Jean Henry Mead is an Amazon.com bestselling author and national award-winning photojournalist with 20 books in print. She has served as a news, magazine and small press editor and her magazine articles have been published domestically as well as abroad. She writes the Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series, Hamilton Kids’ mysteries, Wyoming historical novels and nonfiction books.
What inspires you to write?
Life inspires me to write. I wrote my first novel at age nine, which I read to friends and classmates. I later wrote for my high school newspaper and served as editor-in-chief of my college newspaper. I had found my niche but what I really wanted to write were novels. That didn’t happen until I had worked for thee newspapers in California and Wyoming, and served as editor of In Wyoming Magazine while freelancing for the Denver Post. After I had immersed myself in Wyoming’s rich history, I spent the next ten years researching and writing my first novel, Escape, a Wyoming Historical Novel (my best selling book over the years). Then, when western historical sales began to wane, I wrote my first mystery, A Village Shattered.
Now, social issues inspire me to write, which I’ve included in my mysterry/suspense novels. And historical events spur me to write about them and the actual people involved.
Tell us about your writing process.
I only outline my nonfiction books and am a seat-of-the-pants novelist. I trust my characters and give them reasonable free rein after thoroughly getting to know them. Writing at least five to six days a week is essential for success and I aim for five pages a day in my first draft, often more when the words are flowing. However, dialog is my forte and that easily fills my quota within several hours.
Getting to the computer soon after breakfast works best for me and I’m usually finished with the rough draft by noon. I then edit and rewrite for a couple of hours before I conduct further research.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I eavesdrop on my characters’ conversations every morning as though I’m listening to old friends. And I give them reasonable rein because they’re smarter than I am, and I learn from them. Sarah Cafferty, one off my amateur sleuths, has a good sense of humor so she makes me laugh while I’m writing. All my books, including nonfiction, contain elements of humor because we have to be able to laugh at ourselves as well as what life has dealt us.
What advice would you give other writers?
When you consider your manuscript finished, place it in a drawer for a couple of weeks before taking it out to read it as though someone else had written it. Edit and rewrite until it’s the best possible work you’re capable of writing.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’ve had ten publishers over the years before I decided to go the indie route. By the time my last publisher closed its doors, owing me a year’s royalties, I had learned enough to start my own publishing company, For a while I published other writers’ books but that took away from my own. I now have control over my books and I’m earning more money. I’ve also been able to place my books on audio at Amazon, Audible and iTunes.It’s a lot of work and constant promotion is necessary to achieve some measure of success, so I don’t advise new writers to expect good sales by self publishing. They should start with a small press and learn the intricacies of publishing before striking out on their own.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I’m optimistic about the publishing industry, although a lot of things need to be changed. When sales are in the doldrums, there is always a new way to promote our work or another way to present books in all their forms. I don’t think that reading will ever go out of vogue, although audio books are earning an increasing share of the publishing business.
What genres do you write?
I write the Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series, Hamilton Kids’ mystery series, Wyoming historicals, and nonfition books.
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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