I’m thrilled to share excerpts of interesting and fun interviews and spotlights with you. Click on the link to read it in its entirety:
My favorite hippie paradise, murdering characters, Darwin, Australia and more…
What is your favourite scene from one of your books and why?
Two standout in my mind. Describing Ian finding his hippie paradise in Down and Out in Kathmandu was so much fun to write. I used my own crazy experiences, gained while staying on one of the most perfect islands in the world – Koh Tao, Thailand – as the basis for that scene. A murder scene in Rituals of the Dead, in which one of my main characters is killed, still sends shivers up my spine when I re-read it! It took a lot of time to get right, which is why it’s become a favorite. I hope readers feel the same way, once it’s released in April.
Find out more about my historical fiction travel mysteries, combating baby brain and the importance of chocolate-covered cherries…
What else have you brought along and why?
For those who haven’t yet been, I wanted to share two photographs of Amsterdam. The first shot is of the Prinsengracht, one of my favorite canals. The tiny streets, many bridges, and stately homes make it so photogenic! I couldn’t resist including a photo of the Speigelgracht, a small canal close to where my fictitious art dealer’s gallery is located. You can also see the Rijksmuseum looming in the background. Several reviewers mentioned they loved ‘traveling’ to Amsterdam via The Lover’s Portrait. Those kinds of remarks really make me smile because I worked so hard to make the descriptions of my adopted hometown as accurate and inviting as possible…
You are an American living in Amsterdam, which is the setting of your Zelda books. How did you end up there?
I ended up in Amsterdam by pure chance. After studying cultural anthropology in Darwin, Australia for eighteen months, I headed back to Seattle, Washington to figure out what to do next. My flight included a 24 hour layover in Rome, which turned into a two-month tour of Europe. I arrived in the Netherlands on Queen’s Day and immediately feel in love with the country, culture and people. Several months of paperwork later, I returned to Amsterdam to study art history and never left!
Read Vicki Meija-Gewe’s FanGirl Nation review: “Nazi Art Crime in The Lover’s Portrait”.
Is there a WIP we can look forward to adding to our bookshelves?
I am so excited to announce the release of my third novel, Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery on April 6! Set in Amsterdam and Papua, it combines anthropology, art, and history into one thrilling adventure.
This time my protagonist, Zelda Richardson, is working at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam on an exhibition of bis poles from the Asmat region of Papua – the same area where a famous American anthropologist disappeared in 1962. When his journals are found inside one of the bis poles, Zelda is tasked with investigating the man’s last days and his connection to these ritual objects…
Earlier today I reviewed the brilliant The Lover’s Portrait by Jennifer S Alderson, and this evening Jennifer joins me to discuss A life in Books.
What is your favourite classic book?
On The Road by Jack Kerouac. This is a book I have read many times and will continue to re-read because it always reminds me to think outside the box and challenge social norms as well as peoples’ expectations. Besides, it’s beautifully written and contains several of my favorite book quotes, such as this line by Sal Paradise: “For life is holy and every moment is precious.”
Chill With A Book Award Winner Jennifer S. Alderson joins me to talk all things bookish – interview on Emma the Little Bookworm’s book blog
So, your book has been awarded with a Chill with a Book Readers’ Award, what inspired you to write this story?
I moved to the Netherlands from Seattle, Washington to study art history in 2004. During university lectures we spent a lot of time discussing restitution cases involving looted-art, especially paintings stolen by the Nazis during World War Two. I often wondered what would happen if two people claimed the same painting. This question became the central plot of my art mystery, The Lover’s Portrait. The rest of the stories and characters were inspired by archival research I’d conducted into this dark period of Dutch history.
