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J.A. Jance is the New York Times bestselling author of the Ali Reynolds series, the J.P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, and four interrelated Southwestern thrillers featuring the Walker family.

Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington and Tuscon, Arizona.


Find her on Facebook and Twitter.

J.A. JANCE: item1b

(J.A. Jance will be atThe Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale, AZ, February 20th at 7PM)


MOVING TARGET is your 50th book. You’ve written 22 books in the J.P. Beaumont series, 15 in the Joanna Brady series, 9 in the Ali Reynolds series and 4 in the Walker Family series. That’s a lot of time you’ve spent with your characters! Did you always intend to take them this far? Do you focus on one series at a time, or have multiple books going at once?

When I wrote the first Beaumont, Until Proven Guilty, I had no idea it would be a series.  So no, I had no concept that I would still be writing about him thirty years later.  The same thing happened with the first Walker book, Hour of the Hunter.  With both Joanna in Desert Heat and Ali in Edge of Evil, I had an idea that they would be series books from the beginning.  

I'm usually working on writing one book, doing editorial work on another, and promotion work on a third.  So, no, I don't try to write more than one book at a time.  That would drive me nuts.


Since you started writing, the industry has changed - hopefully for the better. Where do you see the change most dramatically, and what would you like to see change? Any thoughts for the future? 

I hope writers of both sexes aren't required to use their initials in an attempt to trick readers into thinking they are something they are not.  That's exactly how Judith Ann Jance became J.A. Jance along about 1984.  I think the advent of e-books has had an astonishing impact on the book industry.  In my case, I'm finding that it's now far easier for new readers to go back and locate backlist books.  In the old days, those were only available piecemeal in second hand book stores.  That said, I believe there will always be a place for dead tree books.


I’m writing from Arizona, although you live in Seattle, you still spend part of your time here. It’s obvious that growing up in the state greatly influenced your work. Was it a case of write what you know? What aspects of desert living and the landscape made it the right place for your characters?

When I started writing the Beaumont books set in Seattle the character was a Seattle Native and I had lived in the city less than two years.  As I wrote those first nine Beaumonts, I had to do a lot of research to make the Seattle locale work.  When I wrote my first two Arizona books--first Hour of the Hunter and later Desert Heat--it was almost like going on vacation because I knew all that stuff.  I knew the distances between towns, the smells of the desert, the look of the landscape, the motives of the people. And yes, I love the desert.  I'm here in Tucson right now where it's been a bit too chilly to spend much time out on the patio the past few days.


What’s the best piece of advice you could give a person trying to get published? What do you know today that you wish you had known when you started writing?

Write well enough to get an agent.  And if the agent can't sell that first manuscript, fire the manuscript and keep the agent.  That's what I did, and I've had the same agent for thirty years.


What’s coming next for you?

The next Joanna Brady, Remains of Innocence, is due out in July, and I'm working on next year's Ali Reynolds.





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Writing ambience: A comfy chair, a cup of coffee, a working computer, and a working brain.

Book(s) she wishes she could read again for the first time: THE WIZARD OF OZ.

What she's reading now: THE PURITY OF VENGEANCE.

What period in history she'd most like to visit: I'd like to cross paths with Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Favorite sentence she's ever written: Women are born knowing what it takes men a lifetime to figure out.

Greatest fear: Alzheimer's.

Cats or Dogs? Dogs.

Favorite independent bookstore: Seattle Mystery Bookshop.

If she could meet one of her characters: Ali Reynolds.

If she could invite any four people to a dinner party: Patsy Cline, Helen Reddy, Janis Ian, and Annie Murray..