Tell us about yourself and your books.:
My sister Loretta Jackson and I are the authors of over fifty published novels. Most of our books are in the mystery and romantic suspense genres. Our High Country Mystery Series is currently being published by Books in Motion.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Writing together is in itself an unusual habit. Through the years we have learned to work together and try to make our work flow so that it sounds as if it was written by one person. Both of us carefully read, edit and approve each chapter of the book.
What authors have influenced you?
Both of us enjoy the works of Tony Hillerman, who influenced us to become writers. We are both also big fans of Aaron Elkins, especially the Gideon Oliver Series. We also were influenced by the gothic writers Phyllis Whitney and Virginia Coffman, as well as Agatha Christie and Erle Stanley Gardner. We enjoy all types of mysteries.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write the book that is in your heart. If the book is interesting to you, others will also likely find it of interest. Always write for the love of it and not for the money.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
When I was an aspiring writer, Virginia Coffman passed down some advice to me which was not to write just one book, but to keep on writing and learning and growing as you go along. I believe that helped me to continue writing, and is the best advice I have heard about the craft of writing oveall.
What are you reading now?
Loretta and I enjoy British mysteries and are reading Roger Silverwood's Inspector Angel series. We just finished The Snuffbox Murders.
What’s your biggest weakness?
My biggest weakness is that I like the process of finding an idea and developing it. But I don't really like to do the finish work. I also often write myself into a corner and can't think of an ending. Luckily, Loretta likes to edit and polish, and she can always think of an ending, so we work well as a team.
What is your favorite book of all time?
I would have to say Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, and I think my co-author would agree. Because of its daunting length, I put off reading it until recently. It is an amazing work and the movie doesn't do it justice. It is about one of our favorite subjects…redemption.
What has inspired you and your writing style?
Our favorite author, Tony Hillerman, inspired us to write books similar in tone to his. Our High Country Mystery Series takes place in Wyoming and has a modern-day western sheriff who solves mysteries in his small town. However, we sometimes write suspense, and then we have a totally different style. With Tony Hillerman as a role model, we decided early in our career that we wanted to write entertaining books that are clean and plot and character-driven that people of all different ages can enjoy.
What are you working on now?
We just finished the tenth book in our High Country Mystery Series, Blame it on Bigfoot, and are planning another book in that series. We are also working on a romantic suspense set in Kansas, The Knights of Garland Murder.
What is your method for promoting your work?
We are active on Twitter and other social media. I think newsletters work well for promotion, and offering a discount or free book helps. Since we have a lot of books, we usually offer a discounted or free book or short story at least once a month. I think that helps readers to sample an author's work without investing a lot of money, and then if they like it they will want to read more.
What’s next for you as a writer?
We have plans to continue the High Country Mystery Series. And, when we get time, we intend to write a third book in our Arla Vaughn Pre-Columbian Mystery Series. Right now, there is a mystery about the Maya and the Inca, and we want to complete that series with a book centering around an Aztec mystery.
How well do you work under pressure?
I find it difficult to work under deadline. I believe authors produce better work when they can go at their own pace.
How do you decide what tone to use with a particular piece of writing?
For us, the book decides the tone. When you are writing a contemporary western mystery, the characters will think and talk much differently than they would in a suspense set in the city, for example. Our mystery series is more realistic in tone, while when we write suspense, there may be more description and a hint gothic tones.
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