I did a little research before this interview and found out some fascinating things about J.A Jance. Did you know that the first book she wrote was a true crime novel? Did you know it was 1200 pages long? (No it didn't get published.) Did you know that she doesn't plot all of those amazing twists and turns in her novels but lets the story devolop as she goes along? If you want to learn more read on.
MP: What's a typical workday for you?
JAJ: I get up, have coffee, answer e-mail, read the papers. Go to work. I work longer hours the closer I get to a deadline. I also work longer hours when I'm editing and need to keep the strings of the story straight in my head. Starting a book is always harder than finishing one.
MP: How long does it take to write a first draft?
JAJ: Three to six months.
MP: How many revisions do you normally do?
JAJ: I revise some every day, going back over the most recent material rather than going back to the beginning. Otherwise, I would end up with a very polished beginning and the book would NEVER be finished.
MP: Has your process changed since you became a full time author? If so how?
JAJ: I used to have to write before I got my kids up and ready to go to school and before I got me ready to go sell life insurance. Now the kids are raised and I don't have a day job. Writing is my day job. I usually start with a crime and write until I figure out who did it and how come.
MP: Do you talk about your books when you're in the process of writing them? If so who is the lucky person?
JAJ: My husband reads as I write and helps talk me off the cliff when I run into trouble.
MP: How do you feel about critique groups/first readers?
JAJ: I've never belonged to one primarily because, when I was starting writing I had small children and a full time job. In other words, I could belong to a critique group or I could write. I chose to write. Having a critique group of other unpublished writers may be a good social outlet, but it seems a lot like the blind leading the blind. But again, that's probably unfair since I was never part of one. Actually, I attended one once. Someone complained about a continuity problem in my second book and told me that never would have happened if I had had the manuscript read by a critique group. But, of course, by then I was working on my FOURTH book. My critic, by the way, died without his first novel ever seeing the light of day.
MP: What are your three favorite writer's reference books?
JAJ: I don't have three favorites. I don't have one favorite.
MP: What advice would you give to new writers?
JAJ: When I bought my first computer, the guy who installed my word processing program fixed it so that, when I booted up, these are the words that flashed across the screen: A writer is someone who has written TODAY. Those were words I clung to back when I was an unpublished author and those are words I cling to today. Writers write regardless of whether or not they are being published.
Her latest Ali Reynolds novel, Cruel Intent will be in stores December 2008.