A Night with J.A. Jance
by Tiffany Sweeney, Walrus Contributor
On the last Friday night of February, I once again headed out to the Saint Louis County Library Headquarters for yet another one of their amazing author events. For this night, it was the best-selling author of more than 40 suspense novels, J.A. Jance, complete with her special canine guest, Bella. Bella, a gorgeous little dachshund, was joining Jance for the third time while touring for one of her releases, but she arguably could have been the star of the show. Jance’s love for pups in general was a common theme for the night and many participants were excited to catch a photo of Bella with the author.
Jance always knew she wanted to be a writer and it only became cemented in her mind when she discovered The Wizard of Oz. It was not Baum’s world that enthralled her like it did for so many, but rather it was his words that inspired her. She continued on this path to her dream, until in college she was told that she could not be in a creative writing class because she was a girl. However, this did not even stop her; she instead channeled this experience into her writing, not holding a grudge at all, and publishing one of her favorite novels, Hour of the Hunter. It was in this book that she mirrored her own life experiences just a bit, and finding her revenge by making a creative writing professor the murderer!
Throughout the evening, Jance bounced from one topic to another, often reverting to her love for her dogs and her love for her fans. She did not read from her latest novel, but rather told stories, shared her life with the audience, and brought out the laughs in all of us! She recounted her experiences as an author, from the emails she has received, the friends she has made (like Patty from Montana to whom she dedicates her latest release), adults that have learned to read using her books, and the teens who can eerily relate to Jance’s characters. The evening was filled with many unexpected surprises, from the first dog to accompany the author into a reading at the Saint Louis County Library, to a night of many laughs and even a few powerful tales that brought tears to my eyes thanks to the strength skill as a writer. A number of Jance’s books have sat on my shelves for years, but after this night they will be moving on up the pile of those to be read.
For more information on the author, be sure to check out her website and her blog, where she posts on a weekly basis every Friday. And, if you feel the need to contact her, she encourages you to do so. Her email is located on her Welcome page and if you receive a response, it will be from the author herself!