"Jance's first experience with audiobooks was in the 80s, when she recorded three Beaumont books for Washington State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped."
Talking with J.A. Jance
J.A. Jance's firm and resonant voice, combined with her thoughtful way of considering each question before answering, makes interviewing her a pleasure. Along with her many dedicated fans, she is glad to welcome back world-weary J.P. (Jonas Piedmont) Beaumont, a little older, a bit grayer, but still passionately devoted to finding justice--including solving a fifty-year-old murder case. This author, who divides her time between homes in Seattle and Tucson, obviously cares deeply about her fictional characters, as well as her many audio fans. "I think I was born with a storyteller's bone! And I'm not at all sure that it's something that can be taught in creative writing classes--in fact, those classes may actually detract from natural storytelling.
"I'm utterly thrilled when there's a snowstorm on the East Coast," she continues, "because I get many fan letters from long-haul truck drivers written on motel stationery telling me how much having audiobooks means to them during their long, lonely drives and while riding out storms off the road."
Asked if she ever experiences writer's block, Jance answers, "I've had it on occasion and found that the only cure for it--that I know of--is to sit back down and write!"
A query about those who "just read for the story" earns her quick retort. "Is there any better reason for writing one?" She also observes, "I'm always writing, always thinking, always soaking up stuff. I think I must be 90% sponge. My first three books were written between 4 and 7 A.M., when, as a single mother, I had to get my kids up for school and get myself dressed to go sell life insurance. I don't have to keep quite those same hours now, but my best writing time continues to be mornings."
Known not only for her Beaumont series but also for her Joanna Brady and Walker family thrillers, Jance is especially pleased with the release of AFTER THE FIRE, an audio chapbook of her poetry, first published in 1984 and now available on CD from BBC Audiobooks America in a stunning package. Her reading of these poems is a deeply compelling listening experience as each poem is introduced with a story of "where I was in my personal journey when it was written." (Her first experience with audiobooks was in the 1980s, when she recorded the first three Beaumont books for Washington State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped in Seattle.)
Feeling fortunate to have grown up listening to many dramatic series and plays on radio, Jance acknowledges her great good luck in having parents who read to her--especially her father, who shared poetry aloud from THE TREASURES OF THE FAMILIAR. She observes sadly, "There are so many people in the world who, not having had that advantage, are terrified of poetry."
Luckily, Jance's many fans can share her delight in the written word--very well spoken indeed.--Louise Collins