Welcome to Jean Henry Mead
December 6, 2011
Jean, thank you for visiting my blog today and sharing your thoughts on Inspiration, Author Enjoyment, & Reader Wishes…
Jean Henry Mead is the author of 15 books, eight of them mystery novels and historical fiction. Murder on the Intestate is the third novel in her Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series and she writes the HamiltonKids’ mysteries for 9-12 year olds. She’s also an award-winning photojournalist who has been published domestically as well as abroad.
What inspires me? People I’ve met and interviewed, news events and life experiences have inspired me to write both fiction and nonfiction. I once read 97 years’ worth of microfilmed newspapers to researchCasper Country, a central Wyoming centennial history book, which eventually became a college textbook. The stack of leftover notes have since served as research for some of my historical novels. Also, one mycharacters is an investigative journalist, as I was for eight years, and elements of some of the stories I covered have found their way into my mystery novels.
I most enjoy editing and polishing my work and of course holding the print copy in my hands when it’s finished. I also like hearing from readers who say they enjoyed my books and ask when the next one will be available. My series characters are like old friends, whom I enjoy visiting each day. I especially like Dana Logan and Sarah Cafferty, two 60-year old amateur sleuths who are not only feisty and adventurous, they drive a 37-foot motorhome around the West (as I once did) solving murders. Sitting down at the computer each day I look forward to eavesdropping on their conversations and activities. Non-writers laugh when I tell them that I just type as fast as I can to keep up with my characters, but it’s true.
Probably because I started my writing career as a news reporter, I always include interesting bits of research in my novels so that I inform as well as entertain. But I’m careful not to load the reader up with paragraphs of research, which might bore them to tears. That reminds me of something one of my favorite authors, Benjamin Capps, once said, “No reader of mine ever felt so strongly or dropped a tear unless I did so in the writing.” Eliciting emotion is the most important ingredient in fiction, and I’m sometimes moved to tears while reading certain passages of my books, but the most comments I receive are usually, “What a fun book that was to read.” Humor is a main ingredient in my books, although subtle, not slapstick. I found plenty of humor in the old newspapers, including a story about three young boys who stole watermelons from a boxcar. When the arresting officer was asked about the disposition of the case, he said the melons were mighty tasty.
I want my readers to smile when they finish one of my books and feel satisfied that it was a good read. And, along the way, I hope they learn something they didn’t know before, even if it’s just something about human nature.
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Thank you, Jean, for your thoughtful comments and generosity!
If you leave a comment, your name will go into the drawing for a free copy of Reticence of Ravens (three copies in total, randomly selected by Buster!) .