Jennifer S. Alderson Interviews Arjan Van Heemsvliet from The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery
It is an honor to interview preeminent art dealer Arjan van Heemsvliet today. Since the publication of The Lover’s Portrait, readers have wanted to know more about this very private man’s personal life and family history… He has agreed to meet with me at Galerie Van Heemsvliet, his art gallery on the Spiegelgracht in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Recent developments make him reluctant to leave it for long. It is April 1942 and the Nazis occupation of the city makes travel difficult, yet I am miraculously on time for our appointment. Though we are speaking in Dutch, I have translated the interview into English for the convenience of interested readers…
Guest on Yvonne Mason’s live radio show, Off The Chain
Do you use real people and places as models for your books?
I am an avid traveler and love to infuse my writing with experiences I’ve had and people I’ve met while backpacking around the world. It is important to me that the setting be described as accurately as possible. I want readers to have the feeling they have just visited the city, country or region I’m describing in my book.
None of my characters are modeled after an actual person – not even Zelda – but are conglomerates of people I’ve met on the road, at work or even a bus stop. I am fascinated by my fellow man and tend to start up conversations with pretty much everyone I meet.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I plan on continuing the Adventures of Zelda Richardson series and have no shortage of choices for where to take her next. In my desk I keep a ‘future story ideas’ folder that is rather full! I already have plans for Zelda to travel to Egypt, Costa Rica and Australia in future mysteries. Now it’s a matter of deciding which story line to pursue next. I may have to add more stamps to my passport while on research trips. Writing about an avid traveler does have its benefits!
[Awesome Gang also added Notes of a Naive Traveler to their site.]
What is your favorite genre to read. Who inspires you in your writings?
I love to read all sorts of fiction, though mysteries and historical fiction are my favorite genres. I also enjoy reading non-fiction travel stories written by adventurers, explorers and backpackers – especially if it is about a place I want to visit someday.
My love of travel fiction starts with The Beach. I picked it up at a second-hand bookstore in Kathmandu, Nepal a few days before flying to Bangkok. Alex Garland’s descriptions of Thailand combined with his fantastic story, made me realize I could use my experiences traveling as the basis for a novel. Several years later, Down and Out in Kathmandu: A Backpacker Mystery was born.
Which is your favorite book you have written and what gave you the idea for it?
The Lover’s Portrait, my second novel, is my favorite. It gave me a chance to write about museums, Amsterdam, and art – topics near and dear to my heart.
During art history lectures at the University of Amsterdam, the complexities surrounding the restitution of artwork stolen by the Nazis was often discussed. I found myself wondering what would happen if two people showed up seventy years later and claimed the same painting. How would the museum and national press react? This question became central to the plot of my amateur mystery.
Jay Artale’s Birds of a Feather Press website: Birds of a Feather welcomes Jennifer S. Alderson to the nest
I recently joined Jennifer’s Facebook group called “Travel By Book“, which is a community for readers and authors of all genres of travel fiction and non-fiction! Readers can share their favorite travel novels, books and guides. Bloggers can share their latest travel and book related articles, and Authors can post promos about their books, travel-oriented blogs about their books and reviews.
Today Jennifer is taking a break from her community-building activities to share tips and insights about her self-publishing journey.
You can listen to my first live radio interview via The Writer’s Edge archives. Click on the September 22, 2017 show and (if you wish) skip forward to ~55 minutes to hear our conversation. It was fun and insightful – I hope you enjoy it!
Today I’m especially happy to introduce author Jennifer S. Alderson – a fellow traveler, writer, and all-around neat-o woman. We connected several months ago, and besides writing interesting books that combine fiction with the specific geographical settings of her travels, she has taught me a lot about supporting other indie authors. Her latest venture, aside from her newest book coming out, is Travel by Book, a Facebook page Jennifer administers to recognize the work of travel writers; whether you’re a reader or a writer, if you enjoy writing with a sense of place – fiction or memoir – join this page and find great new books to read.
What is the hardest thing about the writing process for you?
The most difficult part about writing a mystery for me is creating a ‘secret’ worthy of being kept and working out the motivation of all of the parties involved. There has got to be a compelling reason for one person or group to want the object or information in question to remain hidden, but also an important reason for another party to want to locate or reveal it. The next step is figuring out how my series’ heroine fits into it all!
