Meet This Week's Author


Meet This Week's Author 

Never Read Em?
JA Jance


Judith Ann Jance (JA Jance) was born in South Dakota in 1944 and raised in Bisbee, AZ.   As a second-grader Jance was introduced to Frank Baum’s “Wizard of Oz” series and from that moment on she knew she wanted to be a writer.  She graduated from Bisbee High School in 1962, and received an academic scholarship that made her the first person in her family to attend a four year college.  She graduated in 1966 with a degree in English and Secondary Education from the University of Arizona. While in college she tried to pursue her writing career by taking a creative writing class, but the professor refused her entry into the class due to her gender because women weren't writers, they were “teachers or nurses.”  While in college she married an alcoholic and in 1968 he forbade her from writing because there was only room for one writer in the family and that would be him.  In the end nothing he ever wrote was published.  However, she continued to write poetry in secret, but never seriously perused a writing career until much later in life.


In 1970 Jance received her Master’s in Education and in Library Science.   Shetaught high school English at Tucson’s Pueblo High School for two years and was a K-12 librarian at Indian Oasis School District in Sells, Arizona for five years.  After 18 years of marriage she divorced her first husband in 1980 and took their two children to Seattle, WA and sold insurance to make a living.  Her ex-husband died three years after the divorce from his alcoholism.  Jance met her second husband Bill at a widowed retreat sponsored by a group called WICS (Widowed Information Consultation Services) in June of 1985. His wife had died of breast cancer two years earlier.  Six months after meeting Bill the couple married.  Bill is an engineer and has three adult children from his previous marriage.  The couple now lives part of the year in Arizona and part of the year in Seattle.


Jance is in involved in various charities.  While she is on tour for book signings she asks the bookstores to donate a percentage of their earnings from her appearances to various causes.  Through this charity work over the past ten years she has raised over $250,000 for charities.  She has also raises money by hosting events where people can bid/donate money to appear in her books.


Jance began pursuing a writing career in 1982 when she wrote a fictionalized version about a series of murders that occurred in Tucson, AZ in 1970.  The book was 1200 pages long and was never published.  Her agent suggested she pursue writing fiction and in 1985 her first novel was published called “Until Proven Guilty.”  She used the pen name “JA Jance” because the publisher believed if she used her real name (Judith Ann) nobody would read a book with a woman author writing about a male detective.  The book was the first of her very popular Detective Beaumont series.  There are twenty-two books in series and they focus on retired Seattle police officer JP Beaumont and his pursuit of justice across the US solving murders.  Jance also writes two other series; the Ali Reynolds series set in Sedona, AZ and Joanna Brady books set in southeastern AZ.  She has also written four thrillers and a book of poetry. 


Jance is a muder/mystery novelist.  When writing her books she does not use an outline and she works from backwards through the book.  She knows who the victim or victims are and then writes to find out who the killer or killers are.  She like her readers does not know who the guilty party is until she finishes the book.  Her books are filled with twists and turns and full of surprises.  They can be dark at times as Jance delves into the minds of the murderers.  Her characters in her books are believable and are not immune from devastating personal events happening to them including death of love ones.  Many of her characters settings are based on people she knows and places she's been.


If you like the authors Margaret Coel, Sara Paretsky, Marcia Muller, RA Robinson, Nevada Barr, Robert Parker, or Dana Stabenow you might also like JA Jance because she too possesses the ability to suck readers in to a suspense filled world where danger and mystery lurk around every corner.

Jonathon Kellerman

Jonathan Kellerman was born in 1949, in York City to an aerospace engineer/inventor father and a dancer/office manager mother. When he was still young the family moved to LA where he grew up.  He worked his way through college as a cartoonist, illustrator, journalist, editor, and guitar instructor until he received his BA in psychology from UCLA in 1971. He enrolled in a PhD program in clinical psychology at the University of Southern California and received his PhD in 1974 at the age of twenty-four. His doctoral research was on attribution of blame for childhood psychopathology and he published a scientific paper on that topic at the age of twenty-two. In 1975, Jonathan was asked by the USC hospital to research the psychological effects of extreme isolation on children with cancer and to coordinate the care of the children and their families.  From this research the hospital established the Psychosocial Program, a Division of Oncology in 1977.  It was the first in the world that approached the emotional aspects of pediatric cancer.  He was a practicing psychologist until he gave up his practice in 1987 to focus on his writing career.

