Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Interview and Book Giveaway with Jayne Self

by Jeff Reynolds

Ladies and gentlemen, book giveaways are nothing new on this blog. But this is my first one. The author I'm privileged to give a book from is Jayne Self, author of Harbourlight's Seaglass Mysteries, where one lucky (or should I say blessed) reader will receive one of the two installments. Rules for the giveaway are at the bottom of the interview.
author jayne self


Jeff Reynolds: Welcome to Sleuths and Supsects, Jayne. What is seaglass? Is it what a pirate looks out of to see if there's a ship coming? Do you have personal experience with seaglass?


Jayne Self: Hi Jeff, Thank you for inviting me here today. I’m always delighted to talk about mysteries and seaglass.
Seaglass are the bits of wave-battered, colored glass that wash up on sea shore. It’s something I collect every summer as at our Nova Scotia cottage, and Gailynn, the heroine of my mysteries, crafts seaglass into one-of-a-kind jewelry.


a boat is shown on the cover with police tape in front of itJR:  Which leads to the obvious point. You have written two mysteries, and one lucky reader will win their choice. So they'll know which one they want, can you give us a description of both books?



a crime scene is shown on the cover. JS:  Set in the fictional Nova Scotian fishing community, Hum Harbour, part-time jewelry crafter part-time medical receptionist Gailynn MacDonald is a small town girl who hates change. But changes abound as murder and romance turn Gailynn’s world upside down. In Murder in Hum Harbour, Gai’s employer is murdered the eve of his retirement. In Death of a Highland Heavyweight, the local hero and international highlands heavyweight champ (think big men in kilts throwing telephone poles) dies suddenly and suspiciously. In both cases Gai is first to find the body but her involvement never ends there. Gai is quirky, impulsive and perhaps a bit too inquisitive for her own good—which makes for calamities, misunderstandings, and lots of fun.


JR: I've had the honor of reading the first book. Would you describe your writing more as a mystery with some romance, or a romance with a mystery?


JS: Mystery with a touch of romance. In both books the main plot and character development revolve around solving the murder. The romance is a subplot, or byproduct of that activity.


JR:  This story is written in the first person. I thought of rewriting my first mystery in that perspective, but I have various things like a different character being in a high speed car chase and a third character sitting in a friend's kitchen with said friend pointing a gun at her, neither of which would work in the first person. What were the benefits and liabilities for you using this technique?


JS:  Writing in first person definitely has its limitations since all information must be filtered through my main character, Gailynn. It means some plot possibilities simply don’t work. However, I love the misdirection an unreliable narrator like Gailynn lends a cozy mystery. And I enjoy the challenge of planting clues only she can understand—or misunderstand. For me, that’s a big part of the fun.


JR:  What mystery writers do you consider inspirations for your writing? Any authors of other genres do you enjoy reading as well?


JS:  Interestingly, my favorite authors write historical fiction. Elizabeth Peters in her Amelia Peabody Series has created what I consider the ultimate unreliable narrator. Daine Gabaldon’s Outlander Series, and Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles are also favorites. For mysteries, right now I’m gobbling up anything by Louise Penny (Inspector Gamache) and Donna Leon (Commissario Guido Brunetti)


The common denominator is these authors have created engaging characters and a very strong sense of place, which I’ve striven to achieve in my mysteries as well.


JR:  One important question in Christian writing is the faith element, and especially the balance from being too preachy and coming across so saccharin that it is only a toned down story that won't offend anybody. How do you accomplish that?


JS: My first goal is to create an entertaining mystery that does not compromise my personal values. (I won’t write anything that I’d be embarrassed to read out loud, in public.) I strive to keep any Christian content organic to the story—it must flow authentically from the characters. I want to show readers (both Christian and non-Christian) that a relationship with Jesus is no guarantee of a trouble-free life. Instead, He is the strength that sustains believers through times of trouble. I want to show growing faith. And although each book ends with the mystery solved, I don’t tie every issue up in a lovely bow because life just isn’t like that.

JR:  Thank you for your time, and may you have a blessed and Merry Christmas. (I usually try to have a Joseph Christmas instead of a Merry one.)


JS: Thank you, Jeff. It’s been a delight. May you enjoy a blessed holiday season as well.

You can learn more by going to Jayne Self's Webpage and check out her blog, Where Faith and Mystery Converge.




