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.