Jonathan Kellerman currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife of close to forty years Faye Kellerman also a bestselling crime writer.  She has a degree in theoretical math and a doctorate in dentistry.   He is currently a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine.  The have four children with the oldest, Jesse Kellerman, a bestselling novelist and an award-winning playwright. Their youngest, Aliza Kellerman, co-wrote a young adult novel “Prism” with Faye in 2009.

Jonathan’s first book was published in 1980 and was a nonfiction book titled “Psychological Aspects of Childhood Cancer.”  It was an accumulation of his experiences from his cancer research and working with the children at the hospital.  He also published a book for parents in 1981, “Helping the Fearful Child.”  His first novel was published in 1985 called “When the Bough Breaks” and it's the first in his bestselling series based on the character Alex Delaware, a child psychologist who consults for the police and is assisted in his investigations by LAPD detective Milo Sturgis.  Milo is unique because he was one of the first openly gay characters to be featured in a crime fiction series.  “When the Bough Breaks” was adapted into a very successful TV movie starring Ted Danson in1986.  Kellerman has gone on to write twenty-nine more books in the Delaware series with the latest “Motive” published in 2015.  “Motive” follows Delaware and Milo track down a possible serial killer that might be linked to an unsolved murder from Milo's past.  Jonathan has written several standalone novels including several with his wife and one with his son.  He has written and illustrated two children books and has written several other nonfiction books including one about guitars, which he collects and loves to play.  He draws and paints in his spare time and is an advocate for mentally ill patients and that released patients should not only receive medication, but counseling and psychotherapy as well.

Jonathan Kellerman has been writing since he was nine years old.  He used it as a form of expression early on and did not really fully embrace it as a career until after his third novel was published in 1987 when he gave up his psychology practice to pursue it full time.  His books are crime fiction with an element of mystery.  This combination keeps readers' noses glued to the pages to find out what happens next.  He adds life and death situations to his novels to add intensity to his stories and to keep the reader engaged and on the edge of their seat.  His novels do contain elements of complicated forensic science, but the characters themselves are down to earth and everyday people that readers can easily relate to. 

If you like Jonathan Kellerman you may also like Faye Kellerman, Linda Fairstein, John Lescroart, John Sandford, Michael Palmer, Steve Martini, Nevada Barr, or Tami Hoag.

If you find yourself in the mood for a good book that is gripping, filled with intrigue and relentless characters that will go the end of earth to find the bad guys while using the latest in forensic science you should give Jonathan Kellerman a try.  His books will give you an inside look at how good police work and doggedly determination can bring evil to justice and peace to the unfortunate victims and their families.

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett was born in April 1948, in Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, England.   He attended High Wycombe Technical High School where he was a key member of the debating society and wrote stories for the school magazine.   Pratchett was not the best of students and credited his education more to the local library.  His early interests included astronomy and he wanted to be an astronomer, but lacked the mathematical disposition to pursue it.  He also had an interest in reading science fiction and attended science fiction conventions, but stopped when he got his first job a few years later. 


His initial career choice was journalism and he left school at 17 in 1965 to start working for the Bucks Free Press.   In 1968 Terry married and the couple moved to Rowberrow, Somerset, in 1970.  The couple had a daughter in 1976, Rhianna, who is also a writer.  In 2007, Pratchett was misdiagnosed as having had a minor stroke a few years earlier, which doctors thought had damaged the right side of his brain and affecting his motor skills, but not his ability to write.  In December 2007, Terry announced he had been newly diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, which had been responsible for the "stroke". He had a rare form of the disease called posterior cortical atrophy in which areas at the back of the brain begin to shrink and shrivel.  After his diagnosis Terry became active in finding a cure for the disease by donating money and becoming involved in a documentary about the disease.   In 2009, Terry was knighted in the Queen's New Year Honours for services to literature.  Terry died at his home on March 12, 2015 from his Alzheimer's despite his previous discussion of suicide.


Terry was a huge computer buff and was one of the first authors to embrace the technology and use it write books and keep in contact with his readers via the Internet.  He also loved to play video games and helped convert many of his own stories into various computer games.  His love of astronomy continued on into adulthood and he also loved natural history and he owned a greenhouse full of carnivorous plants.


Pratchett published his first short story entitled "Business Rivals" in the High Wycombe Technical School magazine in 1962. "The Hades Business" which was published in the school magazine when he was 13 was published commercially when he was 15.  Terry's first novel “The Carpet People” was published in 1971.  He followed it with the science fiction novels “The Dark Side of the Sun” and “Strata.”  The first Discworld series novel and what he is most recognized for was, “The Colour of Magic.”  It was published in1983.  Pratchett gave up working as a journalist to make his living through writing novels in 1987, after finishing the fourth Discworld novel “Mort.”


Although early on Terry wrote for the sci-fi and horror genres, later on, Pratchett focused almost entirely on fantasy for both adults and children.  Pratchett began writing the Discworld series in 1983 to have fun with some modern day clichés.  The stories are humorous and often include a satirical sequence of stories set in the colorful fantasy Discworld universe. The series contains various story arcs and a number of free-standing stories. but all take place in the mysterious Discworld.


Pratchett is known for a distinctive writing style.  For example he used footnotes, which usually involved a comic departure from the narrative and sometimes had footnotes of their own.  And he had a tendency to avoid using chapters.  Characters, place names, and titles in his books often contain puns and culture references.


The last two of Terry's novels will be published in 2015. A young adult novel called “The Shepherd’s Crown,” which will take place in Discworld and be the 41st and final book in the series.  And the other book “The Long Utopia”, the fourth in his science fiction series The Long Earth, which is set in a universe with an infinite number of parallel Earths which characters, can travel between.

Authors who write fantasy and have the same vivid imagination as Terry include Robert Rankin, David Langford, Mervyn Peake, Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams, and Diana Wynne Jones.

So if you are looking for a tongue-in-cheek and entertaining story filled with satire and cultural references in a world not like our own give the late great Terry Pratchett a try and be taken to worlds where the fun and action never stops and you can see our own world in a very different and humorous light.



Patricia Cornwell


Patricia Cornwell was born in Miami, Florida in June of 1956.  She is related to author and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe.   Her father Sam Daniels was one of the leading appellate lawyers in the US and served as a law clerk to the Supreme Court.  Pat grew up in a troubled family as she suffered emotional abuse from her father, who eventually walked out on the family on Christmas Day 1961.   When the family moved  to Montreat, North Carolina that same year her mother was hospitalized for depression and Pat and her brothers were placed in the foster care system.  Pat went on to attend  Davidson College in North Carolina where she graduated with a B.A. in English in 1979.

In 1980, she married one of her English professors, Charles L. Cornwell, who was 17 years older than she was.  In 1989, the couple separated and eventually divorced.  In 1991 Pat began a two year affair with a married female FBI agent Margo Bennett after meeting her at the FBI Academy in Quantico where Pat was conducting research for her writing.  In 1996, the affair was made public after Margo's estranged husband, also an FBI agent, was arrested for and eventually convicted of attempted murder of his wife. In 2005, Pat  married Staci Ann Gruber, an instructor of psychiatry at Harvard University and the couple currently live in Massachusetts.

