Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mystery Author of the Month: Jacqueline Seewald

Patricia: Welcome, Jacqueline! Tell us, where did you grow up? Did your childhood contribute to your desire to be a writer?
Jacqueline: I was born and raised in New Jersey and am a lifelong resident. My childhood did contribute to my desire to be a writer. My mother was a reader. She loved to read novels. Going to the library with her was always a wonderful adventure. Early on, I became an avid reader as well. It wasn’t long before I was making up my own stories and writing them down as soon as I was able. My mother bought me my first Smith Corona portable typewriter when I was eleven years old and taught me how to touch type. I started typing my stories and never stopped—although for many years now I’ve worked on a computer.
Patricia: Where do you live now? Do you use that locale for settings in your novels?
Jacqueline: I still live in New Jersey, although we moved from the Central to the Northern part of the state a few years ago. The main setting for my Kim Reynolds novels is a town in Central Jersey very similar to the one I lived in for forty years. The Inferno Collection, The Drowning Pool, and The Truth Sleuth are all set in Central NJ.
Patricia: What inspired you to write your most recent novel?
Jacqueline: The Third Eye: A Pine Barrens Mystery is different from any of my other novels. I’ll explain what inspired this book. I’ve always loved the Pine Barrens of NJ. They are quite unique in many ways. When I worked as a librarian in a children’s elementary school for several years, a fourth grade project was to do something related to the Jersey Devil and the Pine Barrens. I discovered that there were very few books for young children on this topic. So to help with the project, I wrote my own. It was very well received in the school. At a NJ conference of educational media specialists, I spoke with a NJ publisher and discussed the lack of materials. I told them I had written a book on the subject. Afton Publishing was receptive and eventually published A Devil in the Pines. Not long ago, I got the idea for a mystery novel for adults and suitable for teenagers also set in the Pine Barrens. My son Andrew who is an attorney in New Brunswick, NJ, collaborated on the book with me. A teenage boy and his mother, in alternating chapters from their different viewpoints and perspectives, both move toward the solution of several murders. Five Star/Gale, my publisher for five previous novels, recently published the book.
Patricia: When did you “know” that you wanted to be a writer?
Jacqueline: I was an imaginative child. Early on I wanted to write. English was my favorite subject in school and I excelled at it.  It seems as though I always wanted to be a writer. I loved reading and wanted to write my own stories from a very young age.
Patricia: Name three of your favorite authors in the mystery/suspense genre. What makes them your favorites?
Jacqueline: Now that’s a very difficult question to answer because there are so many! I suppose at the top of my list would have to be Sara Paretsky. Her tough female P.I. novels started a trend. She was the founder of Sisters in Crime as well. I was honored when she endorsed my first mystery novel for Five Star/Gale The Inferno Collection. She provided a wonderful blurb for the cover which drew reviewers to the novel. It was the first of the Kim Reynolds librarian sleuth mysteries that I wrote. It was followed by The Drowning Pool and The Inferno Collection. All three novels received good reviews and have recently been brought out in paperback by Harlequin Worldwide Mystery. Perfect Crime Books will be bringing out the four Kim Reynolds mystery, The Bad Wife. I’m excited about that. Jayne Ann Krentz who writes romantic suspense is an outstanding, versatile author. She too was very generous to me personally, reading and endorsing my historical romantic suspense novel Tea Leaves and Tarot Cards.
For male authors, I’m very fond of John Sandford’s Virgil Flowers series.  I love the humor he instills in violent and gruesome novels that are as much police procedural/thrillers as mysteries.  John Grisham is a favorite of mine as well. I consider The Rainmaker one of his best books in a quality sense. Michael Connelly is another mystery/thriller writer whose books I enjoy reading. He’s a very talented author. His main characters are well-rounded and realistic.

Multiple award-winning author, Jacqueline Seewald, has taught creative, expository and technical writing at Rutgers University as well as high school English. She also worked as both an academic librarian and an educational media specialist. Fifteen of her books of fiction have been published to critical praise including The Inferno Collection, The Drowning Pool, The Truth Sleuth and Death Legacy. Newly released in hardcover is her co-authored mystery The Third Eye. Her short stories, poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in hundreds of diverse publications and numerous anthologies. You can check out her two most recently published mysteries on Amazon, Barnes and Noble Online, or Goodreads:

Jacqueline is offering a copy of the Harlequin Worldwide Mystery paperback edition of Death Legacy to someone who leaves a comment, limited to U.S. residents.
The winner is M.M. Gornell. Congratulations, Madeline!