As a second-grader in Mrs. Spangler’s Greenway School class, J.A. Jance was introduced to Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz series. She read the first one and was hooked and knew, from that moment on, that she wanted to be a writer.
Jance’s aspirations to become a writer were frustrated in college and later, first because the professor who taught creative writing at the University of Arizona in those days thought girls "ought to be teachers or nurses" rather than writers. After he refused Jane’s admission to the program, she did the next best thing: she married a man who was allowed in the program that was closed to me. Jance’s first husband imitated Faulkner and Hemingway primarily by drinking too much and writing too little. Despite the fact that he was allowed in the creative writing program, he never had anything published either prior to or after his death from chronic alcoholism at age 42. That didn’t keep him from telling me, however, that there would be only one writer in our family, and he was it. Well, all I can say is… Jance proved him wrong.
Judith was kind enough to take some time out of preparing to hit the road for this chat. She is an absolute ROCK STAR! Enjoy!
What was the most memorable research trip you've made?
Doing research for Rattlesnake Crossing, we drove through the back streets of Tombstone where we saw an EAGLE taking a bath in a back yard bird bath. We thought it was hilarious, but after all, he was a bird and it was a BIRD bath.
Please share with us the most interesting stories law enforcement or forensic professionals have told you.
A woman sent me a packet of information on a 75-year old unsolved homicide that I was able to use in one of my books.
Anything that changed your real life or that made you write a story you never thought possible for you to write?
Crossing paths with a serial killer in Tucson in the early seventies led me to write the Walker books. I rewrote the story so it doesn't at all resemble the real case. The killer in that instance is still in prison in Arizona.