Thursday, July 08, 2010

Jean Henry Mead

 Jean Henry Mead is a multi-published author. Her magazine articles have been published domestically and abroad and she’s written both fiction and non-fiction. Her novels have been published under the name Jean Henry; her nonfiction books and magazine articles as Jean Mead, S. Jean Mead and Jean Henry Mead. Currently, there are three books out in her Logan & Cafferty senior sleuth series. She’s also involved with 7 different blogs. You can find a list of those blogs on her website.

I asked her here today to talk about her latest non-fiction book. Over the years, she has interviewed so many authors that she decided to compile some of their words into a book.

Please welcome Jean Henry Mead.

H: When you had all these authors guesting on your blog, you hadn’t planned on compiling a book. How did you approach these authors to get their approval once you decided to put together a book from those visits?
I emailed each writer and asked if they would like to appear in my book. No one turned me down and only one writer asked to share in the proceeds. Unfortunately, not all of over a hundred mystery writers interviewed were included in the book because of space restrictions, so I plan to include some or all of them in my next book.
H: Did Poisoned Pen Press approach you or did you approach them with the idea for the book?
I approached them after two smaller presses showed an interest in the collection. One of PPP’s authors suggested that I contact their publisher, Robert Rosenwald, to ask whether he was interested. I also asked a couple of writer friends which publisher they thought I should go with. They all agreed on Poisoned Pen Press, which is the second largest mystery publisher.
H: How involved were you in getting the book ready for e-publication?
I first made a list of each writer’s subgenre and grouped them accordingly: cozies, historicals, niche mysteries, suspense, thrillers, police procedurals, etc. I then copied and pasted each interview from the blog site to a Word file and began the process of editing the 150,000 word manuscript down to size. I also had to copy and paste each photo separately into a special photoshop file, making sure they they were all the same size—all 75 of them. I then submitted the manuscript via the Internet. We had some problems with Word and they eventually had to send written proofs in the mail, which pushed back the release date by over a month, but it eliminated all the electronic glitches.
H: Since Mysterious Writers is an ebook, how have you been promoting it and getting out the word on it?
Strictly on the Internet. I’ve promoted it on great sites like yours although I haven’t had time to conduct another blog book tour because I’m proofing my children’s mystery and finishing the third book in my Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series. Facebook and Twitter have also been good places to promote the book as well as my own blog sites. I’ve also done some online speaking engagements on sites for aspiring writers.
H: You’ve interviewed so many authors, you couldn’t get them into one book. When will the next edition be out?
I’m tentatively planning another interview book next spring after I interview Sue Grafton. I received a very nice reply to my interview request from her, via snail mail, asking that I wait until she finishes her latest novel, V is for (Victim?) in six to eight months. She and her husband are also in the process of changing residences. My letter to Janet Evanovich, however, has gone unanswered, but J.A. Jance, Lawrence Block, Vicki Hinze and others have been gracious about being interviewed, so I’ll have another good group of writers in my fifth collection. Next time in a print edition. I’ve learned a great deal from the writers interviewed and hope that others writers—especially those struggling to publish a first book—will learn from the book as well.
Thank you Jean!

 You can find Jean’s latest book of interviews with some outstanding writers on Amazon. The book is called Mysterious Writers: The Many Facets of Mystery Writing and includes interview with, among others, Carolyn Hart, Nancy Pickard, Jeffrey Deaver, Rhys Bowen, C.J. Box, Elmore Leonard and Louise Penny.

If you’d like to ask Jean a question of your own or to say Hi to her, head to the Comments section and leave a shout-out.

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  1. Hi Jean. I was curious about the one writer who wanted to share in the proceeds. If you can answer, why do you think only one wanted to, and what was the reason to do so?

    Also, in your opinion, what's the one thing published author's have in common.

    Thank you, and thanks Helen, for another great guest.

  2. Helen, thanks for this wonderful interview of the interviewer.

    Jean, is there one question that you asked all the authors or do you suit the questions to who you are interviewing?

    Thoughts in Progress

  3. Great interview, Helen! Thanks for hosting Jean.

    Hi Jean! Congratulations on your new release and best wishes for great sales! I always enjoy your interviews. :)

  4. Jean, loved the concept, the idea, and the implementation! What a fantastic product! And yes, PPP was a great way to go! Your blog is very well done and my guess is you will find great interest in the book. I know I certainly enjoyed writing my interview for it. You ask great questions and present it well. Lots of luck on the next one!

    I can only imagine the difficulty you had in choosing which ones to include!

    Sylvia Dickey Smith

  5. Sylvia, that would have made a great question! How did you decide which authors to include?

  6. What a great idea, it's a rich resource for mystery writers, and for writers in general, I'm sure. I'm curious about what prompted you to take these interviews to the next level, from your blog to a published book?

  7. Hi, Simon,

    I'll just say that he's a writer who didn't realize that books of interviews don't top the bestseller lists. The proceeds divided among all 75 writers would be miniscule compared to those of his novels.

    Persistence, courage and talent, in my opinion, are the most common traits shared by successful published writers.

