I have a new mentor. Her name is J. A. Jance.

I have a new mentor. Her name is J. A. Jance.

I have been reading books by J. A. Jance for years. She has several series. My favorite is the Joanna Brady series, that is based in Bisbee, Arizona. Jance is a “teller of tales” with a mystery interwoven in the story. She is always “a good read.” Her stories keep me turning the page and having trouble putting the book down to do something else. I enter her fantasy world, peopled with likeable characters.
Just recently, I signed up to receive her Friday blogs, where she shares her background and memories. Here she openly discusses the people and places that appear in her books. She also shares what her life is like as a popular fiction writer. Some of her fans comment on her blogs and I pick up on more personal history.
This past week, several comments referred to her series on the Walker family. I had never heard of this series, so I immediately put a hold on all the books in the series through my local library. They were available and I got them all. I am now on the last one.
What is different about the Walker family series is that it gives us a glimpse of what life is like for a best-selling author and her family. I assume that these are fictionalized examples of what Jance herself faces. Endless book tours. Being sought after because she is a “famous person.” When her husband joins her for any of these events, they only know him as her husband. Trying to fit in her writing during family crises. Meeting publication deadlines. Writing a book her editor and the publishing company don’t like and refuse to publish. Receiving a Pulitzer Prize. Her books ring true, as they are based upon her own life experiences.
Because I too am a writer, I value these insights into the life of a successful writer. One who “made it” the hard way. So, I avidly soak up all her experiences as a writer–good and bad–and am in awe of what she has achieved in her lifetime. Although we are about the same age, I learn from her.
I have taken up writing as a serious occupation only since the shutdowns during the CO_VID pandemic. As a result, I have four books coming out this year. I think I have only one book left in me.
Why the rush to print? My age. I don’t know how much time I have left to “tell my tale.” So many of my friends and relatives have died and I have no guarantees that my life will continue. So, I want to “tell my tale” before it is too late.
Am I writing for fame and fortune? No. I am writing because I feel a pressure to do so.
Will anyone read my books? I hope so.
There is nothing quite like seeing the designs for the book cover for the first time. Having a say in the interior design. Then finally holding the finished book in my hands. Just knowing I have added to the enormous body of literature that exists is enough.
Thank you, Judy Jance for being my unwitting mentor.

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