A Conversation with Author PJ Peterson

IR- What does it mean to you to be called an author? 

PJP- I practiced medicine for 37 years and was comfortable being known as a physician. With the publication of my fourth Julia Fairchild Mystery, I finally feel like an author! It feels great when I see “likes” on my Facebook author page, or when someone I know tells me they bought my book and/or love my book. 

IR- Can you tell us a bit about the story and its main characters?

PJP- Julia Fairchild, MD, is a young internist (loosely based on a braver younger version of me) who is asked by the local police to help them investigate the death of a young banker. She had been first on the scene at his home where he had collapsed and subsequently died. Her sister Carly works for the largest local employer and helps her with some of the “detecting” and thinking through lists of suspects and motives. Nolan McLean, Julia’s nephew, is a deputy sheriff assigned to the case. 

The story centers on competing banks and bankers with the dead banker having come to town with pockets of money after his wealthy parents die. There’s a list of suspects who might have wished him ill will with various motives but who had the means and wherewithal to kill him?

IR- What inspired the idea for your book?

PJP- About fifteen years ago two new banks coincidentally opened in my hometown. I started writing a story about one of them ending up dead and put it aside after 7 or 8 chapters. I picked it up last year when I was searching through my files and decided to finish it. I’m sure it’s much different than it would have been had I finished it years ago–I hadn’t written an outline. 🙂

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

PJP- I had to do some research on wills and probate. I learned quite a bit about formal readings, when wills are required to be probated, and that sort of thing.

IR-  What is something you can do better than anyone else you know?

PJP- Chair a successful cabaret show with 100+ performers and multiple committees (costumes, selling ads, identifying venues, program printing) with a 4-week schedule. AND make more money than the previous several cabarets! All proceeds went to a local non-profit. 

IR- Tell us about a favorite character from the book.

PJP- Nolan McLean, the deputy sheriff, is a straight shooter who follows rules and protocols even when cajoled by his Aunt Julia. He has a soft side with a new baby and is always kind.

IR- Do you have any “side stories” about any of the characters? 

PJP- Carly is based on my true younger sister. She is a lot of fun, attracts people like honey, and is a good honest person. Everyone else (except Nolan who is based on my nephew who is a sheriff and Julia) is just a person on paper without a real existence..

IR- Where did you come up with the names in the story? 

PJP- I used names that I thought were consistent with the era in which they would have been born. I even looked up the most popular names of the year for the ages I used. I used a couple of names of friends or relatives, and a few were just names I like. My dog Trixie played herself. She earned her name–she was a regular Houdini. 

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

Go to musicals, go out to lunch, spend a day at the beach, be in a book club together.

IR- If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?

PJP- Be in a Broadway musical as one of the stars. 🙂

IR- How do you define success as an author?

PJP- Selling books! I would love to be one of those “every day” authors who writes a good book (or 3 or 8) and sells enough of them to support themselves. I know it can be done.

IR-  What difference do you see between a writer and an author? 

PJP- I’m not sure there is a precise definition. There are many kinds of writers–those who write books, or speeches, or poems, or technical manuals, or newspaper articles. They are also technically “authors”, but to me, an author is someone who signs his/her work and says, “I wrote this!!”

IR- How do you avoid or defeat writer’s block?

PJP- Keep my eye on the goal of finishing the book and meeting the deadline for submitting it to my flexible editor.

IR- What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

PJP- Know your character(s) well. Consider using some kind of plotter to keep track of your storylines. Be part of a group of other writers who can help you and encourage you and be part of the fun. Keep writing even when you think you’re stuck. Buy/borrow a book with lots of story prompts. HIre a developmental editor after getting recommendations from your author friends. He/She will be invaluable! 

IR-  What are you working on in the near future?

PJP- My next Julia Fairchild story is probably going to be set in Seattle. I know the city well and I’ve laid the groundwork for Julia to meet Josh in Portland or Seattle. It’s the toss of the dice!

IR- What has been your favorite reader feedback?

PJP- Loving my character Julia Fairchild and her sister Carly. And wanting to see where they go next.

IR-  How do you interact with your readers?

PJP- Occasional newsletter, Facebook Author page. I’m planning to be better about doing more with Bookbub and Goodreads. 

IR- What is your all time favorite book or author? Do you think this has influenced your writing?

