Monday, May 30, 2011

Guest - Jacqueline Seewald

Good morning to all and Happy Memorial Day to all our USA readers. If you need Memorial Day recipes (or just cool stuffed burger and brownie recipes) or ways to honor our heroes, please check my blog at www.lyndakscott.com But for now, I'd like to introduce today's guest, author Jacqueline Seewald.

Multi-award winning author Jacqueline Seewald has taught creative, expository and technical writing at the university level as well as high school English. She also worked as an academic librarian and an educational media specialist. Eleven of her books of fiction have been published. Her short stories as well as poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in hundreds of diverse publications and numerous anthologies. Her paranormal romantic mystery novels, THE INFERNO COLLECTION and THE DROWNING POOL, have been widely acclaimed. The third romantic mystery in the Kim Reynolds series, THE TRUTH SLEUTH, has just been published May 2011. Her recent historical romance novel TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS is available in both hardcover and large print editions. A young adult romance novel, STACY’S SONG, was also published to excellent reviews.


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The Paranormal and Mystery Fiction  

By Jacqueline Seewald

I’ve noticed some reviewers look down their noses at mystery fiction that has a paranormal element. The criticism I’ve read is that the author is not playing fair with mystery readers if elements of the paranormal are included. Well, to them I would say that hasn’t hurt Charlaine Harris or Jacqueline Winspear develop a readership one bit.

The July/August 2010 issue of Writer’s Digest published an insightful interview with Charlaine Harris. I recommend reading it. Ms. Harris talks about how she reached her stellar position at the top of the bestseller list.

She started out by taking a creative writing course after finishing college—something other successful writers like Sara Paretsky have done. Ms. Harris’s several mystery novel series were successful and reached mid-list status. But pushing fifty, Ms. Harris wasn’t satisfied with this. She wanted to write a book that was unique, the kind of book that only she could write. So she tossed aside the usual rules of mystery writing and simply wrote what she really wanted to create. And this is the secret to her superstar success. Charlaine Harris wasn’t afraid to be different in style and subject and actually have fun with her writing. She enjoys her work and it shows.

Jacqueline Winspear’s historic mysteries feature Maisy Dobbs, a heroine who has certain psychic abilities and intuitions. I think this gives more depth and dimension to the main character and makes the novels more interesting.

When I started my Kim Reynolds’ series with THE INFERNO COLLECTION, I wanted to create a mystery thriller that had strong elements of romance and the paranormal as well. Each novel involves Kim in a new mystery. She uses her psychic abilities, but only reluctantly. Kim is unsure of herself. She wants to fit in and be “normal”. Instead, she is unique and cannot lead the life of a quiet librarian. In THE INFERNO COLLECTION, THE DROWNING POOL, and the newly released THE TRUTH SLEUTH, Kim uses her abilities to help solve murders. Mike Gardner, a homicide cop who also has psychic ability, comes to love Kim and wants to marry her. But circumstances come between them.

Here’s a bit from the beginning of THE TRUTH SLEUTH:

What had started out as a pleasant afternoon began shifting to something quite different. Kim was developing an uncomfortable feeling of wrongness; a kind of prickling sensation slithered down her spine. She recognized the feeling for what it was but shook her head, trying to dispel the spasm of dread that suddenly gripped her. God, not this again! Would she ever be free of it?
Then Kim gasped, seized by a stab of pain. In her mind, she heard a silent scream, an astonished cry for help. She felt another’s panic and terror. She began to shiver and tremble.
“What’s the matter?” Bert asked, her dark brows rising then knitting together in concern.
“Someone’s been hurt.” Those were the only words she managed to choke out.
“Who? Where?” April asked, glancing around in confusion.
“Maybe we better have a look,” Bert said. Her height of six feet gave her an advantage over both Kim, who was five foot six inches, and April who was barely five foot two inches tall.
The crowd was starting to thin out, many bikers revving up their engines in anticipation of leaving now that today’s entertainment was over. Kim led, Bert and April following behind her. Although she was not really certain where she was going, Kim plowed blindly through the garbage-strewn grounds. And then she saw him: a very young man sitting in an aluminum beach chair, head slumped forward as if he were in a deep sleep.
“He’s dead,” Kim heard herself say with certainty. Her voice sounded hollow, expressionless and faraway, as if it belonged to someone else.
“Oh, God, are you sure?” April asked, tossing her gold-tinted curls as if to deny Kim’s statement.
“Kim’s got this gift of knowing stuff like that,” Bert said.
More like a curse, in Kim’s opinion.
Bert knelt down, at first not touching the body. “I don’t think he’s breathing.” Bert’s voice had taken on a note of professional authority. She looked and sounded like the seasoned policewoman she was. Bert felt for a pulse, then shook her head. “Don’t touch anything. I’m calling this in.” There was a grim expression on Bert’s cafĂ© au lait features. She pulled a small cell phone out from the pocket of her black leather jacket.
Before Bert could make the call, Kim turned and faced her.
“There’s something I think you should know.”
“I’m listening.” Bert stood very still like a figure in a portrait.
Kim let out a ragged breath. “I think that boy was murdered.”

THE TRUTH SLEUTH can be checked out on Amazon, B&N Online, and Borders to name a few places. You can also put in a request for the book at your local library. 


My novels, such as TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS,  a sensual paranormal historical novel, are in libraries throughout the English speaking world.





















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-- Lynda Again


What an interesting take on mystery and paranormal! And Jacqueline's books sound intriguing, don't they? I hope you all have enjoyed this as much as I have. Have a Blessed Day!

