Title: Saving Sindia (Samantha Jamison Mystery Series Book 10)
Synopsis: A handsome flirt, mysterious girl, devoted caregiver, trash collector, and lessons from my past lure me into Saving Sindia. Based on a true unsolved mystery in Ocean City, NJ.
CH: Today’s Guest Author is Peggy A Edelheit, who loves to entertain readers with keep-you-guessing mysteries. Welcome to my blog, Peggy.
CH: Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?
PAE: Sam’s good intentions weren’t turning out as planned and she finds herself entangled in a true historical mystery in Ocean City, NJ.
CH: How did you come up with the premise for this series?
PAE: I’ve been writing since I was a child. I kept a journal and was always writing down something. When I was older, the character, Samantha, began looking over my shoulder, advising me to seriously put down on paper some ideas I had taking shape for a few storylines that would make great mysteries. She began demanding, either I did that, or it could get ugly. After postponing the idea while raising three sons, I finally agreed and began to write it in earnest.
CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?
PAE: My locations and characters play a major role in my mysteries. I let my setting play into possible scenarios, then I add the characters one by one: some new, some old. I don’t like to throw a lot of characters at the reader too quickly unless it can’t be avoided in certain situations. As each book unfolds, the characters then develop further with their interplay and become an integral part of the books. Their personas tell me what they are going to say and how they are going to react in certain situations. I then let my fingers roll with their dialogue to see where they will take me next.
CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing?
PAE: I write about how Sam gets caught up in unexpected mysteries with a touch of humor, while she constantly talks to her readers, who have the same disadvantage as Sam: they only see and hear what she does. It’s like they are peeking over her shoulder and try to solve or figure it all out with her. They are thrown by unexpected twists in the mystery, just like Sam is.
CH: When you wrote the first book in the series, did you realize it would be a series then?
PAE: I have to admit, that initially, The Puzzle, Book 1, was meant to be a standalone, but by the end of the mystery, I felt Sam’s story wasn’t finished yet. There was so much more to tell. So, Sam continued as a reluctant sleuth, while writing and solving her unexpected often humorous, thriller-whodunits.
CH: Although you can read each book in the series as a standalone, do you advise readers to read the series in order?
PAE: I have heard from readers who really enjoy the mysteries, it’s more enjoyable to read them in order to see with each book how Sam grows from an intimidated young widow, into someone much stronger, taking more risks and trusting her intuition and the group of women she has surrounded herself with. Some are her age (thirtyish) and the older, wiser trio (seventyish). Martha, a character in her seventies in the series, is a great counterpoint to Sam: an older influence for Sam as an example of what the aging process might be like. Martha pushes and challenges Sam to get out of her comfort zone. And so, the reader sees Sam blossom and transform from one book to the next. I always briefly bring the reader up to date at the beginning of each mystery, so it is up to them how they wish to read the series.
CH: Which book in the series was the hardest to write?
PAE: My latest, Saving Sindia, Book 10. It’s based on a true historical mystery that takes place in Ocean City, NJ. After walking by the historical marker on the boardwalk and stopping to read it, I became intrigued. I soon discovered what a great mystery it was and still unsolved to this day. I knew this was the perfect idea to weave Sam into it fictionally, while still leaving the mystery itself intact by the end of the book. It also gave me the opportunity to let the readers inside Sam’s head as she chronicles her life in personal journal entries to figure out how she developed into the woman she is today, and why her curiosity was always there inside her for solving mysteries. I show a parallel between the two to help her solve an underlying mystery in Saving Sindia: two mysteries with the same name.
CH: How long does it take to write one of your books?
PAE: Each one varied, some six months, others longer. I can never predict, because I’ve been known to wipe out whole chapters and swap dialogue unexpectedly to throw in multiple twists. I like to challenge myself, making the whole thing feel unexpected to both Sam and the reader, who is peeking over her shoulder throughout the mystery.
CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?
PAE: The Puzzle, Book 1, took place in Highlands, North Carolina. I owned a log home there; hence it was a picture-perfect location to write a mystery with the mountains as a backdrop. I often sat on my back porch of that log cabin, daydreaming what a great isolated place for a writer to get caught up in her own mystery. Many incidents happened, including that ice storm.
Being familiar with Ocean City, NJ, it was perfect for Without Any Warning, Book 2, and Saving Sindia, Book 10. The boardwalk and beach were an ideal setting for my characters and the underlying mysteries. Readers are always looking for authenticity. You have to be as accurate as possible or they will let you know when you’re not.
CH: Which character in this series is hardest to write?
PAE: I wouldn’t exactly say harder, but the most complex is Sam. There is a lot of Sam in me. We always give others credit, more so than ourselves. We are reluctant to take center stage in this regard. We both have a great sense of humor and get carried away on occasion, especially with things we are passionate about. We always learn from our mistakes—sometimes humorously.
CH: What can we expect next, is there another book in this series?
PAE: Truthfully? I’m not sure yet. I mulling over my options. The characters in this series have become so familiar to me that sometimes I can’t write their dialogue fast enough. (Yes, they often go on a rant, explaining what they should be saying is better, not what I had intended for them to say.)
CH: If you could work with any author, living or dead, who would that be and why?
PAE: There are so many talented authors out there that it would be, at least for me, a tough choice. How would I choose between them? As an author, I am honored and humbled just to work in the same field with them all.
CH: How long have you been writing? How did you start writing thriller/suspense novels?
PAE: I’m a lover of the written word and the worlds they create. So, it was a natural that I’ve been making up and writing stories since I first learned to write. Although I read every genre, mysteries were always my preference. Later on, after ignoring certain voices in my head, I finally let them have their say. Sam just sort of jumped out to the forefront of the group.
CH: Can you give my audience your website address?
PAE: It is: www.samanthajamison.com
CH: Can you tell my audience where your books are sold?
PAE: They are all on Amazon under The Samantha Jamison Mystery Series Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1Ysmp5J
CH: Any closing remarks?
PAE: I love being an author. I just wish my parents were still alive to see what their little girl has achieved. I feel they would be very proud of me and tell me not to let any of it go to my head. I don’t think that would happen. I am too humbled by all the talent around me.
It was an honor and a pleasure to be asked to do this interview. Thank you, Cheryl.
CH: Thank you, Peggy A. Edelheit, it has been a real pleasure discussing your writing journey and your book with my audience.
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