Jean Henry Mead Interview
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jean Henry Mead.
Marilyn: Tell us about your new novel.
Jean Henry Mead: No Escape, the Sweetwater Tragedy is a Wyoming historical mystery/suspense novel based on actual history. While researchng another book, I came across the 1889 murders of a young couple who operated a road ranch on their homestead land,.I was mystified when I learned that six wealthy cattlemen, who hanged James and Ellen Averell, got away with it because they spread lies that the Averells were operating a bawdy house and rustling cattle. I researched the event on and off over the years while writing other books.
Then George Hufsmith's non-fictoin book was published and I was able to fill in the missing details. Hufsmith was commissioned to write an opera about the hangings and wound up spending 20 years interviewing residents in the area who knew the truth about the murders. Because I didn't want to end the book sadly with their deaths, I also wrote about a single woman homesteader who lives nearby. I was surprised to learn that some 200,000 single women filed on homestead land of their own.
Marilyn: When did you first get published? And what was the book?
Jean: My first book, published in 1981,consisted of interviews with Wyoming VIPs including the governor, U.S, senators, sportscaster Curt Gowdy and Dick Cheney. I had previously worked as a news reporter in California and Wyoming, so interviewing had been part of my job.
Marilyn: Did you market it differently than you do today?
Jean: Yes, in those days the publisher did most of the marketing and promotions, and I drove around the state conducting autograph parties,when gasoline was cheap. I also sent notices to newspapers in the towns where I would be appearing.
Marilyn: What is your favorite means of promotion?
Jean: The Internet is a great way to reach readers around the world, so tweeting, Facebook, Goodreads, blog posts and guest blogging have been good sources to promote my books. But I've received my best results by placing my out of print books in the Kindle Select Program and offering them free for a few days. The drawback is that some people who download free books delight in giving authors one star reviews, no matter how well written they happen to be. So a writer has to decide whether sales or book rankings are more important.
Marilyn: What is your writing schedule?
Jean: I'm at the computer by 8 a.m. and first check book sales and answer email. I then read the previous day's chapter and begin writing. Because I worked eight years as a newspaper staff writer, there's no such thing as writer's block. Journalists simply sit down and write. Rewritng and editing come later.
Marilyn: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Jean: Read, travel, play tennis, take photographs, bowl, visit with friends and family, and I'm learning to play golf,
Marilyn: Where is your favorite place to be?
Jean. An RV resort in southern California. A golf course meanders through the middle of the complex and there are tennis courts, swimming pools, a restaurant, store, chapel,, and club houses where all sorts of activities take place, as well as friendly fellow RVers.
Marilyn: Who are your favorite authors?
Jean: The books of Sue Grafton, Agatha Christie and Dean Koontz taught me to write fiction and I now read a variety of authors, so I don't really have a favorite.
Jean: I prefer silence but after working in a noisy press room, I could probably write in the midst of a traffic jam. I usually start the day with a cup of chai tea topped with whipped cream.
Marilyn: If a movie were to be made of you latest book, who would you like to see star in it?
Jean: Probably Gwyneth Paltro as Susan, the single woman homesteader, and Gina Davis as Ellen Averell, the woman called "Cattle Kate." As for the men, Robert Downey, Jr. as Jimmy Averell and George Clooney as Michael O'Brien, the veterinarian (love interest). I would like to sit in on that set. :)
Marilyn: What’s next for you?
Jean: The fifth novel in my Logan & Cafferty series is titled A Murder in Paradise, which takes place in a California RV resort. I've already done the research. :)
Thank you for hosting me here today, Marilyn. If anyone is interested in learning more about No Escape, the Sweetwater Tragedy, they can clink on the following link: http://www.amazon.com/No-Escape-Sweetwater-Tragedy-ebook/dp/B00BSG9F1U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363061784&sr=8-1&keywords=No+Escape%2C+the+sweetwater
Bio: Jean Henry Mead is a national award-winning photojournalist as well as the author of the Logan & Caffetty mystery/suspense series featuring two 60-year-old feisty women amateur sleuths who drive around the West in a motor home solving murders. She also writes the Hamilton Kid's mystery series and a variety of nonfiction books.
Marilyn: Thank you for coming to visit today and answering all my questions.