Enter the world of Jillian Bradley and her Yorkie companion Teddy, where afternoon tea is served and murderers are brought to justice.
Why do you write mysteries and how did you get started?
Creating a mystery is an enjoyable (for the most part) process that at the end gives others enjoyment as well. After reading most of Agatha Christie’s books, I wanted to try my hand at doing what she did. The opportunity came during a four-day stay at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay with my husband in meetings all day, and me with nothing but time on my hands.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
My wedding day. I felt on top of the world being with the man I loved. After 48 years, it still feels that way.
How has being published changed your life?
I think the only difference is now my life is in print, whereas before I simply lived.
What are you reading right now?
“The Big Four” by Agatha Christie.
What is your current work in progress?
“The Death of Amanda Corbin”
You travel extensively and incorporate locations in your mysteries. Tell us about some of the places you’ve traveled. Also, tell us about your most memorable experience.
The books include Half Moon Bay, California; Scottsdale, Arizona; Bay Area of California;
Pacific Beach near San Diego, California; London, England; Lake Placid, New York and
Victoria, British Columbia. The most memorable location was the setting for Book 9 - beautiful
Mirror Lake surrounded by the Adirondacks ablaze with fall color.
The ritual of tea is fascinating to me. What is your favorite place to have tea?
In my living room in front of the fire.
Best and worst parts of writing a mystery series?
Best part is constructing the plots. Worst part is making unforgettable characters. Readers seem
to love my heroine’s Yorkie Teddy best of all.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I enjoy playing the piano.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Distractions like a major move this last year, my husband retiring, and feathering a new nest. I’m
not settled unless my home is. Mornings are better for me to write. Since my husband and I are
together every morning, I plan to ignore my husband’s interruptions once his needs are met (a
question here, a comment there etc.) and resume writing. Is writing easier to you than marketing?
Marketing is actually easier for me because I love being on social media. Writing pulls brain
matter from my being which I consider work. Marketing involves social interaction which I find
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Write because you have something to share. Be prepared to go the distance if you want to be
published. Consider self-publishing if you don’t care to wait or are bothered by rejection.
Tell us about the featured book, the one you’ll be giving away to one lucky reader!
Murder at the Empress Hotel” takes place on Vancouver Island in the capital city of Victoria,
British Columbia. Once I had the setting, I did research on the area and found the interesting
history of the early settlers called First Nations people. I built the main characters, including the
victim, around their native culture. The story centers on the murder of a young lawyer over
fishing rights and the love of one woman. The fun part was basing the character of the priest on a
man I’d met at a friend’s home wedding.
Please write down the first paragraph of the book.
Here is the prologue and first part of Chapter One.
It was time to get away. Perhaps melancholy had set in due to not much excitement in my life beyond answering questions for my garden column.
The only bright spot in my life was the little family living in the large Victorian I’d once occupied.
After the tragic loss of my second husband, a change in my life was needed to help forget the past.
I had reasoned Walter and Cecilia needed more room now that my godson D.J. had been born.
The perfect solution had been to give them the house, renovate the old worker’s cottage for myself, and live on the back of my property.
The young couple had been my friends ever since that first homicide case in Half Moon Bay years ago. Since I had no children, they had become my family.
I considered my yard again. Granted, flowers and shrubs were interesting, I suppose, but living in the Bay Area the weather rarely varied and could even be described as boring.
Unlike other parts of the country with heavy snow and freezing temperatures, in Clover Hills, there were always gardening tasks. That’s okay for the younger generation, but as a senior working on a computer several hours a day, my back rebelled.
I was actually ready to hire a gardener for the first time in my life! This caused a guilt trip to begin to sprout until I yanked it out of my emotional garden and settled for practicality.
With my new yard team in place coming every other week to mow and trim, I could finally relax and travel.
First on my bucket list was The Butchart Gardens near Victoria on Vancouver Island. This magic spot had been calling to me ever since I watched a fascinating documentary on their creation from an old quarry. Besides, I read they served lovely lunches and afternoon tea, my particular favorites.
Hmm. I also had readers in British Columbia, as I recalled, so it might be worth a visit to help connect and boost readership. It would also be a perfect way to justify the cost of the trip. What’s not to like?
A call one afternoon with an invitation from dear friends in Arizona that I’d helped in another homicide case cinched my plans.
Before long, I was packed and ready to go with my beloved companion, Teddy, a four and a half pound Yorkshire terrier with a nose for adventure.
My little Yorkie shivered as I held him close. Teddy had never been on the open water before. A few gentle strokes calmed him as our Black Ball ferry continued from Port Angeles to our destination, beautiful Vancouver Island.
This brave dog could survive the uncertainty. He’d been in far more stressful situations, notably the time we were separated in London a few years ago.
The memory made me shudder. A few wrinkles were added to my face that day. It didn’t matter. As long as I maintained my ideal weight on my small frame, and friends continued to comment on not looking my 67 old years, I was content.
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How can readers find you on the Internet? The books are available on: Amazon * Barnes & Noble Online *Kobo *Smashwords
Readers can visit my website nancyjillthames.com to learn about my books and read the first story I ever wrote called “The Sacrifice.” There are also Queen of Afternoon Tea Celebrity Author Interviews which include joining us for tea and snacks. Recipes included! Other sites to follow include my Amazon Author Page, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads and Facebook. And for other Christian mystery authors be sure and check out cozymysterymagazine.blogspot.com.