Friday, December 7, 2012

Mystery We Write Tour ~ Jean Henry Mead








Unusual Novel settings by Jean Henry Mead

Thanks for the invitation to visit your site today, Madison.

Selecting your novel's setting is important because it not only adds color to the plot, it serves as a secondary character. People against nature have created countless adventures, from Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea to Jack London's story, "To Build a Fire." Stranding someone in the middle of the Sahara Desert is far more intriguing than having a car stolen from a city street, so settings should be considered carefully.

My amateur sleuths travel in a motorhome around the West and the setting changes with each book. Although Dana Logan and Sarah Cafferty began solving murders in their California retirement village, Dana inherited her sister’s mansion in Wyoming, so the settings change considerably. Both 60-year-old widows are feisty and determined to get to the bottom of each mystery they encounter no matter their surroundings. In Diary of Murder, Logan and Cafferty are forced to drive through a Rocky Mountain blizzard in their motorhome, an experience I'd had years earlier. In Murder on the Interstate, they're caught in Arizona’s torrential rain when they discover the body of a young woman in her Mercedes convertible.

In my fourth and most recent novel, Gray Wolf Mountain, the setting is Wyoming’s Laramie Mountains, an area I know well because I live there. I also set a children’s mystery, Ghost of Crimson Dawn, on our ranch for the Hamilton Kids’ mystery series. The mountains provide countless possibilities for murder and is the backdrop for a mystery which includes the unwarranted killings of wolves by trigger-happy hunters. I researched the problem in Wyoming, and was shocked to learn that the situation exists in other states as well as Canada. The wolves are shot en masse from helicopters in the Yukon to increase the Caribou herd to 100,000, solely for the benefit of big game hunters. The Yukon is a setting that few writers have ventured to write about, with the notable exception of Jack London.

My themes usually encompass social problems and I incorporate humor and a little romance to prevent the storyline from becoming dreary. By setting each plot in an unusual area, the plot hopefully enhances reader awareness and interest by educating as well as entertaining.

Gray Wolf Mountain is available in print and on Kindle. A copy will be given away December 11 to a visitor who leaves a comment at my various blog tour stops.


Bio: Jean Henry Mead is the author of 18 books, nearly half of them novels which include the Logan and Cafferty mystery/suspense series, Hamilton Kids’ mysteries, books of interviews and western history, one of which served as a college textbook. She’s also a national award-winning photojournalist published domestically as well as abroad. Among her other positions, she served as news, magazine and small press editor.

18 comments:

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thanks for hosting me here today, Madison.

WS Gager said...

Jean: I would love to travel via motor home. It would lend itself to all kinds of settings, I wouldn't be able to write fast enough.
Wendy
W.S. Gager on Writing

Madison Johns said...

I"m happy to have you here Jean!

M.M. Gornell said...

Yes, I too think traveling in a motorhome would be a lot of fun and offer endless stories! Always great hearing from you Jean.

Madeline

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Great post, Jean. I love that you incorporate motor home travel in to these books. I've done a little of this kind of traveling with my daughter and her husband, and loved it.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Wendy, we traded our motorhome for a 36 ft. fifth wheel trailer with all the amenities. Much better for snowbirding, but motorhomes are better for traveling.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Madeline, my next Logan & Cafferty novel is set in an RV resort where there are endless possibilites for Dana and Logan to find bodies. I'm having fun writing MURDERS IN PARADISE.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Marilyn,

It's a lot more fun now that I'm not driving the motorhome. I can now write as we travel with my laptop by teethering with my smart phone. I love the electronic innovatons that have evolved since we bought our first RV in 1989.

Jake said...

RV travel sounds like a great deal of fun. New electronics certainly give one more freedom to follow the yellow brick road. Looking forward to your next book.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thank you, Jake. I like your "yellow brick road" and all the fictional characters to be found along the way. :)

john M. Daniel said...

Jean, you're so right about the setting becoming a character in the novel. It may be that environment affects the protagonist's point of view, or it may be that the main character's viewpoint has an effect on the perceived environment. Probably both. But certainly action and people develop best in the petri dish of a well-shown atmosphere.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Well said, John. Thanks for stopping by.

joye said...

Enjoyed reading the comments. As a high school student, I loved reading Jack London books.
Your book sounds really good.
JWIsley(at)aol(dot)com

marja said...

Sometimes setting is almost more important than characters. Wonderful post, Jean.
Marja McGraw

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thanks for the kind words, Joye.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thanks, Marja. I agree that setting can be nearly as important as characters.

Collin Kelley said...

I've always thought traveling in an RV around the country would be fun.

Jean Henry Mead said...

It is fun, Collin. You should try it. :)