Hello! My name is Katelina, and welcome to Weekend Character Interviews. Using state of the art-mumbo-jumbo author magic, Jo has temporarily bent the laws of fictional space and time to allow various literary universes to converge long enough for me to ask different characters a few questions. Since I spend a lot of time in the Amaranthine series quizzing vampires on what they’re doing, where they’re going and why, Jo thought I would be the perfect interviewer.
Today we have Gillian Jones from the Gillian jones Mystery series (wow! To have a series named after yourself, how cool is that?). The series is written by Lois Lewandowski.
Katelina: Welcome Gillian! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Gillian: I’m probation officer Gillian Jones and I have my own mystery series. My books are contemporary cozies. The books are set in Bend Brook, Nebraska, but I haven’t always lived there. My maternal grandmother raised me in Chicago until I was twelve and she died of cancer. After that, there was a bitter custody battle between my mother and father – at least bitter for me since neither of my parents really wanted me. My mother won, and I went to live with her and my step-father in Des Moines. We later moved to Omaha and I graduated from Westside High. My mother and I have an awkward relationship and although I resemble her in looks – we’re both tall and slender with dark brown wavy hair, we are nothing alike otherwise.
K: My author has family in Omaha. I think she used to live over there somewhere.
*waits for Jo to appear.*
K: Well, that was informative. Thanks, oh mighty author. (sarcasm). Since this si a mystery series, I’d bet there’s some action, and action usually means enemies, right?
G: Dot Derfenmeyer is my courthouse nemesis. She considers herself the matriarch of the county offices and she is a micro-manager who likes to be in control of everything – including my office space. I have an area in my office which can be seen by the public when my door is open. She’d like holiday displays there and I’d like, well, maybe some more chairs. We’ve been sparring over my office space since the first book.
K: Nice! I know people like that! Dealing with them is sure challenging! Is that the biggest challenge you face in the series, or are there others?
G: Besides solving a mystery, my biggest challenge is whether to have children. I can’t seem to get pregnant on my own and fertility treatments are expensive. I’m very hesitant to adopt since most babies hate me. Plus, I don’t know if I’d love any child who appeared on my doorstep. This is a subject very close to my heart since I was the child that appeared on my mother’s doorstep when I was twelve and I certainly wouldn’t describe our relationship as loving.
K: Aw. I can see how that could be a tough decision, especially if you really want children of your own. I usually ask my guests what it is they want most in the whole world. What would your answer to that be?
G: That’s easy, what I want most is a perfect life and a perfect family. It seems like everyone else’s life just goes naturally from point A to point B. Mine, on the other hand, zigzags all over the place.
K: I think the zig-zag is in the eye of the beholder, if you know what I mean. I know my life is a mess! But I guess if there’s no conflict we never evolve, do we? How do you evolve over the course of the series?
G: I have to resolve issues about my own past before I can decide on the future. Every book brings me a little closer to having closure in my life – and I find myself a bit stronger both physically and mentally.
K: Stronger is good. What’s one of the conflicts you’ve faced that really stand out as life changing?
G: One of the most horrific events of my life was an accident on Highway 6 between Lincoln and Omaha. The accident put me in the hospital for six weeks and in a rehabilitation center for six months. My then-husband Vincent, who was in medical school, served me with divorce papers. While I was in the rehabilitation hospital. I wallowed in self-pity. Not that I didn’t have a reason—my leg and pelvis had been broken, and my left ankle had been shattered and had to be rebuilt. I did recover from the accident and am walking again, albeit without high heels. I’ve gone on with life and am trying to decide what I want, and not just what my mother and other people have wanted for me.
K: Bravo! My mother is always after me to get married. It’s not that I’m against marriage or anything, of course. It’s just… you know. Um, so, are you married?
G: I’m glad you asked that! Yes, I am married. My husband, Clint, doesn’t have a lot to say in the books, but he is a great guy. I met him in the rehab hospital when I was roommates with his aunt Rosalee (she was a double knee replacement). One of the things I find so appealing about him is that he always agrees with me. Even though I may have married Clint on the rebound, I’ve really come to love him and I think my readers love him, too. I think we all would hate to see anything bad happen to him.
K: That sounds ominous. You don’t tink your author is planning something do you?
G: Let’s just say that I have a few words for her: Stop Thinking About Killing Clint!
K: Oh. Oh my! That was rather strong. Do you think she’ll listen?
G: I hope so. She can be very stubborn
K: She can’t just randomly kill him, can she? Wait, does Clint help you solve the mysteries? Assistants often get whacked!
G: He hasn’t yet – but I’m sure he could! If anybody helps me solve the mysteries, it would be my mother-in-law, Marlene. Actually, she’s both a hindrance and a help. As a probation officer I have access to the National Crime Information Center and other databases, but if I want to know everything about someone in Bend Brook, I go to Marlene.
K: Oh. Whew! He might be safe then. And if Marlene is half hindrance she should be too, Authors love that. For some reason, they think readers do too. Speaking of readers, if you could say one thing to them, what would it be?
G: Well, a couple of readers (two, to be exact) have been offended that infertility is one of the plot threads and that it is sometimes introduced in a humorous vein. I’d like to say that the books are not meant to offend. My author even moved the fertility issue to the first chapter of the first book so if it’s a subject that is too close to the reader’s heart, they would know from the start and could choose whether or not to read the series.
K: She sounds pretty smart. You said first chapter of the first book. How many books are there in the series?
G: There are two, The Fatal Heir and The Burden of Truth. They recently became available as ebooks on Amazon and Smashwords. My author is working on a third, The State of Grace, and that book should be available in 2012.
K: I don’t want to upset you, but do you know if Clint survives the third book?
G: (Sighs.) Yes, he’s fine in the third book. It’s the fourth book I’m worried about.
K: Well that’s something, at least. And, it looks like we’re out of time! Thanks for being interviewed today, Gillian.
G: Thanks for having me.
K: You can find more of Gillian (and the perhaps ill-fated Clint? Man, I am worried for the guy, now!) in the Gillian Jones Mystery Series.
The Fatal Heir:
- Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/59060
- Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Gillian-Jones-Mystery-ebook/dp/B004ZRFLTO/
The Burden of Truth
- Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/59141
- Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Burden-Truth-Gillian-Mystery-ebook/dp/B004ZS8NL6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314967957&sr=8-1
And a special thanks to Lois Lewandowski for playing along!
If you’re an author and would like your character(s) to be interviewed by me, then check out this very cool page that has all the details: