Jane Sevier

mysteries and love stories served Southern style

December 9, 2013
by Jane Sevier

Ten Books That Touched Me

Over on Face­book, the lovely and tal­ented author Larissa Rein­hart tagged me to name 10 books that have meant some­thing to me. It was tough keep­ing it to 10, but these are the first 10 (well, really 11) that came to mind.

Here are the rules for the Face­book game: List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few min­utes and don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you. Tag 10 friends, includ­ing the per­son who tagged you so she’ll see your list.

These are in no par­tic­u­lar order.
1.  Pride and Prej­u­dice and Emma by Jane Austen

2.  The Lute Player by Norah Lofts

3.  Out­lander by Diana Gabaldon

4.  She Walks These Hills by Sharyn McCrumb

5.  The Once and Future King by T, H. White

6.  The Foun­da­tion Tril­ogy by Isaac Asimov

7.  Brim­stone by Dou­glas Pre­ston and Lin­coln Child

8.  The Once and Future by T. H. White

9.  The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte

10. On Beu­lah Height by Regi­nald Hill

I tagged 10 friends and posted. What are the 10 books that have stayed with you?

August 17, 2013
by Jane Sevier

Killer Nashville Panel

Next Sat­ur­day morn­ing (August 24th) at 8:20 at the Killer Nashville crime fic­tion con­fer­ence, the incred­i­ble April Mar­tinez, who designed the gor­geous cov­ers you see here to the right, will present a work­shop on cre­at­ing great book cov­ers. I’m sit­ting in to give the author per­spec­tive. At 9:50, I’ll be sign­ing both books, so stop by the Hut­ton Hotel and say hey. There will be lots of crime writ­ers like guest of honor Anne Perry on hand at Killer Nashville. All author sign­ings at the con­fer­ence are free and open to the public.

January 12, 2013
by Jane Sevier

The Gold-Standard Kiss

Roman­tic sus­pense author Don­nell Bell invited me to guest blog with the lovely ladies of Every­body Needs a Lit­tle Romance, prefer­ably on some roman­tic topic. With New Year’s Eve just behind us, kiss­ing seemed an appro­pri­ate topic. Stop by and see what I had to say about one of my most mem­o­rable, the Gold-Standard Kiss.

One of my favorite photographs ever, Robert Doisneau's Le Baiser de l'Hotel de Ville.

One of my favorite pho­tographs ever, Robert Doisneau’s Le Baiser de l’Hotel de Ville.

December 19, 2012
by Jane Sevier

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Week 26

There are the books every­one has heard about: To Kill a Mock­ing­bird, The Hunger Games, Harry Pot­ter. But what about all those books by authors you don’t know about yet? Some of them are trea­sures just wait­ing to be unearthed, and that’s what this blog hop is all about: the books you might not have heard about but that you might end up loving.

This blog hop is like a game of tag. One author posts and tags other authors who link back to her web­site the next week and tag new authors. Fol­low the blog hop long enough, and you’re bound to find some books you’ll love. Maybe you’ll even dis­cover a book that ends up being the next big thing.

Alexa Bourne tagged me. Find out more about her book Silent Sur­ren­der (and her other titles!) on her web­site www.alexabourne.com.

This blog hop includes ten ques­tions to help you learn more about an author’s work in progress, so here’s a bit about my lat­est project:

1: What is the work­ing title of your book?

The Boy from Nowhere

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

When I was draft­ing Fortune’s Fool, the first book in the Psy­chic Socialite series, a scene appeared on the page in which Nell Marc­hand encoun­ters a boy who seems to have been aban­doned out­side a candy store in down­town Mem­phis. The scene didn’t fit that par­tic­u­lar book, but I saved it in my extra words file. The idea per­co­lated at the back of my mind until I was ready to start the third install­ment in the series and decided it was time to find out who that boy was and where he came from.

3: What genre does your book fall under?

It’s his­tor­i­cal mys­tery with strong roman­tic elements.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your char­ac­ters in a movie rendition?

No one seems to quite fit the parts of 1930s Mem­phis socialite Nell Marc­hand and medium Joseph Cal­en­dar. Asa But­ter­field , who played the lead in last year’s “Hugo,” has the right look for the boy, Tom Willis, but he’s older than Tom is in the book.