PJP- I can’t pick just one author! Agatha Christie first, then Sue Grafton and JA Jance, and Elizabeth Peters and Anne Perry. I’m sure all of them have influenced my writing in some way. I’m including more of the “sense” in my writing–more of what the character smells or hears, or touches, in addition to the obvious visual cues.

IR- What is the first book that you remember reading?

PJP- Probably the Oz series (I’m not counting the obligatory reading in school).

IR- What is your author spirit animal?

PJP- A squirrel! Squirt and Skooter moved into the cupola of our garage about 18 months ago and raised a family of 5 little ones who peeked out between the slats last fall. Six months later I saw evidence that they were nesting again and last April we saw a second litter of 5 kits. Just a few days ago I noticed one of the squirrels popping out of the cupola, and later, one sitting on the ridge. We’ll probably have another set of kits in 6 weeks. Fortunately, they’re on their own for food although they love to knock on the sunroom door when they see me in here and beg for peanuts. Of course, I oblige.

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

PJP- I play classical piano, sing in the church choir (lead soprano), tap dance, and I sit on a couple of local boards (the hospital foundation and our local theatre). I’m busy.

IR- What would your dream library look like?

PJP- Wall to wall books, floor to ceiling shelves, with one of those ladders that rolls on the hardwood floor. As long as it’s just a dream, I would throw in first edition hardcover books of my favorite authors!

IR- If your book were made into a movie, which actors would play your characters?

PJP- Kate Holmes as Julia, Emily Wickersham as Carly, Matthew McConaughey as Noah

IR- If you had a secret room that opened by pulling a book on a shelf, what book would you choose?

PJP- The Last Camel Died at Noon by Elizabeth Peters. It was such a clever title and was the first book I read of hers. I think I’ve read them all now.

One Will Too Many by PJ Peterson Banner

One Will Too Many
by PJ Peterson
March 1-31, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

One Will Too Many by PJ Peterson


Synopsis:

A wealthy banker with a long list of secrets dies.

The bizarre crime scene stumps the local police…

… but a young doctor could be the key to solving the case.

Internist Julia Fairchild encounters banker Jay moments too late – the poor man is near death in his own dining room. At first no one can figure out what killed him, but the coroner soon confirms that it was homicide: Jay died of methanol poisoning, and now a murderer is on the loose. Julia knows how to catch a killer and she can cut through the noise like a scalpel through skin. She agrees to help the understaffed police force solve the case, but each clue only complicates her investigation further.

Can Julia dissect the deadly riddle and nail the perp, or will this be the first time a monster succeeds in giving her the slip?

If you love Louise Penny, Kelly Oliver, and PC James, you need this medical mystery! Find out why fans say, “I love the character Julia Fairchild!”

Don’t wait – Click the BUY button now!

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Finngirl, LLC
Publication Date: December 2021
Number of Pages: 206
ISBN: 978-1-7335675-7-2
Series: A Julia Fairchild Mystery, #4 || Each is a Stand Alone Novel


Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Julia arrived at the Hotel Montpelier just as Drake drove up. She took advantage of his simultaneous presence to make a proper entrance to the celebration in the Hotel’s Grand Ballroom. It had recently been refurbished to its original grandeur from the early 1920’s. She admired the beauty of the ceilings with their Art Deco design, recently uncovered by the removal of a false ceiling from a previous “upgrade.” The beautiful wood floor with exquisite inlaid mosaics shone from a recent floor polishing. The cherry and mahogany woodwork glistened in the light from the elegant crystal chandeliers which had also been hidden until now.

Julia and Drake were greeted by some of the other members of the restoration committee. Drake was the designated master of ceremonies while Julia’s primary duty was to personally welcome as many of the potential donors as possible and say a few words in support of the project. He certainly looked the part tonight in a well-cut black velvet tuxedo. His dark hair was touched with silver—just enough to give him a classy look. He stood tall and proud as he walked through the crowd, nodding to some and saying a word or two to other attendees.

Julia searched the assembled festival attendees for familiar faces as Drake gently guided her to an older man and woman. He placed his hand at the small of her back as he addressed the wealthy couple. “Julia, I’d like to introduce Mr. And Mrs. George Oglethorpe. They have been long-time supporters of the theatre.”

Julia stepped forward a half-step and extended her hand. “I’m Julia Fairchild. I’m honored to meet you. I love our theatre, too.”

