Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Please Welcome My Guest, Mystery Author, Jean Henry Mead

Today I'm happy to host Jean Henry Mead, a delightful mystery writer and Internet friend.
 
Jean Henry Mead
 Jean Henry Mead is a mystery/suspense and western historical novelist. She's also an award-winning photojournalist. One of her fortes is interviewing writers, actors, politicians, artists and ordinary people who have accomplished extraordinary things. She began her writing career as a California news reporter/editor/photographer,first in Central California and later in San Diego. Mead later transferred to Casper, Wyoming, to serve as a staff writer for the statewide newspaper. While there she served as editor of In Wyoming Magazine and two small presses. She also freelanced for other magazines, both domestic and abroad, among them the Denver Post.. Her first book was published in 1982. She's since published fourteen novels and nonfiction books.
You can reach Jean at http://www.jeanhenrymead.com/


Writing with Humor

by Jean Henry Mead

I’m not a comedian but I’ve found that adding humor to my books increases sales. In fact, I’ve received several reviews stating that the reviewer hoped I would add more humor in my next novel. A Village Shattered takes place in a central California retirement village where Sew and So club members are dying alphabetically. Nothing humorous about that, but I added a couple of quirky characters to the mix: a love starved widow and a rednecked cassanova, which not only makes it a fun read but enjoyable to write.

The second book in my Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series is Dairy of Murder, which takes on a more series tone when Dana Logan and Sarah Cafferty, two widows traveling in their motorhome, learn that Dana’s sister has died and her husband claims it was suicide. Dana knows her sister Georgi, a mystery writer, would never take her own life, so she and her friend Sarah set out to prove it was murder. Along the way they stumble over more bodies and a vicious drug gang. The only humor comes from Sarah’s dialogue and reviewers complained that it wasn’t as funny as A Village Shattered.

My first novel, Escape on the Wind, republished twice and retitled Escape, a Wyoming Historical Novel, was probably my most humorous as well as my best selling novel to date. It features a kidnapped young heiress, Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch, and a little known member of the gang, Tom “Peep O’Day, an alcoholic horse thief who nearly takes over the plot because he was so much fun to write about. Good-natured and bungling, he causes the gang to botch the Belle Fourche bank robbery.

I added humor to my first, recently released children’s novel, Mystery of Spider Mountain, as well as the second, The Ghost of Crimson Dawn, which I’m currently writing. I’ve also added humor to my nonfiction books. Casper Country: Wyoming’s Heartland, was researched by spending two years behind a microfilm machine reading 97-years’ worth of newspapers, dating from 1889. I’ll never do that again, but I found some funny incidents to add to the centennial history book, which was eventually used as a textbook at Casper College.

One of the things I remember was an article about three young boys stealing watermelons from a railroad boxcar. They were housed briefly in the county jail during the early 1900s. When police were asked about the case by a reporter, an officer remarked about how good the watermelons tasted. I doubt the young boys had watermelon for dessert.

In my latest novel, Murder on the Interstate, Dana and Sarah discover the body of a beautiful young woman shot and killed along I-40 in northern Arizona while traveling in their motorhome. The killer returns to make sure his victim is dead and disables their RV. A woman trucker then comes to their rescue and they chase the killer in “Big Ruby” MCurdy’s produce truck to record his license number. Along the way Ruby alerts other truckers to keep an eye out for his dark red Dodge pickup and the resultant conversations are humorous. When the two women find themselves trapped in a Hummer during a flash flood, they’re cracking jokes to prevent hysteria.

To research the book, I drove my own 36-foot motorhome along the same mountainous interstate while listening to truckers on my CB radio, so the language is authentic.

                                      To order Murder on the Interstate, go to http://tinyurl.com/3qvolo5.
                                      To learn more about Jean and her books, you're welcome to visit her at her website at http://www.jeanhenrymead.com/.

Please leave a comment below to welcome Jean to Acme Authors Link.

37 comments:

Cheryl said...

Thanks for hosting Jean today. Murder on the Interstate is a great book. I hope your readers get a chance to check it out.

Here are details on the contest Jean is running during her VBT:

The author's virtual book tour takes place from May 2-May 27. Three copies of Murder on the Interstate will be given away and one of the winners (from a drawing of blog visitors leaving comments) will be a character in her next book. The tour schedule is posted at: http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2011/03/25/murder-on-the-interstate-virtual-book-tour-may-2011/

Thanks again for hosting.

Cheryl
www.pumpupyourbook.com

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thank you, Morgan, for featuring me and my new release on your popular blog site. I hope everyone has humor in their daily iives.

Ginger Simpson said...

I love humor, too, and try to infuse a little in each book. I enjoyed your post, and I'm sure I will be enjoying your books soon.

Heather Haven said...

Hi Jean! As one humorous mystery writer to another, ain't it all such fun? Your book sound wonderful. I've driven along I-4, with only two cats for company. It is one spooky highway. I understand people disappear on it all the time. Am looking forward to buying and reading your novel. Happy sleuthing!

Morgan Mandel said...