5: What is the one-sentence syn­op­sis of your book?

I don’t plot much before I write, but I’ll take a shot at it: When Nell Marc­hand takes in an aban­doned boy and helps him search for his mother, she uncov­ers a black-market adop­tion ring and finds her­self ques­tion­ing what fam­ily means.

6: Will your book be inde­pen­dently pub­lished or rep­re­sented by an agency?

I’m an inde­pen­dent author, so it will be inde­pen­dently published.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I can’t answer that because I’m writ­ing it now.

8: What other books would you com­pare this story to within your genre?

When my brother read Fortune’s Fool, he said it reminded him of Deanna Raybourne’s Lady Julia Grey books. I then read the first three in the Lady Julia series and real­ized what a com­pli­ment that was.  Like the other Psy­chic Socialite books, The Boy from Nowhere has that feel.

9: Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Because this book is part of a series, the ques­tion really applies to the whole series. The source of inspi­ra­tion is so fas­ci­nat­ing that I don’t mind repeat­ing how it began. I was at a book­store lis­ten­ing to Louisiana mys­tery writer Deb­o­rah LeBlanc read a scene set in a Voodoo cer­e­mony, and into my head popped, “I won­der what it would be like to sud­denly dis­cover that you have psy­chic pow­ers?” I scrib­bled that in the lit­tle note­book I carry with me for just such flashes of genius, along with “Socialite. Hus­band leaves her penniless.”

10: What else about your book might piqué the reader’s interest?

The Psy­chic Socialite series takes place in 1930s Mem­phis, an unusual com­bi­na­tion of period and set­ting. Mem­phis has always been a par­tic­u­larly col­or­ful place, and the books should appeal to read­ers who enjoy South­ern stories.

I’ve tagged two other Nashville authors who will be join­ing the hop for week 27 on Decem­ber 26th. New York Times best­selling author Jen­nie Bent­ley (http://jenniebentley.blogspot.com/) writes two mys­tery series—DIY  and Cut­throat Busi­ness —as well as romance and sci­ence fic­tion as Jenna Ben­nett. Mike Tucker (http://michaeltuckerauthor.com/) pens his mys­ter­ies and thrillers in a noir style. I hope you’ll visit their blogs next week and learn more about their books. Maybe one of them will become your new favorite author.

December 11, 2012
by Jane Sevier

USA Today picks A Billy Sunday Kind of Love

A few weeks ago, Kathy Alt­man of USA Today’s won­der­ful Happy Ever After blog told me that she planned to rec­om­mend A Billy Sun­day Kind of Love as part of a roundup of his­tor­i­cal nov­els. She asked if I’d like to con­tribute some­thing per­sonal about the writ­ing of the book. Today, Altman’s rec­om­men­da­tions went live on HEA, and I’m trilled that she included Billy Sun­day.

Here’s a sam­ple of the lovely review:

Sevier writes with a sub­tle, wicked humor and a sophis­ti­cated vibrancy that ush­ers the reader right into Depression-era Mem­phis — and Nell’s eccen­tric household.… Rich in South­ern ambiance, evok­ing an aura of men­ace, a tongue-in-cheek humor and a ten­der­ness all at the same time, this sec­ond book in the Psy­chic Socialite series has me des­per­ately hop­ing it won’t take Sevier long to con­jure up the third.”

How cool is that?



November 7, 2012
by Jane Sevier

Release Day for Billy Sunday

The wait is over! It’s release day for A Billy Sun­day Kind of Love, which is avail­able as an ebook for Kin­dle, Kobo, and Nook and  in paper­back. You can also buy it in the UK, Ger­many,  France, Spain, Italy, and Japan. More for­mats com­ing soon.

Won­der­ing what the lat­est install­ment in the Psy­chic Socialite series is about? When a fam­ily friend dis­ap­pears from a magician’s mummy case onstage and turns up dead, reluc­tant psy­chic Nell Marc­hand sets out to unmask the killer. Medium Joseph Cal­en­dar warns her that she’s putting her own life in peril, but she can’t turn her back on the peo­ple count­ing on her. Soon, Nell finds her­self knee-deep in mur­der, mir­a­cles, that old-time reli­gion, and an ancient rivalry or two.

