Answering Your Questions

Golden Gate GraveyardI have happily received emails and questions lately about the process of my novel writing. In response, I have written a brief page addressing how I determine aspects like the setting, plot, characters, and researching.


Visit the “Writing Novels” tab above to learn more about how I write mystery novels. You’re welcome to leave a comment if you want. If you have an additional question that didn’t get answered here, you can also contact me at my email address, via the “Contact” tab.


Keep the questions coming, and thank you for your interest.  Tell a friend!


Photo credit: Athena Alexander

Jet in Australian rainforest with Golden Bowerbird bower, research for Wicked Walkabout.

Jet in Australian rainforest with Golden Bowerbird bower, research for Wicked Walkabout.


23 thoughts on “Answering Your Questions

  1. Thanks for sharing, Jet! I just got your latest and will certainly read your tips with great interest. I have a novel idea slowly brewing in my head, but it needs tons of research so it might need to wait 🙂

    • I’m delighted you bought the book, Helen, thanks so much, I hope you enjoy it. You’ve written some pretty fun stories about your friends at the salt marsh, always very entertaining.

  2. I am SO loving your “Golden Gate Graveyard” Jet which I was FINALLY able to begin over the weekend. I’m so close to the end the children are being treated to take-out tonight so I can continue reading to see how all the different paths meet up. Your storyline has been weaved so well it’s been such a treat to read – LOVE IT!

    • Hey Sue, I’m glad you enjoyed GGG! It was fun showing you and Dave around the city that I’ve come to know better, sharing it with you was a pleasure. Thanks so much for all of your support and encouragement.

    • That bower was built by a little gold bird smaller than the American robin! They build it to attract a mate, and it is used from generation to generation. We were lucky our guide knew where to it was hidden, deep in the rainforest where we never would’ve found it on our own. Fun to share it with you, Gunta — thanks for your visits today.

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed your new writing novel tab and thank you for sharing the information and thoughts about your writing process and the reader comments. It’s amazing that for every sentence you write that hundreds may be thrown away. In addition to using an outline, are there other materials that you use to develop the characters and plot. I’ve seen computer programs and books that offer assistance and have often wondered if they are worthwhile and if there was one you would recommend. Thanks for recommending The Chicago Manual of Style, it has already been of use.

    • Your interest, ACI, is a true honor. I’m glad the CMofS has been of use, I just love it, and use it constantly when I am in the final draft stages. I have many materials that I develop and use for the writing of every draft–charts, worksheets, and diagrams that I have created myself. I add to them as I progress on the project. I also use Roget’s Thesaurus and Webster’s Dict. in book forms (more thorough than online versions). I have tried various other tools but found I was messing around with software more than I was writing, so for simplicity and ease, I use Word for my sole software. Research is another story. I know many writers swear by this software or that one, and I’m sure they are fine tools, but I just never felt the pull. Delighted, and thank you.

  4. Really enjoyed the extra insight into your writing – thanks, Jet! (As someone regularly buried under piles of paper, congratulations – I thought your desk looked remarkably organized!)
    No pressure, but looking forward to the next one🙂

    • Even when I’m in the middle of a complicated sequence, my desk is organized. I am probably the most organized person you will ever know, pc. lol. It helps a lot with novel writing. Every Friday I record what I did that week on my Progress Chart, so that I can see from novel to novel what consumes my time. Then I do the computer backup, then I put all the papers back into the color-coordinated folders, stack them in the corner, and don’t look at it again until Monday. I have many gifts for organizing, so now I just embrace it, and it has worked out. Your observations and comments — much appreciated, as always.

  5. I enjoyed reading more about the process behind your great books Jet. I’d never heard of the bowerbird until I read Wicked Walkabout and now that I see that bower I can understand why an encounter with it might be a little hair-raising!

    • We were marveling at the bower when the cassowary came along, and he was most displeased with us. That’s how that scene developed in WW. I have never been so afraid of a bird before in my life! It is a complete joy to talk about WW and GGG with you, Andrea. Deep thanks for your support~~

  6. Wow, congrats on your publications! Might you consider an audio book? My poor eyes are too tired after a day of painting, but I listen to audiobooks all day long. I’d love to listen to yours!

  7. I might be away from WP,but you’re always in my thoughts dear Jet 🙂
    I have not read your book yet,it’s still on my desk waiting … I reckon though that it’s going to be a roaring success.Hope you & Athena are keeping well.Happy Thursday ~ Sending you sunshine although it is bitterly cold and many hugs of friendship 🙂 ❤

    • It’s always a pleasure to hear from you, dear Doda, thanks so much for stopping by. I like knowing you are busy and happy, and I, too, have you in my thoughts. Your winter is very cold, our winter is very wet; but in both places spring will be here before we know it. Sending you loads of smiles and best wishes. ♥

      • Thank you for your kindness and your understanding,dear Jet.There are 2,500 emails in my inbox,right now,I live with the hope that someday I’ll see it empty and start posting again.I could very easily delete them all,but I cannot do that;I am rather over-sentimental …I read your page with all your illustrations about the structure of your books and I was stunned by the way you organise everything and by your inspirations and your innate ability to put down to paper all your ideas.I am really glad you came into my life,I’ll never stop contacting you even if I don’t post at the moment.Broad smiles back to you 🙂 ♥

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