Today I’m excited to have author J. A. Whiting on the Sunday’s Authors Spotlight. J.A. Whiting is the author of the Olivia Miller Mystery series and The Sweet Cove Cozy Mystery series. Her books received some great ratings and they all look and sound great. There are more books by J.A. Whiting coming this year so keep your eyes open.
About 'The Killing' (An Olivia Miller Mystery series, Prequel):
This story takes place during the fall of Olivia's senior year of college. Arriving at a Halloween party with her friend Melissa, Olivia discovers a gruesome crime scene in the hosts' living room. Trying to uncover clues that will lead to the serial killer may end up putting Olivia's life in danger.
About 'Red Julie' (Olivia Miller Mystery #1):
Olivia Miller was raised by her aunt Aggie from the time she was a year old. Several weeks before Olivia graduates from college in Massachusetts, Aggie dies suddenly and unexpectedly, riding a bicycle at night near her home in Ogunquit, Maine. The death certificate lists the cause of death as a massive heart attack, but Olivia doesn’t believe it.
Soon after her graduation, Olivia is on the highway, late at night, heading home to Ogunquit when she comes upon an accident. A man is on his back, in the middle of the road, his legs caught in the wreckage of his overturned Mercedes. He grabs at Olivia’s jacket and frantically mumbles to her something that sounds like, ‘red Julie’. The man dies at the scene, but not before he slips something into Olivia’s jacket pocket. Olivia is determined to figure out what ‘red Julie’ means, and how her aunt really died that night.
About 'The Stone of Sadness' (Olivia Miller Mystery #2):
Olivia Miller has just finished her first year of law school. She is staying at her cousin John's house in Howland, MA to dog-sit his chocolate Lab while John goes on a business trip. Olivia promises to clean out the attic and she finds a stack of old newspapers that John's dad had saved. The articles recount the grisly murders of a young mother and her 4 year old daughter in the state park in Howland forty years ago. John tells Olivia that the mother and daughter were their cousins and that the murderer was never brought to justice. Olivia decides to research the deaths and find out why no one was ever accused of the crime.
(This is a fictional story loosely based on the unsolved murders of my distant cousins in Rutland MA, on June 5, 1973).
About 'The Sweet Dreams Bake Shop' (A Sweet Cove Mystery #1):
Angie Roseland runs The Sweet Dreams Bake Shop in the seacoast town of Sweet Cove, Massachusetts. The building's new owners are not renewing the bake shop's lease and Angie is running out of time to find a new location. When one of the town's long-time residents is murdered, Angie finds herself on the suspect list. With the help of her three sisters and a huge orange cat, Angie works to uncover the killer's identity.
About 'Murder So Sweet' (A Sweet Cove Mystery #2):
Angie Roseland has closed her Sweet Dreams Bake Shop for a few months until she can move the shop to its new location. Her sister, Ellie, has just opened a bed and breakfast in Sweet Cove and Angie is helping her run it. Their youngest sister, Courtney, has a part time job at Finch Confectioners where the owner is known around town for being nasty and mean. When Finch is found murdered in his shop, the Roseland sisters, with the help of two fine felines, are drawn into the search for the killer.
Interview with J.A. Whiting:
Tell us a little more about who J.A. Whiting is?
My husband and I live in Massachusetts USA with our family. I work full time in education as a speech-language pathologist. Before I had my children, I worked for about ten years as a computer programmer/systems analyst and then decided to make the career change. We have two grown daughters who are both doing their PhDs at Harvard University and it is very nice to have them nearby. We are lucky to spend a lot of time together! We love to travel and have been fortunate to visit many parts of the United States and different countries in Europe. We like to be outside, biking or swimming. What we love most is just being with family and friends.
Did you always wanted to become an author?
I have loved reading since I was a little girl. It was a life-long dream for me to write stories and have people enjoy them.
What do you love most about being an author?
I love crafting a tale and immersing myself into the characters’ stories. I also enjoy hearing from readers and getting their feedback. I really appreciate my readers and I’m very thankful that they take the time to read my stories.
Where do you go to write your books? And where do you get the inspiration?
I write at home in our den. It doesn’t need to be particularly quiet as I am able to pretty much tune out any distractions when I write. I sometimes will do some editing during my lunch time at work.
Inspiration comes from life experiences and sometimes an idea for a story might come from something I’ve read in newspapers that gets me thinking, what if…
How did you come to the idea of writing the Olivia Miller Mystery Series?
The two opening scenes of Red Julie had been rolling around in my head for several years, so I started writing those chapters and sort of let the story unfold as I went. The Stone of Sadness came about from the events of my distant cousins’ murders of forty years ago. We’ve always wondered why no one was arrested and brought to justice for this crime and I decided to put Olivia Miller into the role of someone who had distant cousins who had been killed and see what happened if she started to investigate the cold case.
Your write mystery novels. How did you come to write mystery and which books in this genre are your favorite?
I’ve always enjoyed the mystery/suspense genre even as a young reader. I like trying to figure out who the villain is. I also like to try to understand the human psyche – why people do what they do. What is the motivation for peoples’ actions and choices?
I’ve enjoyed books by Lee Child, Sue Grafton, Dennis Lehane. Recently, I’ve been enjoying novels by Celina Grace, Melinda Leigh, Russell Blake, and Rachel Abbott.
What is your favorite book?
My favorite book is A Very Long Engagement by French author Sebastien Japrisot. It is a mix of love story and mystery, set during and after World War I. I love the main character’s spunk and determination.
If you wouldn’t be an author, what would you love to do?
If I wasn’t writing and working in education, I would like to study law and work as an immigration attorney to help those people who wish to make their home in the United States.
What are your future plans in writing?
I would like to add more installments to the Olivia Miller Mystery series. I am currently outlining a romantic suspense series, as well as a cozy mystery series which will take place in the fictional seacoast town of Sweet Cove, Massachusetts. I hope to have two novels in each series published before the end of the year. My goal is to write novels that people will find entertaining and enjoyable.
J.A. Whiting lives with her family in Massachusetts where she works full time in education. Whiting loves reading, traveling, following New England sports teams, exercising, and being outdoors.