25 comments:

Pauline B Jones said...

I had a chance to hear Charliane Harris talk about her writing leap into paranormal some years back at a conference. It was a confirmation to me to write what I love and to love what I write. A most interesting blog post, Jacqueline! Best of luck with the new release!

Victoria said...

I agree, your books sound very interesting. Shiloh Walker writes books with a bit of paranormal and mystery too and I love them. Will have to check you out. Thanks for the post.
vsloboda(at)gmail(dot)com

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Pauline,

I haven't heard Charlaine Harris speak but I would certainly like to do so. Her take on paranormal mystery is definitely valuable to other authors.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Victoria,

My novels aren't strongly paranormal. No werewolves or vampires. Kim Reynolds is a reluctant sleuth as well as a reluctant psychic. She has a sensitivity, an awareness that gives her visions that as a matter of conscience she can't ignore.
Each novel has strong elements of romance and mystery as well as the paranormal.

Joyce DeBacco said...

I love the advice to write what pleases you instead of trying to please some unknown reader. Interesting take. I enjoyed the snippe also.

Joyce

Ellis Vidler said...

I really don't see why paranormal elements are unfair or cheating unless those elements solve the mystery by magic and the characters don't do anything. To me, that's the key--having the characters do the work to reach the conclusion. Your book sounds interesting.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

I enjoyed the blog post, Jacqueline! Love the excerpt, too. Drew me right in to want to know more.

I love tales with a hint of the paranormal. I see nothing wrong with the character having certain abilities. It just adds to their personality and how they deal with those abilities in their daily life.

Romance, mystery and the paranormal--I'm already hooked.
Best of luck with the new release!

Marilyn Levinson said...

Jacqueline,
Your books sound intriguing. Having published a children's novel about a boy who discovers he's a witch (I wrote it before Harry Potter made a splash felt round the world) and having written a soon-to-be published mystery with a ghost character, I must admit I enjoy paranormal elements in novels as long as their "rules of abilities and limitations" are respected. I've always been of the opinion that we've been "trained" to accept paranormal elements in movies more so than in books.

Nancy Lynn Jarvis said...

If you watch The Mentalist on TV, you've heard various characters ask him if he's a psychic when he solves mysteries. He insists he's not. He uses careful observation to gather clues and he reads people.
I agree with Ellis. Solving mysteries can bring the protagonist close to having paranormal abilities.

Nancy Lynn Jarvis
author of the Regan McHenry Real Estate series.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Joyce, Ellis, Karen, Marilyn and Nancy,

I appreciate your comments and the intelligent thoughts you add to this discussion. Thank you each for dropping by!

Anonymous said...

The comments were interesting as the blog and the excerpt was great too, really would make the book hard to put down on the jacket! I too, think a good cozy mystery should have all the elements of life in it including love, humor, and of course - face it - some people who are gifted.
Jackie Griffey, author of the Maryvale series (and yes they have a touch of the paranormal too :-)

J D Webb said...

I love what you said about writing what you're interested in. Shucks I feel sorry for those who aren't. The joy of writing is touching with passion a story, an interest or a character. I want writing to be fun for me and the reader.
Great post, Jacqueline.
Dave

Joe Prentis said...

There are too many authors who have too little to say. If a book has something interesting that adds a little spark to the story, then I say go with it. Enjoyed reading the post and the discription of your work.

Alice Duncan said...

Loved what you had to say, Jacquie. You do a smashing job weaving mystery, romance and the paranormal into your books!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Jackie, Dave, Joe and Alice,

Thank you all for the wonderful comments. You are fine writers and I appreciate the good thoughts!

jenny milchman said...

It's funny you talk about anyone looking down their noses, because I think of mystery with a paranormal element as red hot right now. It has a cache, maybe because to many readers want it. I'm glad there are the wonderful authors you name, plus of course yourself, inventing and reinventing this genre.

Linda Andrews said...

I love mysteries and as long as the characters work the clues to solve the mystery and take the reader along for the ride, I'd hardly think that was cheating. Instead I think it adds a little extra something. I loved the excerpt and will definitely be looking for your books to add to my summer reading pile.

Sharon Ervin said...

Great Blog and only adds to my already-positive opinion of Jackie. I'm one of those skeptics who is suspicious of super natural powers with my mystery. Thank you for helping me get a handle on it.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Jenny,

I like the fact that readers are accepting out-of-the-box mysteries and romances that cross genres.
The old idea that genre fiction had to adhere to strict formula guidelines forced many authors to limit themselves and the quality of their fiction. It's been a long time coming but the blossoming interest in all things paranormal has helped to launch this not to mention the e-book revolution.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Sharon,

Your view is the traditional one. Nothing wrong with that! But interest in the paranormal has opened new vistas even in mystery writing.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Linda,

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you do read the three mysteries in this series and let me know what you think. I love to get feedback from readers as well as editors. I am just now starting the 4th novel in this series and so am paying close attention to what readers think.

Betty Gordon said...

Jacqueline, an informative post. I've always believe that you should write what you love and if some of the old rules are broken, welllll, so be it! Someone said...rules are made to be broken.

June Shaw said...

How interesting. Writing what you love is the best. And your book sounds terrific.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Betty, I agree. The new rules are that there aren't so many rules and regulations for writers, that they can free their creativity.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

June,

Thanks so much for the kind comment! I am getting wonderful statements from many talented writers like yourself and much appreciate it.