Q&A with L.J. Sellers
L.J. Sellers is an award-winning journalist and the author of the bestselling Detective Jackson mystery/suspense series.
Q. What inspired you to write the Detective Jackson Mystery Series?
A. I wrote the first book featuring Detective Jackson as a standalone story. I had always wanted to write a police procedural because it's my favorite genre, and a couple of news events, along with policy changes, made me passionate about the subject of teenage sex and access to birth control. The Sex Club story evolved from my concerns. One of the main characters is a Planned Parenthood nurse, so I made the detective a male for balance. As I was writing, it occurred to me that Jackson was a great character for a series.
Q. Who was the inspiration for Wade Jackson?
A. Much of his character is based on the first homicide detective I interviewed. But Jackson's compassionate side--and his fierce love of his daughter--is modeled after my husband, who ironically, sometimes thinks Jackson is too soft. Jackson's trike-building hobby and his estranged/renewed relationship with his brother are also modeled after my husband. And of course, Jackson is a little bit like me. All of my characters have at least one of my quirks. That's one of the advantages of having multiple personalities.
Q: Tell us about Eugene, Oregon where your novels are set. Is there a lot of intrigue there?
A. Eugene is mid-sized, college town that used to be a quiet and safe place to live and raise kids. It's beautiful, ideally located an hour from the coast and an hour from the mountains, and culturally diverse. But an active methamphetamine trade contributed to an escalation in violence, then the repressed economy resulted in massive spending cuts to law enforcement and the county jail. The result was a lack of prosecution for minor crimes that, in turn, led to many gang members moving to Eugene. So there are a startling number of violent crimes, police standoffs, and lately, embezzlement cases. But nothing quite as intriguing as the complex cases I dream up for Jackson to solve.
Q. In your newest, Rules of Crime, Detective Lara Evans and FBI Agent Carla River are featured prominently. Might you spin off Evans or Rivers for their own series?
A. I've considered both. In fact, Lara Evans is also featured prominently in Dying for Justice (Jackson #5). I had so much fun developing Evans' character in that story that the next novel I wrote featured Evans as the protagonist, but ten years into the future in a standalone thriller. I also wrote the Agent River character with the idea that she might have her own series. And in Jackson #8, I created yet another FBI agent who I really had fun with, and now I'm writing a thriller featuring her. The new character, Agent Dallas, is most likely to end up with her own series because she travels around, and I need to get out of Eugene sometimes.
Q. What is the favorite reader comment that you have received?
A. I've had such great feedback that it's hard to pick just one. But several readers have contacted me to say that after reading one of my books, they bought them all and read them within a week. I love that!
Q.What is the most gratifying thing about being a full-time writer?
Hearing from readers every day that they enjoy my stories and are impatient for more is the most rewarding experience of my life. It's truly gratifying to bring joy and entertainment to so many people. The next best thing is the flexibility and opportunity to spend more time with my family.
L. J. Sellers is a native of Eugene, Oregon, the setting of her thrillers. She is a former award-winning journalist and editor, and current standup comic, cyclist, social networker, and mystery-conference attendee-as well as a skydiving and thrill-seeking fanatic. A long-standing fan of police procedurals, she numbers John Sandford, Michael Connelly, Ridley Pearson, and Lawrence Sanders among her favorites. Her own novels, featuring Detective Jackson, include The Sex Club, Secrets to Die For, Thrilled to Death, Passions of the Dead, Dying for Justice, Liars, Cheaters, & Thieves
, and Rules of Crime
. She's also penned three standalone thrillers: The Baby Thief, The Gauntlet Assassin
, and The Lethal Effect.