Title: The Five Santas
Series: The Oncomin' Storm Series Bk1
Author: Jay Mims
Genre: Cosy, Mystery, Detective
Release Date: 2011
BLURB supplied by Girls Heart Books
Dan Landis is a private investigator who makes his living peeping in windows and taking compromising photos to make a quick buck. But, even adultery has an off-season, and to make some quick cash, Dan’s been hired by a department store to work as a loss prevention agent.
Then he finds Santa stuffed behind a dumpster. One Santa leads to another, and before he knows it, Dan’s up to his sugar plums in murder, intrigue and holiday cheer. It’s up to Dan to save Christmas, find the Kringle Killer and choose the perfect gift for the quirky blonde in his life.
Title: The Cult of Koo Kway
Series: The Oncoming Storm’ Series Bk2
Author: Jay Mims
Genre: Mystery, Detective, Cozy
BLURB supplied by Girls Heart Book Tours
When Dan Landis wakes up handcuffed and threatened by a colander wielding high-heeled beauty, he knows it’s Tuesday. And when a hapless blonde is in danger of being mugged, his best friend shows up poisoned in his kitchen, and his sister wants him to track down a cowboy named Tex, Dan knows he’s in trouble.
Dan and his faithful sidekick Abbey return for this new mystery, as college professors keep disappearing, students end up poisoned, and someone keeps trying to kill Dan. And all signs point to an obscure film called The Cult of Koo Kway. As the clock ticks, Abbey and Dan must work together to save the day.
Title: The Gray Ghost Inn
Series: The Oncoming Storm’ Series Bk3
Author: Jay Mims
Genre: Mystery, Detective, Cozy
BLURB supplied by Girls Heart Books Tours
Dan Landis had a simple plan. Drive to a quaint bed and breakfast, spend New Year’s with his best friend Doc, and enjoy a much-needed vacation. Except, he didn’t account for everyone’s favorite klutzy genius Abbey.
Now there’s a body in the library, snow all around, and a mansion full of suspects. Dan must call on his best detective skills, and his worst Hercule Poirot impersonation, to solve this latest mystery. However, the awful truth looms overhead everyone, whatever the answer, nothing will ever be the same.
Title: Racing the Storm
Series: The Oncoming Storm’ Series Bk4
Author: Jay Mims
Genre: Mystery, Adventure, Detective, Cozy
BLURB supplied by Girls Heart Books Tours
The storm is here. Dan Landis, private investigator, has been hired by his defense attorney sister to do the impossible. In order to create a miracle, Dan must call on his friends and family, endangering them and putting a target on his own back.
Dan is on the run, his home is in flames, and the bad guys have murder on their minds. The skys reddened in The Five Santas, the clouds began to darken in Cult of Koo Kway, and the thunder rumbled in The Gray Ghost Inn. At last, the storm is here. And everything is about to change.
What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
I’m Jay Mims, I’m originally from South Carolina, and currently live about two miles past nowhere. Also called South Carolina.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
That’s a great question. I’ve always loved writing, honestly. I’ve always loved entertaining people with stories, and building characters. I’m an entertainer at heart. If I couldn’t be a writer, I would gladly be an actor, and I think it’s that acting and character creation that is one of my strengths as a writer.
When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
It was probably the first time I got a short story published, and that was when I knew writing was something I could do. It wasn’t until the first book that I started introducing myself as a writer.
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
It really did. Writing is a process, and writing is re-writing. I started writing my first book in 2009, and it would be another two years before I would see the book published.
Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
Absolutely. I think the goal of any professional writer is to be able to make a living. For now, I work as a teacher in order to pay the bills. I’m fortunate to be able to work in two great passions: teaching and writing.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
The latest book Racing the Storm has Private Investigator Dan Landis running for his life to save his sister.
Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I’m fortunate to have a fantastic publisher Staccato Publishing.
Do you have a "lucky charm" or "lucky routine" you follow when waiting for your book to be accepted by a publisher?
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
My books take about a year to write. I’ve got the ideas for 13 books in the Dan Landis mystery series, so I’m fortunate to be able to have the ideas ready to go.
Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
The easiest book, The Five Santas, was the first book published, though not the first book I wrote. The ideas that became Cult of Koo Kway, my second book, were the first things I put together as a writer. The most difficult book to write was the Bed and Breakfast mystery The Gray Ghost Inn, my third book.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I’d like to write more mystery books with the character of Dan landis. I’d also like to write different genres at some point.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
The book that’s out now is the fourth book in the Dan Landis mystery series, what I am calling “The Oncoming Storm” set. I’d like to start a new chapter in the series with my next book The Rose Bandit in 2015.
What genre would you place your books into?
My books are very firmly placed in the genre of mystery, specifically cozy mysteries.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I’ve always been a fan of mysteries, especially in TV. I always thought my lead, Dan Landis, was the love child of Thomas Magnum and Remington Steele.
Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
I really love all the books, though before finishing Racing the Storm, I’d have said The Five Santas was my favorite. But, Storm is de3finitely the best written of the books.
Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
People have told me that Dan is the most like me. However, my favorite character would be Abbey, Dan’s partner. She’s just so emotionally honest, intelligent and sincere. I love that in a character.
