Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Lady Behind The Reluctant Smuggler

JILL ELIZABETH NELSON joins us via email today to give us some insight into her latest novel The Reluctant Smuggler. This is the third book in the To Catch a Thief series, and you don't want to miss the excitement!

Please welcome Jill Nelson!

1. Your site indicates you've been writing since an early age. Have mysteries always been a favorite genre? What other types of books do you enjoy?

Yes, I’ve been writing since the 6th grade when I finished my first novel. Well, a novella really. Even though the book was awful, I later realized writing “The End” on a story was a huge accomplishment. Too many manuscripts lie moldering in desk drawers or on hard drives. That first book was indeed a mystery—always one of my favorite genres. My taste in books, both for reading and writing, is pretty eclectic however. I have some as yet unpublished manuscripts in both women’s fiction and fantasy genres. I very much enjoy anything with a strong plot and characters I can care about.

2. How did you learn so much about the art world? Stolen art? What are some of your most useful research tools as you write your novels?

My research for the To Catch a Thief series was extensive. I have bookshelves groaning with information on art, art theft, the FBI and their art theft program, and museum security. I like to get my sources from a cross-section of books, the World Wide Web, and interviews with people. For Reluctant Smuggler I even had the opportunity to ask questions of a former naval intelligence operative. Research can be a very cool thing, but I can only put a fraction of the information into a book. Authors constantly have to resist the temptation to pad the story with info-dumps that don’t really fit the plot line.

3. What does your family think about your stories? Who is your biggest fan?

My whole family is extremely supportive of my writing career. They have to be to put up with my “absenteeism” during deadline crunch time. Most of the time we work out a balance between my writing demands and family needs. It helps that our four kids are grown. I don’t know if I could name any one of them as my biggest fan. Well, maybe my husband. He has to put up with me the most.

4. What role - positive or negative - does the blogging world play in promoting good Christian fiction?

I think blogs are wonderful tools to get the word out about good books. They provide an opportunity for anyone—readers and writers alike—to sound off about clean, fun fiction with the extra blessing of soul-nourishing spiritual content. Blog tours and book giveaways are all the rage now among authors and book fans. These provide a lot of valuable information for people looking for quality reads.

5. Do you enjoy more speaking engagements or book signings? Which is your favorite? Why?

I love my book signings where I get to meet and chat with so many lovely people, but I often end up reciting much of the same spiel over and over. Speaking engagements give me the opportunity to spend extended time with the same group of people, and the exchange of information can be much more in depth. I’d have to say I enjoy that most.

6. Hobbies besides reading and writing? Please share!

My family loves to camp out. We make good use of our Minnesota state parks. Of course, at our age, “roughing it” for my husband and me is an elderly but well-preserved motor home. We enjoy the woods and lakes just the same. At home, we like to go on walks, weather permitting, or settle in for an evening of popcorn and a movie. My husband and I also have a passion for short-term mission trips. So far, we’ve been to Jamaica, New Orleans during Mardi Gras (way weird experience), and Thailand (wonderful experience).

7. What is your next project?

I’m writing the first of two books for the Steeple Hill romantic suspense line. Number one is called Evidence of Murder. Here’s a little teaser: When a new businesswoman discovers photos of a decade-old multiple homicide, she and the surviving son of the murdered family become the targets of a desperate and powerful killer. This one will be one in February of 2009, with a second book releasing in June of the same year.

8. A word of encouragement or something you can share with your readers about the things God is showing you in your writing journey?

He’s certainly teaching me perseverance in the face of adversity. Writing, writing, writing and submitting, submitting, submitting regardless of rejections is a key ingredient to success in this business.

Wherever I do a speaking engagement, there is one nugget I love to share about my life-long desire to become a published novelist. If God can bring a treasured dream to pass for this middle-aged nobody special from nowhere-in-particular, He can and will do it for anyone.

If you want to win a free copy of this terrific book, please leave a comment on yesterday's post. I will choose a winner on Friday! Thanks for stopping by!


Tami said...

Nice interview. I'm putting a link to it on my blog. I hope that's ok.
Tami from Tree Swing Readng

Hannah said...

i'd love to win a copy of the book! hsmuda[at]gmail[dot]com great interview!

Pamela J said...

I'm looking forward to reading all of Jill's books someday. I already commented on yesterday's comment spot for a chance to win this one, but will put my information here too.
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Jill said...

Thanks oodles for the interview! Great questions!