So, today is a first for me. I usually spotlight romance writers when I do an author interview, but today I’ve got a treat. JOCELYN PEDERSEN is a Wild Rose Press sistah, but she writes mysteries and thrillers. So cool! She agreed to let me interview her recently and I had so much fun listening to her answers. Sit back and meet this fascinating author.
Jocelyn, The Writer
1. What drives you to write?
The love of writing. I’ve always written. When I was a kid I’d write letters to my aunties, I’d write stories and poems, and I’d write absolutely everything down. I’m a geek—the feel of ink being placed on paper is a bit of a thrill—I’m even picky about the pens I use because if they don’t have a certain feel when I use them on paper, I don’t like them.
2. What genre(s) do your write, and why?
I write mysteries and thrillers because I love a good puzzle. I adore using my mind to try to figure out a mystery before the end of a book and I make a mental note of how early in the book I figure it out. The best stories are the ones I can’t figure out because they have a twisty ending. In addition, I like the forensic element in solving the crime. I took a class called Forensics for Writers and found it to be very interesting. I think I would have made a good detective!
3. What genre(s) do you read, and why?
I like crime novels, mostly. I enjoy the police work, the sleuthing, and the forensics—again, because I like a good challenge with a great puzzle. I don’t mind some descriptive scenes that get a little gory, but I don’t like too much because readers want more and more of that and I don’t want to go that far into the dark cave.
4. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday?
I absolutely write every day of my life. I prefer to write in the morning before I get busy with my day. If I don’t write something, I feel like something is missing. I’m a journalist, too, so I track down stories and write freelance for several local and regional publications. I teach writing at the University of Oklahoma. As for novel writing, my brain never stops. I write in my head, I write snippets on my phone or on restaurant napkins, and on scraps of paper. When characters won’t leave me alone and they talk to me all the time, I know it’s time to get busy and sit at the computer. So, for me, writing is a huge part of my life and therefore I do it every single day.
5. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?
I have an old, wooden office desk in my den that I picked up at a used furniture store. On it I have two large monitors sitting side by side. Regardless of what I’m writing, I like to have notes on one screen, the project I’m working on another screen, and an Internet browser open on another part of a screen. If I run out of room, I launch the screen on my computer and have something open on that screen too. I think I like to see things laid out next to each other in this way because I grew up with books, not windows on screens. I can glance from here to there and have everything I need at my fingertips. I invested in a good chair, too, because I sit and write so much. Good ergonomic posture is imperative when writing as much as I do. I also have a split, ergonomic keyboard. I love it. In fact, I’ve used it so much, the letters are worn off the keys! The bonus side of that is that most folks can’t use a keyboard without letters, so visitors don’t want to use my computer to check their email. It’s kind of funny.
6. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnel-vision?
Total quiet. When I write, I am not “here,” I’m in the story.
7. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?
I’m in awe of folks who can listen to music while writing. If I listen to music, I find myself typing the lyrics rather than my story. Sometimes, when the weather is nice, I’ll take my laptop outside and sit on my back patio to write. I love the ambient sounds of my backyard fountain and the birds chirping.
8. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?
Since my current WIP is Book 2 of the Izzy O Crime Files, I’m using some of the same characters. I’m adding new characters, of course, and since I love animals, I’m adding police dogs. I am a graduate of the Norman Citizens Police Academy, where I learned quite a bit about police procedure and police dogs. I have been a professional dog trainer, so adding dogs will be fun. In addition, I took up Olympic-style weightlifting in the fall of 2018 to help me cut time off of my swim (I regularly swim 1/2 to a full mile). So, I’ve decided that in addition to adding dogs to my WIP, I’m going to have one of my characters take up weightlifting.
9. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?
I think plot comes first. Once I have an idea for a plot, the characters emerge and start filling in the story. I start with “what if?” and go on from there. Many of my characters are named for people I know and those who know me well know that some scenes have really happened in my life.
10. What 3 words describe you, the writer?
Driven. Creative. Perseverant.
Jocelyn, The Gal…
- Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!
As I mentioned, I took up Olympic-style weightlifting less than a year ago. When I had been lifting for only a month, my lifting coach, the incredible Bob White, Jr. (who is the big brother I never had and always wanted), told me the team would be going to a weightlifting meet—when I picked my jaw up off the floor, I agreed. At that meet, I won gold in my division and the Best Master Woman lifter award. Since then, I’ve won three more gold medals, I’ve earned my coaching license, and I’m headed to the national meet in November. I’m very proud of going from never having seen a barbell to making nationals in seven months. Who knew I was any good at this!? Certainly not me.