If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
I would probably be the police detective Gary Jones. He’s the stoic, reliable and well-respected investigator who acts as a father figure and mentor to Dan. I’d love to be him. It also helps that he’s married to a successful lawyer, and has a loving relationship.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing for most of my life. For me, the inspiration has been my parents, who are both creative types but in different areas. I really appreciate how much love and support they’ve given me.
Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
Ideas tend to come from anywhere. The idea for The Five Santas came from the concept of ‘What if Dan worked at a department store?”
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I love listening to music while I write. Depending on the scene, I’ll choose music of a specific genre. I like mood music.
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them? ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
I do try to have a small circle of friends read my work. Fortunately, I’m getting to the point where I at least know enough about writing that my poor beta readers aren’t tortured.
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
I have worked with review sites looking for beta readers, and when possible, do try to create contests and offer readers a chance to look at the books.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I’m of two minds when it comes to reviews. 1) Criticism is not critique of me as a person. 2) It’s personal opinion. 3) You should always try to learn from others. I do usually read reviews, but only in order to gauge whether or not something works.
What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
I don’t know if I have had my toughest review yet. However, the best review was when fellow author Donna Milward called Abbey “Bubble-puppy”. That was my favorite.
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
Never! I always ask people to be honest in their review. If someone doesn’t like something, wants to offer constructive criticism or has a negative experience, then it’s on me to try to improve.
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
Staccato Publishing has designed my covers. However, I do try to offer suggestions for my covers.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
With some books, I definitely chose the title. However, it’s also just as likely for me to write the book out and base the title on something from the book.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
It depends. Dan Landis was a combination of a favorite male name, Daniel, along with one of my favorite directors, John Landis. With other people, it just comes from either the character, as in Gary Jones (the most reliable name I could think of) or something based in real life like Bernice Agnes “Abbey” Smith. I have a friend whose name is Johnny Ann, but everyone calls her A.J. Why? No idea. So, I thought a character named B.A. calling herself A.B. or Abbey, just amused me.
Are character names and place names decided after there creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
Dan was always Dan. Some characters, such as Maggie, Dan’s fprmer partner, change names over time. Even Abbey had her name changed from Goldstein to Smith.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
Character traits are always based on the flow of the story and the characters themselves. It’s rare that I find myself grafting character traits on, but rather learn about them as I go.
Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I try to go in with a clear idea of the general plot. Like the beginning and ending are usually pretty specific. However, I do try to let the story flow as well.
How do you market/promote your books?
I try to market my books based on the target audience, which is fans of mysteries. I’ve tried to make audience engagement the highest priority of book promotion.
What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
I think the biggest factor in a book being really good is that it connects with an audience. It speaks to them. It makes you FEEL. I’m not sure what makes a book a “best-seller” beyond people wanting to buy a book.
Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
I always tell people the best way to avoid “writer’s block” is to do something else. Don’t focus on what you can’t do. Focus on what is available to do AT THIS MOMENT.
What do you do to unwind and relax?Do you have a hobby?
I have several hobbies. I love photography, filmmaking, acting. I try to draw when I can.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
I try not to base characters directly on people, but I have been known to co-opt people’s names and personalities. However, no one is based in real life on people.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
I don’t think there are hidden morals or messages. My books are very much about relationships and family, finding out who you are as defined by the people around you.
Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
Stephen King and Ernest Hemingway are huge influences on my writing style.
Which format of book do you prefer, ebook,hardback, or paperback?
I love paperback. I’m a big fan of that physical reading experience. Paperbacks are also so simple and light.
What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
It’s hard to pinpoint a specific book as my all time favorite. I’ve probably read Lord of the Rings too many times to count.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
I thin it’s very possible to transfer books to movies. The key is understanding the medium and what works. Jurassic Park, Where The Wild Things Are and Shawshank Redemption are all great adaptions. I think there have been bad adaptations, but there have been bad movies as well.
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I’m currently working on my PhD. so most of my reading is related to academics. I wouldn’t say I’m enjoying it. It’s a combination of paperback and e-books.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
Not really. I think that printed books have certain advantages, but e-books also have advantages.
Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
I think children are coddled and protected far too much, and I think they should be encouraged to read more and to read dangerously. I also wish more folks would write imaginatively and creatively.
Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
I was always the kid in the back of the room reading a book. It’s funny, because now as a teacher, my students are always on their phones. I do wonder if they are reading anything meaningful on them.
Did you have a favourite author as a child?
I loved Roald Dahl as a child. In fact, I still do. I love his writing style and his characters.
Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
Probably one of my most treasured books is A Porcupine Named Fluffy. Absolutely loved that book.
Do you have a favourite genre of book?
I love just about anything. I read a lot of mysteries, but also love thrillers, biographies and especially sci-fi.
Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
I tried reading the Twilight books, but just couldn’t finish the first one. I know they’re popular, just not my thing.
Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
Well, I hope you’ll watch out for me. Additionally, Donna Milward, H.K. Savage, T.M. Smith are all good friends and talented authors.
Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
I feel like the flashbacks in Cult of Koo Kway was too confusing for readers. If I could change anything, I would tweak that.
What do you think about book trailers?
Love them. When done well, I think they can be a fun addition to marketing.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Just keep writing. The most important thing is to write.
Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
I do use a pen name Jay Mims. It’s short, sweet, and to the point.
If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin and Stephen King would be a blast to hang out with.
Where can readers follow you?
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/jay-mims