Friday, November 1, 2013

A Smashwords Inverview with Nancy Jill Thames


Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. An explanation was needed to justify taking our pet rat, Sandy, to the pound due to my husband's allergies. Since the children were young I believed a story would help them understand. I wrote a fairy tale and used our names spelled backward to disquise the real characters in our sad situation.

What is your writing process?
Since I write murder mysteries I use a loose-leaf binder to jot down answers the story must address such as who gets murdered, why they were murdered, who the murderer was, and how the victim was killed. Then I create the cast of characters and write a backstory on each.
I create a random list of elements I want to include and a list of events, then I divide the elements into groups of ideas that seem to fall together. Once I have about a hundred elements, I create twenty chapters and give them titles best suited to the five elements I place in each.
How do you approach cover design?
Since I write a series I selected a format that would be recognizable for each volume. In my case the title goes first followed by a suitable photo or image. Beneath the photo is the sub-title of A Jillian Bradley Mystery. I place the book number beneath it, then my name on the bottom. I choose colors to go with the theme.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I've read many books in my life but the ones I love and re-read are "Snow Falling on Cedars" (I love the imagery), and all the Agatha Christie mysteries (I love trying to solve the who-dunits).
What do you read for pleasure?
Best sellers if the subject matter has a redeeming quality like "The Girl With the Dragoon Tattoo" and "The Hunger Games" trilogies. I love the Harry Potter series.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
IPhone and iPad.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Offering the first book "Murder in Half Moon Bay" free on all platforms gives readers a sample of my writing. If they like the first story, they usually purchase the rest of the series.
Describe your desk.
Neat and orderly.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up mostly in the bay area of California. Most of the stories I write take place there except for the ones where my protagonist is traveling.
When did you first start writing?
I really never wrote a story until the pet rat incident. Once I did, I progressed to writing down stories my grandmother handed down. In 2001, I embarked on writing a murder mystery to see if I could.
What's the story behind your latest book?
In 1983 my husband and I took a trip to Great Britian and France. I kept a diary and wanted to capture the memories so I wrote "The Ruby of Siam" which takes place in London.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Indie sounded like the least path of resistance.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
If it hadn't been for Smashwords I wouldn't have been able to sell my book for free on all platforms. I never realized the vast reach it has with so many channels until I started getting the quarterly sales profits.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I can create a world where I'd like to live and hope that others will join me as they read my stories.
What do your fans mean to you?
What are you working on next?
Book 8 in the Jillian Bradley mystery series "The Long Trip Home." I'm also creating a short story mystery series called "Lawrence." I have nine titles in the works.
Who are your favorite authors?
Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, C.L. Ragsdale and D.A. Featherling.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My fans waiting for the next book.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I enjoy watching mysteries, traveling with my husband on business trips, visiting my grandchildren and family in California and playing the piano.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Apple iTunes is a great resource. I can read a sample of a book and know immediately whether I want to download it or not. The site is very convenient to use.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Aside from mandantory reading in school, I remember reading "Leave Her to Heaven" when I was a young teen. I loved the way the story evolved, shrouded in mystery, and the setting of the lakehouse. I wanted to live in a place like that for a long time. 

Published 2013-10-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader. 

If you like to read about lovely places and fabulous cuisine, enjoy the Jillian Bradley mystery series.

on your e-reader is free! 
All books are G-rated and contain no profanity.

  See you in my books!

 ~Nancy Jill 
Mystery novelist Nancy Jill Thames has published Christian fiction since 2010. The author of seven books in the Jillian Bradley series, she is an award winning blogger and listed numerous times on the Author Watch Bestseller’s List. In addition, she won first place in her church's 4th of July celebration for her chocolate cream pie.

When she isn’t plotting her next book, she spends time with her six grandchildren, tags along with her husband on business trips, and plays classical piano for her personal enjoyment. She is an active member of the Leander Writers' Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW),  CenTex Chapter-ACFW, and supports the Central Texas SPCA with a portion of her book sales. She resides with her husband in Leander, Texas.

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