Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Straight from the Mouth of 'Butterfly Waltz' Jane Tesh

Jane Tesh is a retired media specialist and pianist for the Andy Griffith Playhouse in Mt. Airy, NC, the real Mayberry. She is the author of the Madeline Maclin Series, A Case of Imagination, A Hard Bargain, A Little Learning, and A Bad Reputation, featuring former beauty queen, Madeline “Mac” Maclin and her con man husband, Jerry Fairweather.  Stolen Hearts is the first in the Grace Street Mystery Series, featuring PI David Randall, his psychic friend, Camden, Randall’s love interest, Kary Ingram, and Cam’s career-driven girlfriend, Ellin Belton, as well as an ever-changing assortment of Cam’s tenants.  Mixed Signals is the second in the series, followed by Now You See It and Just You Wait. Jane’s mysteries are all published by Poisoned Pen Press, located in Scottsdale, Arizona. Butterfly Waltz is her first published fantasy novel from Silver Leaf Books. All of Jane’s books are on the light side with humor and romance.

Jane’s website is www.janetesh.com.  Her blog can be found at www.janetesh.wordpress.com.  She also has a Face Book page for the Grace Street Series, www.facebook.com/GraceStreetMysterySeries.  Her Twitter page is www.twitter.com/janetesh, and her Amazon Author page is www.amazon.com/author/janetesh.


Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

Writing chose me!  I’ve always been an author as far back as I can remember (which is way back, trust me.)

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

It’s terrific!  I am in control of my universe.  I can’t control anything in real life, but the fantasy world bows to my commands.  That’s the main perk.  The demands are few, and I don’t mind them.  A little extra work for publicity, attending events, maintaining a blog.  It’s all for the good of the cause.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

In 1968, when I was 18, I decided to get a book published.  Self-publishing was very expensive and the product didn’t look as polished as self-published books are today.  From the beginning, I knew I wanted to be traditionally published.  So, I typed my novels on a typewriter, hoping I didn’t make too many mistakes that had to be corrected with
Wite-Out or Correcto-Tape (Ten points for any of you out there who remember those!) found boxes that were the right size, and mailed them to New York.  This was the only route for quite some time.  When computers arrived, I switched over and sent my novels and queries via email, although some publishers still required a hard copy.  Then, after many years and many well-thumbed editions of Writer’s Market, I found Poisoned Pen Press.  I received a contract for my first book, A Case of Imagination, in 2005.
I love working with the folks at PPP.  Since it’s a smaller company, everyone’s on a first name basis, and all problems are easily taken care of.  Certainly a publishing company worth waiting for. 

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

My parents and siblings were always tremendously supportive and still are.

Do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?

My Chihuahua, Pearl, sleeps in her bed during my writing time and gets my full attention at all meal times. 

Are your plants actually still alive?

After a long day at the computer, gardening is a great activity and gets me outside.  My plants are all alive and okay. 

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?

Ha, ha, ha!  Single and retired! 

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

About 20 years into my search for an agent and/or publisher, I managed to get an agent.  I was very excited.  Now we’re getting somewhere!  But the agent wanted me to change the hero of my novel into a woman.  She said if I did this, she could sell my book.  However, if I changed him to a her, this radically affected all the characters in my mystery series.  His best friend, a man, would be looking at him in a completely different way, and his love interest, a woman, would—well, it would be another story.  I couldn’t do it.  I thought, have I made a huge mistake?  I finally have an agent, she’s telling me what to do to sell the book, and I can’t do it.
I learned just how much I was willing to compromise to achieve my goal, and the answer was: not that much.  So the agent and I parted ways (nicely) and I continued to send the book out.  Eventually, Poisoned Pen bought it and left everyone’s gender intact.  So I got what I wanted.  But there for a while, I thought I’d really messed up.
I didn’t ever get another agent. 

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

Face Book and Twitter are great ways to get the word out about new books, book signings, events, reviews, and videos.  I also use Amazon Author Central and Goodreads.  Those are the only ones I’ve explored so far. 

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

I set up as many signings and events as I can handle.  I like to have Goodreads Giveaways whenever I have a new book out.  I really enjoy making book trailers for my books using Animoto.com. 

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?


Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above don’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

What I love about being a published author.  It’s such a relief to have accomplished a lifelong goal.  When I was 18, I wanted it to happen with all the passion and angst of 18.  It didn’t happen at age 30 or 40, but at age 55, two months after I retired after30 years as an elementary school media specialist (a great day job). 

Made it!  Deep breath.  Now to keep it going.

I was lucky enough to find early on that one thing that gives my life meaning and purpose, the one thing that no matter what horrible, discouraging, or painful event happens, I can say, “I still have this.” My one thing is writing and it’s a gift I am very grateful to have.

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