ABOUT THE BOOKA bead bazaar turns bizarre when jewelry designer and glass beadmaker Jax O’Connell discovers a dead body beneath her sales table. Suspected of murder, Jax and her friend Tessa scramble to find the killer among the fanatic shoppers and eccentric vendors. They have their hands full dealing with a scumbag show promoter, hipsters in love, and a security guard who wants to do more than protect Jax from harm. Adding to the chaos, Jax’s quirky neighbor Val arrives unexpectedly with trouble in tow. Can Jax untangle the clues before she’s arrested for murder?
INTERVIEW WITH JANICE PEACOCK
Janice, how did you get started writing?
Several years ago, I took a class at the Corning Glass Studio in upstate New York. You may recognize the name Corning — it’s the manufacturer of Pyrex glass baking dishes and measuring cups. While working in the studio, I had an epiphany — the perfect way to kill someone! And while I didn’t have plans to murder anyone in particular, I decided that I wanted to write a murder mystery. As happens in life, it took me a few years before I sat down to write the story, but finally I did in November of 2011, during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). During that month, you make a commitment to write 50,000 words. As I wrote, I realized how much I enjoyed the process and went on to revise the story so that I could self-publish it. I added to the plot and subtracted a great deal of rubbish that I wrote during my month-long sprint to write a book. As I wrote, I imagined other adventures for my main character, Jax, and her friends, so I decided to keep writing. I now have two published novels and a short story.
What have you recently completed and what are you working on now?
I just completed a free (on Amazon and iTunes) short story that has been released in time for Valentine’s Day. It’s called "Be Still My Beading Heart." It was fantastic writing something short and fun without having to worry about all the complexities of a full length novel. I’m working on book three in the Glass Bead Mystery Series now, it’s called Off the Beadin’ Path. It’s in pretty rough shape right now, but I’m sure once my editor gets ahold of it, she’ll whip it into shape. I’m really looking forward to making more progress on that book. It’s been on hold while Booktrope re-released High Strung, and published A Bead in the Hand.
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?
Once when I was on a trip to Thailand, I found some money on the street. Thai money is a little hard to decipher, and I didn’t look carefully at the bill. I went to a café and tried to use the money to pay for lunch. The cashier told me “No, no, no,” and pushed the cash back to me. And that’s when I realized: I was trying to pay with pretend money — there was a picture of cartoon character on the bill! It was very embarrassing. Fortunately, I had real money in my wallet so that I could pay for my meal.
What’s your favorite Internet Site?
Other than Facebook, I’d say my favorite site is eBay. I’m a collector of vintage glass fruit jewelry. I know this is a very unusual thing to collect, but I love these necklaces because they are made from the same Italian glass that I use to make beads. And, the vintage pieces are from Venice, one my favorite places in the world, other than San Francisco, where I live. The jewelry pieces were made in the 1930s and 1940s and they simply aren’t manufactured anymore. I have a Pinterest board of full of them.
Do you have any tips you could pass on to indie authors?
When I originally self-published High Strung, A Glass Bead Mystery in 2014, I had in mind a strategy in which I would self-publish my book, then when it was popular and well-rated I’d take it to an agent who would help me find a traditional publishing house. What I found out the hard way was that most publishers do not want to re-publish already self-published books, and do not want to publish a series starting with the second book. Fortunately, I was able to find a publisher, Booktrope, that was willing to publish my series even though the first book had been originally self-published. The best advice I can give is that if you choose to self-publish a book, you must make a commitment to that title as self-published for the long term.
What’s your favorite beverage?
That depends on the time of day. If it’s any time before noon then that’s a non-fat latte. I usually have one about ten o’clock every day. If I’m out and about it is pretty much a requirement for me to get one at our local Peet’s Coffee. I’m not much of a fan of Starbucks, but it will do in a pinch if I ask the barista to put an extra shot of espresso in the cup. Any time after noon — okay usually not until after four o’clock — I absolutely love a glass of red wine. We make our own wine, so we always have some on hand. In fact, we have a ridiculous number of bottles stored in our hall closet. We need a wine cellar, but I don’t think that will be happening any time soon. I especially love having a glass of wine on my back deck while my fire pit blazes and my friends and husband sit with me talking, laughing, and listening to music.
What your biggest pet peeve about writing?
My biggest pet peeve is that I can’t see my own typos. I’m a notorious typo-ist. I can see the easy ones, like the ones that spellcheck finds. But the ones that spellcheck can’t find, like missing words or small substitutions such as using in when I mean it, I simply cannot see them. I have an awesome proofreader who finds all of these problems. And in a strange twist of fate, I’m terrific at finding typos in other writers’ work, just not in my own. It’s such a weird form of blindness that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to cure.
Do you procrastinate?
Let me get back to you on that. Just kidding . . . yes, I do procrastinate. I like to make elaborate to-do lists, adding even the simplest tasks — sometimes I even add tasks that I’ve almost completed so that I can cross them off my list. It feels good to cross easy things off the list. The most important tasks, which are often the most difficult, are left languishing on my list. I eventually buckle down and get my tasks done, but oftentimes I am sliding in at the eleventh hour.
Do you have any secret talents?
I worked in the broadcasting industry for quite a while as a rock disc jockey. I loved it. It was so much fun playing records on the radio (yes, way back in the day when there were vinyl records). I got to interview bands, and the very first band I ever interviewed was the Ramones. I was absolutely petrified climbing into their tour bus with my tape recorder, but I survived! Because of my radio experience, I’m very tempted to spend some time and record my novels as audio books. But, first I’d have to find the time!
What five things would you never want to live without?
I’ll avoid the obvious ones: laptop, car, chocolate, cell phone. Here goes: dental floss (I have high-maintenance teeth), fleece socks (I can’t sleep if my feet are cold), espresso machine (mine was broken for a period of time and those were dark days), prescription glasses (I refuse to go through life as Monet did: half-blind and painting blurry pictures), light bulbs (because lamps don’t work without them).
Do you have any secret talents?
Some people may know this since I write books about a glass beadmakers. But, just in case — I’m a glass beadmaker. I use a 2,000 degree torch to melt glass that I sculpt into multicolored glass beads. I started making beads in 1992, and I absolutely love it even after all this time. When I’m writing, I use a different part of my brain than when I’m working with glass. I love going to my studio and getting my hands on real objects and making things that require a wordless part of my brain, allowing me to think about — to feel — colors, patterns, movement.
ABOUT THE AUTHORJanice Peacock decided to write her first mystery novel after working in a glass studio full of colorful artists who didn’t always get along. They reminded her of the odd, and often humorous, characters in the murder mystery books she loved to read. Inspired by that experience, she combined her two passions and wrote High Strung: A Glass Bead Mystery, the first book in a new cozy mystery series featuring glass beadmaker Jax O’Connell.
When Janice Peacock isn’t writing about glass artists who are amateur detectives, she makes glass beads using a torch, designs one-of-a-kind jewelry, and makes sculptures using hot glass. An award-winning artist, her work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of several museums. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, three cats, and seven chickens. She has a studio full of beads . . . lots and lots of beads.
High Strung, the first book in the Glass Bead Mystery Series, will be 99 cents from February 7th through 11th and $1.99 from February 12th through 15th. Be Still My Beading Heart, A Glass Bead Mini-Mystery short story is free on Amazon and iTunes. A Bead in the Hand is available for the discounted price of $2.99 through February 15th.
Connect with Janice:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads
Buy the book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble