A Conversation with Gloria Oliver Author of Black Jade

Dai ignores the possible consequences and sets out to solve the mystery — Black Jade: A Daiyu Wu Mystery by @GloriaOliver

If you were friends with a character in this book, what kinds of things would you do together?

I think it would be fun to spend an afternoon with Jacques at the library, helping him ferret out some odd piece of information for Dai. I would also love to spend some time with Prince Razor. I am a sucker for animals, and he is an incorrigible mutt, well aware of his effect on others. 😝 Watching Dai or Dr. Campbell running experiments would be entertaining, too. There’s a lot I could learn from both of them. 😁

How do you define success as an author?

When I hear from someone that they connected with something I wrote, that it enriched their lives, even if just for a few hours, I know I have been successful as an author. When you’re told by a reader that they’ve bought a new copy of one of your books because they read theirs until it fell apart, you know you’ve achieved made that glorious link between imaginations. Money and fame would be great, don’t get me wrong, but those are different types of success. For something I wrote to make an impact, create a connection with someone? That’s priceless. 

What comes first for you — the plot or the characters?

For me, it can be either or and sometimes both or neither! For In the Service of Samurai, the characters came first. For Vassal of El, it was neither—that book sprang from a single image I couldn’t get out of my head, and I built the characters and plot around it. For Black Jade, pieces of the story came first. 

What do you look for in a story as a reader?

As a reader, I want something that moves me, which also entertains me, and better yet, teaches me something. The problem with being an author and a reader is that you become more sensitive to what you read, the inner editor making commentary on everything. So when I find an author who pushes my buttons and makes me forget my internal editor, I am all in. It’s the reason I pick books by the author rather than the content. If I’ve gone on an imaginary journey with them before and they delivered, then I don’t care what genre or topic the book is about; I will be at their door again. 😁

What is the first book that you remember reading?

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein. My uncle sent it to me for my birthday when I was in my early teens. I didn’t understand some of it as it was adult science fiction, but from that moment, I was hooked. (I am sure I read other books before that one, but Stranger in a Strange Land is the one I most vividly remember.) Have Space Suit Will Travel followed not long after, as Mr. Heinlein had a series of books for younger readers. I still remember the main character’s mnemonic for recalling the order of the planets in the solar system—”Mother very thoughtfully made a jelly sandwich under no protest”—Mercury, Venus, Terra (Earth), Mars, asteroid field, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. 😁

Aside from writing or reading, what are your hobbies or interests?

I am an avid reader of Japanese manga and watch a lot of Japanese anime. Hubby and I try to go to the movies once a week and see all manner of films. I also play PC and console games. Lately, we’ve been discovering Korean and Chinese dramas. 😁 

What are you reading now?

At the moment, I am reading Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. It is the book/play on which the movie My Fair Lady is based on. I re-watched the musical recently and realized I had never read the book. This time too, it felt like some pieces or details might be missing/glossed over in the musical version, so I decided to see if they got covered in the original play. I’m now in Act 2, and already there have been some fun revelations! 

What inspired the idea for your book? 

Before this point, I’ve only ever written standalone books. But I decided I wanted to do a series. Having long loved the works of Carole Nelson Douglas and other mystery writers, I decided that would be the genre I would use. Then I picked a period in history I had not seen often utilized for mystery fiction—the 1930s. I chose the city of Dallas, TX, because I live near there and it has a full and rich history. A documentary I’d stumbled across months before about the history of creating the color green gave me the murder weapon for the first book. 

I love Sherlock Holmes, so I wanted a pair for the amateur sleuths. Then I spent a while thinking about what type of person would fascinate me, and hopefully others, as the driving force behind the puzzle-solving duo—and that’s how I met Daiyu Wu. This, in turn, led me to discover Jacques Haskin. Then, out of nowhere, a canine presence demanded attention. So our duo turned into a trio! Prince Razor joining the team gave a new dimension to explore and added to the fun. The more research I did into the period, the more information I found supporting I’d made the right decision.   

What is your author spirit animal?