Now for the giveaway. There are four parts to be entered in this giveaway. Ready? Here they are:
  1. Leave a comment. Otherwise, it would be hard to know you've been here!
  2. Sign up to follow this blog and receive posts via e-mail. (And Heidi, Deb, and Jackie, you all are elgible.)
  3. Pass along your e-mail address. That would come in handy to notify the winner.
  4. Let us know if you would prefer Murder in Hum Harbour or Death of a Highland Heavyweight and why. I know, I'm being a scrooge, but you need to make a decision and choose one!


I'll pick a winner on Christmas Day and will notify you of who the winner is.


 *The authors of this blog are Amazon.com affiliates. Sometimes, we will include links in our blog posts. When visitors to this site purchase items from Amazon.com using links in our posts, the authors of this blog earn a percentage of the sales.

18 comments:

  1. Thanks Jeff! I look forward to sharing a book with one of your lucky blog-readers.

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  2. Interesting covers on your books. Haven't read too many cozy mysteries but willing to give them a try. Wes campruston@gmail.com

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    1. Wesley,

      Thanks for your comments. One comment, though -- you didn't mention which book you'd prefer.

      Thanks.

      Jeff

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  3. Thank you Ms. Self and Jeff for this great interview. My favorite question was the one regarding the tie in of Christianity in writing. I find that a hard balance sometimes and I love how Ms. Self says, "it must be organic to the story." That is something I will keep posted on my computer as I write. I've also written down some of the authors mentioned and I look forward to some exciting holiday reading. If I had to choose, and it would be hard since they both look so good, it would have to be Death of a Highland Heavyweight.

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    Replies
    1. Natalie,

      Thanks for your comment. But you forgot your e-mail.

      Thanks.

      Jeff

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  4. I think Ms. Self has nailed the problem with first-person narration. I've thought about it myself many times. But the limitations have always scared me away. I don't know how Robert Parker managed it so well. If I win the contest, I'll select Death of a Highland Heavyweight.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment, but you forgot to include your e-mail.

      Thanks.

      Jeff

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    2. Your site already has my e-mail. In fact, I received this comment via e-mail.

      Delete
    3. You're correct that the site has it, and the site sent you the e-mail. Unfortunately, I'm just a contributor to the site, and just because the site has it doesn't mean I can access it to notify you if you won. In fact, I looked and unless I'm missing something, I don't have the means to find it. I can understand if you don't want to post it, but as I said that's how I'd be able to notify you.

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  5. Jeff and Jane, Nice post. I am not a mystery reader, but when combined with romance, I think differently. The best to the both of you.

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  6. I have not read your books before but I would love to . I love mysteries and romance. Loved the review of the book and the question answers. I would love to see some seaglass jewelry also. Never have seen it before. The book really sounds great. Thanks for the chance to win it Jeff and Jane! Blessings
    joeym11@frontier.com

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    1. forgot to put which book! Murder in Hum Harbor! Please if I win!!! :)

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  7. I have tried to write in the first person but it bugs me when I can't have the audience/reader watch a part that takes place outside of the presence of the main character.
    I love to win Murder in Hum Harbor. The character's making jewelry out of seaglass sounds intriguing to me. Tracycrf89@gmail.com. (I am already following this site by e-mail. So, I can't do that part.)

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  8. I am always looking for new authors to read. Your books sound really interesting so i have added them to my TBR list. I would like to read death of a highland heavyweight
    JWISLEY(AT)AOL(DOT)COM

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  9. Interesting interview, especially the thoughts on incorporating faith and on unreliable narrators. Jayne, I've been following the Louise Penny books too because of her characters and sense of place. Inspector Gamache is someone I hold in high respect.

    Please don't enter me in the draw because I've already read both books -- and enjoyed them! As a Nova Scotian, I'm pleased to see the setting brought to life so well.

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  10. These look great! I love mysteries! I would like Murder in Hum Harbour, but they both sound good. shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  11. Merry Christmas.

    Thanks to all who have entered. Veronica Sternberg's last minute entry was the winner. I did originally draw another name and posted them as winner (the above deleted comment), BUT their e-mail didn't work, sending my message back twice, so I did a second try.

    One comment. A couple of entries were disqualified for not following the rules listed, specifically #3 (e-mail), and I tried notifying one person they won and their e-mail did not go through on two attempts. True, you may get e-mail notifications sent by web-site when you get new posts. But me and the other contributors who host these giveaways DO NOT have access to the e-mails. The reason we ask is so we can notify you personally. And yes, you can write your address with spaces and spelling out "at" and "dot". So when we ask for your e-mail, we have a good reason.

    Hope I didn't do bad for my first giveaway.

    ReplyDelete