The game is afoot today as we welcome mystery author Jane Gorman and her Adam Kaminski series of whodunits!
How do you like your coffee, Jane?
JANE: My favorite is a café renversé, like a café au lait, but adding espresso to the milk instead of the other way around. Even with American coffee, I always start with the milk. And no sugar, please!
Ally: That sounds easy enough. While I pour, please introduce yourself to readers.
Having worked as an anthropologist, a diplomat and a park ranger, I turned to creative writing as yet another way to visit new worlds and meet new people. And perhaps to get the voices out of my head… I worked briefly in academics after completing a doctorate in cultural anthropology, then shifted gears to become a diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, representing U.S. interests at international organizations. I have previously published in the field of political anthropology, I have negotiated international instruments on behalf of the U.S. government, and I have appeared on national television through my efforts to support our nation's cultural heritage.
I live in Cherry Hill, NJ, with my husband, who loves traveling even more than I do and has a voracious appetite for life, two cats who are very picky eaters, and a Pointer-Hound mix who wants nothing more out of life than to eat the cats.
Something unique about me: I am inspired by water – all kinds of water. Crashing ocean waves, a burbling stream, a rhythmic fountain … even taking a shower can get my creative juices flowing! Whenever I’m stuck for words, I seek out the nearest body of water and focus on that instead.
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/janegorman
I blog once a month with a group of fabulous mystery writers at LadiesofMystery.com
Ally: You've called your stories "mysteries that take you places." Can you explain? What made you choose that theme?
JANE: Where shall I go today? That’s the question I always ask myself when I’m looking for a new book. Reading takes me to a different place, a different time, maybe even a different planet. And that’s why I write, too. Each of my books takes place in a different city or town around the world. I started with places I know the best – Warsaw, Washington and Philadelphia – and I’m moving on from there to Galway, Provence and more. Because sometimes a good mystery can be the best way to see the world!
Ally: Authors like to debate what's most important: characters, plot or setting. In truth, it's all three, but most of us start with only one of them in mind. Where do you start and why? Does it change from book to book?
JANE: It really is all three, isn’t it? When I’m ready to develop a plot, I start with the setting. I decide on a location I know well, and build the story around it. I follow the news, the arts, gossip columns. I tie my story in with real stories from that location but add characters and murders that are pure fiction.
But even before that, at the very beginning (starting with the first book, and then again when each succeeding book is just a sparkle in my eye), I started with a character: Philadelphia Detective Adam Kaminski, a man who is smart, well-read, straightforward, simple (in a good way), and driven by guilt. Adam is a man I know well. Even so, he still knows how to surprise me!
Ally: What is your favorite form of social media? Why?
JANE: Facebook is such a great way to stay in touch with old friends and even with family when I’m traveling. But if I’m completely honest, I prefer Twitter. I’ve heard it described as a well-attended cocktail party, everyone jumping into and out of conversations. That’s a great description, and since I’ve never met a cocktail party I didn’t like, I guess it makes sense that I’m a Twitterphile. On Twitter, for me it’s less about writing and more about travel. And wine. And sometimes chocolate.
Ally: Tell us about your next writing project.
JANE: What She Fears is a traditional mystery set in Galway. Visiting Galway in an effort to strengthen his struggling romance and explore his family legacy, Detective Adam Kaminski stumbles onto a murder scene. Quite literally. Now he must find the truth behind the grisly murder of a university professor before he becomes a convenient scapegoat – or convenient target.
5. Quick answer questions:
- a. If you couldn't write any more, what would you be doing? Gardening
- b. What living author would you like to take to lunch? Elizabeth George
- c. High heels or sneakers? High heels (though to be honest, they’re getting lower these days)
- d. Most productive time of day to write: Morning. My brain stops around 1pm.
- e. An item on your bucket list: Sailing up and down the east coast. Or west coast. Or across the Atlantic!
Ally: It has been a pleasure spending time with you, Jane. I hope you'll visit again. In the meantime, let's give readers a peek at your book, A Blind Eye.
It was a quiet death, a young woman falling into the frigid waters of Warsaw’s Wisła River. The police accept it as suicide, the pressures of a political internship too much to handle. Her father knows it was murder. Philadelphia Detective Adam Kaminski, visiting Poland on an official delegation, gets drawn into the investigation over the objections of his superiors back home. For the dead girl was family, her father a cousin Adam had only just met, and Adam was raised to put family first.
He begins uncovering the clues that point to the killer, clues that lead him inexorably into an investigation of the close-knit community of Polish politics and the legacy of the Secret Police. But the past isn’t always black and white, as Adam is forced to accept as he learns more about the killer and about his own family legacy. Murder can only beget murder, driven by even deeper secrets.
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-blind-eye-jane-gorman/1122645467?ean=9780996380300