CMM - You have a great quote from Camryn Manheim (love her on Ghost Whisperer) about your Odelia Grey books: "I wish I'd had Odelia Grey as my paralegal when I was on The Practice. Gutsy, smart, and loveable, she is the perfect take-no-prisoners heroine for today's woman." Camryn Manheim How did that come about? Did you approach her, or do you know her?
SAJ - I have not had the pleasure of meeting Camryn Manheim personally. My dream was to get a blurb from her, so I hunted down her contact information and asked her if she’d do it. She was so gracious to consent and gave me such a fabulous blurb.
CMM - Reviews are a mixed blessing for most authors; we love the good ones, hate the bad ones, and know they are just one person’s opinion. How do you deal with negative reviews? Do you even read reviews?
SAJ - I read all reviews, even reader reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Of course, I rejoice in the good ones, but I do not let the bad ones bother me. As you said, they are just one person’s opinion, and the good ones definitely outweigh the negative reviews. There have been many books I haven’t enjoyed that others have raved about, so I understand that my books may be subject to similar opposing views. It’s all a matter of personal taste.One thing, though, I really wish readers would think twice before posting really tacky and/or hateful reviews anywhere on any book. If you don’t like a book, say so and say why in an intelligent, well-thought out manner. It doesn’t help anyone when reviewers think they’re being cute by being vicious. Those folks have no idea what goes into producing a book. If they did, they would use better judgment.
CMM - You do a lot of personal appearances. Have you had any funny/touching/interesting encounters with readers?
SAJ - My readers ROCK! I can’t begin to tell you the e-mails, snail mail, even gifts I’ve received from readers from all over. But I think the funniest encounter was when I was waiting in a line at a book conference and a reader tried to pitch me my own book. Seriously! I didn’t have my name tag on and she obviously thought that I, as a fat woman of a certain age, should read the Odelia Grey novels. She went on and on about how much I’d enjoy the books until someone pointed out to her who I was. She just about died of embarrassment. Then we laughed and hugged. I’ve run into her since and we still laugh over it.
On the touching side, I get a lot of e-mails from readers who tell me that having such a positive plus-size heroine makes them feel better about themselves. That’s golden.CMM - As a paralegal yourself, do real life stories ever make a veiled appearance in your novels?
SAJ - No, never. What I do as a paralegal would put my readers to sleep in a nano-second. Trust me. I do infuse some of the details of my job into Odelia’s day at the office, but never base any of the plots on cases or matters I’ve been involved with in my position as a paralegal. What I make up is soooooo much more entertaining. Besides, a lot of folks at my office read my books, including many of the attorneys. It wouldn’t do for them to see office issues in the books, even if veiled over.
CMM - What do you read? Any favorite authors?
SAJ - I have so many favorite authors and so little time to read. I try not to read books similar to my own, especially while deep into a manuscript. Favorites include Walter Mosley, Diana Gabaldon, Naomi Hirahara, Jan Burke, John Morgan Wilson, Eric Stone, Terry McMillan, Amy Tan, John Irving, Lisa Scottline, Lee Child. (How much space do we have?) And I love discovering new authors.
CMM - Thank you so much, Sue Ann, for taking this time to be with us at Cozy Murder Mysteries.
Find Sue Ann at: http://www.sueannjaffarian.com/