Welcome to Acme Authors Link,Jean. Love your book cover and the book topic. I also love humor in mysteries, but it's not easy to do.

Much success!

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
http://facebook.com/morgan.mandel

Bob Sanchez said...

Hi Jean,
As a lover of mystery, humor, and RVs, how can I go wrong with Murder on the Interstate? So I'll buy it.

One concern in my own writing is using humor inappropriately. Some situations just don't call for it--but then characters may need some gallows humor to relieve tension. You have to know when humor is okay and when to back off.

Looking forward to reading your latest!

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thank you, Ginger. Humor is important, not only in the storyline but in our daily lives. I hope you'll be reading my books soon as well. :)

Helen Ginger said...

Murder on the Interstate sounds great. I'm thinking I should get it for my aunt. Years ago, she went with us on a trip from TX to Alabama. We got on the CB radio (yeah, it was that long ago) and called ourselves the Five Wicked Women. Truckers mis-heard our handle and took to calling us the Five Naked Women.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thanks, Heather. I-40 IS one spooky highway, especially west of Flagstaff in the mountains, which I drove many times while living in the area. It certainly inspired the book, along with the humorous dialogue of truckers on my CB radio as I drove my RV along the interstate.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Bob, I agree about inappropriate humor although gallow humor is sometimes appropriate when characters fear for their lives. Thanks you for acquiring a copy of the book, :)

Chris V. said...

I like funny mysteries too, it seems to make the story more real, at least to me. Yours sounds up my alley.

Jean Henry Mead said...

lol, Helen. Truckers talk a lot of trash but their dialogue is often humorous, which I used in Murder on the Interstate.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I agree, Chris. If it's not up your interstate, I'll settle for up your alley. :)

Debra St. John said...

Hi Jean,

I used to read romance exclusively, but have discovered that mysteries are a lot of fun!

April said...

What a great post, Jean!!! I love books with humor and those that are a combination of humor and mystery are the best!!! I am highly intrigued now and hope to read your book in the near future!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Jean,

It's always nice to meet another mystery writer. I enjoy humor with mystery as well. Best wishes with your release!

Maggie

Barbara Edwards said...

Sounds like a book I'd like to read. I'm putting it one my 'to buy' list when I get my new ebook reader.

Other Lisa said...

Okay, that was a great joke, Jean!

I like humor too -- especially humor that grows out of the situation. Life is like that; I think our books should be as well.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Jean, I have to get your new mystery. I love when humor breaks the tension.
www.monarisk.com

Earl Staggs said...

Hi, Jean. I read MURDER ON THE INTERSTATE very recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. The humor was well-done and just enough in the right places.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hey Jean! Yeah, humor is tough. I find it easier to put humor in conversation than in situations as well.

Judith Leger said...

Hi Jean! Congrats on your new release. I do agree, adding touches of humor makes books so much better. Wishing you the very best!

Jean Henry Mead said...

Debra,

The fun part of reading mysteries for me is discovering the killer's identity before the police or amateur sleuths are able to. I also enjoy writing them, especially my Hamilton Kids series, which takes me back to my own childhool. :)

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thank you, April. Murder on the Interstate will be soon be out on Nook and Kindle, which now seem to now be the editions of choice.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thank you, Maggie. I look forward to reading your books as well.

And thank you, Barbara. As I said earlier, my novel will soon be available for ebook readers.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Hi, Lisa. I think you were referring to the watermelon story of the early 1900s. I laughed when I read it while seated at the microfilm machine, which didn't set too well with the librarians.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thank you, Mona. I hope you enjoy the book.

And thank you, Earl, for the kind words. I look forward to your review tomorrow at: http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/

Jean Henry Mead said...

Alex, I also find it easier to insert humor in dialogue and I think the better you know your characters and their quirks, the easier it is to portray their humorous sides. I'm fortunate that Dana Logan and Sarah Cafferty have evolved so well over the span of three books that they're like old friends whom I know quite well.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Hi, Judith. Thank you for the well wishes. Laughter really is the best medicine and a prescription for good reading.

Deb Larson said...

Laughing while is reading is one of my favorite things! Best of luck with your book and blog tour!
DL Larson

Heidiwriter said...

A dash of humor is always good in any book, if only to break up the "unbearable" tension. :)

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thanks, DL. Laughing's my favorite past time.

Heidi, it's good to see you here. I agree that a dash of humor is great for breaking up "unbearable" tension and preventing melodrama. :)

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Jean,

The novels I love best always have some humor in them, no matter how dark or serious they are overall.
Excellent advice for authors!

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thank you, Jacqueline!

Morgan Mandel said...

Thanks for sharing your new release with us,Jean.

Morgan Mandel

Margot Justes said...

Jean,
Welcome to Acme Authors.
I agree humor is essential, especially in tense moments. Congratulations on new release.
Margot

Norm Cowie said...

A lot of authors tell me that humor is the hardest element to work into their stories (for me, I have more trouble fitting stories into my humor).
Norm
http://www.normcowie.com