The woman’s face brightened as she recognized the name. “Of course! Dr. Fairchild. Call me Anna. I’ve heard a lot of good things about you.” She took Julia’s hand in both of hers. “You’re so young and pretty for a doctor.”

Julia reddened. She actually felt a little mousey most days, but conceded to herself that she did ‘clean up’ nicely for such events. “Thank you. I was blessed with good genes. How long have you and your husband lived in Parkview?”

“My goodness. Forever. Right out of college anyway. George heard about the paper mill here looking for mechanical engineers and applied right away.” She smiled proudly at him. “We love the town and were never inclined to leave once we settled in. Isn’t that right, dear?” Her husband nodded between sips of his drink. “Are you from here?”

“Not from Parkview. I grew up down the highway on a small farm. My grandma persuaded me to come home and here I am.” Julia felt her eyes well up as she recalled warm memories of time spent with her grandparents. “Thank you for your support of our lovely theatre. The restoration committee will be sharing the plans for the renovation during the program.”

Julia felt Drake’s arm around her waist as he interceded. “Thank you for coming this evening. Please excuse us. I see someone who is clamoring to talk with Dr. Fairchild before the dinner starts.”

Drake took Julia’s arm and as they turned around, they found Gregory Lantz and his wife Sandy who had been standing right behind them. “Greg! So good to see you here tonight. Thanks for coming.” They exchanged nods and handshakes. “Julia is standing in for Karen tonight. She’s also supporting the project.” Julia smiled and nodded. Aside from the perfunctory smiles, Julia sensed a tension between the men, and she moved a step away from Drake to better observe them both.

Greg stirred his gin and tonic vigorously. “I’ve talked with some of the members of the board at the bank, but I don’t have a definite commitment yet for a donation. I think we can come through for $50,000. But nothing close to the million dollars that everyone seems to think the bank can donate.”

“Greg, any amount would be great. I understand it’s been a little tough with the new bank still getting started.” Drake Ashford was the president of the older, long-established Parkview National Bank. He was aware that despite heavy advertising and promotions, the new River City Community Bank was not yet meeting expectations. He was also acutely sensitive to the loss of some of his own banking clients to the new bank, where Greg was Vice President.

Greg bristled. “Actually, we’re meeting our numbers and seeing new business every day. I would think you would have noticed already.” He smirked.

“We’ve noticed a little change, but we’re prepared to handle it.” Drake took a large swallow of his scotch. “Please excuse us. I have some other people to greet. Talk to you later, Greg.” Drake and Julia moved away.

“That man really annoys me,” Drake said under his breath. “He’s so naive. He doesn’t see how Jay is using him. He’s just a ‘yes’ man. But I guess it makes him feel important.”

“What do you mean?” Julia asked, nodding and smiling at some of the faces she recognized. She knew he referred to Jay Morrison, recently divorced and head of the new bank. She felt Drake’s hand shaking as he maneuvered her through the crowd.

“I’ll tell you later. Too many ears here.” He surveyed the guests nearby. “Let’s see…there’s Warren Pontell and his lovely wife Sarah. He’s talked about making a major contribution. His wife was a theatre actress in her younger days. And they have money to burn.” He turned to Julia and wiggled his eyebrows, à la Groucho Marx.

Drake and Julia chatted with the Pontells for a few minutes, using the time to emphasize the benefits of the smaller venue of the “little theatre.” It was designed to be an intimate stage setting with seating for about one hundred fifty people. Until recently, the area had been used for storage and was marginally functional for stage events in its current state.

Julia had found herself daydreaming but tuned back in when she heard Mr. Pontell say, “We’d like to donate $50,000 for the little theatre. Perhaps you can find a way to let us have something to say about naming it.” He grinned broadly as his wife beamed.

“Warren, that’s wonderful!” said Drake. “I’ll talk with the board of directors about naming opportunities. Let me get back to you on details for your donation. Thank you.”

Now grinning, Drake gently guided Julia toward Adam Johns, an influential man in the local union hierarchy, and his wife. He had started working at ESCO Paper Company right out of high school and had worked his way up from the labor pool to an electrician apprenticeship and then to a journeyman electrician. His constituents considered him to be fair and honest. He had an unofficial status in the union as a leader, although he didn’t have an elected or paid position as such.

