J.C. Lane, aka Judy Clemens interview with David Alan Binder

posted Sep 11, 2016, 9:26 PM by David Alan Binder

J.C. Lane, aka Judy Clemens interview with David Alan Binder

Provided Bio:  J.C. Lane is the author of the thriller, TAG, YOU’RE DEAD. She writes mysteries as Judy Clemens, including the Anthony- and Agatha-nominated Stella Crown series, the Grim Reaper mysteries, and the stand-alone, LOST SONS. She is a past-president of Sisters in Crime and lives in rural Ohio, where she enjoys spending time in the kitchen, attending her kids’ soccer games, and collecting Van Briggle pottery.

Web site:     www.jclanebooks.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/judyclemensauthor/

Twitter: @judyclemens1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14769553.J_C_Lane

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/judyclemens1/

1.     First off, why are you using a pen name for your most recent book? Most of my career I have been writing mysteries as Judy Clemens. My most recent book, TAG, YOU’RE DEAD, is a thriller. I originally wrote it for the YA market, but Poisoned Pen Press, my publisher, thought all ages would enjoy it, so they published it in their mainstream line. Because of those differences, they wanted me to go with a different name to help set the two kinds of books apart. The J.C. comes from my initials, and the Lane comes from my middle name, which is Alane.


2.     Where are you currently living? In an old farmhouse among the beautiful corn and soybean fields of Ohio. I love the open space. I came here from southeastern PA, a suburb of Philadelphia, where there are houses and buildings and cars everywhere you look. When we came to Ohio I felt like I could breathe again!


3.     What is the most important thing you have learned in your writing experience, so far? Rather than focus on success (or lack thereof) it is essential to remember the joy of the work itself. Otherwise it becomes a struggle and a burden rather than a gift.


4.     What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? I love dialogue, and I use it a lot, often to begin my books. I think this is perhaps from my background in theater. I worked as a union stage manager in Philadelphia and Louisville (my college degree is in theater) and really enjoy the rehearsal and performance worlds of plays. Doing a play is so much about dialogue, and I think that carries through into my novels.


5.     What is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?

I am published by Poisoned Pen Press, out of Scottsdale, Arizona. They publish only mysteries – about five a month.


6.     Any insights eBooks vs. print books? I will read any kind of book, although when I am home and sitting in my comfy reading chair I prefer a print book. When I am traveling I load up my Kindle and take it with me! If it’s a good story, I’ll read it no matter the format.


7.     Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?  

Read everything you can in the genre you want to write in. That way you will know what is going on in the business and what is selling. Also, get involved on Twitter – there are wonderful contests to participate in, where you will get to know other writers as well as agents and editors. I wrote a blog about that here: http://typem4murder.blogspot.com/2016/07/writing-fun-in-twittersphere.html


8.     How did you or would you suggest a new writer acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one? I met my agent on Twitter, which, as I said above, is a bonus of putting in the time there! New writers – do your research. Agents make it very clear what they are looking for and how they want you to query. Do exactly as they say. Otherwise they get cranky and you won’t have a chance to work with them!


9.     Do you have any suggestions or help for new writers? Other than reading a lot, which I mentioned above, a couple things I found helpful were to a) use Scrivener, a writing software. So much easier to keep things organized! b) go to writer/fan conferences. Get to know other people in the writing industry, learn from those who have been writing for a while. c) Persevere! It is so, so hard to deal with the rejection in this industry, but keep at it! I wrote a blog for NaNoWriMo about Writing Cheats and Tips here: http://blog.nanowrimo.org/post/150077633041/6-tips-to-add-to-your-writing-cheat-sheet

10.                        What was one of the most surprising things you learned during your creative process with your books? When I sold my first book I assumed the publisher would just take it “as is.” Not so! There is a whole editing process, which will make the book stronger. It’s hard to change things when you’ve put so much time into a book, but that’s what editors are for!

11.                        How many books have you written? That is a complex question. I have published 12 books. I have written many more! Some of those were “learning books” and some I hope to still see published someday.

12.                        Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer? I’ve said it twice already, but read, read, read. In your genre, out of your genre, anything you can. You will see what works and what doesn’t work, and get a feel for your own style. Also go to writing conferences, have beta readers, join a critique group...whatever works for your personality. There is always more to learn about the craft.


13.                        Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

I like to think about what would be the most formulaic or predictable path and do the opposite!

14.                        What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

My most recent book is a thriller with six protagonists, with the chapters divided up between them. It is a modern day story with a “dystopian” feel. Something that could happen today, but the world turns on its head for these six main characters! Not many books have that many protagonists, and reviewers and readers seem to think it works!


15.                        What are some ways you promote your work?

It’s important to do a lot of different things. A) My publisher prints Advance Review Copies and sends them to reviewers before the book comes out. B) My publisher prints bookmarks which I can distribute C) My publisher prints postcards, which I send to libraries, schools, and my own mailing list D) I always have a book launch party for local readers E) I pack the month of my book’s release with as many events as possible at libraries, bookstores, etc. F) I go to book conferences G) I spend time on social media getting to know people H) I spend hours contacting and communicating with book bloggers, who are a wonderful resource I) My publisher also will make posters when I do events that they will send to the venue. J) I contact local media, as well as publications in my genre.


16.                        What saying or mantra do you live by? When you have a choice, it is always better to be kind.


17.                        Anything else you would like to say? Thank you so much! This was fun.