SHOW SOME INDIE LOVE

SHOW SOME INDIE LOVE

Author Bling

Friday, April 11, 2014

Jan Christensen - An Author Interview




Tell us a little about yourself, Jan?

I grew up in northern New Jersey, married a military man, had three children, and moved around a lot. After my husband retired in twenty years, we settled in Texas where he took a job, and I worked as an administrative assistant for about fifteen years. When he retired again, we sold our home and hit the road in a 40-foot motorhome and traveled all over the US, finally settling down again on the coastal bend of Texas.

What were you like at school?

Shy.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Right now, to have at least three books out in each series--Tina Tales about the professional organizer, the Paula Mitchell, PI, mystery series, and the Valleyview Tales darker stories that are linked with some of the same characters, but each one with different main characters. Plus more short stories published, and a novella trilogy.

What genre are your books?

Mystery and suspense.

What draws you to this genre?

I don't outline, so it seems easier for me to write knowing I have to have the main character solve a mystery. And I like the general theme of most crime stories--justice is served.

How much research do you do?

Not a lot, and most of it on the fly. The Tina and Paula series take place in Rhode Island. I've lived there and visited a lot, especially Newport, where Tina lives. The other day I had fun researching old steamer and wardrobe trunks. I look up the names and menus of real places on-line. Paula lives in a fictitious town in northern RI, but weather is always a factor, and New England people do have certain characteristics that are fun to play with. (My parents were both from Massachusetts.) I like to do research and love history, but I'd rather spend what little time I have writing.

Why do you write?

I write to entertain myself and other readers.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

I try to write 1,000 new words a day which generally takes me just over an hour, but sometimes more. I also try to edit another project for an hour a day. And I try to market for an hour or so a day. 


Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

I try to write my new 1,000 words first thing in the morning, and I edit for an hour right after dinner. I hardly ever watch TV. I mean, I can literally go for months without watching it. 

Where do the your ideas come from?

My subconscious, mostly.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I never outline or plot ahead. I may have an inkling about where I want to go between writing sessions, but often I have no idea. I just let my subconscious come up with something. It usually does. I've learned to trust it.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Getting started every session.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

The third or fourth edit.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I should be able to write about three a year at this pace, but I have yet to do that. Maybe this year.

How much research do you do?

Not a lot, and most of it on the fly. The Tina and Paula series take place in Rhode Island. I've lived there and visited a lot, especially Newport, where Tina lives. The other day I had fun researching old steamer and wardrobe trunks. I look up the names and menus of real places on-line. Paula lives in a fictitious town in northern RI, but weather is always a factor, and New England people do have certain characteristics that are fun to play with. (My parents were both from Massachusetts.) I like to do research and love history, but I'd rather spend what little time I have writing.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Rarely.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Play what-if. Just start writing anything.

Which writers inspire you?

Each and every one of them.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I read a lot. I can average two-to-three books a week, mostly novels, mostly mysteries. There are way too many authors I like to list any.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

It makes no difference for fiction. I like to read non-fiction in paper so I can mark it up and flip back and forth more easily. Then find the places I marked later. (I list the page numbers at the beginning.)

What book/s are you reading at present?

I decided I needed to read a classic, so I'm reading Vanity Fair. It's fascinating, although very long. In today's world, it would be greatly cut, and I think improved by that. But I'm really enjoying it.

What are you working on at the minute?

One book, second in the Organized series, is off to an editor. The third in that series is being written, and the second in the Paula Mitchell series is being proofed by me before going to the editor. 


What’s it about?

BURIED UNDER CLUTTER is about a murdered woman who was a hoarder. Tina, a professional organizer, is helping the family clean out the old Victorian home. Since the woman lived next door, Tina's family gets wrapped up in the murder investigation, and so she is quite motivated to find out who the killer is. She has some help from her hunky boyfriend, Hank. But her meddling could prove very dangerous. 


The second Paula Mitchell, PI, novel, is about an old schoolmate of Paula's whose identity was stolen, and now she's homeless. Paula is determined to find out who did it, but things go sour when the woman's old boss who fired her is murdered and the woman herself is attacked. Things get more complicated when Paula's aunt shows up with a huge problem, and Paula is followed, run down, and finally confronts the villain. 

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

I proofread and edit my own books the very best I can, then they go to a professional editor, either one I hire, or if the story or book is being published my someone else, of course, they do the editing.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

Sometimes. I'm trying to move faster, so I won't let the next ones stew for long. They can stew while the professional editor is working on them. That usually takes several weeks or even months.