Adam tugged at the neck of his dress shirt and pulled at the bottom of his dark blue waistcoat. The jacket gaped over his generous girth. He looked uncomfortable in his tuxedo. Julia was sure her mother would have said something like “putting perfume on a goat,” but most likely his wife had insisted he dress up for this occasion. He certainly looked impressive at his height of six foot three inches.

“Mr. and Mrs. Johns, good evening,” said Drake as he offered his hand. “Do you know Dr. Julia Fairchild? She’s helping to support the Theatre Restoration project as we all are.”

“We sure do,” said Adam, returning the handshake. “Dr. Fairchild, you took care of my mom several years back. She was real sick but you got her well and she’s fine now. Thanks to you. In fact, she’s going on a cruise through the Panama Canal with her church group this coming week. She’s always wanted to go on that trip.”

“You’re welcome, Mr. Johns. I do remember your mom—Violette, I believe? She’s a lovely lady with a lot of spunk.” Julia shook his hand before turning to his wife. “Pleased to meet you, Mrs. Johns.”

Mr. Johns turned back to Drake. “Mr. Ashford, some of the guys at the mill want to know if you had talked with our union officials yet about the stock trading going on with our pension funds. And if you know anything, they hope you can tell them. And call me Adam. My wife is Linda.”

“Yes, Adam. I talked with a Scott Sowders in Portland. He’s looking into whether those trading fees can be traced back to any individuals. May I call you when I know something more?”

“Sure. You can call me at ESCO. The operator knows how to reach me. Thanks a lot, Mr. Ashford.”

“You can call me Drake, please. I’ll call you soon and we’ll go from there. Thanks again for being here tonight.”

“Hey. It’s an alright party. My wife is always trying to get me to gussy up. It’s more fun than I thought it would be.” He grinned and saluted with his cocktail.

Julia saw the auctioneer heading their way and alerted Drake. “I’ll check my lipstick while you talk with him. Where are we sitting?”

“Main table,” he said, pointing to the center of the long side of the room. He scowled. “Unfortunately, it appears we’re seated next to Jay Morrison, of all people.”

***

Excerpt from One Will Too Many by PJ Peterson. Copyright 2022 by PJ Peterson. Reproduced with permission from PJ Peterson. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

PJ Peterson

PJ is a retired internist who enjoyed the diagnostic part of practicing medicine as well as creating long-lasting relationships with her patients. As a child, she wanted to be a doctor so she could “help people.” She now volunteers at the local Free Medical Clinic to satisfy that need to help. She loved to read from a young age and read all the Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books she could find. It wasn’t until she was an adult that she wrote anything longer than short stories for English classes and term papers in others. Writing mysteries only makes sense given her early exposure to that genre. Sprinkling in a little medical mystique makes it all the more fun.

Catch Up With PJ Peterson:
www.PJPetersonAuthor.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @mizdrpj1
Facebook – PJ Peterson

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

03/01 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads
03/02 Showcase @ Brooke Blogs
03/03 Guest post @ Quiet Fury Books
03/04 Review @ Reading Is My SuperpPower
03/06 Interview @ I Read What You Write
03/07 Showcase @ The Reading Frenzy
03/08 Review @ sunny island breezes
03/09 Interview @ CMash Reads
03/11 Showcase @ Nesies Place
03/13 Review @ Buried Under Books
03/14 Review @ Book Corner News and Reviews
03/15 Showcase @ Books, Ramblings, and Tea
03/16 Guest post @ Author Elena Taylors Blog
03/17 Showcase @ Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!
03/19 Showcase @ Silver’s Reviews
03/21 Review @ Novels Alive
03/22 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
03/23 Review @ nanasbookreviews
03/24 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
03/25 Review @ Splashes of Joy
03/29 Review @ Melissa’s Bookshelf
03/30 Review @ Pick A Good Book
03/30 Showcase @ 411 ON BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND PUBLISHING NEWS
03/30 Showcase @ Authors Harbor
03/31 Review @ flightnurse70_book_reviews
 

Join In & Win:

THIS IS A GIVEAWAY HOSTED BY PARTNERS IN CRIME TOURS FOR PJ PETERSON. SEE THE WIDGET FOR ENTRY TERMS AND CONDITIONS. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2 Comments

  1. Fun interview!
    “Chair a successful cabaret show with 100+ performers and multiple committees (costumes, selling ads, identifying venues, program printing) with a 4-week schedule.” :-O
    You are a woman with many hats!

    Liked by 1 person

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