Sunday, June 30, 2013

Getting to know mystery author, J.L. Greger

Janet with her dog, Bug
Janet, I'm pleased to have you visiting with us today.
Patricia: Tell us, what are your favorite things to do when you’re not reading or writing?

Janet: I love to travel to new places. No that’s not right. I like to revisit places too, as long as they’re interesting. What make a place interesting to me? First off, places that were forbidden, at least at one time, - like China, Russia, Lebanon, Cuba. Maybe I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie. Second, places where important history occurred and in some cases is still occurring, i.e. London, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Boston, and my all time favorite Washington, D.C. Third places with unique “culture” and great food, such as the south of France, New Orleans, Charleston in South Carolina, Santa Fe, the Maine coast. My lists often overlap.

The problem is the other thing I like to do most is spend time with my dog Bug. We walk a lot and do pet therapy in the pediatrics wards at UNM Hospital and at the VA hospital in Albuquerque. While Bug travels well on airplanes (under my seat) and in the car, he can’t do international travel. Thus I’ve done less traveling during the last few years and more cooking, which is my third most fun thing to do. Maybe that’s why I called my second mystery/suspense novel Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight.

Patricia: What’s you favorite color? Why?

Janet: Warm pastels, especially pale yellow. I like warm cozy colors that aren’t brassy or pushy.

Patricia: How would you describe yourself, personality wise?

Janet: An introvert who learned to speak up.

Patricia: You've mentioned that you love to travel. Please name three of the most interesting places you've visited.

Janet: Three of my most interesting trips were done as a consultant on science and education issues. I visited the Marshall Islands (to assess safety issues near former H bomb test sites) and Dubai, Al Ain and Abu Dhabi in the Untied Arab Emirates and American University of Beirut in Lebanon (to help develop university and research infrastructure). I guess Lebanon was the best – archaeological sites that are over three thousand years old, the best of Middle Eastern cuisine, and a will to survive among the people. If the factions in Lebanon stopped fighting, I think Beirut would quickly become one of the top tourist cities in the world.

Patricia: How would you complete this sentence? If I won a million dollars, I would. . .   
Janet: probably not live much differently. Perhaps I’d hire someone to stay with Bug when I traveled and/or hire an agent to do much of the publicity on my books Coming Flu, Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight, and a third in this series of medical mystery/suspense novels which will be partially set in Bolivia. (Yes I have traveled there.)

Bio: J.L. Greger, as a biologist and professor emerita of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, enjoys putting tidbits of science into her novels. In Coming Flu (published by Oak Tree Press in 2012), epidemiologist Sara Almquist is trying to stop two killers:  the Philippine flu, which is rapidly wiping out everyone in a walled community in New Mexico, and a drug kingpin determined to break out of the quarantined enclave. In Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight (published by Oak Tree Press in April 2013) Linda Almquist, Sara's sister, is scrutinizing two "diet doctors" for recklessly endangering the lives of their obese research subjects. Soon she finds her research entwined with a police investigation of the murder of one of the diet doctors.

JL included Bug, her Japanese Chin dog, as a character in all three of her novels. To learn more, visit her website: or her blog at

Amazon sell tag line for Coming Flu:


  1. Pat, thanks for introducing us to Janet. Janet, thanks for introducing us to Bug! I admire your adventurous travel spirit. It shows you're curious about the unknown, and I'm sure that curiosity shows up in your fiction. I plan to check that out.

  2. Hey, Janet, you are one of the most intelligent people I'm proud to call a friend. Love your books too.

  3. Janet, I feel like I've met a long-lost friend! I, too, love to travel, and was fortunate to be able to study in Egypt, teach at universities in Tunisia and Kuwait, and travel in Lebanon, Syria, Algeria in the days when it was safe and easy to do so. Also taught at a Big Ten school (Indiana). And although I've been living with big dogs for many years, I LOVE Japanese Chins! Someday.... I write the Animals in Focus series, but also environmental narrative nonfiction, so look forward to reading your science-based mysteries! Pat, thanks for bringing Janet to your blog!

  4. Good interview, Janet and Pat. Cuba is high on my hope-to-visit list and Lebanon would be interesting, too, for the archaeology. And, of course, all those food places.

  5. John, Bug really is worth knowing. He was part of a bible school activity this week encouraging people to volunteer more, like doing pet therapy.

    Marilyn, I'm not sure my travels to some of these spots show smarts, maybe guts. But thanks.

    Sheila,I don't meet many people who have traveled that much in the Middle East, unless they were with the oil industry. I'm impressed.

    I'm going to Cuba this fall and hope to include snippets from that trip in a future book. But in any case, I think you'll like my next book, which is partially set in Bolivia.

    Thanks for all the nice comments.

  6. Greger certainly has had an interesting life. Some of the projects that took her overseas sound fascinating.
    So, I think it follows, that her books should be quite interesting. Thanks, Pat, for bringing her, and her books, to my attention.

  7. Interesting questions, Pat. A good way to help us get to know Janet and Bug. I admire your sense of adventure. I think it comes through in your writing.

  8. Pat, thanks for the opportunity to visit your blog site. I was concerned that someone would be annoyed by perhaps unconventional answers to your questions.

    John, Jim, and Lesley, You've convinced me that taking Sara to Bolivia in the third novel in the series was a good idea. Now I just have to finish the edits. It's working title is "Dull the Pain" or "Murder Dulls the Pain," but as you all know titles changes right up to the last minute.
    JL Greger

    1. Janet,
      I think you did a fantastic job answering my questions. I've enjoyed learning more about you and, as evidenced by the comments you've gotten so far, so have others.

  9. This is a great interview. Thanks so much for sharing this with us! It was nice to learn more about Janet.

  10. I agree! A very interesting interview. How nice to learn about your life and work, Janet. Best wishes.

  11. I forgot to mention that I'm running a contest this year. I'm putting the names of all those who respond to my blogs this year in a hat. In October, I'm pulling one from the hat. I will use that name (if they want this honor) in one of my upcoming novels. i don't know if that encourages or discourages comments.
    JL Greger