Happy Release Day Julia and Barb!

It’s release day for Kensington Books, and as has happened so often this year, it’s a multiple release day for the Wickeds. Julia Henry’s new book is Tilling the Truth, second in the Garden Squad Mysteries, after series debut Pruning the Dead. Barb has once again teamed up with Leslie Meier and Lee Hollis for a holiday novella collection, this one the Halloween-themed Haunted House Murder.

To celebrate, we’ll be giving two lucky commenters below a copy of one of the books.

Barb: Julie and I both have series characters with the last name Jayne, a complete coincidence. Lilly Jayne is the main character in Julie’s Garden Squad Mysteries. (Susan) Wyatt Jayne is the architect who’s come to renovate Windsholme, the derelict family mansion in the Maine Clambake Mysteries. Since this coincidence happened, I’ve been imagining the characters’ relationship.

In my scenario, my Wyatt Jayne is the niece of Julie’s Lilly Jayne. Lilly’s younger brother Bill decamped the Jayne hometown of Goosebush, Massachusetts to go to Northwestern University and then stayed in the Chicago area. He became a highly successful accountant with a big international firm. Like Lilly, his first marriage didn’t take, but his second marriage was very happy and he and his wife raised their three kids in Winnetka. When the time came, Wyatt was sent east to prep school in New Hampshire and–et voila!–she and Julia Snowden from the Maine Clambake Mysteries were assigned as roommates.

Julie, what do you think? Do you want to add, contradict or offer a new scenario? Only the last sentence of the above represents anything that appears in any of my books.

Julie: Barb, I love this. And I love the coincidence of the names. In my scenario, Bill and Lilly are cousins. Bill’s side of the family gave up the rights to the family house generations ago, since it was an albatross around the neck as far as the costs for running it. Bill’s daughter, Wyatt, regrets that family decision, and has always wanted to have a house like Windward in her family. Hence her interest in building and restoring.

Barb: Julie, this is a very intriguing scenario. I like it! I think there is the possibility to merge these somehow. All our fictional names come from somewhere. Julie, why did you decide to use the surname Jayne for Lilly?

Julie: In my family when someone acted too big for their britches, they were called Lady Jane. I don’t remember which grandparent used the phrase, but I do remember it. It likely came from Lady Jane Grey, though I can’t imagine folks making the connection. I hadn’t thought about it for years, but when I was thinking about Lilly’s story, part of what I thought of was the reaction folks might have of her. Lady Jane came to mind. “Who do you think you are, Lady Jane?” I’d already decided on Lilly, and I liked the sound of Lilly Jane. But I needed to add a “y” to make it sound like a last name.

Barb, where did your Jayne come from?

Barb: I’m laughing, because my mother used the same expression when I got too full of myself. “Who do you think you are, Lady Jane Grey?” I wonder if it came from a popular movie or something from the 30s or 40s? Also, and in even weirder coincidence land, our mutual friend Ang Pompano, who lives in Guildford, Connecticut tells me I am most likely related to Lady Jane Grey via my ancestor William Dudley who was born in Guildford in 1639. Which means when my mother said, “Who do you think you are, Lady Jane Grey?” I should have said, “Why yes I am.” (That would have gone over like a lead balloon.)

My last name Jayne came from the family who lived at the edge of the woods at the end of our little pre-World War II development in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. There were three girls, all with long braids, and they lived in the wing of an old mansion that had belonged to an ancestor. (That wing and a library were the only remnants of two huge mansions on the property that had been torn down. I wrote about it here.) I thought it was just about the most romantic fairy-tale set up ever, and the mansion, woods, and girls have been playing out in my fiction ever since.

I think we need to do some kind of crossover. Maybe short stories or novellas.

Readers: Which scenario do you like? Or would you like to add an alternative. Let us know, or just say “hi” to be entered to win a copy of Tilling the Truth or Haunted House Murder.

54 Thoughts

  1. I love that you both ended up with a Jayne in your book. Cousins or the niece/aunt scenario both sound great. And yes to the crossover books. Happy release day to the Jaynes!

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  2. Congrats on the new releases! And I think a crossover idea is fantastic! How interesting about the roots of the Lady Jane Grey stories, I was plainly told if I were being to big for my britches!šŸ˜Š

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  3. I like crossover stories! Iā€™m really forward to reading both of these books! Happy Release Day to both of you!

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  4. I like both, although maybe a little partial to the niece. Funny thing though: my grandmother used the exact same expression with me. “Hold on there, Lady Jane.” LOL

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      1. My quick search only referred to it as a “scolding” term. It has to be related to Lady Jane Gray. Something that sprung up to mean a girl who was acting out, the same way that Jane thought she was the heir and Queen of England.

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  5. Both scenarios sound equally fun. Maybe “Lady Jane Grey” could be the murder victim in your crossover? Congratulations to you both on release day!

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  6. I think either scenario would be fun to read. If pushed to choose one, it would be Barb’s. I’ve personally seen strange coincidences and finding a long lost relative by becoming roommates at college would be a great one.

    Congratulations Barb and Julia on releasing fabulous books! I can’t wait for the opportunity to read both of them which are on my TBR list.

    Fingers crossed to be the very fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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  7. I love both of the scenarios. I think it’s interesting that you both came up with the same name but for completely different reasons. Happy release day to you both!

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  8. Congrats on the new releases! (We call it New Book Tuesday at my library!) A crossover would be a great read! I’ve never heard of being called a Lady Jayne, but my grandmother did call us “missy” if we were being a little too diva-ish.

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  9. If I have to pick one, I think I like Julie’s idea a tad more, but I could see either of them working. And I want to read the short stories or novella where you fully flesh it out.

    Congrats on the new books!

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  10. How creative to use two different characters with the same last name who are related. My question is do you have to read both books to understand each of the characters? Congratulations on the new books! I have added them to my list of books to read.

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  11. I had to look up Lady Jane Grey to remind myself of her story! I love crossovers, so I’m always up for them. I have both books on my TBR list.

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  12. What a marvelous post. I love the crossover idea. Both scenarios are great, although I like Julie’s a little more. Had to laugh at Barb’s lead balloon comment. My mother would end the “Who do you think you are?” question with “are” which left a lot of smart-alecky answers floating around in my sister’s and my heads. We soon learned the meaning of that goes over like a lead balloon if we spoke those answers out loud. Congrats on the new releases and enjoy the day!

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  13. I think the two of you have so much imagination and creativity that you could combine your scenarios into a great book. Go for it!

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  14. I love crossovers! Never heard that expression about Lady Jane Grey but always felt sorry for her since she paid the price for her relatives’ ambitions.

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