Jill Shure, author of A Clause for Murder agreed to answer some questions for me. Below are the questions and her answers.
1) My life in a small rural town in Kentucky is obviously very different from your life in California. Were the lives you witnessed others living in California inspiration for A Clause for Murder?
Jill: Most definitely. San Diego plays a major role in how Betsy Ross and her friends live. I loved using local color to flesh out the story. The beach, the freeways, the transient lifestyle, the weather.
2) Courtney Farrow was truly a woman to be despised. Is there a particular person you based her character on? Or did the way she acts come straight from your imagination?
Jill: Courtney Farrow has elements of certain people I have encountered. Her obsession with her looks and her lies about herself are traits I've encountered before in others. But I definitely embellished on her negative traits in order to make her more outrageous.
3) Night Jazz and Night Glitter were more science fiction/romance books. A Clause for Murder is definitely an adult-themed murder mystery. Which genre do you prefer to write?
Jill: I adore them both. I loved delving into history in order to write Night Jazz and Night Glitter. But pushing humor and murder in A Clause for Murder was fun, too.
4) I own every mystery that Agatha Christie ever wrote. Who is your favorite murder/mystery author and how has he/she inspired you?
Jill: Okay, this is a hard one because I love so many types of mysteries. I'm a huge fan of the following authors, but there are many more I haven't listed. I'm crazy about Janet Evanovitch, Michael Connelly, Anne Perry, Susan Isaacs, Gordon Campbell, Laurie King, Fiona Buckley, Lawrence Block, and many more. As you can see, I'm an eclectic reader.
5) When you are writing a book, do the plot and characters consume your every thought? Or are you able to think of them only when you are actually working on the story? Do you find yourself having dreams about things your characters would do?
Jill: Depending on the book and my schedule, I do dream up stuff during moments of relaxation. Otherwise, I write little outlines which I toss when they don't work. And I'm always trying to get my characters to open up and reveal themselves to me.
6) How many hours a day do you spend writing? Do you have a set schedule, or do you write only when ‘inspiration’ hits?
Jill: I try hard to have a schedule and work for two or more hours a day. Yet life always seems to intrude. So I always feel behind in my work.
7) How many manuscripts did you send off for publication before one was accepted? Did the rejections (if there were any) slow down your writing or your determination to be published?
Jill: Rejection is the name of the game in writing. Opinions, too. Because everyone has one. And I am always trying to develop a thicker skin, but I can still worry about negative comments. And rejection.
8) Many writers don’t feel that their writing is ever good enough. Are you satisfied with your own writing?
Jill: I worry a lot after I finish a book. Will readers enjoy it? Will reviewers find it worthwhile? The process is always challenging. I'm always amazed when I've finished a project, because writing is such an uphill battle. I don't know that I'm dissatisfied. More like unsure.
9) How involved is your husband with your writing career? What about other family members?
Jill: My husband is very supportive. And patient. Because I don't always feel good about the combination of promoting and writing. I'm always torn. He is my rock. So I thank heaven that he is there for me.
10) Are you currently working on another book? What genre is it in? When will it be ready for publication?
Jill: I'm working on the sequel to A Clause for Murder. And I would so love to get to the third novel in the Night trilogy. Maybe in 2011.