You write mysteries. Does your inspiration begin with the crime, the detective, the setting, or some other place?
I enjoy thinking about financial transactions and how someone would try to pervert the system. With short stories, I usually start with the general characteristics of the crime. Then I create the characters and setting to make the story work.
How did you come up with the idea for your story in History and Mystery, Oh My?
I have a deep interest in the American Civil War, including the build up to it. Because I write mostly contemporary mystery novels, I didn’t have a lot of time to do research. However, I have a rich family history that ties to antebellum Dansville, NY. That allowed me to combine historical characters I knew well based on family records and a time period that I knew from my general interest.
The major issue of the time was slavery. I had recently taken a trip in upstate New York that included John Brown’s farm in the Adirondacks. His raid on Harper’s Ferry divided the nation in a way that only war would repair, so I decided to build a story seemingly triggered by that event. From there, the pieces fell into place and I decided to incorporate a puzzle-type mystery that readers could solve (or not).
Did you encounter any obstacles in researching the setting?
Because I don’t live near that area, I had to do my research by phone and email. In the time I had available, I couldn’t find anyone at the local historical societies who could tell me the structure of law enforcement in Dansville, NY in the late 1850s. So, I made up a sheriff.
What are you working on now?
My alter ego (James M. Jackson) has a novel, Ant Farm, that is up for nomination in the Kindle Scout program. I’d love your vote. Here’s the link: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3IATL9SA04ZS2 It is a prequel to my Seamus McCree mystery series. I am also working on the next in that series, titled Doubtful Relations.
Okay, so you're an author. What do you enjoy reading?
I love medium-boiled, suspenseful mysteries, which is why I enjoy writing them.
Mystery and Horror, LLC, is an indie press interested in what the name suggests.
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