The Savant of Chelsea author Suzanne Jenkins interviews author Peggy Edelheit about her sleuth Samantha Jamison mystery novels.
Suzanne is a terrific Author of several books: The Greeks of Beaubien Street, Pam of Babylon Trilogy, The Greeks of Beaubien Street, Someone Like You, The Tao Pam. Her website is: http://suzannejenkins.net Please check her out.
Author: Peggy A. Edelheit
I have always loved the written word and have been making up and writing stories since I first learned to write, which my parents wholeheartedly encouraged while I was growing up. Although I read and appreciated every genre, mysteries were my preference of choice. I always read late into the night. I had to know how that mystery turned out! Constructing and deconstructing the mystery always intrigued me. Later as an adult, after ignoring certain voices in my head that began intruding on my daily life, I finally let those voices have their say. Sam sort of jumped out to the forefront. (I’m afraid there might be a lot of me in there too…chuckle)
I’ve been extremely lucky to travel abroad with my family over the years and have drawn from those travels and experiences for my writing. We had a home in the south of France, which was the perfect backdrop for 86 Avenue du Goulet, Book 3 in my Samantha Jamison Mystery Series. That home was also the location for my French Memoir, The Riviera Is Burning. It’s my true story about how we fled the French Riviera wildfires one summer when they raged out of control. I can still see those flames. It was a frightening experience I wanted to share with my readers.
I have been blessed with three wonderful sons and live with my husband and Miniature Schnauzer, Sam. I spend time in both Bucks County, PA and South Florida.
The Samantha Jamison Mystery Series, Volumes 1-10, is a Mystery/Thriller series about an author, Samantha Jamison, aka Sam, who writes about how she gets caught up in unexpected mysteries, a kind of story within a story with a touch of humor. They are all written in the first person, so the reader has the same disadvantage as Sam, who occasionally turns around and talks to them and will sometimes ask the reader what they think is going on so they get involved in solving it with her. She confides in them. Maintaining my reader’s interest is important. If you lose your reader they will move onto another book and may not come back. With that in mind I try to keep my mysteries fast-paced page-turners with unusual twists and turns, and of course, my signature surprise endings.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Peggy-A.-Edelheit/e/B004RB75NS/
Samantha made her debut as my protagonist in Book 1, The Puzzle, which takes place in Highlands, North Carolina. As a widow, Samantha Jamison, an author, revisits her husband’s past to solve the mystery surrounding his questionable death. She is a reluctant sleuth having always lived in the shadow of her husband. The reader is shown how Samantha grows and changes both as a woman and author while doggedly pursuing the truth no matter the consequences. Originally, The Puzzle was meant to be a standalone book, but by the end of the book, I realized I wasn’t finished telling Sam’s story. It would continue in a series. Sam decides she enjoys and is fairly good at solving mysteries. Because I once owned a log home in Highlands, it was a great location to write that first mystery with those beautiful but mysterious mountains as a backdrop. I used to sit out on our back porch daydreaming what a great isolated place for a writer to get caught up in her own mystery. Events in that book did happen to me, including that frightening ice storm.
I try to write everyday. There may be times when nothing is developing the way I like it, but I keep typing anyway, trying not to lose momentum. I’ve even deleted whole sections of a chapter if it doesn’t feel right to me. I don’t outline. Like I’ve said many times before, I like to compare it to throwing food against the wall to see what sticks. Some days nothing sticks, but I keep typing. I swap dialogue between characters too. The important thing is don’t stop. When a character suddenly dominates the conversation or the crew does, and they often do, I can’t type fast enough, wishing sometimes they would slow down so I can get exactly what they are saying, yelling stop!
My personal workspace is everything. In other words, I surround myself with what I love: family photos and events, memorabilia that elicits a smile or laugh whenever it catches my eye. I’m a firm believer in surrounding yourself with a comfort zone environment. I find it’s a great atmosphere for writing. It is my space and no one else’s. I have a mug sitting on the shelf behind me. It says: Careful, you may end up in my novel. (They do!)
I can honestly say that no particular author has influenced me more than another. I love a well-written story that grabs me the minute I start to read it regardless of the genre. But somehow, I always seem to drift back to mysteries and how complex they are. I love trying to figure them out. Samantha is always repeating to her “crew” in the series to always expect the unexpected.
With The Puzzle I tried to convey how Samantha felt: her scattered, rambling thought process connected to her fear, anxieties and hopelessness in the loss of her husband, her marriage, and her life, which she discovers was all a façade from what she thought she actually had, hence her rambling on the pages and her anxious, incoherent thoughts, constant questions and second-guessing herself. As the mystery progresses Sam evolves, gaining confidence and becomes a stronger personality. Much to her surprise, she becomes obsessed just like her husband was as she searches for the truth to The Puzzle.
Digital books seem to be outpacing physical books in sales everywhere. 99.9% of my sales are digital. All I see when I travel are digital readers. I find it much easier to travel with one device rather than several books, which are cumbersome. I love my large Kindle fire HD. As a lover of words, I quickly became a convert once I got my hands on one. As an author, forgive the pun: I saw the writing on the wall. After Book 4 in my Samantha Jamison mystery series, I used digital format only. So far I am pleased with my decision.
New authors constantly ask me about any advice. First and foremost, don’t give up. It you have your heart set on writing then do it, even if you have to write early in the morning, late in the evening or during your lunch hour. Follow your dreams. Anything is possible. Sacrifice is a part of success. Don’t let other’s discourage you. Keep trying. Keep writing until you get it right. Read other authors to see what they are doing right. Proofread like crazy until it reads smoothly then use a professional EDITOR! A good editor will tell you what you should hear not what you want to hear. Once you get the book back from them make corrections, reread several times to make it flow. A beta reader helps or several. You might not like some of their feedback, but they are worth it. Then send it off to be published. Have your covers express exactly what you want to convey to the reader. You might have a great cover, but you better have a great story too.
Remember: Chase your dreams, not someone else’s!
My Samantha Jamison Mystery Series 1-10