Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Q&A with J.A. Jance




J.A. Jance is the author of the new novel Nothing to Lose, the latest in her J.P. Beaumont series. Her other books include the Joanna Brady series and the Ali Reynolds series. She lives in Seattle.


Q: What inspired the plot for Nothing to Lose, your latest J.P. Beaumont novel?


A: When I was preparing to write this book, I wondered about some of the characters from a previous book—Breach of Duty, Beaumont # 14. The only way to find out what they’d been up to in the meantime was to write a book about them.


Q: Much of the novel takes place in Alaska. Why did you choose that location, and why did you set the book during wintertime?


A: The book is set in Alaska because that’s where those characters were from to begin with. As for setting it in wintertime? I didn’t figure out the answer to that until long after the book was written. 


It turns out I’ve clearly missed celebrating the holidays during the pandemic, and all of my pandemic-written books have the holidays in it. Covid may have taken away Christmas in real life, but I managed to celebrate anyway if only in fiction.


Q: The Publishers Weekly review of the book says, in part, "J.P. is a fully developed character, and his frequent calls to [his wife] Melissa to discuss the case are both touching and insightful. They make a good team even at a distance." How would you describe the dynamic between J.P. and Mel?


A: Beau and Mel met as equals working for the Attorney General’s Special Homicide Investigation Team, aka SHIT. They were both seasoned adults. They worked as partners before they became romantically involved. 


They operate from a place of mutual respect, and both of them understand the long-term burdens that go with working homicide.


Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?


A: I spent several years as a librarian/storyteller on the Tohono O’odham reservation near Tucson. One of the principals of Tohono O’odham storytelling is that a story must end where it begins. 


And that’s what happens in this book. The story begins with Beau dealing with a recurring nightmare, and that’s where it ends as well, but help in life often comes from unexpected places.


Q: What are you working on now?

A: I’m working on the next Ali Reynolds book.

Q: Anything else we should know?

A: I began writing the first Beaumont book in the fall of 1982, so Beau and I have been together as author and character for 40 years. Interestingly enough I still like him. It feels as though he and I are old friends.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with J.A. Jance.

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