I am so happy to have Valerie with us today. And I’m delighted to find someone else who doesn’t write at the crack of dawn! Fatal Glow, her second book in the Odessa Jones mystery series releases on February 22nd!
Valerie: I’m a late writer–in more ways than one. I envy those ambitious souls who pop up early in the day to put in a few pages before noon. I must admit, however, that I do admire it. I’ve been on more than one panel and nodded my head in agreement when someone recommends that to new writers. I’m lying through my teeth. Early for me is early afternoon—and at my own leisurely pace.
It may have begun when I was a magazine editor and my work day didn’t start until late in the morning. We worked late at night, so we could justify it. I was younger then, much younger. I’ve now reached the age where I need to begin my day with an hour of stretching and gentle yoga so I can make it down the stairs. And then there is coffee, at least two cups. And then there is the newspaper, which from my days as a journalist I feel compelled to read in its entirety to understand, for better or worse, what’s going on in the world.
My career as a mystery writer also began late. When Death Comes Stealing, the first book of my nine-book series came out in 1995. I had just turned 48, more mother hen than spring chicken, the parent of two college-bound teen-aged daughters and elder mentor to all the young editors at Essence, the magazine where I worked. A Fatal Glow, is the second book of my new Odessa Jones mystery series. It’s a cozy, published nearly thirty years after When Death Comes Stealing. It is quite different from my more traditional mysteries, and I’ve really enjoyed writing it. A Fatal Glow has allowed me to offer aspects of my life that I’ve never included in my books, for example our family pet Junior, disguised as Juniper, and my recipe for collard green quiche! The recipe was one developed by Jonelle Nash, a friend and the food editor at Essence. In A Glimmer of Death, my first Odessa Jones mystery, the recipe for Dessa’s Go-To-Cake was featured in the April issue of Tea Time, a delightful magazine that features teas and desserts. Besides the collard green quiche, my years as an editor/journalist taught me many things. I learned never to miss a deadline and how to do research, even though these days I occasionally fall into the seductive rabbit hole of researching far more than I need.
In the end, being late to both the world of mysteries and in my writing schedule has served me well. Age hasn’t always made me wiser but has broadened my experiences, providing me with provocative events to draw upon when I’m desperate for a story. Being a late older writer has also given me an appreciation for taking my own easy time—in life as well as work.
Readers: What are the important lessons you learned from your first professional job?
Bio: Valerie Wilson Wesley writes mysteries, novels and children’s books. Her latest mystery is A Fatal Glow.
A Fatal Glow
Sometimes even good luck brings bad fortune. For Odessa Jones–reluctant psychic, part-time caterer, full-time realtor–an elegant affair turned deadly threatens her reputation and life.