Thursday, November 6, 2008

Interview With Jill Elizabeth Nelson

by Molly Noble Bull

Today I am interviewing Jill Elizabeth Nelson, my good friend, critique partner and fantastic mystery author. Her second book in the To Catch a Thief series, Reluctant Runaway, won an award this year. Tell us about it.

Jill: In May, I was surprised and pleased to hear from Romance Reviews Today, a prominent site on the web that majors on reviewing any type of romance genre book. Their site voted Reluctant Runaway the Best Inspirational Novel of 2007. A link to their Perfect 10 review, as well as many other features like a monthly contest for a signed book, opportunities to purchase my books, and excerpts, are found on my web site:

M: Congratulations! Give us an overview of the book.

J: Reluctant Runaway opens four months after the traumatic events of the first book, and Desiree Jacobs is very much in charge of her museum security company since the murder of her father in the previous book. As always, the story opens with a caper, and Desi strikes out across a narrow beam in the dark, ten stories above the ground.

The plot heats up with Desi and her steady date, FBI agent Tony Lucano, locking horns over her risky lifestyle—but hey, what about his? And then crisis strikes her best friend, plus a museum secured by Desi’s company is robbed of priceless ancient Indian artifacts, and so it’s off to the high desert country of New Mexico to defend her company, help her friend, and save a missing woman. And Tony’s right on her heels. But when the horrifying purpose for the stolen artifacts comes to light, can they even save themselves?

Each book in the To Catch a Thief series is complete in itself, but the same main characters and some of the secondary characters carry over throughout Reluctant Burglar, Reluctant Runaway, and Reluctant Smuggler. The books should be available in any bookstore or through any on-line book outlet.

M: Tell us a little about your publication journey.

J: Since the sixth grade when I penned—er, penciled my first tale of mystery, my writer’s journey has taken me in many different directions. I’ve worn the hats of journalist, columnist, essayist, poet, short-story teller and book reviewer. My current chapeau is the one I’ve coveted all along—novelist.

The dream of becoming a published novelist has come to life and died an unsung death several times. As I look back, I see that I wasn’t ready for the fulfillment until, in the Lord’s grand plan, it happened.

In the year 2000, after writing little or nothing creative while I was raising four young children, a storyline grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. I wrote the book and started seeking fellowship with other writers. Since I live in a small rural community with little access to other writers, on-line writers groups like American Christian Fiction Writers have been my lifeline.

After several years of persevering and writing more manuscripts, I got The Call about the contract offer during a writers’ conference that was themed, interestingly enough, “Answer the Call.” Oh, my yes, God’s got a sense of humor.

M: How do you balance your writing time with your other responsibilities?

J: In the same way that other people go home from their day job and do woodworking or crocheting to relax, I go home to write. It’s what I do. It’s not who I am, because my identity is found in God, not some outside activity. But writing is a divine assignment, a fire in my bones, so I fit it in whenever, wherever.

I’ve had to make hard choices to cut out a few things from my schedule. I do still need to be a wife and mom, even though my kids are grown. That’s non-negotiable, but you’d be surprised what you don’t miss if you just say no.

M: Thanks for sharing with us, Jill. You are a great writer and a wonderful friend. Come back soon. And remember, to find Jill’s book on the internet, write Jill Elizabeth Nelson in the search slot.
Next month, author Margaret Daley will pay us a visit. Margaret writers Christian suspense novels for Steeple Hill.

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