Another Column at MyShelf.Com

Between The Pages, Past
A Mystery Column
By Dennis Collins

Interview with Jinx Schwartz

Most of the authors that I have interviewed in these columns are writers that I have met at conferences, presentations, writer’s groups, or have worked with on some project. Up until now they’ve all been people who I’ve met personally and have had some kind of working or social relationship with.

But it’s been different with Jinx. I first encountered her through social media. I had heard her name mentioned a time or two by other authors so I began reading the things she posted on the internet. I couldn’t help but notice that she lives a very interesting life and soon recognized that our thoughts were often parallel and so the interest deepened. Finally I picked up one of her books. A Hetta Coffey mystery titled, Just Needs Killin’ and will be posting a review of it here next month.

I asked her for an interview and she generously accepted.

Dennis: Your life looks like it’s been an ongoing adventure. Have your experiences inspired your writing?

Jinx: Without a doubt. I was a construction brat who attended seven schools in twelve years in places like Haiti, Thailand, and other exotic locations. Originally from Texas, I followed my dad into the construction/engineering field. I then lived and worked in several countries before, at the tender age of 45, meeting and marrying the love of my life.

Being single all those years gave me plenty of fodder for the Hetta Coffey series.


Dennis: How long have you been writing?

Jinx: I never started writing anything at all until about twenty years ago, when we cut the lines and took our boat to Mexico. We were supposed to go on a three month tour to Cabo San Lucas, but much like Gilligan’s three hour tour, we never returned.

Cruising the Sea of Cortez without television, telephone, or the like gave me time to un-box a pile of genealogical material passed to me by a cousin. I knew I was ninth generation Texan but it wasn’t until I spent a couple of years researching the family during summers in Texas that I decided I had a story to tell. Thus my first book, The Texicans, an epic historical novel covering the thirty years leading up to the fall of the Alamo. I will probably never do that again!


Dennis: Is your Hetta Coffey series going to be the backbone of your career?

Jinx: Looks like it. I love writing the series and am working on book number seven My career has really just started taking off thanks to Hetta. And if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.


Dennis: Is there a particular author who may have influenced your writing?

Jinx: Larry McMurtry because he has captured a particular brand of Texas humor, Nelson DeMille because of his dry wit and great stories.


Dennis: Are you a structured writer who works from an outline or are you the stream of consciousness type?

Jinx: Definitely a pantser. I choose a setting and let Hetta drag me by the seat of my pants into a story, occasionally writing myself off into a ditch. I dust myself off and start over but that’s part of the adventure.


Dennis: I’ve noticed that you’ve joined the ranks of independently published authors. Can you tell us about that?

Jinx: I have been self published, small publisher published, and then as an indie (which is new speak for self published). My small publisher was difficult to work with, didn’t even want to deal with Amazon, and certainly not with Kindle. I talked her into making me her first author in a Kindle format. After a few months I hadn’t received one single commission from Amazon (and I knew for a fact that I had sales because I bought one) and asked her about it. Her answer? She hated Amazon. They had made deposits into her account and didn’t say who they were for. Huh?

That was three years ago and now I am very pleased with my Kindle Direct Publishing career and have hooked my book future to their star.


Dennis: What do you do when you’re not writing?

Jinx: Uh, when would that be? Just kidding. I market. A lot. Using social media I have given away (via Kindle Select) well over a half-million books and have garnered a lot of readers. When I’m not writing or marketing I enjoy being on the boat, walking, playing with the ham radio. And reading, lots of reading.

By the way, if anyone reading this interview wants to know when I’ll have free books or a new book, they can sign up for a newsletter on my website. I never use this newsletter to send out pictures of my dog. Honest.

2014 Past Columns