Darcia Helle’s Quiet Fury Books blog: Explore the World and Solve the Mysteries with Author Jennifer S. Alderson
I’m celebrating Mystery Thriller Week with some of the best creative minds in the genre! Today I have an interview with the talented author Jennifer S. Alderson. Jennifer is going to share some interesting tidbits about her writing and traveling life. Of course, first we need to meet the woman behind the words. Before we get to that, here’s a look at Jennifer’s latest novel, The Lover’s Portrait…
D.E. Haggerty’s Readsalot Book Blog: MTW Spotlight on Jennifer S. Alderson, author of the Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery
~ EXCERPT ~
June 26, 1942: Just two more crates, then our work is finally done, Arjan reminded himself as he bent down to grasp the thick twine handles, his back muscles already yelping in protest. Drops of sweat were burning his eyes, blurring his vision. “You can do this,” he said softly, heaving the heavy oak box upwards with an audible grunt…
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I’m a long-time expat, an American who’s been living in the Netherlands since 2004, and the author of two novels, Down and Out in Kathmandu: Adventures in Backpacking and The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery.
In America I worked as a journalist and multimedia developer until massive burnout lead me to quit my job, buy a backpack and head off to Kathmandu to volunteer as an English teacher for three months before backpacking around Nepal and Thailand for another four. As cliché as it might sound, this trip ended up being a life-changing experience.
After several years on the road, I moved to the Netherlands. I ended up here by pure chance. After a 24 hour layover in Rome turned into a two-month tour of Europe, I arrived in Amsterdam on Queen’s Day and immediately feel in love with the city, country, culture and people. Several months of paperwork later, I returned to Amsterdam to study art history…
J: What was your favorite book to write and why?
A: The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery has been my favorite book to write, so far, though my current work-in-progress, another art mystery about bis poles, is a lot of fun to write. The Lover’s Portrait is a mystery set in present day and wartime Amsterdam which uses the context of an art exhibition to examine issues surrounding the restitution of looted art and the intrinsic worth of artwork, as well as core values such as integrity, perseverance and sacrifice. It was an enormous challenge to work my knowledge and research done into the art trade, World War Two and Dutch history into the text, in a way that was appealing to mystery readers. I’m glad to see reviewers appreciate the research I’ve done and that it’s been awarded a 5 star medal from Readers’ Favorite and came in at number 14 in the mystery category of the BookLife Prize for Fiction 2016…
I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge and I love learning new things. As a result, my career path has taken many twists and turns along the way. Before my novels were published, I worked as a journalist and editor for regional newspapers, then as a multimedia developer for large corporations, before finally transitioning into my latest role as collection researcher and project assistant for museums. All of the jobs and experiences I’ve had have influenced my writing by inspiring and informing storylines, plot twists, and characters…
You’ve done a lot of travelling. Is there any one place which has been really memorable for you?
It’s true; I’m addicted to traveling and love learning about other countries and cultures. I’ve spent a total of seven years living out of a backpack while traveling through more than thirty lands. Nepal was the first country I visited, aside from day trips to border towns in Canada and Mexico. It couldn’t have been more different than Seattle. The amazing people, cultures, and religions made it so memorable; Nepal will always have a special place in my heart…
Q: In one sentence, tell me something that describes you as a person?
A: I try to focus on the fun, quirky and adventurous side of life as a way of keeping sane.
What first inspired you to begin writing?
One of my favorite childhood memories is of my father and me writing up short stories together. During college I majored in journalism and worked as a journalist and newspaper editor before life took me in other directions.
I also answer questions posed by Goodreads members. You can find the newest Q&A’s here on Goodreads.
You worked as a journalist and web developer, why write an art mystery?
…When I did make it back to Seattle, I was only home long enough to sell my possessions so I could head back to Amsterdam and start an Art History degree I’d found out about during my travels. After completing a Dutch-language Master’s degree in Museum Studies…