In Memory of Aimee Thurlo

Jana DeLeon

1) What's your new book about?

Sixteen years ago, Ginny Bergeron walked out of the swamp the same night the LeBlanc School for Girls caught fire, killing everyone inside. She was a six-year-old child with no memory of her past. Now, the abandoned school in the swamp seems to call to her, beckoning her into the swamp, to uncover her past. But someone doesn't want Ginny to remember.

2) How do you balance your work and your life?

I have no personal life. Seriously. I still work full time and will release five books this year. In publishing, like any artistic endeavor, when the window of opportunity opens, it doesn.t stay that way forever. Sacrificing my personal time now to write will pay off in the future. At the moment, I work 12-16 hours a day during the week and 5-10 hours a day on the weekend. The key to working that much is a very supportive spouse and hiring people to do everything else so that you can work.

3) What's your writing process-- do you work from outlines or do you prefer off-the-cuff?

Since I sell on proposal, I have to write a synopsis to gain the contracts, but I am a total pantster. A premise for a book comes to me, then I develop characters, plot and setting around that premise. I rarely use the synopsis once written as much better twists and turns come to me while I'm writing.

4) What advice would you give a new writer wanting to break in?

Join writing organizations and learn the craft. Craft is the most important and most overlooked part of the writing process. Without an understanding of craft, you have no foundation to build upon. Talk to published writers and listen to what they have to say. Their advice may not apply to you, but you should never ignore it.

5) Where do you get your ideas?

I have a naturally suspicious mind and usually think the worst of people as a species. One only has to watch the evening news to confirm my opinion. I've been a forensic accountant and currently do security investigation for a private client. I am geared to look for the things that aren.t seen on the surface. Because of my skewed way of viewing everything, I can easily come up with the worst case scenario for anything. My ideas come from living in Louisiana, documentaries, television shows, books, stories from friends/relatives. Ideas are everywhere. I just don't have the time to write them all.

6) Who are your favorite authors?

Agatha Christie is my all-time favorite author. She had a simplistic style of writing the most complicated mysteries. Barbara Michaels can write a gothic like no one else and is a huge influence on my choice to write gothicy books for Intrigue. My comfort reading is Laura Ingalls Wilder. There are so many incredibly talented writers that it's hard to choose only a few. An abundance of choice (in this case) is a very good thing.

7) Is there anything you'd like to tell your readers?

Thank you for reading! And please, instill your love for books in your children. And please don.t hesitate to post on my Facebook author page. I would like to increase the dialog with my readers. I.m not available all the time as I.m writing, but I always get around to answering. I.m making a big effort in 2012 to become more social. :)