Dragons! What else? 😁 I’ve always been a sucker for fantasy. It doesn’t hurt that under the Chinese Zodiac—I was born in the Year of the Dragon. Bwahahaha! 

What was the most surprising thing you learned in writing this book?

The most surprising thing I learned when digging up information for 1930 was the plight of the Chinese immigrants in our country. I’d heard the phrase “Yellow Peril” and “Yellow Terror” but never understood what they referenced until I did the research for the book. Between accusations of stealing labor from others in California and the fears of opium use becoming a plague in the US (Westerners were actually the ones who imported it into China and made it such a problem there), immigration laws became very restrictive for the Chinese. It restricted them from becoming citizens, and since they had to own property to stay, it brought their numbers in our country down almost to nothing. History is a truly fascinating, and at times, scary subject. 😁

What would your dream library look like?

I just spent ten minutes staring into space, picturing it. LOL. 

The library would consist of a large round room and be at least two stories tall. Black iron rod railings and staircases for reaching and walking around the other open floors, with ladders on runners circling it. Even an iron rod lift to go up and down to facilitate shelving new books. 

Dark wood shelves on the walls would hold tons of books, leaving the middle area open for globes, tables, and comfortable chairs and recliners. The library would have a domed ceiling with either a painting of the stars in the night sky or, better yet, a giant domed TV screen so you could change what was up there—a cloudy sky, the moon, the planets, fantastic artwork, anything you could relax and stare at for a while. Most of all, it would need to be warm and inviting, tempting you to grab a book and stay awhile. 😁 

Could an old-fashioned ballgown be used to commit murder?

Daiyu Wu is aware that fear of the Yellow Terror has made her nationality a rare breed in the Lone Star State. Being Chinese and blind makes her doubly unique in 1930: Dallas. Despite these impediments, anyone who dismisses her for either fact does so at their peril.

One day, at her family-owned laundry business, Dai detects the scent of burned garlic. With the help of her companion, Jacques, the source is soon discovered. It is a green ballgown. The gown has money pinned inside it to pay for the cleaning, but oddly, it came with no address label to identify its owner. Her extensive knowledge leads Dai to believe someone has committed murder using arsenic. The perpetrator is trying to use White Laundry to hide the evidence. But no mention of foul play turns up in the newspapers, and there’s not enough proof to convince the police there’s been a crime.

Her curiosity and intellect stimulated like never before; Dai ignores the possible consequences and sets out to solve the mystery with the help of her canine companion, Prince Razor, and her confidant, Jacques Haskins. It’s either that or let the killer get away with it — assuming a spoiled popinjay, his jealous self-appointed girlfriend, and Dai’s overprotective parents don’t get in her way.

Purchase Links:

Amazon –  B&N – Kobo – Apple – Smashwords

Gloria Oliver lives in Texas, staying away from rolling tumbleweeds while bowing to the never-ending wishes of her feline and canine masters. Her previous works have been fantasy, urban fantasy, and young adult fantasy novels. Several contain romantic and mystery elements. Her short stories of speculative fiction can be found in many anthologies, covering things from the fantastic and strange to a Bubba Apocalypse.

Her latest release, “Black Jade – A Daiyu Wu Mystery” is Gloria’s first cozy historical mystery novel. This is her ninth published novel.

 Gloria is a member in good standing of BroadUniverse though she has yet to make the list for Cat Slaves R Us. In her spare time (what’s that?), she watches TV shows, movies, anime, plays PC games, and reads books.

 For some free reads, novel related short stories, sample chapters, appearance schedule and more information on her and her works, please drop by and visit her at  www.gloriaoliver.com

Author Links 

Webpage – www.gloriaoliver.com

Amazon – http://amazon.com/author/gloriaoliver

Goodreads –http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/874226.Gloria_Oliver

LibraryThing – http://www.librarything.com/profile/gloriaoliver

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/GloriaOliver

Blog – https://www.gloriaoliver.com/blog/

Newsletter – https://www.gloriaoliver.com/subscribe

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/gioliver

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/GloriaOliver

Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/gloriaoliver/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/saeba2001/


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