Not only has Pat lived a troubled personal life she has had some legal trouble as well.  In1993, Pat crashed her Mercedes-Benz and was convicted of drunk driving and sentenced to twenty-eight days in a treatment center.   In 2000, author Leslie Sachs claimed there were similarities between his novel “The Virginia Ghost Murders” and Pat's “The Last Precinct” and accused Pat of plagiarism.  Eventually Pat was cleared of all charges and in 2007 Pat was awarded $38,000 to cover legal fees for defending herself against Sachs's charges.  Pat also had trouble with a management firm she hired in 2004 to oversee her financial matters and her company, Conrwell Enterintertainment Inc.  The firm had been stealing tens of millions of dollars from her over a several year period and in 2013 Pat was awarded $51 million dollars after suing the management company for $100 million. 

Besides being a best selling author and expert in forensics Pat is involved in numerous other activities.  She co-founded the National Forensic Academy and created a Chair in Organic Science at Harvard. She appears as a forensic consultant on CNN and serves as a member of Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital’s National Council.  She’s helped fund an ICU at Cornell’s Animal Hospital, the scientific study of a Confederate submarine, the archaeological excavation of Jamestown, law enforcement charities, and various scholarships and literacy programs.

Pat's writing career began in1979 when she started working as a reporter for “The Charlotte Observer.”  She would write about anything and everything and soon was covering the crime beat. In 1984, she took a job at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia and worked there for six years as a technical writer and a computer analyst. In 1990, her first novel “Postmortem” was published and it was the first in her her very successful Scarpetta series.  The Scarpetta series follows medical examiner Kay Scarpetta along with her tech-savvy niece Lucy and fellow investigator Pete Marino.  The Scarpetta novels include a great deal of detail on forensic science with some action scenes as Kay and her colleagues solve various murders mostly in Richmond, VA. There are currently twenty-two novels in the series with the next one “Depraved Heart” due out in November of 2015.  This story will follow Kay as she tries to unravel a series of mysterious videos of her niece Lucy along with solving the death of a Hollywood mogul's daughter.

Pat's literary career also includes a book about Jack the Ripper’s identity, two cookbooks (Food to Die For and Scarpetta’s Winter Table), a children’s book (Life’s Little Fable), and a biography of Ruth Graham. She’s also writes two other series one based on an upstart Boston detective and another that follows an enterprising Charlotte, North Carolina reporter.

Pat’s books have sold some 100 million copies with twenty-six appearing on New York Times Best Selling list.  Her books are well known for unsuspecting twists, tension filled drama, and the latest in forensic science.  Her novels generally end with suspense filled action scenes as Scarpetta and her colleagues solve the murder and confront the killer. Authors similar to Pat include Faye Kellerman, Tess Gerritsen, Jeffery Deaver, Kathy Reichs, John Sanford, and Tami Hoag.

So if you are looking for mystery and intrigue along with some action and loads of forensic detail and science check out Patricia Cornwell and enter a world of high tech forensic detective work that will leave you amazed, a little bit smarter, and definitely entertained.



Ridley Pearson


Ridley Pearson was born in March, 1953 in Glen Clove, NY.   Pearson was raised by his parents in Riverside, Connecticut along with his siblings, Bradbury and Wendy. He went to public school and then went to attend college at the University of Kansas and Brown University. He currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri with his wife, Marcelle, and their two daughters Paige and Storey.[1]

Ridley started his professional writing career as a singer/songwriter in a rock band and spent a decade on the road playing gigs in clubs and at colleges. He is a founding member of The Rockbottom Remainders, an all-author '60s rock and roll band that featured Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Mitch Albom, Scott Turow, Greg Isles, Roy Blount, Jr. and on occasion Stephen King.  The band broke up in June 2012.


Ridley and Dave Barry have also collaborated on a series of novels that explain the beginnings of Peter Pan, the first “Peter and the Starcatchers” spent 47 weeks on the New York Times Children's Bestseller List.  It was later adapted into a play and went on to win five Tony Awards.  The two have written four other Peter Pan related stories.  Ridley also writes a children series set inside Disney theme parks called “The Kingdom Keepers.”  The stories are about five teenagers inside the Disney World who battle various Disney villains to keep the parks safe.  There are eight books in the series with the latest released, “The Syndrome,” in March 2015.  The story features Fairlies Amanda, Jess and Mattie as they attempt to find fellow Keeper Finn who has gone missing.

