J. Kent Holloway
I'm happy to introduce today's featured author on our blog, Jessica Brimer. Like those who read this blog, I am often discovering new authors for the first time and am always charmed and intrigued by what they have to offer. Jessica is no different. After spending some time talking with her about her mystery series, The Messy Bookshop, I can tell you that I've definitely added it to my ever-growing to-be-read pile.
Before we get to the interview portion of my post, let me begin by sharing her bio with all of you:
Jessica Brimer is a Tennessee native who spends most of her time writing and far more time browsing the bookshelves at her local library. Growing up Jessica was fascinated with the mystery genre, which sparked her desire to write them. If she isn't spending time with her two kids and husband, you can almost always find her dabbling with essential oils while reading something mysterious.
With introductions properly conducted, I'm excited to get onto the good stuff. Let's have a chat with Jessica and see what she has to tell us about her books, writing, reading, and everything in between!
For those unfamiliar with you and your books, take a little time to tell us about your series.
A Messy Bookshop Mysteries series follows Garnet Stone and is set in East Tennessee. The stories revolve around the day-to-day activities of maintaining a messy, used bookstore with a sprinkle of murders throughout.
Who are some characters our readers can expect to meet in your books?
Garnet Stone grew up in a law enforcement family and works hard to tidy the used bookstore. She’s accompanied by two cats and of course, her boss, Jane Jackson. Where Garnet is more organized, Jane is well…not. The women form a friendship after solving a murder and remodeling the bookstore, renaming it to Bind Me Again. As their friendship grows, they learn how to maintain Bind Me Again into a cozy, organized mess.
What can people expect when they read them?
I try to give readers a fun escape from reality by writing about fun characters with honorable qualities, and a laugh or two while they solve a homicide. Or two. Basically the series involves light-hearted murder mysteries.
What makes an Jessica Brimer book a Jessica Brimer book?
Isn’t that a mystery? Lol.
Your newest book in the Messy Bookshop Mysteries is Book High and Low. You’ve already told us about the series in general. Now tell us a little bit about the new book.
In Sevier Oak, Tennessee, Bind Me Again has reopened. Garnet Stone had hoped the remodel would improve the used bookstore’s tidiness, but her boss Jane is proving to be as messy as the previous owner. Garnet has little time to worry about the overcrowded shelves because she and Jane find a missing woman’s death certificate tucked inside a book. Before they could confront the suspicious Jacob Rome, someone murders him behind Bind Me Again. Garnet and Jane take it upon themselves to save the bookshop’s reputation- and, of course, to satisfy their curiosity.
Who are some of your favorite authors/books? How have they influenced you as a writer of mysteries?
There are so many authors to choose from. The authors who really spoke to me in the cozy genre are Vicki Delany and Julie Anne Lindsey. I love all their books. These women have a way of bringing out the characters, and villains too. The way they describe the setting is wonderful. I can always picture the scene vividly and hope to be half as good a writer.
Tell us a little about your journey as a mystery writer. Have you always wanted to write mysteries or is that something that sort of developed over time? What attracted you to mysteries to begin with?
First, writing mysteries had developed over time. When I first got serious about writing, I wrote fantasy but bottom line, mystery is my favorite genre. I enjoyed writing them more than fantasy which steered me towards my preference today. I’ve always tried to figure out the puzzle before the big reveal. In my college days, I worked at a christian bookstore. I loved working there and yes, part of my check went towards books. While outlining A Binding Chance, I knew my protagonist had to work at a bookshop. For inspiration, I Googled pictures of bookstores and came across a picture of Flourish and Blotts, the bookstore in the Harry Potter series. I loved the stacks of books and the slight mess, and it hit me that I could write about a messy used bookstore.
As mentioned earlier, you just released a new book. Something I’m always curious about is: how do you celebrate when you finish/publish a new book?
It varies with my mood. One time I bought myself a book (not mine, another cozy mystery) while another I drank a Bacardi mojito.
Do you take some time off or do you jump right into the next one?
I jump right into the next project. It takes me weeks, if not a month, to plan and outline my novel. I feel like I’m always plotting…in a good way.
Finally, if you could offer just one piece of advice for aspiring writers, what would it be?
Don't give up! Writers struggle with writing, published ones included. So many times I wanted to throw in the towel and considered doing something else with my life. Writing isn't a normal job and not a fast money maker. Writers are not guaranteed a contract after receiving a college degree. It’s hard, but you can overcome your struggles by embracing your passion.