  8. Thank you, Mason. When I first started interviewing writers my questions were pretty generic, but I soon decided to research each writer online to ask pertinent questions about their lives as well as their work. Among some of the interesting facts I learned and asked questions about was that bestselling author Jeffrey Deaver was once an attorney and played an unscrupulous lawyer on a soap opera. He said it "exhausting."

  9. Thank you, Elizabeth. I enjoy yours as well.

  10. Thanks, Sylvia. The choices came down to the number of writers in each subgenre and similarities in interviews. I didn't realize that I had so many good ones until I started cutting and pasting them into Word.

    The next book will be in a different format.

  11. What a great idea for a book! Wonder if anyone's composed one of science fiction writer interviews?

  12. Joanne,

    Some of my comments posted on Marvin Wilson's "Free Spirit" blog site were included in his book titled, Between the Storm and the Rainbow, published by a small press. That's where I got the idea of transitioning my interviews into a book. I queried two small presses as well as PPP and all were fortuntely interested.

  13. Alex,

    If you can find a journalist who writes science fiction novels, you might propose a book of interviews. It's very time consuming so few novelists would be interested, I'm afraid. I started my career as a news reporter so interviewing is second nature. I don't read science fiction so I wouldn't feel qualified to interview those who write in the genre.

  14. It sounds like you came up with an original idea for an interesting book. How do you come up with interview questions for each author?

  15. Hi, Jane,

    I research each writer online--web and blog sites, the Wikipedia, etc.--and try to read their books ahead of time, which isn't always possible. I have so many books that we had to convert a bedroom into a library. :)

  16. Jean, you've clearly done a ton of work on the interviews and on getting the book pulled together. I hope it's a huge hit.

  17. I love Jean's idea - and having read several of her interviews I know it'll be a great book! :)

  18. Alex,

    I'd like to add that I've been a "Star Trek" fan since the original series with Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk. I also watch science fiction TV shows and films but because I read and write historicals, mysteries and nonfiction, I don't have time to read the s/f novels, although I did read Stephanie Osborn's BURNOUT s/f mystery novel and included her in my Mysterious Writers book.

  19. Thank you, Helen,for hosting me today and for the good wishes. I've been wanting to interview you for some time. How about it? :)

  20. Thanks, Jemi. You have a wonderful blog site and I wish I had more time to visit.

  21. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your interview here.

    Congratulations, Jean, on your new release and best wishes for continued success!

  22. Thank you, Marisa, for the kind words and for stopping by.

  23. Great interview, Helen and Jean! Jean, what's the title and publication date?

  24. Bob,

    Mysterious Writers (same name as the blog) was published last month

    The complete title is: Mysterious Writers: The Many Facets of Mystery Writing.

  25. Sounds like lots of details to attend to. I'm sure you're glad it's over. It looks like your book is doing well. Thanks for including my post in there.

    Morgan Mandel

  26. It's such a great concept for a book. I can't even imagine the amount of work that went into it all. Amazing. But worth it.

  27. It's like giving birth, Morgan. You forget the pain when the book's released. :)

    Thanks for taking part in the project.

  28. Thank you, Lynda. Yes, once it's done, it's certainly well worth the time and effort. I just hope that the interviews are helpful to aspiring writers.

  29. And thank you again, Helen, for having me here. I've enjoyed the response.

  30. What a great idea! I have heard of people publishing book forms of their blogs for their own purposes...But compiling a work of many authors is quite a task, and an excellent idea!

    Thanks for the heads up, Helen. This is something you could pull off-though you'd probably just want to publish all the great advice you've given here!

    Southern City Mysteries

  31. Jean is probably more organized than I am, Michele.

  32. Wow, it is interview day in the blogosphere - I'm loving this! Thanks so much for sharing. What a great idea Jean, to share all these interviews with all these talented writers. Wishing you continued success!

    Helen, I love your blog - so diverse and I always take away something new. I have an award on my blog tomorrow for you.

    Have a wonderful evening!

    Nancy, from Realms of Thought…

  33. I also think it sounds like a really great idea. But, as you say, interviewing is a really tough job for non-journalists (and probably for many journalists too). I sympathise with your frustration over formatting 75 photos and dealing with Word. Could your publisher not accept a .pdf instead? Nothing beats a printed proof, though, I suppose.

    Best of luck,


    Word 4 Writers on HearWriteNow
    Blood-Red Pencil

  34. I feel I have to put in a quick comment from the point of view of an author on the receiving end of Jean's interview technique. As all her interview blog postings show, she's a natural. Her questions are direct and she's obviously done her homework because she asks things that are specific to your own books and to your particular take on writing. I don't have a Kindle and I'm desperate for this book to appear in a paperback edition. Lots of luck with it, Jean.

  35. Nancy, you're a sweetheart.

    Bill, that's a good question: When and will it come out in print?

  36. Thanks for the kind comments, everyone. Bill, you can download the Kindle edition to your computer. You don't have to buy the reader. And Helen, I have no idea whether PPP intends to publish a print edition or sell the rights to another publisher. I asked for the print rights back but received no response.

  37. Hope you're able to get the print rights - or PPP decides to print it.

    Thank you so much for appearing on Straight From Hel. I thoroughly enjoyed your visit and I think everyone else did too!


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