To celebrate the blog tour for Gail Meath’s Songbird, we sat down and talked about the book, the series to come, and the editing process, because I was fortunate enough to get to edit this book. And of course, we discuss Ace, the star German Shepherd. See our interview below.
Meet Jax Diamond, a sharp, sophisticated, skilled, no-nonsense private detective. Or is he? Glued to his side is his canine partner, Ace, a fierce and unrelenting German Shepherd whose mere presence terrorizes criminals into submission. Well, maybe not.
But the two of them are a whole lot smarter than they look. And they have their hands full when a playwright’s death is declared natural causes, and his new manuscript worth a million bucks is missing.
Laura Graystone, a beautiful rising Broadway star, is dragged into the heart of their investigation, and she’s none too happy about it. Especially when danger first strikes, and she needs to rely on her own ingenuity to save their hides.
Join Jax, Laura and Ace on a fun yet deadly ride during the Roaring Twenties that takes twists and turns, and a race against time to find the real murderer before he/she/they stop them permanently.
INTERVIEW WITH GAIL MEATH
What is unique about this stop on the book tour is that you and I know each other. We became friends online, and then you gave me the opportunity to edit Songbird. I thought the readers might want to know a little bit about what that was like.
I had done reviews of your books, and we became friends. I had nonfiction editing experience, but was looking for some experience editing fiction. I asked you if I could do some editing for you in order to get that experience, and you agreed. I had the privilege of editing Songbird. It has been so enjoyable. You definitely make the process easier because the copy you give me is very clean and I’m able to do more content editing. You send me little research gems as well, which is very fun. I truly enjoy working with you.
Tell me how you feel about the editing process so far?
A good editor is worth their weight in gold to an author, and you have been a blessing to me, Bonnie. Since we became friends first, working with you is so comfortable and fun! From finding missed words to run-on or unclear sentences to overall content and help with research, especially, you make sure the manuscript isn’t just clean, it’s polished. It never occurred to me that hamburgers weren’t a household staple in 1920s!
Tell us about this series, the Jax Diamond series, and where you see it going?
Well, the first book, Songbird, was released this November. It is set in 1923 in New York City on Broadway. Jax Diamond is a private investigator and Ace is his German Shepherd sidekick. The other main character, Laura, is a Broadway actress and singer. I am working on the second book, Framed, right now, and it is also set in New York City. I have an idea for a third book that will take the characters to a small town temporarily. There is also a prequel in the works that I will release at some point. It is about how Jax and Ace met.
In the first book, we are of course introduced to Jax, Laura, and Ace. You have told me that Ace was inspired by your own dog, who has since passed away. Tell me about her.
Her name was Gretchen and she was the most amazing German Shepherd. She actually belonged to someone else, and when I met her, we just hit it off right away. She began to follow me as I was leaving and I just decided to buy her from her previous owners. They were well paid, and I was rewarded even more by having this amazing friend in my life. She is truly missed.
Ace, though inspired by Gretchen, is a male shepherd. Why did you make him a male instead of a female like Gretchen?
I had already decided on the name Jax Diamond for the lead character in the book, and I wanted his dog to follow the playing card theme and be named Ace. Ace sounded more like a male name to me at the time, so Ace is a boy. But Gretchen is definitely the inspiration, and Ace has many of Gretchen’s unique traits.
Tell me about the writing process. You were sending me chapters to edit very quickly. I couldn’t believe how fast Songbird was coming out. From my perspective, you had it written in no time. Is this faster than normal for you?
Songbird is my first cozy mystery, and while it definitely needed research, I did not have to do as much as I have for my more in-depth historical fiction, such as Agustina De Aragon and Countess Jacqueline. That did make the process go faster.
Your books are so well researched. Is research your favorite part of the process?
Yes. I love learning about different people, places, and events in history that I never knew about before. That’s why I love writing about lesser-known heroines such as the heroine in Agustina de Aragon.
Longer version: I nearly failed history in high school, and I was a good student! I started researching on my own and found history so fascinating! I determined it was the way the teacher taught it that didn’t hold my interest. I’ve been researching ever since, just on my own.
Do you know how many books you want to write in the Jax Diamond series?
I am not sure right now. As I mentioned, in addition to Songbird, I have three more planned out, including the prequel novella, and the we’ll see what happens.
Do you know when the second book in the series, Framed, will be published?
I have the book release date as April 1 (April Fool’s Day), but I will probably release it sooner, in March of 2022.
Thanks so much, Gail, for taking the time out for this interview.
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