Last month when I was working from Martin Library, Lori Lehman of TackRoom Treasures stopped by to tell me about a friend, Jill Pritchett, who’d recently released a suspense novel. I caught up with Jill before her Aug. 18 book signing.
Book Buzz: When did you start writing?
Jill Pritchett: I always wrote. Actually, I wrote articles for local newspapers and published horse articles in national magazines. I always wanted to really learn how to write fiction. My first short story was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, which is the world’s largest-selling mystery magazine. It was the editor of (that magazine), Janet Hutchins, she just said you’ve got too much to say, you’ve got to start writing novels. And she was right, my short stories were pretty long. I actually wrote two novels and ended up publishing the third, “View From My Soul,” (which follows psychic Sarah Seere as she works to solve a murder).
Why publish “View From My Soul” and not the first two?
I had gotten a lot of feedback on the first two novels, and I felt like I needed to go back and revise. When I started the third novel, “View From My Soul,” there were a few slight revisions but the rest was complete and ready to go. It was the one that was ready to fly. And it has been a huge hit. If I were Sarah Seere, I would say it was meant to be that this was my first novel, because it’s collecting quite an audience for me.
How did the idea come to you?
I’m a highly intuitive person myself… And I think that’s part of the reason why I developed Sarah. If you get a chance to really read the novel, you’ll realize she gets a lot of things from her psychic ability that are really sort of a guide on how to live your life — things that make her brave.
What about the setting?
I’m a product of the mountains. When I want to have fun, whether it’s out West or in another country, I go to the mountains. It’s just where my heart and soul is. It’s just a natural extension of me to place these characters in the (Virginia) mountains where I’m from. Also there’s so much adventure in these mountains, and I like my characters to be adventurous.
Are there further plans for Sarah?
I want to have two running series. “View From My Soul” will be a complete series about Sarah Seere and her psychic abilities and her adventures. And the other series (Bonnie and Dwight mysteries) I started back in 2004 are the adventures of a girl who’s a white-water guide on the New River in West Virginia. I used to work as a guide on that river, in the New River Gorge. It’s a fabulous area.
Is that your art on the cover?
Yes, I did the cover. I’ve actually already painted the covers for the other two books in the Bonnie and Dwight mysteries series. I expect that I’m gonna do all my covers.
How much time do you devote to writing?
Not enough. When you’ve got a horse farm and I teach watercolor classes and I’m running basically two businesses, there’s not enough time in the day. And reading is part of my job description and I don’t even get enough time to read. I’ll tell you, a lot of what goes with publishing a novel is self-promotion. And a lot of time is spent on that. And then I get orders for books and I have to package them up and send them out, so there’s a lot of busy work that takes you away from writing. But the best part about that is that I really am a fast writer. So when I sit down, like this adventure with Sarah Seere, my fingers were a blur flying off the page. It kind of just flowed right out of me. Once you get into that zone of writing, it’s so much fun it just pours out of you and the characters do their own thing and you’re just writing down their adventures.
What are you working on next?
I’m taking my first novel (“A New Death”) and rewriting it. The heroine is a white-water rafting guide, and it explores the white-water culture in West Virginia at the New River Gorge. It’s more of a mystery novel … It’s funny because I titled “View From My Soul” as a novel of suspense, but so many authors have said this is really a thriller. (The) Bonnie and Dwight (novels) have the mystery to it, but they also end up being thrillers, too. I don’t like horror or anything like that — just really these scary things. Anything that gives that kind of thrilling aspect.
Name: Jill Pritchett
Lives in: Abbottstown
Family: Husband, Dennis Stump
Occupation: Artist and writer
Hobbies: Rock climbing, kayaking, horseback riding, working on her miniature dollhouse
Books: “View From My Soul,” (2012)
If you go
What: Book signing with Jill Pritchett
When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday
Where: TackRoom Treasures, 424 Abbottstown St., East Berlin, Adams County
Details: Jill’s art will also be on display