Mysterious fascination–Jennifer Oberth!

Thanks to Jennifer Oberth for being with us today!
First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc. Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times? What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing, and how does that education help you/or do you find that you can write well even without the diploma others might think they must have?

I live in Chicago– born and bred. I’ve got two adorable little kitten monsters named Copper& Outlaw. (I’m a diehard mystery fan, can you tell?) I never drink coffee but I’m unabashedly addicted to chocolate.
I’ve heard that some people with degrees and all those letters after their name can’t write a term paper to save their lives so I don’t think a diploma necessarily represents what it’s supposed to, what it used to. I went to college. The thing you should know about me is that I loathed school every single day of every single year and I made it all the way through two and a half years of college before realizing I was never going to use the degree I was spending money on. (I majored in Philosophy.) I aced English, I aced most of my classes and even did above 99% on one of those state or national exams in the English subject section. I was a great student, I just despised it. Education is a wonderful thing but we ought to remember it doesn’t just come from school or all those letters after our name. We’re more than that. We have to be open to and learn from the experiences of life.

Tell us about your most recent publication/whichever book you’d like to talk about today?

Married To Murder is the first Ella Westin mystery. I’ve also published Honeymoon Homicide and will publish Toxic Train in the next few weeks. I’m very excited because I just got Masked Rider: Origins back from my editor. This is the novel series that led to the birth of Ella Westin. Which is really cool because she’s my protagonists’ grandmother and the series is set 40+ years previous. My short stories and novels run to mystery/humor/adventure. I love a good mystery and I love to laugh so that’s what I tend to write.

What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write itt hat you didn’t know before?

I wrote a mystery novel, Masked Rider: Origins that I’m going to publish soon. It’s set in 1875 and centers around Holly and Jackson Westin – two of Ella’s grandchildren. I was working on the Westin family tree, the kind of work an author does that the public never sees, when I decided to take advantage of the eBook world, put my hard work to good use, used my notes to write a story of the grandparents’ wedding day and published Married To Murder.
It’s interesting because five years ago, in the traditional publishing world, we never would have got to meet Ella and Joe Westin. We’d never have seen them get married or go on their honeymoon or move into their first house. The back story would have stayed in back and we’d never have met these cool characters.
One interesting thing I learned while writing the Masked Rider series (set in 1875) and then the Ella Westin Mysteries (set in 1827) is how much of our language and even our slang is from back then. There are words or phrases I don’t use because they sound too modern even though they’ve been in use since the 1700′s!

How would you best describe your books?
Mystery/Humor and the Masked Rider series is definitely Mystery/Humor/Adventure.

What is your favorite genre to write? To read?

Mysteries. Plain and simple, my favorite books to read are mysteries. Okay, I’ll add cozy mysteries. And my favorite of the favorite is humorous cozy mysteries – which also happens to be what I write.

What do you most like about writing? Least like?

What I like most is the fun. There’s a lot of effort that goes into creating a world and populating it with people but getting to use my imagination for work has got to be the best and coolest thing I get to do.
What I like the least used to be editing. The blank page never scared me – it was the one with words all over it that scream for perfection. I’ve learned to face it head on and realize it can be almost as creative as the actual writing part. (I still wouldn’t give up my professional editor for anything.)
Now, my least favorite part is formatting. It’s as precise as math or html – if you get it wrong, it won’t work and it doesn’t tell you why. It’s time consuming, not very fun and frankly, quite annoying.

What would you like to tell readers?

I hope your readers will try out Married To Murder. If you go to Smashwords, you can check out 50%of the story and see if you like it before you plunk down the 99 cents! You can download it to any eReading device you have. (You don’t need to sign up with Smashwords or even have an eReader to read the sample.)
And obscurity is the arch enemy of the writer. If you read a book you love, consider reviewing it. In this new e-world we’re all living in, and creating as we go, it allows other readers to have an idea if they’d like the story; if they should give it a chance. A lot of people are rightfully concerned there’s no quality control anymore and this includes traditionally published books which have a team of editors and cover artists on the author’s side. The average reader now holds the power to share their opinion with other readers –and not just mom or Aunt Joan or neighbor Tim but complete strangers. And that’s fantastic.
Thank you Lyndi!

One Comment

  1. Thank you, Lyndi for great interview questions. And thank you for hosting me as a stop on my Blog Tour – I had a blast here!

    Happy Holidays!