Interview with Joan Kelly, author of A Thread of Evidence

  1. I love the title! What was the inspiration for A Thread of Evidence? Where did you come up with the idea?

When I decided to write cozy mysteries, I knew that the setting would have something to do with sewing.  Besides making an outline for my story, I wrote down a list of sewing terms: needles, threads, notions, etc., and used them to develop titles.  With any mystery, there needs to be clues and evidence to solve the crime.  So, why not make a simple piece of thread a clue–a piece of evidence?

2. You’ve written young adult fiction before, but this is your first venture into adult fiction. What drew you to writing adult fiction?

When I wrote the inspirational adventure stories for YA (Wow! That was a few years ago.), I had just given up my position as a teacher.  Writing for younger people made me still feel close to them.  It was my way of still teaching without being in the classroom.

Now, I’ve been retired for several years and have the time and desire to start writing again. So, I decided to write something that would draw on my life experiences–sewing, home remodeling, trying new recipes, etc.  My bookshelves are filled with a plethora of different genres, but one of my favorites is mysteries.  I enjoy the cozy mystery because it brings adventure from the viewpoint of the average citizen. 

3. Mibs is an amateur sleuth who happens to be an expert seamstress.  Are you or someone in your extended family an expert seamstress?

I had been a professional seamstress.  While raising my five daughters and taking classes part-time to earn my teaching degree, I ran a small craft and sewing business.  I made everything from children’s clothing to wedding dresses.   I also made the clothing for the mannequins in the fabric section of the local Wal-Mart store. 

I learned to sew at an early age with guidance from my mother and my aunt.  My grandmother taught me how to embroidery and make lace with a tatting shuttle. Then, when I was older, I took sewing and quilting lessons.  Now, I only make quilts for myself and my family–sew on a button or mend an item if one of my grandkids asks me for help. 

4. What do you hope the reader will take away from A Thread of Evidence?

First, I hope the reader will enjoy the story and spend a few hours getting lost in the town of Havendale with Mibs, Jace, and Aunt Bernie.  As far as what I hope the reader will take away from A Thread of Evidence and all the books in the series, is the feeling that the ‘good person’ can win!  They can face the criminal, solve the crime, and meet any challenge thrown at them while still keeping their faith and moral bearing.  Even when life’s problems pull them to a dark and challenging place, they can find God’s love, strength, and forgiveness to light their way.  Hopefully, even Jace (Detective Sergeant Jace Trueblood), who’s buried his faith under a cloud of pain and anger, will eventually kneel down and ask God for grace to face life’s challenges.

I want to write stories that are not ‘preachy’ but let the characters’ faith be an everyday part of their lives.

5. You’re working on additional books for the Mibs Monahan Mysteries.  Please tell us a bit about Books 2 and 3 (and 4, if you have it!)

The second book in the series is called Notions of Murder.  Monahan Sewing Shop has been open for a while, and business is increasing.  Mibs is happy with the growing relationship between her and Jace. But, when at the local community theater working on costumes for an upcoming play, Mibs becomes the only witness who can identify an assassin who’d killed one man and wounded another.  Now, the shooter wants to silence the seamstress.  

The third book, Stitch in the Ditch, includes forgery and murder.  A continuing question throughout the series has been about Mibs’ true identity.   Information about her past has the usually self-assured and determined young woman conflicted.

The fourth book is still in the outline stage.  So, I’ll save the previews on that one until later. 

6. Who are some of your favorite authors and why?

I grew up before the internet, Facebook, Twitter, etc., so books were my soul food.  My childhood home was filled with authors that would not necessarily be recognized today– James Fenimore Cooper, Gene Stratton Porter,  Essie Summers, Louis L’Amour, Jules Verne, Ellery Queen, Agatha Christie, and Arthur Conan Doyle–to mention a few.  I loved them all.

Moving to more current authors, I would list some of my favorites as Mary Higgins Clark, Debbie Macomber, David Baldacci, and James Patterson.  These are on my list because I love mystery stories, and these authors do the genre justice with their writing. 

I also enjoy good Christian adventure authors.  They bring the story, mystery, adventure, drama, romance to life and at the same time are not afraid to let the reader know that their characters have God as the center of their lives.  Some of my favorites are Dee Henderson’s O’Malley series,  Barbara Golder’s Lady Doc Mysteries, Ann Lewis’s Watson Chronicles, and Ellen Gable’s Great War series.

A Thread of Evidence is available here on Amazon!

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