I hope you’ll enjoy Billy Sun­day!

October 10, 2012
by Jane Sevier

All in a Day’s Work

On Octo­ber 16th, I’m the guest author at the annual library fundraiser in the town where I grew up. Just me, up there in front of all those folks. But it’s all in a day’s work for an author, and a reporter from the local paper wrote this nice story about the event. The Friends of the Library tell me there will be a big turnout, which makes me happy because help­ing the library is what it’s really about.

August 23, 2012
by Jane Sevier

The Great Chicken Heart

It’s funny what fright­ens us. This evening, crime fic­tion con­fer­ence Killer Nashville starts here in my city and runs through the week­end, and I’m on my first-ever author pan­els. Although I’m not quite shak­ing in my boots at the prospect, I am a lit­tle ner­vous. OK, more than a lit­tle. I’ve been pon­der­ing my chicken-hearted response. Sure, stud­ies have shown that most peo­ple fear pub­lic speak­ing more than death, but it’s not as though I’ll be alone up there. Sev­eral other authors are on each of my panels.

In my time, I’ve done some pretty daunt­ing things and lived to tell the tale. When USAID first sent me to the field to write about agency projects, I found myself in Bolivia’s infa­mous Cha­pare Val­ley, then one of the world’s major coca-producing regions, inter­view­ing farm­ers about the U.S. crop-substitution pro­gram. My con­trol offi­cer from the La Paz mis­sion (USAID field offices are called mis­sions), the head of the crop pro­gram, and two Sub­ur­bans full of Uzi-toting body­guards accom­pa­nied me, but I was the only female in the group.

In Egypt, I clam­bered all the way to the top of the Great Pyra­mid. Inside. Not an under­tak­ing for the claus­tro­pho­bic. I trav­eled to Guatemala and Sri Lanka when they had active rebel insur­gen­cies. And I ate a ham­burger in Venezuela, which some hours later did prove not to have been at all a good thing.

I’m not say­ing I wasn’t appre­hen­sive each time, but that wasn’t about to stop me. Each time, the task at hand fas­ci­nated me, and I was so com­pletely in flow that worry became a low back­ground hum. I’ve pre­pared for my Killer Nashville pan­els, and after all, they’re about the infor­ma­tion I’ll pro­vide, not about me. So, tomor­row morn­ing on my first panel, I’m hop­ing flow kicks in right away. After all, I couldn’t let fear stop me.

June 8, 2012
by Jane Sevier

RIP, Ray Bradbury

One of the greats of sci­ence fic­tion died this week. In all the remem­brances of Ray Brad­bury posted in the last few days, it was the won­der­ful Anne Lower’s mus­ings over the amaz­ing clas­sic cover of his Illus­trated Man that took me back to my youth.

Ray Bradbury’s The Illus­trated Man


It wasn’t Brad­bury who intro­duced me to sci­ence fic­tion, one of the pas­sions of my young life. That was Edgar Rice Bur­roughs. Much as I loved Brad­bury, he wasn’t my favorite sci­ence fic­tion writer either. That was Isaac Asi­mov, whose Foun­da­tion Tril­ogy I read time and again. But it was Brad­bury I could talk to my brother about. My opposite-of-geek brother who sneered at sci­ence fic­tion and asked me why I “wasted my time with that junk” when I could be read­ing real books. My brother read Bradbury.

Those of us who love genre fic­tion get asked that a lot. Why bother with fantasy-horror-mystery-romance-thriller-scifi-women’s fic­tion when you could be read­ing a clas­sic like Tol­stoy or what­ever the lat­est lit­er­ary dar­ling is? I read those, too. In fact, I read all kinds of books across just about all gen­res of fic­tion and non­fic­tion. What those of us who read genre fic­tion know is just how bril­liant it can be.

I hope kids still study Ray Brad­bury in school and have teach­ers who tell them that it’s all right to read what­ever they want as long as they read. Just read.

I moved my tat­tered paper­backs of The Illus­trated Man, The Mar­t­ian Chron­i­cles, and Asimov’s Foun­da­tion Tril­ogy with me every time until they dis­in­te­grated. Maybe it’s time to visit them all again.

Thank you for the mem­o­ries, Mr. Bradbury.

Ray Brad­bury