This week, we sat down with Sue Ann Jaffarian, author of the popular Odelia Grey Mystery series. Her latest, Hell on Wheels, was released last month.
Sue Ann Jaffarian: Steadily for about 18 years.
MI: What influence have other authors had on your writing?
SAJ: I learn so much from reading other authors’ works—both good and bad, but the most significant influence came from the first book I read by the late Anne George. It really turned me on to writing murder and mayhem with a good dose of humor.
MI: If you have a job outside of writing, what is it?
SAJ: I am a corporate paralegal for a well-known national health care law firm.
MI: What is/are your favorite thing/s to do when you’re not writing or working?SAJ: Spending time with friends and going to the theatre, exhibits, restaurants, and travelling.
MI: Who is your favorite mystery sleuth and why?
SAJ: Hard to pick just one. I have to say that Easy Rawlins and Harry Bosch top the list. I love how each are so well written with so many complicated layers and contradictions.
MI: Do you have a favorite murder case from a book (either yours or another author’s)?
SAJ: I do and it’s from one of my books, Corpse On The Cob. In that book Odelia Grey stumbles across her long-lost mother while dear old Mom is hunched over a dead body. It’s a favorite because it added another dimension to Odelia’s character and opened the way for later books.
MI: What was your inspiration for the Odelia Grey mysteries?
SAJ: The old “what if?” question inspired that series. What if an ordinary but quirky woman finds herself constantly stumbling across dead people. Many other inspirations come from my life as a middle-aged, plus size paralegal, who, thankfully, does NOT find dead bodies.
MI: Tell us about Odelia Grey!
SAJ: As mentioned above, she’s middle-aged, plus size and works as a paralegal in a law firm. She doesn’t see the world through rose-colored glasses, but rather through Groucho Marx glasses, which makes her quirky, quick-witted, and quick-tongued. She’s smart, but doesn’t always behave as such. She’s also married to Greg Stevens, a successful business owner who is also a paraplegic.
|B and Raffi|
MI: How does this series compare to your other works?
SAJ: It’s written in first person, for one thing. It’s also closer to the main character because of it. Readers are treated to what’s going on in Odelia’s head all the time. Also, it’s less of a “cozy” than my Ghost of Granny Apples novels in that Odelia is often faced with more violence and adult themes in her adventures, but without being hard-boiled.
MI: Do you have a pet? Tell us about him/her.
SAJ: I have two senior citizen cats, B and Raffi. Raffi is the boss of the house, a male with a definite point of view and demands. B is a fat and fluffy Norwegian Forest Cat with a very sweet disposition.
MI: What food could you live off of for the rest of your life?
SAJ: Pasta with a basil marinara sauce.
MI: Do you have a favorite recipe?
SAJ: Not really. I recently started leaning toward a vegan diet and have been cooking up a storm, but nothing that really stands out.
MI: What is your favorite part about being an Inker?
SAJ: Receiving royalty checks.
Hell on Wheels is available online and in bookstores now!