Mystery writers often lead mysterious lives. Which is one of the reasons I'm so pleased to have the author of
MURDER IN HUM HARBOR
(see Lilly's Book Club page for my review)
Jayne E. Self
as my guest today. Welcome, Jayne! You live in a very unusual place for a mystery novelist. Do you find being around so many people stimulates your creativity, or do you have to withdraw into your "creative world" to find those inspirations?
I suppose living in a manse does seem like an odd place to contemplate murders. And yes, my experiences do color my writing, absolutely. Snippets of people, experiences, scenery, and funny situations pop up all through my work. Hum Harbour, the setting for my Seaglass Mysteries, is based on two communities near where we’ve summered for over twenty years. It's a whole different life out there. In fact, if you wanted to bump into my other life, you might catch a glimpse of me on Nova Scotia’s north shore.
I love Nova Scotia, too (it's so good for sailing), so I just might do that someday. Where you do most of your writing? An amazing amount of atmosphere shows up in your book, and I was wondering if there are any specific things you have around which promote that.
I need to see outside when I write. My home office is in a corner of the house where I have windows facing two directions. One faces the street and the Legion with its WW II cannon pointed right at me. The other faces the church and my garden. When I write at the cottage, I’m in the screened porch. Although I know it makes absolutely no sense, I don’t think I could write without a view.
Oh, but it does. Perfectly. In a way, it's a picture of life, isn't it. A cannon pointed at you on one end, a church on the other, and in the middle, an occasional safe haven by the sea. My goodness! Almost a revelation, there. I could see some underlying currents like that in your book, too. Do you find yourself purposely writing about any particular theme, or does that sort of thing just come to you as the story unfolds?
I do not begin with the intention of inserting themes, but my writing does reflect my world view. I am a committed Christian. I believe in the value of each person, whether their faith or lifestyle is compatible with mine, or not. I believe God calls me to share His love through respect and empathy, not judgment and criticism. I hope my writing encourages those who think otherwise, to see the difference. Apart from that, I have noticed the recurring theme of belonging, crops up in my work. I’d lived at twenty-one different addresses by the time I turned forty so, perhaps it’s not surprising.
Well, Gailynn MacDonald definitely belonged in Hum Harbor. I couldn't picture her anywhere else, in fact. She seemed as natural as one of the local plants, and just as much at home there. By the way, do you think up characters to fit into your plots, or do you think up plots to fit your characters?
Oh, but we've run out of time, already, especially if we want to leave a bit to read the review. Will you come back tomorrow? We haven't even got to the most "unexpected" part, yet.
A "to be continued" sort of thing?
I suppose so, yes.
I'd be happy to.
Wonderful. Tomorrow for part two of "The Unexpected Jayne Self," then. I should think we have time for a cup of tea, though... one lump, or two?