Jane K. Cleland’s multiple award-nominated and IMBA best selling Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery series has been reviewed as an Antiques Roadshow for mystery fans. I love that! Jane chairs the Wolfe Pack’s
literary awards, which include the Nero Award and the Black Orchid Novella Award, granted in partnership with Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. She is a past chapter president and current board member of the Mystery Writers of America/New York Chapter.
- Do you start your next mystery with the killer, the victim or a plot idea?
I usually start with an antique, with knowing how it will be involved in murder… so I guess we can say that I start with the plot.
- Do you outline the plot or some variation of that (a little/a lot of detail, a strict 3 act structure etc) before sitting down and writing?
I write detailed synopses. Each one covers all the plot points, characters, situations, and how Josie will solve the murder.
- What is your process for developing a character? Do you use pictures, a worksheet or just let the character(s) tell you about him/herself as you write?
I see characters in my head and listen to them, then write down what they say.
- How do you find time for writing, what works for you - and do you have anything special you do before writing, particular music or a special room/location that helps you get in the zone and write?
I have no idea how I get so much done, although certainly I’m disciplined and persistent. Here I am 1 a.m. writing you! I never wait for inspiration; I get to work and write. Also, I write in whatever time I have, ten minutes here and fifteen there, for instance.
- What is your work schedule like when you're writing and how long does it take you to write a book?
I don’t have the luxury of writing full-time, so I have to fit it in whenever I can. The synopsis usually takes me longer than the book. The synopsis for Deadly Threads, which will be out in April 2011, took five months to write. The book took two months. (And yes, it nearly killed me!)
- What in your background prepared you to write mystery novels?
It’s all I’ve ever read (for pleasure), and my mom was a mystery writer. Maybe it’s genetic!
- How did you get your first break toward getting published? Was it at a writer's conference or mailing a query letter etc?
I got an agent. I found her in Jeff Herman’s book, The Insider’s Guide to Publishing.
- What are you currently reading?
And Be a Villain by Rex Stout
- What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write notes to myself. I jot a gazillion little notes while I’m writing. The last thing I do before I say a book is done is read all my little notes to be certain I haven’t forgotten anything.
- Do you participate in a critique group (or have you in the past?) What are the pros and cons of critique groups?
No. I’m pretty much a loner. I think they work for some people. It’s just not my style.
- If your Josie Prescott mysteries were to be made into a movie, who would you cast in your character's roles?
I wrote Josie and Ty with particular actors in mind, but I’ll never tell! I want readers to have the pleasure of having their own images.
Thank you so much Jane for that interview and I look forward to the next novel.