2. Who was your first love and what age were you?
I was 12 years old—we had moved from my native Canada to Singapore—where I met Niccolai Murphy. I was smitten. We played bridge at lunchtime with friends and he taught me to make and fly model airplanes. We had a blast running around together flying airplanes and eating all manner of weird delicacies from street vendors—never asking what was in it. I still keep in touch with him and his lovely wife, Pat Hlavin. When my son, Al, became interested in flying at age 12, I took him to California to meet Nicco who, along with his friend, Frank Britton, took Al up and taught him to do loop-de-loops, and barrel rolls. They even had a mock dogfight. Al recently got his private pilot’s license. You don’t have many friends like Nicco in a lifetime.
3. If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….
August 23, 2017. Adams Hall, Rm 311 at 10:30 a.m. A student in my class, Michael Jackson, walked into the room. Of course, since it was the first week of class, I knew absolutely no one, but when he walked in I said to myself, “That’s Michael Jackson.” It was like I knew him from somewhere, but we’d never met. That man was, in fact, Michael Jackson, and after the semester was over we, like many of my students, had a cup of coffee. We are now best friends and are planning to go into business together. Age is a number. Who cares how old friends are?
4.If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be?
Concealer. Acne has not been my friend…
5.What three words describe you, the person?
Loyal. Giving. Loving.
6. If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be?
Imagine Dragons’ Machine. It isn’t terribly funny, but it speaks to my fierce independence.
6. If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it be, why, and what would you do together?
Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, because he stood up for the underdog. He stood up for what he believed in and knew was right. He showed love, compassion and empathy. If we could spend time together, I’d want to have a tall glass of tea on his front porch and ask him what makes him tick and discuss the courage it took to stand up for himself and Tom Robinson.
I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:
- Favorite sound Waves crashing on the strand.
- Least favorite sound High-pitched squealing.
- Best song ever written So many! I’m a singer, so this is hard… If I had to narrow it down, The Rose would be at the top.
- Worst song ever written This is the Song That Never Ends
- Favorite actor and actress Morgan Freeman and Susan Sarandon
- Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) Mother Teresa because she showed incredible compassion, empathy, and love toward others.
- What turns you on? Caring.
- What turns you off? Meanness.
- Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) Are your boobs real?
- What’s your version of a perfect day? Going to a beach and doing something active!
And now, here’s a peak at An EYE FOR AN EYE
Rookie detective Izzy O’Donnell is on the trail of a serial killer who’s murdering victims and leaving behind body parts wrapped in Bible verses. Izzy tracks him down with the help of her two partners—a very enigmatic Moreno and a rather grumpy Cal—her injured dad’s former partner.
Meanwhile, her wacky sidekick, Apple MacIntosh, totes a pet rabbit around in a baby sling, insisting he’s telepathic and can smell death on Izzy’s clothes. Unnerved by unexplained dreams, Izzy forges forth to solve the case. A homeless man, a philandering televangelist, and a mentally challenged gardener are among the suspects who distract Izzy from seeing the killer, who has been getting to know her all along.
Moreno hung up the phone and walked past Izzy, purposely brushing her elbow with his. Startled, she jumped and looked at him.
“You hangin’ in?” he said.
“Guess I’m a little shell shocked.”
They crossed the room and met Cal at the fireplace. He was bent over, examining the body.
“Cal, Moreno, you’d better take a look at this,” said one of the techies. He motioned them over to the blood-soaked couch.
Izzy hadn’t been called over, so she stayed at the fireplace. The scene was gruesome, and the stench wafted up her nose. She gingerly touched the body with a stainless-steel probe. It crunched. She steadied her queasies and took a deep breath. Get back on task.
She scrutinized the area, searching for fibers and trace evidence. When she picked up the fireplace poker that lay nearby, a blood-soaked packet tumbled off the hearth and plopped on the carpet. Izzy glanced around to see if anyone else had noticed. When she realized she was the sole recipient of this piece of evidence, heart skipped a beat. This could be her first break – her way to show those seasoned guys that this newbie knew her stuff.
Get AN EYE FOR AN EYE here:
A little more about Jocelyn:
Jocelyn Pedersen is an award-winning, AP-published, professional journalist with hundreds of published clips in various newspapers and magazines. A lover of the mystery and thriller, she eats popcorn while watching documentaries about serial killers and huddles under blankets on the couch while watching Criminal Minds with her friends and family.
Jocelyn is a gold medal-winning power-lifter breaking records every month. She works with Bob White of Team Metro in Norman, Oklahoma.
She enjoys her kids, the beach, teaching writing at the University of Oklahoma, and being a former sheep farmer, considers herself a sheepie slipper aficionado. She has more animals than brains and wouldn’t have it any other way.
You can connect with Jocelyn here:
Jocelyn, thanks so much for visiting me today!!! ~Peg