includes major plot developments, points of conflict and a few key scenes. I also make notes about subplots that will weave throughout the book so I can consider how they will impact the pace, flow and development. Once I start to work on the first draft, I follow the outline unless one of the characters suddenly throws an inspiring curve ball. Luckily, that happens quite often, making the process that much more intriguing and entertaining.

OMN: Where do you usually find yourself writing?

JME: My writing environment is as fluid as the creative process. On any given day, my laptop and I might be on the front porch, nestled against a mound of pillows in bed or perched on the living room sofa. When I run into obstacles with plot or character development, I'll head to a nearby coffee shop or take a long walk. Those contemplative moments away from the draft and my usual surroundings are essential when it comes to sorting out unforeseen knots and working through unanticipated complications.

OMN: How do you go about researching the plot points of your stories?

JME: Research is essential! I'm online constantly while working on a project to check facts and conduct research about everything from locations and weaponry to CSI procedures and foreign phrases. As far as first-hand experience, I've conducted countless investigations, but those generally involve finding misplaced car keys, solving the riddle of the expanding waistline or determining who ate the last slice of chocolate cake.

OMN: You mentioned that the series is set in upstate New York. How true are you to the setting?

JME: My family is from the area and I worked in New York City for several years. I settled on Wormwood to satisfy my passion for rural tranquility and urban exploration. A fictional hometown in a factual region allows for creative independence and a steady stream of characters, situations and plots.

OMN: What is the best advice you've received as an author?

JME: The best advice I received came from a high school teacher: "The writing life requires three things: Persistence. Patience. Practice." I think the sentiment applies to every writer, whether a newcomer working on the first draft of their debut novel or someone who's been publishing for years.

Besides those words of wisdom from my childhood, I've also collected tips, suggestions and quotes from writers, including these favorites:

• J.A. Konrath: "Write what you like to read. Read like a writer."
• Elmore Leonard: "Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip."
• Ernest Hemingway: "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."
• Stephen King: "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot."

OMN: Create a Top Five list for us on any topic.

JME: Top Five Favorite Characters: Hercule Poirot, Inspector Wallander, Jack Reacher, Spenser, Inspector Morse.

OMN: What's next for you?

JME: Up next is the first draft of a new Ruby Wisdom mystery as well as notes for additional titles in the series. After that, maybe a jelly donut. At the conclusion of every case, Ruby rewards herself with a guilty pleasure from King Tut's Donut Hut. So I'm overdue for a donut. And a nap.

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J.M. Edwards Book Tour

J.M. Edwards loves crime. But only when it's fictional. A lifelong fan of mystery novels, police procedurals and thrillers, J.M. has worked as a copywriter, bartender, dog walker and newspaper reporter. When it comes to reading, she has a few favorites (Robert B. Parker, Sue Grafton, Dashiell Hammett, Robert B. Parker, Lee Child), but always enjoys learning about new authors to add to the TBR pile. In addition to writing the new Ruby Wisdom cozy mystery series, J.M. spends time gardening, traveling, spoiling a small herd of cats and dogs, doing volunteer work and taking the occasional nap.

For more information about the author, you can find her on Facebook.

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Handcuffs & High Heels by J.M. Edwards

Handcuffs & High Heels
J.M. Edwards
A Ruby Wisdom Mystery

Meet Ruby Wisdom. Smart and sensible. Humorous and heroic. Tough and tender. As the only private investigator in tiny Wormwood, New York, Ruby handles a wide range of cases — everything from jewel heists and cheating husbands to stolen wedding gowns, kidnapped artwork and fraudulent heirs.

Ruby is hired by the wife of a millionaire when the woman suspects her husband is having an affair. And he is — several of them.

But when Ruby begins connecting the duplicitous dots, the deceitful spouse ends up in a much more difficult dilemma than being caught with his hands in Cookie's jar.

And that's when the real investigation begins. Print/Kindle Format(s) Print/Nook Format(s)


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