Ridley has also written numerous adult novel series, including the Walt Flemming series and Bolt Matthews series.  His first novel was published in 1985 called “Never Look Back.”  He has written over twenty adult novels and some of his writings have actually helped and stirred up controversy in real life.  His 1988 novel, “Undercurrents,” helped a Washington state prosecuting attorney solve a real-life homicide by referring to research methods used in the book. The attorney contacted the oceanographer mentioned in the book's acknowledgment page and the oceanographer identified a tidal flow and a "window of time" essential to the case.  The oceanographer went on to serve as an expert witness in the case and help convict the victim's husband of murder.  The 1995 novel, “Chain of Evidence,” which brought up the possibility of a crime gene, was the focus of a genetics conference later that same year and caused a controversy that made national news.  His latest adult novel, “The Red Room” was published in 2014 and is part of the John Knox/Grace Chu series.


 Ridley Pearson's novels span across man different genre from serial killers to Walt Disneyland. With an emphasis on engaging the reader and delivering white knuckle suspense both his crime stories and children novels have earned him a reputation for detailed research and nail biting stories. His reputation for stories that grip the imagination, feature high-tech crime and forensic detail have led to numerous best sellers and millions of fans both young and old.  So if you have a desire to be sucked into a world of espionage and mystery or if you or your children want to experience a world filled with beloved Disney characters as they battle evil try Ridley Pearson and become just one of many that find his stories to be bone chillingly good. 