What do you think makes a good story?

Interesting characters, interesting situations, conflict, and secrets.

Do you have any suggestions to become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Become an excellent craftsperson by studying, learning, and practicing. Write as much as you can every single day. I don't know of any other way to improve.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Write more; write every single day.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Read, write, edit, submit. Repeat.

What is your favorite quote?

A successful life is the result of a series of successful days.

How many books have you written? 

Nine. Ten if you count the short story collection. Five are published, two more should be out this year, at least. The first in unpublishable at present. Another is probably going to become a trilogy. I'm also working on two non-fiction books. One about personal organization and time management. The other about writing.


What have you written?


I've been writing and publishing short stories, most of them mysteries, for about fifteen years. As a consequence, I've had over fifty short stories published.

A small press published my first novel in 2004, SARA’S SEARCH, now available in ebook format.


My latest publications include a young adult mystery, BLACKOUT; a female private-eye novel, PERFECT VICTIM; a cozy, ORGANIZED TO DEATH; a rather dark novel, REVELATIONS; a collection of three of my previously-published short stories, WARNING SIGNS 1,;and some stand-alone short stories in a series (The Artie Crimes) in e-book format about a hapless burglar named Artie.


Where can we buy or see them?

The short stories are listed on my website: www.janchristensen.com. Some of them are still available on-line, and the links are provided. All the other books and stories are shown on my website, as well, with links for buying.

ORGANIZED TO DEATH is available in ebook format and paperback wherever you go on-line to buy books and in some libraries and at Untreed Reads website: http://bit.ly/1hk7lCM

The other novels are all in Kindle editions and paperback, as is my collection of short stories.


The Artie Crimes series is available at Untreed Reads, the publisher's website, plus everywhere you can buy ebooks. http://bit.ly/1hk7lCM

Tell us about your book cover/s and how it/they came about.

SARA'S SEARCH's cover was designed by the publisher. I like it, but always considered it too dark. So I looked around, when I decided to self-publish, for a cover designer, and chose Derek Murphy. He's fantastic. I pick the background images, and he puts in figures and other stuff and gives me choices for fonts for titles and my name. All the covers he's designed have the same way of showing my name at the bottom. The Valleyview Tales have an outside setting, rather dark and bleak. The Tina Tales have old Victorian houses on the covers because Newport, RI, is loaded with them, and I find them fascinating. The Paula PI books have very light, mostly white interiors. If you go to my website or Amazon page, you can see them all together. 

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

I'm sure it does. People say it does.


How are you publishing your book and why?

I'm self-publishing the series I've already started, but am open to working with a publisher if the stars align correctly and the moon isn't too full.


What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

Self-publishing--total control, can get books out much quicker, earn more per book sold.

Published by others--get into more bookstores and libraries, probably. Some help, maybe, with marketing. More prestige. Author has no outlay for editing, cover design and formatting.


I think the "hybrid" author has the best of both worlds. She can publish more and quicker. Those who find her one way or the other will tend to try her other books. 

How do you market your books?

I used to blog, but it didn't seem to help much and took a lot of time to come up with two posts a week. I decided it would be better to get more books out. 


Now I Tweet and do Facebook, write some guest blog posts, and send out requests for reviews. 

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?

About an hour or so a day.


Would you or do you use a PR agency?

P.J. Nunn's BreakThrough Promotions helps me out. She gets me reviews and guest spots. And she's just a delightful person.


Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

Do what you enjoy and get more "product" out there. Not just my advice--lot's of people's advice.

What do you do to get book reviews?

I write to reviewers I find on-line, ones I think will enjoy my stories. I'm also using NetGalley right now, and I've received quite a few through them. I like having people I don't know do the reviews because I know they're totally honest, and most of mine are from people I've never met, either in real life or on-line.


What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

I like the good reviews. I accept the bad ones (although I haven't gotten any really bad ones yet, but I'm sure I will someday). If best-selling authors get bad reviews, can I expect anything less?


Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

I think it works for some people better than others, but I'm not sure why. I know it works better with series and for those of us who have more than one or two books out. 

Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions, Jan.  Where can readers connect with you?


Website: www.janchristensen.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jan.christensen.9275

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/463095.Jan_Christensen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JanSChristensen


Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/janchristensena/






















































































































































































































































































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