James Patterson
Meet this week's author James Patterson.  Now he's a man most people have at least heard of if not by reading one of his books then by watching a film or television movie based on one of his books.  He's the world's best-selling author since 2001 and to say Mr. Patterson is a prolific writer would be an understatement.  He publishes at least three books a year and has published up to thirteen in one year.  His writing talent spreads across several different genres including romance, young adult, and children, but the majority of his books are mystery/thriller novels.  He has written almost one hundred novels since 1976 and has had nineteen consecutive #1 New York Times Best Selling Novels.  He holds the NY Times record and Guinness World record for the most best-selling hardcover fiction titles by a single author with seventy-six.  His novels account for one out of every seventeen hard cover books sold in the U.S.  
James Patterson was born in Newburgh, NY in 1947.  He currently lives in Florida with his family.  He graduated from Manhattan College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in English from Vanderbilt University.  After he graduated he found employment in advertising and retired in 1996 to focus on writing.  His first novel was published in 1976 called “The Thomas Berryman Number.”  The story is about a reporter named Ochs James and his pursuit of the assassin named Thomas Berryman.  Since then he has written almost one hundred novels with seventy-six best sellers.  He is the author of numerous book series including the very popular “Alex Cross” series featuring Alex Cross as a former DC police and FBI employer who now works as a private psychologist and government consultant.  Other popular series include the “Woman's Murder Club” featuring a group of women solving crimes in San Francisco and the “Michael Bennet” series about a NYPD detective.  Along with these adult series Mr. Patterson also writes several young adult and children series including the best-selling “Maximum Ride” series about six teenagers who are human bird hybrids.  The series focuses on these extraordinary teenagers’ adventures of trying to stay alive and save the world.  His foray into children stories has been just as successful with many of his titles appearing on the NY Times best-selling children book list including the books “I Funny” and “My Brother is a Big Fat Liar.”  
His latest novel “Invisible” published in July tells the story of a FBI researcher named Emily Dockery and her quest to solve her sister's murder.  But, to do that she has to convince the FBI there is a sadistic serial killer on the loose hiding his horrific crimes with fire as he kills dozens of victims across the country.  The book has received good reviews and has been described as a “breakneck-paced thriller that will keep you holding your breath until the final, astonishing pages.”  He also has five more books scheduled to be released this year including a new Alex Cross book and two children books.
If you have not read any of Patterson's books perhaps you have watched them as a few of Patterson's books have been made into feature films including the very popular book series “Alex Cross.”  Morgan Freeman played the part of Alex Cross in “Kiss the Girls” in 1997 and “Along Came a Spider” in 2001.  Tyler Perry took over the role in 2012 for the feature film called “Alex Cross.”  Several of his books have also been made into successful TV movies with the latest being “Sunday's at Tiffany's” in 2010 starring Alyssa Milano and Stockard Channing.
Along with his writing career James Patterson is also very active in organizations attempting to make books more available to children and adults.  He has donated over 200,000 books to soldiers at home and overseas and thousands of books to schools in Florida, New York, and California.  He is also very passionate about promoting books to children and getting them interested in reading.  His award winning website is designed to help parents, teachers, and libraries by providing book reviews and recommendations on books that will get children excited about reading.  He has also helped college students by setting up teacher education scholarships and book buying programs that help students pay for college text books.
James Patterson's books tend to be a combination of mystery-thriller-crime stories with a little romance thrown in there.  His stories are characterized as fast paced with short chapters and engrossing plots.  He has a conversational writing style that grabs the reader's attention early on and drawing them in and then leaving them with the urge of having to know what is going to happen next.  He's said when he writes he tries to leave out the parts people skip when they are reading a book and he tries to write stories the way someone would tell a story.  He prefers the short chapter style because it keeps the reader's attention and moves the story along at a fast pace.  In his adult novels the violence can be graphic at times and hard to read for some.  However, he does tend to give the reader insight into both the heroes and the villains of the stories giving the reader a better understanding of the character's motives and an easier time connecting with the characters.  Some say his children books can be a little too high brow for their intended audience, but the stories are attention grabbers with very likable characters and the children can easily connect with the stories and the characters.  
Like other leading figures in their respected fields James Patterson has his critics and supporters.  Critics claim that recently he is more interested in the number of books he puts out in a year than the quality.  They say his stories are formulaic as he writes more and more with co-authors.  Supporters say by writing with co-authors he has been able to expand to other genre and his books are still filled with just as many twists and turns as they had in the past.  They also are ecstatic he publishes so many titles a year allowing them to read one of his new books almost monthly instead of having to wait months or years to read a new book by him, which is typical of most authors.  
Locally James Patterson is very popular.  The Mason County Library will typically have on hand six copies of his latest novel available for check out and still there will be a waiting list to read it of up to forty people.  The vast majority of opinions expressed in the reading review surveys found in his books give the books high marks.  Most say the books are great and they love the story.  Some direct quotes include, “Another spectacular, can't put down book” and “Good, easy to read and enjoy.”  However, there are a few that do say the books are “brutal for the sake of being brutal” and “a step down from the others.”  So as you see there are both critics and supporters locally as well.  But, the supporters far outnumber the critics and the number of new people starting to read him appears to be far greater than the number the people that have stopped reading him.
As you know no two authors are the same.  Each having their own unique style of storytelling.  However, there are several authors that write very similar to James Patterson.  They include Stephan J. Cannell, Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver, and John Sanford.  If you happen to like one of these authors chances are you will enjoy reading James Patterson and vice versa.
As you can see James Patterson is a man with a writing talent that spreads across many genres.  People of all ages and backgrounds read and enjoy his stories making him one of the best-selling authors of all time.  So if you like fast-paced heart pounding thrillers or tear jerker romances or want to spend some quality time with your kids reading a laugh out loud children book give James Patterson a try and join the millions of people who have met and now can't wait to read his next heart pounding adventure.
Next week meet Janet Evanovich.  A best-selling author of more than 50 books and the popular Plum detective series.   Her books have been described from hilarious and to nail biting.  If you are interested in learning more about her please come back next week for another edition of “Never Read Em.”




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